Today I am Thankful For…. A Month of Being Thankful

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Thankful

From John on Flicker

I love the month of November.

For me it’s a time to reflect on all the blessings – both big and small, and yes, even be thankful for the difficult times in my life that have played such an important role in how I have been shaped, how I cherish life, and how I can see such monumental grace where it seems that nothing could come out of the bad things that happen.

I’m one of those people that believe that nothing “evil” comes from the Lord.

He has anger and has shown anger, yes, but He is not evil.  His is the almighty good.

But, I’m also not here to get philosophical on you.

I’m just a woman with a blog who enjoys writing, with the hopes that one day my children will read the random thoughts of their mother who loves them more than they will ever know.

Here’s what I want you to know from this post:

Today I am thankful.


On November 1, 2013, I wrote the following on my personal FB page:

So it’s the first day of November, 2013.  If you have become a friend of mine recently on FB, some of my friends and I “traditionally” give a status update everyday of something we are thankful for.  It doesn’t have to be a big, in fact, I love the small things I am grateful for.  I encourage you to come up with your own daily “Today I am thankful for…” thoughts especially if you haven’t started this tradition on your own.


Tomorrow, I will be thankful.

I will be thankful everyday of the year – but for one month, I publicly share my gratitude with anyone who reads it with the hope that maybe, you can be thankful to the One who provides it all.

Thank you Lord – for just being.  For loving me, and for allowing me to know you.  I am grateful for the Lord today.


Today, I turn 40 and 25….

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Birthday cake candles cake
Today’s my birthday.

I turn 40 years old today.  But more importantly, I turn 25-years old today as well.

Twenty-five years ago today, sometime before noon, I felt called to give my life to Christ through baptism.  It was during a period of time before everyone had cameras on his/her phones, and I didn’t wake up that morning thinking that I was going to get baptized so I don’t have a record of it except my memory.  I might have a bible with the date in it somewhere, but I also didn’t save many things from my youth so I would be surprised if I actually kept that.

I’ve haven’t shared my story of my baptism before, and I want my children to get to know their mama in every aspect, so I’m putting it in writing for the world to know that as I turn forty-years old, I am also turning twenty-five.


I was born and raised a Christian my entire life.

I knew nothing else.  I didn’t attend other churches of other faiths and thankfully, I’ve never known a life without Christ.

Even during some of my dumbest decisions, I know Christ was waiting for me, in the proverbial hallway, waiting for me to open the door I had shut very tightly and was holding closed by my own two hands.

I have a vivid memory of the day I got baptized.

My cousins joined us at church that day, and although we were always, and that’s always, late to church, I remember the Associate Preacher (or pastor) spoke that day.  I couldn’t tell you what the message was about, and I couldn’t tell you what the preachers name was either.  I feel like the Lord doesn’t want me to remember so that I can only give credit to Him for what happened next.

The Church I have attended for the majority of my life has always had a “system” that follows the basic outline:

  • The preacher preaches a sermon until about 1145 AM or so.
  • The preacher then asks the congregation if anyone would like to come forward to give his/her life to Christ or request prayers.
  • There is a song, followed by a baptism if applicable, and then followed by another song and a closing prayer and church is over by noon.

So on the day I got baptized, the preacher completed his sermon and asked if anyone would like to come forward.

The next thing I remember was sitting in the front pew asking the preacher to baptize me.

Just like that. Bible

Later as I recall the moment in time I “chose” to go up to the front of the congregation to ask to be baptized, I felt as if I was being pushed to go up there. I absolutely knew that I was supposed to get baptized that day.  Don’t ask me how, or why, but I truly felt called.

Now because I didn’t plan it, I didn’t have an extra set of clothes, or anything ready to get changed into prior to getting wet.  A few ladies rushed me in this back room behind the baptismal, gave me an adult sized white jumpsuit, and told me to change into it.

I was asked to confess that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and came to the world to save me from my sins.

After my confession, I remember not being able to breath.

The way another preacher described the moment later in time as I witnessed ten baptisms in a row was exactly how I felt that day:

I remember feeling like I died.


Now listen – I get it.

You may think that’s crazy, and maybe it is.  But that’s the feeling I had.

For the few seconds my body was in the water, something happened to me and the only way to describe it was that I truly believe my old self died.  I was lifted out of that water a new person, still imperfect, but made perfect through Christ.

After I was immersed, and got out of the water, the same ladies that asked me to change brought me a towel and my clothes and as soon as I changed I took my first communion.

I remember my mom crying and hugging me after I came out from the back.  The church had already ended for the day and a few members waited for me to come out from the back of the baptismal to hug me and congratulate me.

My mom, not being prepared at all, took us to Ole Fri-ole for lunch, even though now I know she really couldn’t have afforded it back then.

