Monday, August 25, 2014

Tiffany's bracelet?! Why, thank you!

**First off...don't forget to enter the Starbucks giftcard giveaway if you haven't already!!!**

One day last week, I came home and this was sitting on the countertop waiting for me...


Ummm...yes, please...


So my hubby's company gives them a 5-year gift and let's them choose from a long list of gifts.  My hubby is super sweet and instead of getting something for himself (they had all kinds of manly gifts too), he chose to pick something out for me!  What a sweetheart!


Let me tell you this...I am not a huge bracelet person because 1) they tend to drive me nuts if they're big and hit things and 2) I have unusually small wrists so most are too big on me.

But I LOVE this Tiffany Infinity Bracelet!!!

It fits perfectly and is so light that I don't feel it.  Isn't my hubby the best?!


Now onto something totally unrelated - my sweet blog friend, Lily, nominated me for the "My Writing Process" Tour.  Lily is a fellow Texan and blogs about all things makeup while being a nurse.  I'm pretty impressed!  And I have so much to learn from her about makeup!

I also just won her givewaway and I'm SUPER pumped to get it!!!  I'll definitely be posting about it in the future!

Onto my questions...

1 // What am I working on?

Honestly, with life being so crazy lately, I am writing posts as I can find time.  I'm working on some more travel posts - those are my favorite to share but require time to find the perfect photos!

2 // How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Mine is different from others because it's MINE!  I'm not a master cook or beauty guru but I love sharing what I do know and most importantly, I love sharing about my faith in God.  It's my lifeblood, why I'm on this earth!

3 // Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do about God because I'm so passionate about Him and His love.  I pray that He speaks to others through my blog and that I would use it for His good. I also blog about other stuff because I just love reading about those things on others' blogs! I write about what I like to read!

4 // How does your writing process work?

Let's be real here.  I'm a full-time CPA and a newlywed!  I don't really have a ton of time for hobbies but I've found that I really and truly LOVE blogging. I love the friendships that I've made through it and love having a creative outlet - something I most certainly don't get at work.

I'm not able to schedule certain times to work on posts.  I just do as I have time, in the evenings after work (if I feel like being on a computer again) or on the weekends.  My favorite thing to do is write multiple posts on a Sunday afternoon and have them scheduled for the week.

To continue the tour, I nominate the following lovely ladies...

Julie From Homegrown State of Mind - Julie has a fairly new blog but OMG, it's amazing!  You'd think that girl has been blogging all of her life.  She is super healthy and follows the Paleo way of eating so I learn a lot from her!

Brittany from Perpetually Daydreaming - Brittany is also a newlywed!  I love Brittany's fashion and she always has great tips on makeup.  She also has an awesome Etsy shop that you should check out!

Kendra from Kenji Is Here - Kendra has become one of my dear friends over the past few months.  We're doing a Bible study with Kayla and I'm just loving getting to know her even better through it!  She has such a mature, sweet heart for God and a love for life that is contagious!

Have a lovely week, my friends!!
Friday, August 22, 2014

Happy Friday! Starbucks Giftcard Giveaway!

Hey folks!  I'm taking a little break from my normal Friday posts today.  There's a lot going on in our lives right now so I just don't have the time to blog as much as I'd like.  **Somebody convince my husband to let me work part-time so I can stay home and blog more often...wink wink**  Haha!  When pigs fly! :)

BUT...let's end this week right with a Starbucks giftcard giveaway!  Who doesn't mind paying $4 for coffee when it's not your own money?!  Me!!!

Courtney at A Plus Life has become a dear friend to me.  She has a sweet little girl and blogs about all kinds of stuff - funny stories, her family, etc.  She never fails to make me laugh out loud!  If you've never seen her blog, head over and check it out now!  This wasn't required - I just love her that much!  She organized this giveaway...isn't she awesome?!

Some awesome ladies and I are giving away a $50 Starbucks giftcard.  Did you know that the Pumpkin Spice Latte comes back on MONDAY?!  Holy cow, it's almost the fall!  Summer went by so quickly!  Random (sad) fact: I have yet to get in a swimming suit this summer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Hey, if you missed my hubby's testimony on Monday, go read it now!  You will be so blessed by it!!**

Have a fabulous weekend, my peeps!!!

