A miracle in lots of words.

This is one of those points in writing this blog where I go beneath the surface. I do not want this to be a surface blog full of pretty crafts, pictures of our animals, things I wear, and the like. I don't want to give women/girls another blogger to compare themselves to because we know that all comparison is detrimental in some way. I'd like to share a 6 year struggle.

I could not pray out loud. Not in to myself. Not in front of my hubby. Not even in a group of Jesus followers that I didn't even know (may sound strange but praying in front of people you know seems way more stressful than people who have no expectations of you - i.e. I am afraid of being judged). I pray in my head like all day but out loud, to others?! No way!

I heard this spoken this week by one of our pastors on a podcast from last week's sermon and then I went to a prayer gathering for our city and he repeated this which I found is from Dallas Willard's book A Divine Conspiracy which honestly I would never read because its cover is ugly. Shame, I know. Anyways....

"...God's response to our prayers is not a charade. He does not pretend that he is answering our prayer when he is only doing what he was going to do anyway. Our requests really do make a difference in what God does or does not do. The idea that everything would happen exactly as it does regardless of whether we pray or not is a specter that haunts the minds of many who sincerely profess belief in God. It makes prayer psychologically impossible, replacing it with dead ritual at best. And of course God does not respond to this. You wouldn't either."

Sadly, I had fallen deeply into that psychological quicksand. I couldn't bring myself to pray because it seemed well, a dead ritual. Even after all the sermons I've heard on praying, the miracles I've seen, etc., I still just lumped these things into a "Well, that was just supposed to happen, it didn't really matter that they prayed," thinking. I'm an efficiency expert and it seemed a waste of time to pray, I mean come on, He was gonna do what He was gonna do.

Then, at that prayer meeting I prayed out loud in a group of 6 with some people I knew including my hubby and others I had never seen before and man, it was empowering. And not just once but, twice! I felt tingly and excited and I am surprised I even remember what I prayed. 6 years, it took me 6 years to do that? Man, I'm stubborn! But, God works miracles and the many that have been praying for me can finally see the light but, don't stop praying please!

In these next few weeks I hope to process other things that have been stirring in my heart and share with you all. It has been a rather life changing week and proudly I will say that God put Ashley Judd's book All That is Bitter is Sweet in my life at the very right point. It's an amazing book about struggle with abuse and neglect and what she does with it. Just go read it. 

In other news, we have a new sponsor son, Joshua, who lives at Mattaw Children's Village in Kitale, Kenya. Go read about them HERE and sponsor a child please!!

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Guest Bedroom Redo

I spent Saturday working on a surprise house project. Josh had to work and I really was having an itch to do something around the house. We had discussed painting the guest room a few days before and I showed Josh some paint samples I was thinking of using in the room but, not much more discussion was done about this. I started off wanting light green as an accent wall with grey as the main color, then for a night I thought I wanted sea foam green, and then at home depot getting paint I changed my mind and got a different light green then any of the samples I had. I took some pictures with my iPhone so they are not the best but, you can get the gist from them. 
Whoops, just noticed I didn't take any before pictures but, envision a room with 4 white walls and furniture.

It's funny how painting a room and added some pretties to it makes the house feel more alive. Hubby agrees too so I must be right about it!
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Sick Doggie Makes me Sad

Our happy, crazy, energetic, gotta lick something at all times puppy, Mishka, has been sick since Saturday night and it's so so sad to watch. Luckily, in the grand scheme of things she will be fine but, she has been so pathetic and needy and it gets to my heart. 

She only has energy to sleep so I got together her favorite comforter and she snuggled right up and went to sleep, all day! Healing is hard work!
One of the kitties must have made contact with Mishka's eye during their daily boxing matches and ruptured her cornea just like that. We think the cat's nail was dirty (eww, aren't they always?!) and it not only scratched Mishka's eye but, also made it get very infected. If your know our cats, you know that Wednesday has 7 nails on both front paws and he can throw some nasty blows so I'm guessing it was him. 

Anyways, she's on 1 eye drop every hour and another eye drop every 4 hours plus she's taking a pill every 8 hours. This has been keeping momma very busy and luckily after Sunday the drops went to every 8 hours so I didn't have to leave work. 

She's been sleeping like 20 out of 24 hours for the past 2 days now and still can't keep that eye open for more than a few seconds. Her temp is coming down but, 103 is still not great! We are hoping she picks up back to her normal self real soon. 