I remember getting home and calling my dad, and he was sorry he missed the event.  I told him I didn’t know I was going to get baptized that day, and I know he was happy for me.

Overall, I have very straight forward memories of the day.

I remember being tested in my faith soon after getting baptized, and failing those tests.

As I watch people getting baptized now, I recall that day, more than ever, as a time that I didn’t have control of.  If you know me personally at all, I DO NOT like NOT having control.  I can’t stand not knowing what’s going to happen next.

Now that I get to look back at it 25 years later, I realize I wasn’t in control, and I’m so glad.  I feel so blessed to be able to rely on the Lord for those eternal decisions, even when I feel like I made certain choices about it.

Hopefully you don’t read this blog post and think, “Oh boy – D’Andra believes in pre-destination….

No, I really don’t.  I do believe God has a plan.  You can quote me on that.

And I also believe that we as people make choices, whether right or wrong, that the Lord uses for his glory.

It’s my hope that you know the Lord loves you so much that he sent his only Son for you.

It’s my hope that you devote your life to Christ even though you know you are imperfect.  That’s why I need Him.  Because I’m so very imperfect.

I’m so glad I got to be picked to be with Him for eternity.  I hope you make that choice too.  If you have and/or when you do, it’s how you know you were picked too. 😉

Be blessed today.  I’m being blessed because it’s my birthday.  I get to celebrate two birthday’s today and for that, I am eternally grateful.

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Running in Disneyland – A New Bucket List Item

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Darth Vader Bucket from DisneylandIf you know me personally, and have known me long enough, you know that I am a Star Wars fanatic.

Meaning, more than just a fan and probably more obsessed with Star Wars than most people on the planet and certainly, probably more than you.

Before children, and before I used to have the daily “necessity” chores of cooking, cleaning, running, getting things prepared the night before, etc., I would come home from work (and even before that, college classes,) plug the VHS tape of Star Wars, (later of course the Star Wars Trilogy DVD’s) and watch it (or run it in the background) until I would go to sleep.

My loving husband has put up with this obsession for over 20-years, and has succumbed to the loving & supportive role of bringing balance to my insatiable appetite for the latest thing in Star Wars.  If it weren’t for him, I would be going to comic-cons fully dressed in a cosplay outfit of my own creation, and happily spending money on the latest Star Wars toy, comic book – whatever.

But alas, reality does set in, and although #coffeeismylovelanguage, my heart truly loves to hear “Let’s watch Star Wars mommy!”

When George Lucas sold the Star Wars franchise to the Disney machine, my heart broke.

I know, it sounds stupid.

It wasn’t shocking or anything, because Lucas had made it clear that he didn’t only want to be known for Star Wars, wanted to run his company, his way and was getting yelled at and ridiculed for the Episode 1-3 movies.  He also had stated that he didn’t want to make any more Star Wars movies, so I knew there was a possibility that the books were going to be the only way to find more about the Universe and it’s hero’s.

But, it was a bit scary because the mouse I had grown to despise from my youth (I have many issues) had now entered my life in a completely unfamiliar way.

I had to become a Disney fan in order to maintain my love of Star Wars as I did before.

I knew the new movies that were planned were going to be good.

But I also knew that Disney’s mission statement includes making money, and I have always had issues with that on a deep, emotional level, tied to my mother and being poor when I was young and all kinds of relatively insignificant things to the majority of the population, except to me.

But ~

I had to get over it.

Companies change and companies will do almost anything to make money.

I had to put all my personal issues aside, so that I could become a Star Wars Disney fan.

I’m looking forward to the new Star Wars land opening up.

LA Times put up a great article about the new Star Wars land in Disneyland.

Here’s an slightly interactive map of the new Star Wars land in Disneyland too.

I’m looking forward to the next movie – Rogue One and the next installment of the Star Wars series, Episode 8.  It will be dark, amazing, and I will buy movies, and merchandise, and I will run in the half marathon offered at Disneyland with the Star Wars theme.

Oh yes, I will run.  And I have paid for the privilege to run inside Disneyland in January 2017.  In fact, I’m looking forward to it.

The training plan offered by runDisney is 20-weeks long for an “experienced” runner (hah!) like myself.  But the real kick-in-the-pants part of their training plan, is that the longest run is 17-miles.

Seventeen miles.

SEVENTEEN MILES!

I know I can do it you guys.

And because I’m a glutton for punishment, I signed up for the 6.25 mile race on Saturday and the 13.1 mile race on Sunday.  It’s called the Rebel Challenge and you get an extra medal for running both races.

Yup.

Why in the Lord’s holy name,” you may be thinking….