Linking up with Karli today :)
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August Ipsy Glam Bag

It's that time again!  Time for a cute pink bubble mailer to show up on my doorstep with awesome beauty supplies for me to try.  This month's theme: Beauty Schooled

Let's jump right in...


It all came in a cute, orange polka dotted Ipsy makeup bag.

J. Cat Beauty Flying Solo Eye Shadow in Half Naked
I'm excited to try this eye shadow.  The color sounds like something I'll like and you can't beat $2.99!

Surprisingly, I think this is my favorite part of the bag!  I LOVE the way this stuff feels on my lips and most importantly, there aren't a bunch of bad ingredients in it.  Here's what is: Sunflower Oil, Beeswax, Cocoa Butter, Mandarin Green Orange Essential Oil, Mongongo Oil, Orange Essential Oil, Ginger Essential Oil, Lime Essential Oil, Vitamin E, Rosemary Extract, Calendula Extract

You know how much I love dry shampoo!  I was actually very pleased with this brand.  It made my hair feel lighter than most dry shampoos and that's a plus!

I'll be honest, I don't know what pore refiner is.  I need to do some research!  Anyone want to help me out?  How and why do I use it??

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara
I've read reviews from people who say that they love this stuff.  Mine seemed a bit dry and clumpy so maybe it was just a little old?  I don't know.  I still love Urban Decay, but wouldn't buy this mascara.  Let me know if you try the full-sized one and like it!

I'm pretty pleased with my August bag!  I totally feel like I got my $10 worth.  If you don't know what Ipsy is, it's a monthly subscription service that only costs $10 and you don't have to commit.  You just cancel when you don't want it anymore.  Each month, you get a cute little bag and 5 awesome beauty products to try.  Use THIS LINK if you want to sign up!  I get points if you do and if you were going to anyway, why not?! :)
Monday, August 18, 2014

My Hubby's Testimony - Don't Miss This One!


I am going to brag for a minute.  My husband is one of the most compassionate, loving people I have ever met in my life.  I have learned more about God's grace and provision through him than anywhere else.  It comes with a rough past and some painful memories.  But let's be real here...life is not about butterflies and roses all the time, is it?  There is a lot of crap that happens because of sin entering the world which makes me SO grateful for God's grace.



My hubby did not have to turn out as great as he is.  He could have bottled up all the pain and become a big ball of rage.  Most people do who have been through such trauma.  But he has a different perspective on life and is using it for God's glory.  I'm SO proud of him!  Seriously y'all, I just can't express to you how much I admire him!  He is such a strong, respectful, admirable man!

I asked him to share his testimony on here and though it's hard for him, he wants his experiences to help encourage other people that are hurting.  I know that it's a lot of words...please please please take the time to read through it!  I pray that the deliverance he experienced through God encourages you!  I'm so excited to share this with you!  Kevin, take it away...

__________________________________________________________________________________________


The distinct sound of a jail door slammed behind me as the dim light in the lifeless concrete room goes dark. I’m 13 years old. Alone and angry. Thinking to myself “How did I ever get in this situation?”


Confused but not quite fearful, this had become the norm in my life.

The distinctive part of my story starts in 6th grade. An otherwise normal child in an urban two-parent family, I began to be subjected to very severe abuse at the hands of my parents as their marriage unwound. The abuse got worse and worse, from shouting matches and emotional damage to being physically abused repeatedly. The days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months of dealing with almost daily beatings and hearing nothing but hatred spewing out of my family.

At home, I was really scared. I tried to escape in any way that I could. Normally that meant going out to play basketball or to walk around the neighborhood, anything to avoid being at home because I was so afraid of my own family. Eventually as the abuse continued and I was unable to run away from it, I started acting out, begging someone to notice what was going on in my life. I skipped school so that teachers would start asking questions. I got into fights so that the police would arrest me and I could go somewhere to sleep and eat without fear of getting beaten at the hands of my own parents.