Hopefully she has learned her lesson about those darned cats and their claws but, I doubt it. 
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Off to Maine

I visited my home state of Maine this past week and spent some good quality time with my family. It's hard being 3000 miles away from my entire family so visits like these are super special. Unfortunately, the visits can be kind of short but, I'm thankful to see family no matter what! I was very bad and didn't take many pictures and the ones I did take are not the best quality but enjoy!
One: My brother holding Colton who is his girlfriend's baby (not his).
Two: I spent a good 4 hours with my mom going through childhood items. I will have over 100 beanie babies arrive at my house in the next few days. Also got my American Girl Doll and some stuffed animals that were special to me. 
Three: My dad's dog Truman. He weighs 90 pounds and thinks he's a lap dog.
Four: My dad's younger dog Edward. I call him wiggles because he is always wiggling. 
Five: My mom with Colton.
Six: I caught my mom driving the tractor in her pajamas! (sorry mom haha)

I had a blast and miss everyone so much!   
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These Babies Need You

I don't have much to post about today and not a lot of time to put something together as I'm working from home today. But, please, please, please consider changing these little babies lives!! This video was created by a momma and her kiddos as part of their homeschool project. This momma and her entire family will be moving to Kenya soon to be a huge part of Mattaw Children's Village. They are looking for 75 sponsors in 75 days and YOU can make a difference for these kids! Contact me for any info you may want. Oh, and get ready to cry.

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Jamie Oliver is a Genius

I think it's safe to say that most of us have heard of Jamie Oliver, right?! He's like a hero to me. Not only did he come to America and shake up school food departments, state boards, and cities because of the crap they feed kids, he is shaking up our kitchen! I am not shy to say that I HATE cooking with a passion, just read this post (sorry it's wordy), and I had basically resolved to never being a wife that could make amazing meals that my husband enjoyed. (Sorry Josh)  

But, never fear, Jamie Oliver is here!! Ok, in cookbook form and not in my real life however, that would be awesome if he showed up in my kitchen. I'd kiss him for the genius chef that he is. Anywayyyys, I grabbed 2 books of his from our library on a whim the other day and all my husband did was drool and oogle over the good looking, not processed or boxed, food. Enter: very lame feeling wifey. 

I resolved to pick some meals that I thought I would like and be able to make. Sidenote: I'm also not ashamed to say that I'm VERY picky and on top of many food intolerances this has added to the struggle. Wanna know what I made? This:

Best Part:
Thank goodness for:

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The fall line of wreaths are now up in the shop. It took me a bit longer than expected but, they are done and I'm pretty thrilled with the outcome. I hope you love them too!

p.s. I'm over here sponsoring this lovely blog for the month of September. Go give her some love!

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I just loooove searching to Internet, looking at how others have their house decorated, seeing what people are wearing these days, and finding out how to do well, anything! Here are some things I've come across lately that inspire me. 

Links to all pictures can be found on my Pinterest boards. 

p.s I have 10 yearn wreaths in the works for my shop CandyAndPickles. So excited to get them up on Etsy for you all to see!

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Projects of Late

So I originally typed a bunch of info on these projects but, it didn't autosave during all the typing, I accidentally closed the browser, and now you are getting a very condensed version....sorry :/

I'm spray painting our kitchen ceiling fan to conquer it's very hospital white feel. It will be a light blue to complement the yellows and grays already in the kitchen.

I made a collage in our living room. The big frame was scored for $8 at Michaels in the as is section and was originally gold before I spray painted it.

The hubs and I made a shelf from wood we had left over from ripping down a fence in the back yard. I proudly figured out how to hang it sturdily and surprised the hubs with the completed project. I made the little bathroom signs in the frames. 

I'm refurbishing 2 very old lamps. They are getting spray paint and I scored some amazingly awesome shades for $104 off that I am going to cover in fabric! No, that's not a typo. Someone returned them from an online purchase and since the store doesn't carry them, Target just wanted to get rid of them. Thank you very much Target!

Hope this inspires you to do a project and in my case, finish one!

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I can't contain it.

I'm so giddy with excitement at the new opportunity that dropped itself in my lap...or should I say in my fingers. Okay, that only makes sense if I tell you what it is. 

Drumrollllll please....

Ok, ok. As you know from yesterday's post I am making handmade yarn wreaths and selling them on Etsy.com under the shop name CandyAndPickles!! eeek!

What started as me making wreaths to add a cute handmade touch to the inside and outside of our home has expanded into friends requesting for me to make particular wreaths just for their home. And now, I can help those I'm connected with via the blog-o-sphere while getting the word about my wreaths and the shop out there into the vast expanse of the internet world. I'm really hoping to bring joy and giddiness to others with my wreath as they bring me when hanging in my home. 

I'm going to be sponsoring blogs/shops that I have admired and followed for the past few years and that have given me a little glimpse of what I hope to become. I'm hoping this will give me well advertising but mostly, help support my favorite blogs and shops! The first sponsorship I scooped up is also a shop that just started offering sponsorships called Carousel Lights. The shop is Sunshine and Carousels and is run by Erin and wow, if you are getting married soon, go and check out her hair clips and veils, they are awesome!!! Wish I could have another wedding (same hubby, duh) so I can flaunt one of those veils. 

