Saturday, April 07, 2012


I've been slacking.  I've barely taken pics with my phone the last three days.  Not sure why.  Maybe lack of subject matter?  Boredom?  Time constraints?  No clue.  Gotta get on it again tomorrow!

Sunday, April 01, 2012


Third Sunday with no church.  Chaz was throwing up this morning before we got there so we turned around and came home.  He felt better after a couple hours.

Breezy went to the other campus today and then hung out with friends.  Chaz and his girl went to the beach after he felt better.

I cleaned the kitchen, took a nap, cooked dinner.  Watched the ACM awards and ordered Breezy the new Rascal Flatts cd.  Hopefully, she'll be very surprised. :)

I'm headed to bed.  Early for a change.  Here are a few of my iPhone pics for the week.  Lovin' Camera!Awesome still!  Can't wait to get all the "extras" that it has.
My homemade stickers made from pages of an old book

Fortune from a fortune cookie that I got during Spring Break.  How appropriate!

Birthday card for co-worker.  Check out that texture on the Happy Birthday layer.  It's the coolest yarn ever!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I've not been here in months.  I think about updating and then whoosh, out the window the update goes when life gets busy.  Too bad there's not a great app for the iPhone to allow me to update with photos.

Photos.  I <3 taking photos with my iPhone.  I downloaded several awesome apps to use to process and share my photos.  Instagram.  Magic Hour.  Hipstamatic.  Camera! Awesome.  Between these 4 I have a ton of fun.

My favorite for random shots is Hipstamatic.  I bought all but one of the in app bundles and have used it for 100's of pictures already.  I like the randomize function.  Just shake and it's ready!

Magic Hour is free and lets you download lots of filters to apply to the photos you take with your iPhone.  There are some super filters there.

My new favorite is Camera! Awesome.  I think it was 99 cents and then you can buy extras in app.  The variety of filters, frames, textures, and presets are great.

I share everything using Instagram.  I set it up to send to Twitter and Facebook too.  One upload gets everything.  Awesome!

Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando.
Chaz, Breezy, and Ally at the entrance to EPCOT.
Breezy, Chaz, and Ally at Small World.
Hogwarts at Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios.

These shots are from the very first vacation my kids and I have ever taken.  Yes, we stayed together for the entire trip with the exception of tonight.  They went to Tampa for a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game.

It's been an amazing week!!!  Yah!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Boy aren't I a rocket scientist?  Well, not really.  Just extremely bad about posting.  I'm still undecided about whether I'm moving my blog or not.  Or if I just want to permanently archive what's already here and start over.

I'd really like to just add pictures and crafts on a regular basis.  Just do it!  Right?

We got new phones.  I broke down and bought us all iPhones.  It was an expensive investment in a phone for two years but I think in the long run, it will help me with several goals.

I downloaded an app called My Net Diary that lets me put in what I've eaten with the nutritional information.  I put in what I currently weight and what my goal is.  It computes the calorie intake a day and then adds as I eat/munch during the day.

I'm horrid about munching.  And it's mindless.  It's got to stop.  I was reading a devotional I get and saw a wonderful idea.  When I find myself ready to eat mindlessly, open my Bible instead.  Feed myself with the word of God rather than calorie filled food.

I've also downloaded three or four photo apps.  Instagram, Hipstamatic, Magic Hour, and CamWow.  I will probably get rid of CamWow.  I think I much prefer the square format of the other three.  :)

I made a small accordion fold book today.  I'm going to start printing some of these little square prints and actually scrap them.  Yes, with real paper and glue and ink.

I'm off to bed.  Niters!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We had a great Christmas.  Just the kids and I for Christmas morning.  It was quiet.  Breezy got skirt, sweater, tights, camisoles, necklace, and gift card.  Chaz got cardigan, boxers, the new Switchfoot vinyl album, and Zelda Skyward Sword game for the wII.
The afternoon was spent with friends.  Dinner.  Playing 313.  Much laughter.  :)

Today, Chaz and Breezy are headed to Ft Pickens for a birthday celebration with a friend from Blue Ridge.  I got to meet their friend the other day when they came by to pick up Breezy to spend the day.

New Years will be spent with family less Chaz.  He's going to meet up with his girlfriend (via Greyhound) then they are off to watch the fireworks in Downtown Disney.  Bet that will be amazing, huh?

I've got dishes to put away and laundry to do today.  A bit of FB.  Been doing some praying for friends in need of prayer.  It is good.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoyed these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you missed a few posts, I hope you'll be able go back through and read them on this blog over the next few days. If you'd like to keep up with Pearl Girls and our new book project, Mother of Pearl, coming this spring, just click this link and sign up for our newsletter (lower left sidebar).

Also, just a reminder that today is the last day for the pearl necklace and earrings giveaway! Enter now by filling out this {form}. The winner will on 1/1 at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.
Jesus -- The Reason For the Season
By: Rachel Hauck

Through the narrow scope of 2000 years, Mary, the mother of Jesus, appears to be one lucky woman. Chosen by God to give birth to His son, the Savior of the world? All right, Mary, way to go.

“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you,” Gabriel said.