I’m doing it for the medals. #medaljunkie

I’m going to try to do it for the satisfaction of getting it done. #Ds40Before40

I’m doing it because I believe I can. #DreamingofDisneyRuns

It’s Star Wars.  It’s running through Disneyland.  It sounds so cool.  And I added it to my bucket list to check off.

There, I said it and wrote it down.  It’s a goal now, with a date and a plan and everything.

I leave you with this – the heart pounding “Celebration” trailer for Rogue One – the new movie in the Star Wars Universe that is coming out in December 2016.  To say I am “looking forward to it” is a complete and total understatement.  I have no words to describe how this clip makes me feel, other than, I feel like I’m a kid again ready to watch the next Star Wars movie in a theater.

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Cub Scout Campout at the Sequoia National Forest

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Cub Scout Troop in front of General Sherman TreeAs a Cub Scout family, and as a family that enjoys each other’s company while sleeping in a tent with no television, limited cell phone service and a spirit of adventure, taking a trip up to the Sequoia National Forest was a sweet beginning to the new Webelo 2 year for my oldest.

Webelo 2-boys have a set of requirements to earn badges, and in general, just have to do outings and such to promote to a Boy Scout by the end of the school year next year.

One of the things that my husband and I recognize for our three children is:

This is the time of their lives.

They will never be this little again.

They will never have this chance to be with their parents, at this age, to do these fun things while my husband and I are able-bodied and younger, again.

We are not taking that for granted.

Friday

I took a day off of work on a Friday and we headed up one of the mountain ranges that surround our valley in California.Kids and parents packed

In discussion with the Cub Scout leaders, we knew that Saturday was going to be our big day together as a group, so we worked our meals and our plans around the group activities.

Three days and two nights in a beautiful, mosquito and bug infested setting.

Tent set upFriday afternoon we set up our tent after we arrived and we took a brief walk around the camping ground to see what we could find.

The paved road led us to a small stream, where we were able to cross it at a fallen tree that had clearly become a little bridge for hikers.

The stream had several small fish in it, and the kids just seemed to love hanging out with their daddy, despite the mosquitos and bugs.

There were small fish in the stream running along the campground. The kiddos love hanging out with their daddy!

There were small fish in the stream running along the campground. The kiddos love hanging out with their daddy!

But alas, all good things must come to an end.

Our precious 6-year old got a headache, and right away, I knew she hadn’t been drinking that much water – primarily because of the drive down.  (Yes, we purposely don’t give them water bottles in our vehicles when we drive for more than two hours. Don’t judge.)

She ended up crying when we got back to the campsite.  We started giving her water, and after the crying she sat in my lap about to fall asleep.

We continued to give her sips of water and about forty minutes later she said her headache felt better.  I suggested that she lie down and as she took her shoes off to go into the tent, she threw up.

Now, I look at that as a blessing.

Go with me – she threw up outside the tent.  WHEW!  She felt immediately better and continued to drink water as we sat in the tent together looking up at the canopy.  My husband cleaned the outside while I cleaned her up inside the tent and she was ready to eat after about twenty minutes of hanging in the tent with mom.

Our planned dinner consisted of hot dogs for the kids and steak for my husband and I.

Steak and Hotdogs for DinnerThe meat bees were few (praise God!) and the chips went well with the steak.  As this was a Cub Scout event, no alcohol is allowed, so we didn’t have a drink on this trip – but that’s okay.  We want to teach our children that alcohol isn’t needed to have fun anyway (right?)

Saturday

The breakfast we planned was cereal and milk, and we also brought bagels and cream cheese.  I had pre-packaged lunch bags (just gallon Ziploc bags with granola bars, beef jerky, goldfish crackers, etc.), except for the sandwiches.

I made the sandwiches that morning and although I didn’t take a photo of it, one thing I know to do was to put peanut butter on both sides of bread before putting the jelly in the middle.

Helpful hint: The air in the mountains dries out bread within a few minutes so ensure that for every piece of bread you take out, you close the bag.  😉

DeAndrasCrafts kids on the shuttleThere’s a fantastic free shuttle system in the park that travels from the campground to various locations throughout the park, to alleviate the parking problems during the weekend.  Now that I have experienced it, I have a few general bits of wisdom and observations: ShuttleRouteMap_2012_web-Erika

  • The shuttle goes slower on the curves – this helps for a child (like one of mine) that feels nauseous when on curvy roads.  Yes, this also means it takes a little longer to get from one point to the other, but it’s still convenient to get around.
  • The Saturday afternoon shuttle lines were insane.  We waited at least thirty minutes to get on a shuttle from the Giant Forest Museum stopping point to Lodgepole Market, but the kids went inside the museum while some of the moms saved a space in line.
  • The shuttles are extremely full.  They (ahem) push the limit of passengers in one shuttle, but it also means that a large group like ours was able to ride one bus.