Five times I was locked up. Almost half of my 8th grade year was gone; white-washed under lock and key. As the time passed, increasingly alone and ashamed with no comfort in sight, I began to withdraw. Isolation is after all, easy, when nobody loves you.

So set the tone of my adolescence. I did not know what it meant to be loved and supported; to be encouraged and cared for. Rage built within me as I longed for purpose in my life. Suicide became an increasingly appealing option. Now 14 years old… and I had nothing to live for.

The 5th time I was locked up, and one strike away from permanent residence at TYC (the juvenile prison system in Texas), was the last time I would see the inside of a jail cell. It would not, however, be the end of my struggles.

I remember coming “home” on a dreary early spring afternoon to find my mother standing outside the house refusing to allow me inside. Feeling okay with that decision, I began to wonder the streets of my neighborhood. I stayed in a friend’s garage that night, but for the next several months found myself constantly bouncing back and forth between neighbor’s houses and the playground where I often slept in the tunnels to hide myself, and my shame.

Eventually a perceptive 9th grader, who would later become my best friend, noticed something was amiss and invited me into his home. It soon became mine too.  His family cared for me like I mattered, like I had something to give; like they loved me. That is where my life changed.

This family – my family – never made me leave. I was never hurt, I was never forsaken. They loved me because God was in their lives and in their hearts.



They were bilingual and often spoke Spanish. I did not and yet it didn’t matter. They loved Jesus and they accepted me and it was here that I first began to comprehend who God was. I’d heard of God before, but always felt like He didn’t care. I mean how could a just and merciful God put a child through so much? If God loved me so much why the abuse? Why the neglect? Why the pain? Why the solitude of an empty, cold jail cell?

One day while in the youth service at their tiny Antioch church, about 30 of us high school students stood near the alter as the pastor prayed over us. As he stopped in front of me and directly prayed over me, I felt my heart pounding and my chest heaving with emotion as my head swirled with all these tough questions I’d always thought about God.

Soon I heard the voices of my friend and our youth leaders filter in around me. They had begun to put their hands on my shoulders and my back and they prayed for me. All of a sudden the other voices faded to the background, I heard one young man speaking to me in ways I couldn’t comprehend. I had never had a conversation with him before, as he had always spoken Spanish. I’d never clearly understood him until this moment.

He started speaking to me in such a calm way, telling me I could find peace in Christ. He kept talking about laying everything down at the feet of the Jesus. About removing burden and how God could take it away. About the importance of the cross and how that meant He loved me. He spoke of forgiveness and what it means for God to take away the pain. How could he possibly know all these things? By this point I was trembling and the tears were flowing, yet I felt this eerie calmness enter over me and got chills up my spine.

I fell down, yelping in emotional pain, pleading for God to take away my pain and begging for mercy. I wanted so badly to let go. I didn’t want to go any further on my own. That night I accepted God into my life for the first time.

What follows from here is a decade of intense ebbs and flows in my walk with Jesus. I sinned over and over again. I drifted from God, only drawing back to Him during times of great anxiety and need; wishing for just enough Jesus to purge me of the shackles on my soul, but not loving Him enough to be obedient to his desires for my life. My love for God was shallow at best.

Eventually my life became too destructive to bear. I found myself back in church crying for God to come back to me, pleading and begging for mercy. As I sobbed into my hands that first day back I very clearly heard God tell me, “I never left you.” What an amazing thing to hear in my greatest time of need! Soon after I was baptized and my heart began to change.

As my desire to pursue God increased in the following years, He opened doors that I could have never expected. God revealed in me that He designed me to overcome my past as He was preparing me for the next step; true obedience.

Having a very obvious heart for young men in need of being loved, I entered into youth ministry. With my feet firmly planted on the ground there, God opened up the avenue to the One Heart Project. This ministry allowed me a glimpse back into what it felt like to be an incarcerated teen and how desperate and lonely that time was.  God used those moments to cultivate in me a deep-rooted passion and desire to stand up and do something about it.

The connections I made through One Heart launched me into the decision to purchase a 4-bedroom house so that I could open it up to young men, recently out of jail and broken families themselves, who needed to be loved and to be shown redemption in the way that God intended.