There is so much more I want to share but, we will just wait and see what happens.  Thanks everyone for your support!

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I make wreaths

Go check out my latest creative itch:

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Shoe Score

For those who know me, I'm not a girly girl. I polish my nails maybe once every few moths, I own 3 pairs of jeans, a few dresses, and 9 colors of the same t-shirt. I hate showering and everything about getting ready, I love punching things (think workout not people), I longboard till I sweat, and I enjoy getting really dirty (as long as I'm prepared). So when I spent an hour in a Famous Footwear fretting over shoes I freaked myself out a bit. But, they were having a BOGO sale plus I had 20% off and an additional $5 off. I HAD to find 2 pairs of shoes! Well, that 1 hour of trying on 30 different shoes in all different styles paid off. Here are my scores:

And for your viewing please, a few more pictures from the journey:

How cute are those boots?! Here's the low down on my deal...
Boat Shoes:
Original - $49.99, after all discounts $28.94
Original - $39.99, after all discounts $9.05

Grand Total: $37.99
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It's been 2 months and 1 week...

...since I last blogged. whoopsies! & guess what, I'm not really going to blog much today. I just wanted to check in,  post a couple pictures, & let the blogging world know I'm still here and still reading your posts every day. We have been up to so much in the past 2 months and at the same time we have just been working our little booties off. Here are some random pictures to give you a taste of what's been going on and I will come back and explain them at a later date. 

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Non Hotel Style Business Travel

As much as I loathe traveling for work, I love-love-love being able to stay in places that I would never get to stay in on our budget. People, check out where I'm staying this week:
Can you say spoiled and lucky?! I feel so blessed that I can enjoy a place like this, all of its beauty, and its charm while on business. This gem of a place is in Tacoma, WA in the Old Tacoma area. I really dislike Tacoma so this helps. {Sorry if you live in Tacoma. Maybe you can give me tips on the city to help change my opinion} If you travel for business more than once a month, you probably understand how hotels can get old real fast. So, to stay in a place that the owners also live in and have them cook breakfast for you every morning is like winning the lottery. On the plus side too, you tend to find more down-to-earth people staying at these places which means I can actually talk to other people instead of shutting my room and locking the door. All in all, it helps pass the time away from my hubs faster.
 This house was built in the mid 1800s and it's primarily in original condition. The bathroom in my room was the most attractive to me and the scariest. {I have an irrational fear of shower drains, weird I know} 
Please excuse the iPhone photos. My iPhone is the only camera I have so you get what you take. {Pun intended} Pedestal tubs are so charming, and I got over the fact that I had to stand closer to the drain than I wanted to. But, I will try to avoid that in the future. This beats using a very sterile bathroom with weird lighting and white walls any day.
Moral of this blog post: if you travel a lot for business and can make your own reservations wherever you want, you should look for bed and breakfasts or quaint little inns to give you are more "at-home" feel while you are away. 
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Ready or not, I'm going to sew!

I've been blessed to be working in beautiful southern Oregon for the last few days. I really enjoyed seeing the sun and the very beautiful creation down here! Yes, I said SUN! Thank goodness I got to get some real Vitamin D! I was actually shocked at home gorgeous the scenery is down here as I was under the impression that Southern Oregon was nothing but desert. I was getting all nostalgic seeing the pretty hills and such thinking about Colorado. Thank you God for the beauty I got to surprisingly see today!

I found so many cute shops in Ashland which was another great surprise. I just had no idea what a gem of a town I was going to stumble upon. I decided to stroll around the shops and pass the time {because I miss Josh real bad after 3 nights away} and I stumble upon a real cute fabric store Fabric of Vision. I browsed for a while and when all the other customers left I got to chat with the sweet owner, Diane, about a good first time sewer bag project. She helped me pick out the perfect Amy Butler Swing Bag with a cute bow to work on! She even helped me with the material list because I am sewing dumb people! I didn't know what all the measurements meant, how much I needed, how many fabrics I needed, etc, etc. So here's what I got and I'm itching to get home tomorrow and start working on it!!
Please excuse the poor iPhone picture and crappy hotel lighting but, I love love love the 2 fabrics and am excited to work with it and the canvas! I have extra canvas and am thinking about making the bow out of it. Any suggestions from my pro sewer blogging friends out there? Stay tuned for the final project, even if it's a good or bad final product. 
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Kitten Otto

Today I'm linking up to Kim from Yellow Songbird for Saturday Snapshot. 

Can you say TINY?! Sometimes I forget how small our kitties were in the beginning of their lives. Since this one was rescued at a wee 10 days old, he was really small. Basically, a squeaky toy of a cat for a while. And now...
he's massive. This picture really does no justice to how huge he is but, you get the idea. Still as cute as can be though. Funny fact - he can't meow, instead he squeaks so, really he is still a squeaky toy!
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