How many of us would like a declaration like that? Highly favored. The Lord is with you. But Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

The angel told her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Mary’s seems confident and resolved when she responds, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

She’d just been told the Holy Spirit will come upon her, that God’s power will overshadow her, that she’d become with child even though she wasn’t married, and she said, “I’m the Lord’s servant. Let your words be true.”

I find this amazing! A young woman. Ancient Bethlehem. Unwed mother. They stoned women for such things in her day. But Mary believed in God. And submitted to His will. He gave her the Holy Spirit – the same Holy Spirit given to us. If He gave her confidence, He will give us confidence. Even though, like Mary, our situation seems impossible.

Listen to Mary’s song later on in the first chapter of Luke.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me Holy is his name…”

Conceiving a child out of wedlock, by Divine intervention. Not a girl’s every day existence. Yet she had a Yes in her heart to God. She rejoiced. She boldly said, “Generations will remember me!”

How we struggle to trust God with our children. Our finances. Our emotional well-being. We worry. We fret. And wonder why we have no peace.

Christmas is the season where words like joy, peace and love are bantered around like Christmas candy. Let’s not take them as just words, but as truth. Let’s be like Mary and embrace God’s favor on our lives. Boldly declare "He’s done great things for me!”

Out of the grit of our own souls, we can reach His heart, and feel Him reaching for ours. No matter the pain of our past, present or future, God is there for us. He is able. Best of all, He is willing. “My soul glorifies the Lord this Christmas!”

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, best selling author who believes God has done great things for her. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and ornery pets. Her next release is Love Lifted Me with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, January 2012. Then in April, look for The Wedding Dress.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

Advent By Sibella Giorello

Consider the bride's walk down the aisle. We all know where that woman in the white is going but somehow waiting for her to arrive at the altar is an essential part of the ceremony. In fact, the waiting is so essential that even cheapskate Vegas chapels include wedding marches.


Because the wait adds meaning to the moment.

At Christmas time, we tend to forget this essential truth about anticipation. We're lost to shopping malls and checklists, rushing toward December 25th so quickly that we forget the quiet joy of the month's other 24 days -- and then we wonder why we feel so empty on the 26th, amid ribbons and wrapping paper and our best intentions.

Because the wait adds meaning to the moment.

And that is why Advent is so important to Christmas.

I'm as guilty as the next harried person. This Advent was particularly tricky because just six hours before it started, I was still trying to finish a 110,000-word novel that was written over the course of the year -- written while homeschooling my kids, keeping my hubby happy, and generally making sure the house didn't fall down around us.

It's an understatement to say my free time is limited. But waiting adds meaning, and Advent is crucial to Christmas, so I've devised several Advent traditions that are simple, powerful and easy to keep even amid the seasonal rush.

When my kids outgrew the simple Advent calendars around age 7, I stole an idea from my writer friend Shelly Ngo (as T.S. Eliot said, "Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal." Indulge me.)

Here's how it goes: Find 24 great Christmas books, wrap them individually and place then under the tree. On the first day of Advent, take turns picking which book to open. When we did this, we would cuddle under a blanket and read aloud -- oh, the wonder, the magic! We savored "The Polar Express," howled with "How Murray Saved Christmas," and fell silent at the end of "The Tale of The Three Trees" (note: some of the picture books I chose were not explicitly about Christmas but they always echoed the message that Jesus came to earth to save us from ourselves and to love us beyond our wildest imagination. In that category, Angela Hunt's retelling of The Three Trees definitely hits the Yuletide bull's eye).

This Advent tradition lasted for about five years. It gave us rich daily discussions about the season's real meaning, without being religious or legalistic, and it increased family couch time. But like the lift-the-flap calendars, my kids outgrew the picture books.

Because the wait adds meaning, and Advent is crucial, I prayed for another way to celebrate anticipation of Christmas. By the grace of God, last year I found an enormous Advent calendar on  clearance at Pottery Barn. Made of burlap, it has large pockets big enough to hold some serious bounty.

But my husband and I didn't want the kids focusing only on the materialist stuff for Advent -- we already fight that on Christmas day. We decided to fill the daily pockets with simple necessities and small gift cards. We also printed out the nativity story from Luke 2:1-21 in a large-sized font and cut each verse out. From Day 1 to Day 21, there is one verse to read aloud. The kids memorize it, then get to open their present (again, on alternating days for each person). Then we tape the verse to the wall in order. By Day 22, all the verses are on the wall, in order, and the kids now try to recite the entire nativity story from memory. That's not as difficult as it sounds because they've been memorizing one verse each day. Still, the entire recitation -- verbatim -- usually requires Day 23 and Day 24. Whoever does memorize the entire thing -- without mistakes --  earns a bonus gift of $25.

Does that sounds extravagant?

It is.

Because we want our kids to understand that God came down and humbled himself and taught us about love right before He suffered and died on behalf of the undeserving -- which is every one of us.

"That's" extravagant.

And in the waiting, we find even more meaning.

Sibella Giorello writes the Raleigh Harmon mystery series which won the Christy Award with its first book "The Stones Cry Out." She lives in Washington state with her husband and children, and often wishes there were 36 hours in a day.