But overall, the shuttle was the easiest way to get around, and certainly didn’t cause any headaches of transporting kiddos anywhere.

The entire group all started out on the climb to Moro Rock. The beginning steps of Moro Rock

Per the National Park website, it’s a 400 step climb up to the top.  All my children (ages 10, 6, and 5) were able to do it, but the little girl did not want to get close to the edge and was frightened of the heights.  There’s a bench at the top that she sat on with her older brother while my husband and youngest and I all took photos at the top.  It was a wonderful view and site.

This is my youngest climbing to the top of the stairs before looking over to the top of Moro Rock.

This is my youngest climbing to the top of the stairs before looking over to the top of Moro Rock.

On the top of Moro Rock, there two "ends" of view, and this is one of them overlooking some of the valley.

On the top of Moro Rock, there two “ends” of view, and this is one of them overlooking some of the valley.

This is the other end of the top of the rock. Behind us is the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

This is the other end of the top of the rock. Behind us is the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

 

The left hand side overseeing the south of Moro Rock  The road to the south valley of California.  The right side of the south valley

One of the best things about this trip was the challenge of the hiking.  The Cub Scouts have to hike a certain amount of miles with a group, even if it’s family, and our scout was able to accomplish all his hiking on this one trip, even though we know he’ll get more hikes in throughout the year.

Going down the stairs was more precarious than coming up it seemed at times on Moro Rock....

Going down the stairs was more precarious than coming up it seemed at times on Moro Rock….  It did go much faster though, as expected.

The next thing we did was take the shuttle to Crescent Meadows.  We had planned on eating lunch there and then dispersing as individual families, but a few of the families stayed together and walked the Crescent Meadow loop.

That was a two-mile round trip hike, that for us included a visit to a tree that the Scouts and siblings were able to climb into.

Cub Scouts in a TreeThe next cool thing was Tharp’s Log, a home built inside a log.  You can find more information about it on Trip Advisor.

My youngest was trying to get out of the photo and instead, ended up being the center of attention while walking in front of the group! Tharp's Log in the Sequoia National Forest.

My youngest was trying to get out of the photo and instead, ended up being the center of attention while walking in front of the group in front of Tharp’s Log.

We also got to see a bear.

That’s right, a bear.  IN THE WILD.  It was awesome, even if you can’t see it in the photo I took.

There's a bear in the center of this photo. It's brown in color, but a California black bear trying to find food, nonetheless. We saw it along the Crescent Meadow.

There’s a bear in the center of this photo. It’s brown in color, but a California black bear trying to find food, nonetheless.
We saw it along the Crescent Meadow.

As I stated above, the toughest part of the whole day was the shuttle ride back to our camp.  After the Crescent Meadow hike, the families went their separate ways and ours chose to have ice cream outside of the Lodgepole store.  We sat around and people watched for about 1/2-hour, which my children have told me that it was one of their favorite things about the whole trip.

<Big sigh.>

Everyone is different, I know.

Dinner on SaturdayWe ate pizza that night that my husband learned to cook on our cast-iron skillet, and all of us enjoyed a restful night of sleep after a big day.

Sunday

My children sleeping in the tent after an exhausting day.

My children sleeping in the tent after an exhausting day.

I had a great night of sleep that night, unlike the first night ~ probably because I was exhausted too!

My children woke up around 7 AM, which is relatively late in the day for all of them.

We packed up camp and had planned to hike to the John Muir Grove in the morning as a family.  We left a little later than we wanted on that hike, but overall, we were able to hike the distance with three children and probably six to seven stops in about three hours.

That includes the time we spent hanging out at the grove as well.  We almost gave up, but ran into some people that passed us and told us it was “around the corner.” It was about a quarter mile away at that point and it was totally worth it!

This is the trail to the John Muir Grove. We started out at Dorst Campground and walked with our children to the grove. I tracked our hike and it was easily five-miles.

This is the trail to the John Muir Grove. We started out at Dorst Campground and walked with our children to the grove. I tracked our hike and it was easily five-miles.

Image source: RedwoodHikes.com

A family selfie on the trail to the John Muir Grove.

A family selfie on the trail near the beginning to the John Muir Grove.

On the way to the grove, we saw one deer, on the way back from the grove, we saw a deer and two babies! They were all around this beauitful, but mosquito infested meadow.

On the way to the grove, we saw one deer, on the way back from the grove, we saw a deer and two babies! They were all around this beauitful, but mosquito infested meadow.

This is where we stopped to eat a snack-type lunch we packed of granola bars, fruit snack, drink plenty of water, and stack some rocks. My daughter is in front of our pile. It's a beautiful overlook where you can see the final destination from the south west view.

