Caravan Sonnet: July 2013

7/31/13

Lauren's Bachelorette Card Order




 What a wonderful couple of weeks of lovely orders. I am excited to be able to post pictures of different orders in the upcoming weeks! Today's pictures are a custom order from a couple of month's ago and it was so much fun to create! Lauren's sister was getting married and as the maid of honor she had planned a wonderful bachelorette weekend party full of fun and laughter in Atlanta! With lots of freedom to create a special card for her sister it was a very fun order!

I created a "tiered" effect for the cards which Lauren and her sister really loved. To tie all the different tags together I found an adorable "bachelorette party" ribbon and a package of fake diamond rings. I love the final product! Enjoy!!
Even the envelopes had a little "sparkle" to them!
Thank you again Lauren for your lovely order and congrats Kelly on your engagement and wedding! 
p.s.- It's hard to believe that we are approaching the end of summer and going into fall and thinking about the upcoming holidays! If you are interested in a custom order for Christmas cards please place your order asap because spots fill up quickly! Email me with any questions you have! (caravansonnet@gmail.com)

7/30/13

Campus Book Rentals & Operation Smile(review)

Are you a student like I am or have a friend or family member that is a student? If so, this is the post for you! I am delighted to have the opportunity to share with y'all a lovely opportunity to save a lot of money this upcoming school year through Campus Book RentalsCampus Book Rentals is a perfect way to get the textbooks that you need for classes and not spend the hundreds or even thousands of dollars that sometimes can add up over the semesters. 

So why use Campus Book Rentals? Here are just a few of the reasons that I believe are wonderful reasons! 

* you can save 40-90% off of bookstore prices
*there is free shipping both ways
*you can highlight in the textbooks 
*flexible renting periods (this is a wonderful advantage!)
*live customer support to help you
*an exciting new program called Rent Back where you can earn money! (Rent Back is new initiative that Campus Book Rentals has started that allows you to rent textbooks that you own! Research that Rent Back has done suggests that this will provide you with more money than the campus buy back programs that currently exist on most college campuses! This is also helpful if you are an on-line student!)
*do you hate when the professor at school announces that you actually do not need the book that you spent money on? ME TOO! SO with Campus Book Rentals they offer a 21-day risk free return!
*Campus Book Rentals have been around since 2007 so they have years of experience!

and 

 my favorite thing about Campus Book Rentals is the fact that with each textbook rented they donate to Operation Smile
Photo Credit: Operation Smile
Are you familiar with Operation Smile?

 Operation Smile "is an international children's medical charity that heals children's smiles, forever changing their lives... [by offering] safe, effective reconstructive surgery and related medical care for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate. Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft. One in 10 of those children will die before their first birthday. The children who survive are often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. In some places, they are shunned and rejected. And in too many cases, their parents can't afford to give them the surgeries they need to live a productive life.

As someone who is dealing with several severe medical issues I know the importance and the miracle of having someone help you in a medical crisis. This to me is one of the main reasons that I support Campus Book Rentals

Thanks so much for reading this y'all! I hope that this helps you as we anticipate a wonderful upcoming year in school!

Disclosure: I received compensation in exchange for highlighting this business but all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

7/29/13

Featured!

I am so excited to be featured on "The Crafty Blog Stalker" website today!! Please go and check out the link by clicking HERE!! Thank you again to Katie for featuring me!

July North East Photography Challenge

I am excited to be apart of the North East Bloggers Network Photography Challenge today! Y'all know that I love photography and am excited to share my photo today for this challenge! The theme for this month was "blue" and I chose five different types of "blue" that I see during the summer.

(1) There is the rainy sky "blue" that we have witnessed so much of this summer.


(2) There is the "blue" that beautifully glimmers with sun drops as it gently crashes on the rocks on the shore.

(3) There is the "blue" of the sky and the lake meeting on sweet summer days.

(4) There is the lovely blue that highlights the dark green pine trees.

(5) And there is the midnight "blue" that closes out the lovely long summer days.

What about for y'all? Where do you see blue in your days?