 Working with these young men and other teens at my home church allowed me to counsel, mentor and support others in a way that I myself needed, just over a decade prior. At times I am still astonished by God’s faithfulness, grace and mercy during this time. To think, these young men look at me and see a pastor, an honorable leader and a friend, is almost incomprehensible based on where I was when I was their age. What a plan God had for me all these years!

The spiritual maturation that God led me through in this process and the way that He taught me to dutifully obey his plan, turned me into a man that I loved and respected for the first time in my life. With this newfound love of self, I was able to pour out that love toward others for truly the first time. Deep seeded issues in my heart began to fade and open up room for love. Relationships were strengthened everywhere I turned. Forgiveness and understanding began to flow from me. I began to discern God’s voice and listened to wise council while turning away from the idols and ways of the world. In short, my heart changed and with it, my life did as well.

Today, I do not want, I do not fear, I do not regret. God has blessed me greatly with what I have been provided; an abundance of provision, a beautiful wife and a new family to call my own. Despite the heartache and painful memories, God has delivered more than I could ever desire because he loves me more than I could ever understand.


 Those deeply burning questions embedded in my soul are still there. “Why do such terrible things happen to children?” “How could a parent possibly abuse their child?” “How is any of this fair?” It’s all still a mystery to me. But this much I know, GOD HAS A PLAN. While I couldn’t see, nor understand, from my perspective the “why” in all of this, God did.  He saw the plan. He has blessed me with lessons I will never forget, relationships I will never lose and love that will never cease; and for that, I am eternally grateful to my Savior.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Isn't that awesome?!  I seriously cry every time I read it or hear him tell it.  Praise the Lord!!  Thank you for reading, folks!  I hope you were blessed by Kevin's testimony.  

Below is a short video that our church did on Kevin's story.  Check it out!





Simple Moments Stick

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thank you for getting here, Friday!

Happy Friday, friends!  Aren't you glad it's the weekend?!

Let's get this party started...

{ONE}

I just love making other bloggers' recipes!  This week I made Karli's Sweet Potato + Kale + Sausage Bake this week and it was holy moley, yum!!!  Please ignore all the cheese....at least the insides were healthy!



{TWO}

Something I hadn't experienced before getting married was hockey in Texas.  My brother in law plays on local leagues here and we always have a blast watching him play/getting to play with our adorable nephew!



{THREE}

Speaking of hanging out with my new fam, we had a blast at a Texas Rangers game with them this week too! Our nephew LOVES baseball - he's so smart!  He points out the catcher, pitcher, hitter, etc.  He's going to be a pro! :)

Not sure if Kevin or our nephew was more excited about the Pudge Rodriguez bobblehead giveaway.  My hubby has a man crush.

Oh and Kevin might have tried the beer float - it was interesting!

ugh...shirt making me look preggo...I'm not, though I wouldn't be complaining if I was :)

{FOUR}

This week I got to see a precious friend that I haven't seen in MANY years!  We met at a camp in high school, then both went to Baylor University and were roomies our junior year.  She got married soon after college and has two beautiful little girls!  It was so great to catch up while she was in town.  We totally forgot to take a photo but I swear we look the same as 10 years ago...

Me and Ashleigh 10 years ago in college!


{FIVE}

My new Kendra Scott necklace!  Dang it, Shaeffer convinced me finally after wanting it for so long.  Give me a coupon code and I'm in!



Hey mamas!  Don't forget to enter the teething bundle giveaway!  You have 2 days left!

Come back on Monday to read my husband's testimony!  It's powerful!  This is probably my most anticipated, exciting post.  I've told y'all a little about him but this really shows you his heart.  I'm really looking forward to sharing it!

Have a lovely weekend, friends!



Linking up with The Farmers Wife and September Farm today!