This is where we stopped to eat a snack-type lunch we packed of granola bars, fruit snacks, beef jerky, drink plenty of water, and stack some rocks. My daughter is in front of our pile.
It’s a beautiful overlook where you can see the final destination from the south west view.

This enchanted piece of the hike had birch trees hanging over the trail almost as a beautiful entry to the John Muir Grove.

This enchanted piece of the hike had birch trees hanging over the trail almost as a beautiful entry to the John Muir Grove.

An fallen tree on the trail becomes a fun, adventurous obstacle to go under or around.

An fallen tree on the trail becomes a fun, adventurous obstacle to go under or around.

My children posing with funny faces in front of one of the first trees we found in the John Muir Grove. These trees are amazing and are only found in California.

My children posing with funny faces in front of one of the first trees we found in the John Muir Grove.
These trees are amazing and are only found in California.

Sometimes, the giant redwood trees need no caption. This is my husband in front of one.

Sometimes, the giant redwood trees need no caption.
This is my husband in front of one.

I've been blessed to see these trees over the course of my life here in California. They are impressive and to me, are a testament to the Lord's greatness. Plus, this hike made me feel strong. ;)

I’ve been blessed to see these trees over the course of my life here in California. They are impressive and to me, are a testament to the Lord’s greatness. Plus, this hike made me feel strong. ;)

I have a love for these trees that I can only imagine was similar to John Muir himself. I want to see them again.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my comforts and enjoy the advantages of living in a home in the city, but there’s truly an un-tapped component of doing a hike like this and looking up at these trees.  It’s indescribable.

My only suggestion is that if you haven’t gone to see the redwoods, then I hope this post helps you try to plan to see them. I can promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

The tops of the redwoods

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#DreamingOfDisneyRuns

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RunDisney Virtual Shorts MedalsDuring the months of May and June, 2016, I intentionally ran three separate 3.15 mile runs for the Inaugural Disney Virtual Running Shorts Series.

What does that mean,” you ask?

Well, Disney has the ability to put on anything and everyone will flock to it because it’s Disney.

The RunDisney website wrote up a blog post here: Announcing the Run Disney Virtual Running Shorts Series, and I chose the package that included running at least three 5K (3.15 mile runs) during different date periods.

Personally, I’m a medal junkie, so I wanted a piece of the Disney action at a relatively expensive price – but – the medals did not disappoint as you can see in the photo.

I also purchased the tumbler, just for opportunity to say “I WAS THERE, DID IT, and I got the cup to prove it.”

This is the Inaugural Run Disney cup with the four medals for the Virtual Running Shorts Series Disney put on in summer of 2016.

This is the Inaugural Run Disney cup with the four medals for the Virtual Running Shorts Series Disney put on in summer of 2016.

 

I was able to run the distances during the time frames they gave and have my notes below.

My first 5k for the Run Disney Virtual Short Series was on May 25, 2016, where I got a breathtaking view of the sunrise and a good run in for the first of the three virtual races.

My first 5k for the Run Disney Virtual Short Series was on May 25, 2016, where I got a breathtaking view of the sunrise and a good run in for the first of the three virtual races.

The yellow shoe medal for the first run between May 15-June 1, 2016. #runDisneyShorts

The yellow shoe medal for the first run between May 15-June 1, 2016. #runDisneyShorts was the hashtag for the event.

My Red Shorts run for the RunDisney #RunVirtualDisney Shorts. It was a better time than the first one!

The second run was my Red Shorts run for the RunDisney virtual races.
It was a better time than the first one!

Magical New Arrivals at Disney Store! Shop Now!

This is the virtual race red-shorts run for Run Disney. I did this run on June 7, 2016. My word of the year is printed on it.

This is the virtual race red-shorts run for Run Disney. I did this run on June 7, 2016. My word of the year is printed on it.

This is the Red Shorts Medal from Run Disney. It's beautiful, just like the other three!

This is the Red Shorts Medal from Run Disney. It’s beautiful, just like the other three!  It was for a run between June 5 – June 18, 2016.

Of course, in all my over-achieving-ness, I ran a 4 mile distance for my last 5K, what was supposed to be a 3.12 mile run. Oh well. The best thing about this run was having negative splits!

Of course, in all my over-achieving-ness, I ran a 4 mile distance for my last 5K, what was supposed to be a 3.12 mile run. Oh well. The best thing about this run was having negative splits!

The White Glove medal from Run Disney was for running a 5K distance during June 19-June 30, 2016.

The White Glove medal from Run Disney was for running a 5K distance during June 19-June 30, 2016.

This is the finishers medal that was included for completing all three races. Summer time checklist for these medals complete!

This is the finishers medal that was included for completing all three races.
Summer time checklist for these medals complete!