7/28/13

trying to justify my existence {Made to Crave Online Study- Chapters 5 & 6}

Hi y'all! I am so delighted that several of you are joining StephanieCrystal  & I on this adventure of reading through the "Made to Crave" book. {If you haven't already purchased the book but would still like to - please feel free to join us at any point - even if it is just for a week or two!}

This week we are discussing chapters five and six of the book. Chapter five (Made for More) and chapter six (Growing closer to God) both had lots of great points and thoughts in them.


After spending time with chapter five I looked at some of the reflection questions that I have found online. One of the questions truly leaped off the page at me. It asked: "When I introduce myself to someone, how do I define myself?". Pause. Sigh. Frown. For so many years I have introduced myself as "Rebecca" and quickly followed up the answer to "what do you do?" with lots of answers of teaching, graduate school, etc. In these past 12 months I have learned the painful truth that many people do not have an answer that can be given in five seconds flat. Many people strive to define themselves by their career, their marriage, or their children but in reality our ultimate definition can not come from any of these things. How would one define themselves by their career in five seconds flat? How would a teacher, a social worker, a doctor, a lawyer, etc. be able to adequately share the experiences and the things that have happened in an eight-hour workday? What about a wife who stays at home and has spent all day baking, cleaning, shopping, and helping her husband? And the mother who has changed diaper after diaper with no one watching? Or what about those (like me) whose life is filled with doctors appointments and difficult moments due to illness? 

A month ago, when I was at Kristen's wedding I ran into a former student a few minutes before the service was supposed to start. (You may remember that I was asked to be in the service by reading scripture.) To be honest I was extremely tired and shaky and was desperately praying to the Lord that I wouldn't faint as I read scripture as I walked to take my place. As I left the throngs of people in the sanctuary to walk around the hallway that would lead me via a back entrance to the podium up front I truthfully was near tears of frustration. I could feel my body starting to shut down because it had been such a busy (FUN filled) couple of days. I knew I had pushed myself to hard and was extremely frustrated with the illness issues that I was struggling with. In the middle of all of this I didn't realize that a former student (whom I hadn't talked to in years) was walking beside me. He said "hello" and then proceeded to walk with me. He kindly asked how I was doing and how life was. After a few minutes of giving general answers to his questions he asked if I was still teaching to which I replied, "I am not sure if you heard but I have cancer". He was taken back at my abruptness and to be honest so was I. As he stuttered to ask if I was OK, I quickly assured him that I was going to be OK, gave a quick spiel about the Lymes, Cancer, and M.E. and followed up with saying something to the affect of, "anyways... that is why I am not teaching". He told me he was so sorry and would be praying for me and we parted ways, me walking more slowly to my destination. As I walked I heard strands of the special music, "Great is Thy Faithfulness" drifting out from the sanctuary and I had tears for a far different reason than I had had a few minutes ago. I had tried to justify my existence through something other than finding my delight in my creator. Other than who I am in Christ. Other than who I am through His work on the cross.

We can not be defined by the titles that we have accepted as "normal" in are world. We can not be the titles that define who we are. OR where we are going. OR what we hope to someday have in the future (a spouse, a lovely career, a healing from an illness, a child, a house, or a (fill in the blank)) As the title of the chapter says we are "made for more". 

You are made for more.

If you are defining yourself by your work, illness, career,  blog, profession, marriage, children, your contribution to society, weight, the dress size you are, the marathon that you just ran, etc. I highly encourage you this week to think through the following definitions of who you truly are. I love these following truths and hope that you do to!

*I am a forgiven child of God. (Romans 3:24)
I am a set-free child of God. (Romans 8:1-2)
I am accepted child of God.(I Corinthians 1:2)
I am a holy child of God. (I Corinthians 1:30)
I am a made-new child of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am a loved child of God. (Ephesians 1:4)
I am a close child of God. (Ephesians 2:13)
I am a confident child of God. (Ephesians 3:12)
I am a victorious child of God. (Romans 8:37)*

For this coming week I am planning on working on memorizing these truths and hope that you will join me. What about y'all? What are things that you have learned through these two chapters? If you are a blogger please feel free to link with us below and share your thoughts and if you don't have a blog please leave a comment in the comment section. I am so confident that we can all grow and learn together in this process! 