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Celebrating the Little Things

Two days ago, I drove to work thinking about all of the stressful and negative things going on in my life and started having a pity party.  Then the song Today is Beautiful by David Dunn came on the radio.  Here's what I heard:

Sometimes the day won't ever end
Sometimes you just throw up your hands
It's the little things sometimes

Sometimes the world has just gone dark
Sometimes you're praying for a spark
It's the little things sometimes

But if you lift your eyes
See it in a different light
Just a cloud up in the open sky
Let the rain, fall away
'Cause today is beautiful

Right now it feels so hard to breath
Right now you're asking God why me
It's what you can see right now

'Cause right now there's a greater truth
Right now there's a bigger view
Than what you can see right now

In this moment, God said, "Kelli, there's a bigger view than what you can see right now."  I so get caught up in the little stressful things of life and let it affect my mood.  Most importantly, Jesus is who He is...that's it...that alone cheers me up!  HE is the Greater Truth!

Does anyone listen to Air1 Radio??  First off, can I just say that I love Eric and Mandy in the morning? Seriously...they crack me up AND encourage me.  Anyway, not my point.  They occasionally do this segment called "Celebrate the Little Things" where people call in and share little celebrations in their lives.  Big celebrations are awesome, right?  But sometimes we forget to stop and celebrate the little moments where we see God working or just taking a tiny step to encourage us.


So today, I'm talking about the little things in my life that I can celebrate!  Cue CELEBRATION music! 

TGIF champagne celebration

1 // I get to see my doggies this weekend!

2 // When school is out for summer, traffic is so not bad in the mornings!  Hallelujah!!!

3 // I might be the only person I know who doesn't need glasses/contacts.

4 // I don't have to take acid reflux medicine anymore!

5 // My hubby ALWAYS does the mowing/edging.  Thank you Jesus because I hate doing it!

6 // I can get a decent sized salad for lunch at the cafe at work for just $3.50...what a deal!

7 // Target.  Enough said.

8 // Our sweet neighbor moved the lawn for us when my hubby's shoulder was hurt.

9 // I love sitting on my back porch and watching the little kids practice football at the school across the street.  In a totally non-creeper, I don't have kids kind of way.  I want my own kiddle.

10 // Math makes me happy.

11 // Cheese makes me happy even though I'm lactose-intolerant.

12 // Talking to my blogging friends every day cheers me up. 
13 // The sweet cashier at Wal-Mart was just so nice the other day - that can be rare at such an establishment so it really meant volumes to me that she treated me with such respect.

14 // I get my Ispy Glam bag this week!

15 // As frustrating as getting a $2.4K emergency room bill can be, the Lord provides and we have enough money to pay it without starving us.

16 // My new granite countertops in my kitchen are the bomb.

17 // God has given us an amazing group of friends in our newly wed small group through church.

18 // Dry shampoo makes not washing my hair a good thing.  Haha!

19 // Salted caramel brownies.  Yum.




20 // My hubby bought me flowers the other day just because.  Love.




What are some small things that you're celebrating today?!


I'm linking up with Cassie at Sage the Blog and Cassie at Living on Cloud Nine for In The Word Link Up!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Baseball + Retail Therapy + Giveaway

Happy Monday!!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  We went to a Frisco Rough Riders game on Friday night with some of our small group friends and had a blast.  It was craft beer night AND there were fireworks after the game.


Then on Saturday, Caroline and I went to Sephora but were a bit unsuccessful.  We just didn't know what we wanted to spend our giftcards on.  I know you think we're crazy but there were just so many options and we couldn't make up our minds.

I ended up buying a sample of the Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray.  I haven't used it yet but look forward to trying it!


Then I might have gone to my happy place, Target, and gone a little crazy.  I've been really wanting some leopard print flats, cute wedges and cross body purses and accomplished that for good prices!  I also found some cute sandals that were on sale and a super cute leopard print belt.



How was your weekend??

Linking up with the fabulous Biana today!

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Now let's get this week started with an awesome giveaway!  I've teamed up with some essential oil lovin' ladies to give away a natural teething remedy bundle.  You mamas of babies are going to love this!  If you don't have a baby though, I'll be honest, you can still totally use the toothpaste, Young Living clove essential oil and coconut oil.




Most of my Young Living friends use the Young Living Thieves toothpaste but you can also make your own with Thieves or Clove (which is in Thieves).

A simple teething/toothache recipe:
2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
2 drops of Therapeutic Grade Clove Oil


a Rafflecopter giveaway