Virtual races are a way I reward myself for running.  I know I’m supposed to look at the health benefits and all that good stuff, but the medals are the real prize in my eyes.

My husband has recognized this new obsession as a healthy one and we have a line item in our monthly budget for the medals now.  I love him.

What’s up with the <hashtag> #DreamingOfDisneyRuns now?

Well, that will be another blog post….

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Five Years in the Making: My Amish Print Afghan

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Amish Print Afghan - Five Years in the MakingAccountability.

That’s how I was able to complete this afghan (or blanket if you need to hear that word instead) after it sat in my garage for the past five years.

How do I know it’s been five years?

I don’t.  I don’t know how long it’s been sitting around.

What I did know was that I got the pretty bag the squares sat in at least five years ago.  (I have a thing for purses and bags so that’s more memorable.)

For all I recall this project was started 10-years ago and I put it in the pretty bag five years ago.

The point is, THAT IT DOESN’T MATTER.

It’s done.

One less unfinished project in my garage and more yarn used up from my yarn hoard.

How did I do it?

I joined a Facebook group ~ a small one, but convenient nonetheless ~ that exclusively discusses and allows creators like myself to be honest with our WIP’s (works in progress) and struggles of completing projects.

I counted many of my Unfinished Objects (UFO’s) on a previous blog post, and this was one of them.  Out of the six projects listed in that post, two of them are now complete.  <Whoop, whoop!> 😉

Here’s the link to pattern if you came for that: Amish Print Afghan

The Free Patterns Website is under the blanket (see what I did there) of Annie’s.  Shown below are some photos of my work-in-progress.  I am most proud of the fact that after sitting in my garage for at least the past five years, I completed the blanket in about 5-weeks.

Be warned!

There is the exact same pattern for sale on Craftsy for $2 AND THAT’S NOT RIGHT!  I wish people wouldn’t do that when the pattern is clearly free on Free Patterns.com

Have a creative, crafty & crochet-love Wednesday friends.


Color nature with Copic markers!


These are the squares I had in a bag in the garage before working on this crochet project over the course of 5-weeks to finish it.

These are the squares I had in a bag in the garage before working on this crochet project over the course of 5-weeks to finish it.

This is a close up of the square for the Amish Afghan pattern. What I liked the best was the use of so many colors.

This is a close up of the square for the Amish Afghan pattern. What I liked the best was the use of so many colors.

I took this photo after the first week of trying REALLY HARD to work on completing this blanket. I gave myself a timeline of completing a row of squares each week.

I took this photo after the first week of trying REALLY HARD to work on completing this blanket. I gave myself a timeline of completing a row of squares each week.

the beginning square process

I would work on three to four squares at a time during lunch and break times at work. I would complete a row of color on all the current squares, before moving on.

All those square had to be joined somehow and all those colors have to have ends weaved in.

All those squares had to be joined somehow and all those colors have to have ends weaved in.

The Amish blanket really tested my patience. I believe this was done around week 4, and what really got to me mentally was trying to convince myself to sew all the squares together. I ended up staying up one night and finishing it.

The Amish blanket really tested my patience. I believe this was done around week 4, and what really got to me mentally was trying to convince myself to sew all the squares together. I ended up staying up one night and finishing it.

Here is the Amish squares all sewn together and ready for the edging.

Here is the Amish squares all sewn together and ready for the edging.

Here are my hands crocheting the edging around the Amish Print Afghan (blanket.)

Here are my hands crocheting the edging around the Amish Print Afghan (blanket.)

I am so in love with the colors of this blanket. I used many different types of yarn from my yarn stash so the colors are similar in many instances, but not the same.

I am so in love with the colors of this blanket. I used many different types of yarn from my yarn stash so the colors are similar in many instances, but not the same.

The edging is definitely a compliment to the blanket itself. I'm so glad it's complete, and now, to decide what to do with it!

The edging is definitely a compliment to the blanket itself. I’m so glad it’s complete, and now, to decide what to do with it!

Crochet Patterns & Supplies at Annie’s


Running Goals Update – August 2016

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Running Update - August 2016

Something I earned from using the Under Armour Map My Run App on my phone.

I really wanted to title this post: #Ds40By40 – August Update, to go along with last month’s post titled #Ds40By40 – My New 40th Birthday Goal.

But, I am so ready to turn forty now.

I just want to get it over with.

On my “40-days before I turn 40” date of July 16, 2016, I found my first silver hair.  SILVER!  It’s actually kind of beautiful, but it was a shock. My first silver hair

Both my parents didn’t get grey hairs until they turned fifty.