P.S.- If you haven't already clicked around the "freebies" page of the Made to Crave website I highly encourage you to spend a few minutes there! 


* Wording and info taken from Scripture &  "Made to Crave Participant's Guide: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God"  By Lysa TerKeurst

Here is the reading schedule for the rest of the study for those of you that would like to join us :
August 5- Week 5
Chapter 7- I’m Not Defined by the Numbers & Chapter 8- Making Peace with the Realities of my Body
August 12- Week 6
Chapter 9- But Exercise Makes Me Want to Cry& Chapter 10- This Isn’t Fair!
August 19- Week 7
Chapter 11- Stinkin’, Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day & Chapter 12- The Curse of the Skinny Jeans
August 26- Week 8
Chapter 13- Overindulgence & Chapter 14- Emotional Emptiness
September 2- Week 9
Chapter 15- The Demon in the Chips Poster & Chapter 16- Why Diets Don’t Work
September 9- Week 10
Chapter 17- The Very Next Choice We Make& Chapter 18- Things Lost, Better Things Gained
September 16- Week 11
Chapter 19- Live as an Overcomer & Summary/Conclusion

7/27/13

Bloggy World Thoughts: from the six month newbie

Today I wanted to share some tips and thoughts that I have learned in "bloggy world". It is hard to believe that this week will hit the six month mark of writing on this blog! It is also amazing to me that I have received some emails and facebook messages asking me for tips on blogging. I am truly humbled. Despite the fact that I had planned and thought through the idea of Caravan Sonnet and where I would like it to go I still had so much to learn. I am still A.M.A.Z.E.D. that y'all read my little corner of the internet world! Thank you! Also, thank you so much to all of you lovely ladies who have made this blogging experience such a wonderful experience in my life! Three months ago I shared some thoughts as a "three month newbie" and today I wanted to share some thoughts as the "six month newbie". Here are my thoughts (in no particular order):
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. I truly did not know that a fan page can not "like" another fan page on facebook. I thought the whole time that it did. Imagine my disappointment to learn that it doesn't count for any of my sweet friends when I like it through my fan page. Lesson learned.

2. A motto that I have had for responding to emails, typing up blog posts, etc. is a from a quote that I read by Edward Hughes (President & CEO of Aculon Inc): "No matter how small or insignificant it might seem, every time you communicate it matters."

3. Remember the drama that I mentioned last time and avoiding it? It appears (just like real life) that some girls live off of it. Avoid it. Life is to short. And it is not worth it.

4. Be nice to everyone. Seriously there is enough bloggy space for everyone to do their own thing in bloggy world and for you to still have your own say. I like to support and cheer on the women that I encounter. Some people don't do that and for the life of me I can't understand why. You do not want to be known as a blogger who is jealous & petty. Again, life is too short. Don't like a giveaway? Don't enter. Don't like a blogger? Don't read the blog. But don't be mean. Let's be women who are known as supporters! Seriously- there are so many awesome bloggers in bloggy world. Who wouldn't be honored to support them??

5. I said this in the "three month newbie post" but I still have readers whom I can't reply directly to. Please do not be a "do not reply blogger". If you don't know how to fix this then read Kristine's post on how to change it

6.Do you understand SEO information? Truthfully I really didn't and tried at all costs to avoid it. My excuse was that it was for "experienced bloggers" and I would learn it "someday". Imagine my surprise when I read Dana's article on SEO basics and was able to understand it and change somethings right away for my blog! Check out her post here for basics on SEO.

7. I have learned that having a media kit is important for blogs no matter what your follower count is. I had heard this from more established bloggers but truthfully I thought that I wouldn't need to consider it until I had at least 500 followers. Imagine my regret at learning that is not the case. At the beginning of July I spent hours creating a media kit and then later found this lovely tutorial by Kelley. I highly recommend checking it out if you need help or want to update your blog media kit.

8. I mentioned this last time but I try to leave heartfelt comments on each post that I take time to read. I know I love getting comments and I really think that everyone does! 

9. Going along with no.8: I want to point out that it is important to actually read the post that you are going to comment on (and bloggers feel free to delete inappropriate comments). Sometimes people are quick to leave a comment that is very generic like: "Love ya girl great post" or "You are awesome- this is my favorite post ever" and it might not be an appropriate comment to make. True story: I had a person who kept writing me comments on my very serious health update posts and she would always say something like- "LOVE this post- join my link up". BUT the crazy thing was was that girl only commented on those posts and not any others? Obviously I deleted those comments.

10. I heard a blogger(who has only been writing for a year)say last month that they have felt uninspired to write. Honestly, I was surprised. If you feel that way I seriously encourage you to step out and find some new blogs to read because I am constantly inspired by all of the amazing writers. Take time each week to grab a cup of tea (or coffee), sit back, and read people's blogs you may not normally read. I have a goal that I find five new blogs a week and truthfully- I am constantly inspired. Trust me, you will be too!

11. Going along with no. 10: Take your time to really develop your blog and your blog community. I said this to another blogger recently and it is true. I love opportunities to expand and reach out to new people but I will also stress that my main mission of my blog is not just to have a lot of numbers, but it is to develop a rich and vibrant community. I truly  pray that my blog can serve, bless, and encourage people to have a beautiful caravan(aka. journey).

12. Blogging takes a ton of time and lots of hard work to make those relationships and to develop your blog to be the way that you want it to be. I spend hours and hours on each post writing, re-writing, and re-writing it to truly reflect me and my heart. I have definitely learned in the last few months the hard work that is required for bloggy world. Truthfully though- it is SO much fun to me. I definitely only recommend blogging if you love it!

13. Going along with no. 11: Really consider what the mission of your blog is before jumping into a giveaway or sponsorship.

14. If you write to a blogger asking questions that requires an in-depth answer (aka. more than two sentences) be courteous and at least give a simple "thank you". I am so thankful for all of the bloggers who have spent time giving me advice, encouragement, and love over these past months. But (and I hate to say this) it is disappointing and frustrating when you spend time responding to specific questions and emails and never hear a response.

15. Unless you are really really well known one of the best pieces of advice that I received was to make sure that everything "matched" in my pictures (profile, facebook, twitter,etc.) The reason for this is to help with marketing and brand typing. It helps your readers connect all of your social media platforms.

16. Thank your readers (I don't do this enough). I am incredibly humbled by those of you that stick around and read and leave such sweet comments on my posts. I am honored.

17. Get rid of the the requirement to prove that you are not a robot. If you are worried about spam (and I started receiving a ton of spam comments) then just simply put in a "block" with certain words. This has worked perfectly for me. 

18.  I said this in the "three month newbie post" but it still holds true today! Post at least 3 times a week if you are trying to build up your blog and your audience. Think about coming up with a schedule for your blog that works for you.

19. Love what you do! I love writing and connecting with others so bloggy world is a joy!

20. Last time I mentioned joining groups that were of interest to you. I would also encourage you to start your own group, link up, or community. I have a heart for bloggers who have less than 400 hundred friends via Bloglovin or GFC. So I started a link up called "the petites" and have loved it! {In the coming months "the petites" is going to expand to other social media venues so keep an eye out!}Think about starting something that goes with your heart!

21. Be you. The worlds needs you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I can't wait to share more tips and thoughts from bloggy world in another three months! It is hard to believe that I will have been blogging for nine months at that point! WOW. What are your tips for us newbies in bloggy world? We would love to hear! 