I am the queen of screaming “LIFE IS NEVER FAIR SO GET OVER IT” but that silver hair came as a complete shock to me.  I was with my two youngest children at the time and I picked through my hair thinking it was like a piece of string or something (because it was so shiny!) that was on my head that I couldn’t remove.  It probably took me a good minute to realize that it was really a silver hair.

My poor daughter got caught first to look at it and being only six, she really didn’t know what a grey/silver hair looked like.  <Big sigh.>  Just like out of a movie, I ran up to her and bowed low to ask “Sweetie, sweetie! Do you see the grey hair on my head?”

In her precious wisdom, and because I don’t think she really knew what I really meant to look for at the time (even though her father has A TON,) she said, “No mommy.”

Children are precious.

I told all my friends, who had very little sympathy for me as I expected, and I plan on owning my silver hair look – for now – as it comes out.  Both my parents own(ed) theirs and I remember my mom looked so beautiful when she passed away, grey hairs and all.

But I digress.

Back to my Running Goals Update…

This Under Armour shirt ran a bit big, but I love it nonetheless. I might wear it at one of my Disneyland Runs!

This Under Armour shirt ran a bit big, but I love it nonetheless. I might wear it at one of my Disneyland Runs!

As of July 31, 2016, I have run a total of 35-runs over 4-miles.  I ran one ten-mile run in July, and 10-separate runs at 4-miles or more.

My word is Intentional for the year.  I am making these days count including being intentional about my running distances.

I earned a $40 off coupon from Under Armour (photo shown above) just by using their Map My Run App.  Of course I used the coupon already, and bought some really sweet Star Wars shirts for me and the hubby.

Storm Trooper Medal from Full Medal RunsStorm Trooper Shirt from Under ArmourThe first one I chose was the storm trooper one, and I wore it when I ran the 10K to earn the Storm Trooper Medal from Full Medal Runs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That medal was to celebrate May 4th (you know, May the Fourth be with you) and I just had to have it because it was so cool – even though I’m a REBEL through and through.

I bought a shirt for myself and my husband that state “May the Force Be With You” from Under Armour as well. We both wear our shirts with pride and I might be wearing mine at the Star Wars Run in Disneyland in January.  I haven’t quite decided yet, but that will be another post!

Stay tuned for more “virtual race” posts about the various sites I’ve purchased medals to celebrate my love of running.  I’m a medal junkie now, so I am not in short supply to post about my medals and experiences.

I am giving a big nod to Full Medal Runs for their beautiful medals.  They have emails to let you know when the medal has shipped, and I have signed up for the “Are you Rouge” virtual 10K that takes place between August 1 – November 30, 2016.  I’ve already received the medal and plan to run the distance this week!

One last thing – On Sunday, July 31, 2016, I hit the 1000-mile walk/run milestone for the year!  It’s an exciting accomplishment considering I was shooting for 1016 miles for the entire year. Hit the 100 mile Mark at the end of July

Have a great week and I hope you can get some outdoor time this month!


10 Character Coffee Cozy Patterns I’m Obsessed With

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Coffee Cozy Front In a previous blog post, I mentioned that I was making coffee cozies for a giveaway for one of our favorite camps we attend yearly.

Well, I also promised a pattern, which I really haven’t written down, but as always, intend to someday!

In the mean time, I wanted to showcase ten Character Coffee Cozy patterns I hope to make someday because of cuteness and because I can.  You know, that kind of thing.

I crochet (not knit!) so keep that in mind as you peruse this list. 

I am so obsessed with coffee cozies!  It has to be the simplicity of them but the overall cuteness of just having something handmade around something so important, like coffee.  (Hee hee….)

In all cases, I’ve put links to the patterns and given credit to the makers.  Please do not claim these patterns are your own and even better, if you make them, link up to Ravelry where I found them to show off YOUR amazing work.


Hello Kitty by Fancy That Notion

Hello Kitty free Coffee Cozy PatternShow off your work on Ravelry

SpongeBob Mug Cozy by Abandoned Llama SpongeBob Coffee Mug Cozy

Mickey Inspired Coffee Cozy by Wild and Wanderful

Mickey Mouse CozyShow off your work on Ravelry

Turtle Power Mug Cozy by Schmutzerella’s Crafts

turtle powerShow off your work on Ravelry

Owl Coffee Cozy by My Creative Nook

OwlCozy1Show off your work on Ravelry

Online Crochet Class

Sock Monkey Inspired Coffee Cozy by Yarnspirations

monkeys_mediumShow off your work on Ravelry

One for the latest craze: Poke’ Ball Coffee Cup Cozy Pattern by The Enchanted Lady Bug pokemon-pokeball-cozy-1

The Enchanted Lady Bug Blog is a must follow if you love Coffee Cozies like I do!  Make sure you check out her website where she has a Princess Leia Coffee Cozy and a Monster’s Inc. “Mike” Coffee Cozy.