7/21/13

Made to Crave Online Study- Chapters 3 & 4

Hi y'all! I am so delighted that several of you are joining StephanieCrystal  & I on this adventure of reading through the "Made to Crave" book. {If you haven't already purchased the book but would still like to - please feel free to join us at any point - even if it is just for a week or two!}

{I want to say a word of discretion before I continue. I am so excited to meet with y'all and discuss these chapters. NOT because of anything that we are doing but because of the habits, mindsets, and life changes that we are making to get to know our precious Lord more and more each day. I know I am not alone in the fact that our deepest desire is to know the Lord more and to crave Him and His presence each day. I do want to point out that the reason for doing this study is to grow closer to the Lord and fall more in love with Him. That is the prayer that I have for myself and for all of us in this Bible Study. I do think that there is a fine line that we are walking in this study that can be construed that we are equating weight loss with ones spiritual journey. As I mentioned from the very first week this journey for some might be about surrendering that area to the Lord and for others like myself it may help us examine other areas that need surrender. The goal of this study for me is to fall more in love with the Lord and I hope that will be your main goal too! While I might not agree with everything that is in the book each week I am just pointing out the parts that really spoke to me.}

This week we are discussing chapters three &four of the book. One of the things that stood out to me from chapter four was the idea of having an accountability partner. I am glad that this was mentioned because I do think that there are times where we think that we can do something "alone" and yet the body of Christ is so essential. I love how Dietrich Bonhoeffer says in his book, Life Together, that there is a "day of being alone" and a "day of being together". We truly need both to bring balance to our lives. Another one of the quotes that has always stood out to me from his book speaks perfectly to this: 


“Let him who cannot be alone beware of community... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone... Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1944)


This concept of being together is so important and I am so thankful that I have dear friends who I can turn to and confide my struggles, hopes, dreams, and fears and that they are faithful to take it to the Lord in prayer. {Thank you so much Jen, Kaara, and Michelle for being such wonderful, Godly, and amazing ladies in my life!} I know for me and many other women sometimes reaching out and sharing our hearts can be such a hard thing. Maybe it is because you have been hurt in the past or wounded by a friend that you thought you trusted. Maybe it is because you feel that you have searched and searched for friendships and still are waiting to find them. I urge you not to live in fear but instead want to encourage you to keep praying (and I will pray with you!) for these friendships to come. I myself continue to ask the Lord for close women and He is always faithful to provide what we need! 


So just like last week I am left with lots to continue to pray and think through! What about y'all? If you are a blogger please feel free to link with us below and share your thoughts and if you don't have a blog please leave a comment in the comment section. I am so confident that we can all grow and learn together in this process! 

P.S.- If you haven't already clicked around the "freebies" page of the Made to Crave website I highly encourage you to spend a few minutes there! 

Here is the reading schedule for the rest of the study for those of you that would like to join us :
July 29- Week 4
Chapter 5- Made for More & Chapter 6- Growing Closer to God
August 5- Week 5
Chapter 7- I’m Not Defined by the Numbers & Chapter 8- Making Peace with the Realities of my Body
August 12- Week 6
Chapter 9- But Exercise Makes Me Want to Cry& Chapter 10- This Isn’t Fair!
August 19- Week 7
Chapter 11- Stinkin’, Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day & Chapter 12- The Curse of the Skinny Jeans
August 26- Week 8
Chapter 13- Overindulgence & Chapter 14- Emotional Emptiness
September 2- Week 9
Chapter 15- The Demon in the Chips Poster & Chapter 16- Why Diets Don’t Work
September 9- Week 10
Chapter 17- The Very Next Choice We Make& Chapter 18- Things Lost, Better Things Gained
September 16- Week 11
Chapter 19- Live as an Overcomer & Summary/Conclusion

7/19/13

Orange & Teal Summer Scrapbook Layout

If you follow my Etsy shop you know that I am so excited to have revealed some exciting items a couple of weeks ago! I am so excited in the following weeks and months to share additional projects that I will be listing! Today I wanted to share with you some more pictures from a recent scrapbook project that I was working on for a friend!

All of my custom scrapbooks and their pages offer a unique perspective in every layout. I don't know about for y'all but it has been so hot here in New York that it has me thinking hot summer days, blue skies, and bright happy colors. Because of this I wanted to share with you a couple of the "fun" pages from the custom scrapbook. In this particular layout I thought it would be delightful to capture the fun and the happy friendship of these two sisters. These four pages were some of my favorite pages in the custom scrapbook that I made! After designing the background pages with two scrapbook pages (an orange & white number chart paper and a teal &white polka dot paper), I added in vintage lace with flowers, lovely ribbon, and sweet shabby chic tags to complete the look.  Here are several shots of this layout! 