Share your work on Ravelry

Minion Coffee Cozy Pattern by Weekend Pursuits

Minion from Weekend PursuitsShow off your work on Ravelry

 And then –  there are two more patterns that are not free, or are not available….

<Insert audience saying: “AWWWWWWE.”>

This adorable Angry Birds Coffee Cozy is just too perfect for certain people in my life.  I couldn’t find the pattern anywhere, and found the photo on Pinterest. full_2_18562_AngryBirdsCoffeeCozy_1

Have you seen The Angry Birds Movie yet?  I took my children to it and was surprisingly satisfied with it’s entertainment!

And finally, I absolutely love this (Jack Skellington themed) Nightmare Skull Coffee Cozy by Aunt Janet’s Designs on Craftsy.  It’s for sale for $4.99, and is truly a work of art.

Nightmare Skull Pattern for Sale

As always, I hope that this post gives you inspiration and please come follow my Coffee Cozy Obsession Board on Pinterest! If you found this post, I’m going to jump out on a limb and say that you like coffee cozies too, right? 😉

Have a great week filled with coffee and cute things!




Coffee Themed Basket & Other Donations for Camp

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Coffee Themed Gift BasketA few blog posts ago, I posted about making prizes & gift baskets for camp.

The golfing fundraiser was a success, apparently bringing in about $2000 for the camp after expenses.

My husband home-roasted coffee and I created these coffee cozies for our donation to the cause.

I found the basket at a second hand store, and we calculated the entire expense to us at about $15.  Not too shabby considering we could probably sell a basket like this for about $40.

I’ll be posting a future blog post for the coffee cozy pattern I used, but for now, I’ll just link you to Ravelry, where any number of amazing coffee cup patterns can be found: Coffee Cozy search on Ravelry.

I stitched a simple golf club and ball on the green-colored cotton yarn, and a simple white heart on the red cozy.  There are also French knots on the golf ball to create the textured look.

Golf Club Coffee CozyStitched Heart on Red Coffee Cozy

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I made up the patterns for the golf club and golf ball, I hope that this post inspires you to add embellishments to your crocheted coffee cozies!

Golf Club & Ball Coffee Cozy

The Starbucks re-useable cups were $2 each, and have made a great gift for teachers who love coffee.  I’ve given several of them away to our favorite teachers.

I also hand-stamped the coffee bags.  My hubby picked the bags up from Amazon, and we’ve been using them to give 1/2-pound bags of home-roasted coffee away as he roasts it.


StarbucksStore.com

One more thing I want to show off is the cute little hat I donated to the charities “for sale” table that they have up at events.  Its’ a beanie with ears.  I used a simple hat pattern from Ravelry, and stamped up a cute little tag to go with it using my Mason Row click stamps.

Cute Beanie with Ears



#Ds40By40 – My New 40th Birthday Goal

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Selfies from my 4 mile (or more) runs...The big 4-0.

Some would say that this is the time individuals have a mid-life crisis.

Some would say that the time one turns “40” is now like turning “30” was 30-years ago.

For me, I recall my mom turning 40 years old (now 30-years ago) and how she was not looking forward to it.

My parents were still together, and still fought with one another religiously over everything when I turned 10.  There was no sign of diabetes, my mom struggled to keep her weight in check, (she was always a yo-yo dieter,) and she was in the midst of trying to raise two children on primarily one income.

Turning the age of 40 for my mom was a struggle.

Thank you Lord for where I’m at.

I don’t have to struggle the way my mom did and for that I am thankful.

For me lately, getting close to 40 has been looking at the future.  What do I want to do to have a more meaningful, fulfilling, Lord-centered life, that includes all the fun things that this life has to offer?

The answer to that question has lately been ‘Things I know I don’t want.’  That discussion will be in a future blog post.

But in the case of being able to answer what I don’t want, I have been able to make real goals of what I do want to do in the future.


Today is July 1, 2016.

I have intentionally been running four (4) or more miles since April 30th to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday.  As of today, I have ran 4 or more miles 25 times. So, between now and my birthday in late August, I will intentionally run 4 miles or more (at least) 15 more times.  I have over 40-days to do this and I’m going to try to finish that goal well before my birthday.

I’m finally putting this goal out there for everyone to see.  If I make it, I make it, and if I don’t, well, at least I get to say, I ran xx miles or xx times of 4 miles or over.  That’s what I’m going to focus on.  That’s how I do it folks.  I look towards completing the goals so that at the end, I’m able to say –

Look how far I’ve come….

Thanks for stopping by as always and have a great (American) 4th of July!

I use protein for my after-run shakes by GNC.

Most of my running outfits are from Kohl’s.

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