Happy summer days y'all! 

Outside Pages:
Inside Pages:

 Outside Left Page:

 Outside Right Page:

Inside Left Page:

Inside Right Page:

7/18/13

Thursday Health Thoughts: An Anti-Oxidant Face Mask

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}

I am excited to have Michelle, from the upstate NY resort, Turning Stone sharing with us a anti-oxidant face mask. Enjoy y'all!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Get Glowing, Fresh Skin This July
Are you bummed out by the harshness of the summer sun? Can you already feel some of the effects, such as redness, irritation, peeling skin, and patchiness? Would you like to see your skin bare a fresh glow? Are you tired of harsh facial treatments that use chemicals and still do not achieve the results you want and need? If you are looking for an all-natural face mask just in time for the festivities of the Fourth of July, then try this delicious Red, White, and Blue face mask. From the Skana Spa experts of New York resort, Turning Stone, this treatment is made from all-natural ingredients. Best of all, this mask takes just minutes to make. Here is how to make your own Red, White, and Blue face mask this Fourth of July!

Ingredients:
10 blueberries (give or take)
 1/4 fresh tomato (cubed)
   1 teaspoon apricot kernel oil
  2 drops sweet orange essential oil


Directions:
First, place the blueberries and the tomatoes in a blender. Turn the blender on low for 10 seconds. You want to mix the berries and tomato just enough to form a creamy consistency and to makes sure these fruits are blended and there are not any chunks in the mixture.

Second, pour the mixture into a bowl and add the oils. Mix gently by folding the oil into the fruit mixture.

Third, turn on the hot water and place a washcloth beneath the faucet. Squeeze out the excess and place the washcloth on your face for about 30 seconds. This opens up the pores on your face and prepares them for the skin mask.

Fourth, smooth the face mask across your skin and let it dry for about 20 minutes. 

Fifth, gently wash off the face mask with cool water. Apply a moisturizer of your choice.

Benefits of your all-natural Red, White, & Blue face mask 

The blueberries and tomatoes have antioxidants & are high in Vitamin C. Together; they can help to prevent fine lines and patchiness, to even out irritated skin and to boost collagen in your skin for overall suppleness. In addition, blueberries contain anthocyanins, which work to neutralize free radical damage, and tomatoes have lycopene, an antioxidant that works to reduce redness. Get glowing, healthy, brighter skin this summer with your very own, all-natural face mask!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks so much for sharing with us today Michelle! I am looking forward to trying this! 

7/16/13

a season of new dreams

Do y'all have those dreams that are deep in your heart that keep growing and coming to mind- even if you don't encourage them in anyway? These might be dreams that invade your mind as you are lying awake at night, or pop into your mind when you are driving home from work, or make you smile as you are doing your housework. I have several of those dreams and I suspect many of us do. I think sometimes there are times for them to be kept hidden in our heart as things to pray over and see if and when the time is right for them to emerge. Some of those dreams are so precious and are such aching longings of our hearts that they are difficult to compose the right string of words in a sentence that will speak to the depth that we feel them. 
The latter would be my dream to be married and to be a mom and the former would be a dream of writing & speaking to encourage the heart of women that I have had for many many many years. It is a dream that I have kept locked close to my heart- partially because with teaching there wasn't much time to develop it properly outside the classroom and partially because every time I would pray about moving forward with it the Lord would seem to whisper "wait". Over the last couple of months as I have been housebound/bedridden the Lord started to stir up the dream of writing &speaking once again. At first I laughed and said, "really Lord, now?" because I was so sick that I couldn't hardly stand let alone type or speak. But there was this quiet insistence that I start examining this dream again. I prayed for hours and hours and days and days and months and months about it and kept seeking the Lord and asking Him if this was the right timing. At first I wasn't so sure because of my health if it was but there were several opportunities that presented themselves for the upcoming fall that I didn't think that I should pass by. I hesitantly said "yes" still skeptical but as time has gone on and after treatment in California in May happened I started to feel like the Lord was opening the door even wider. 
{I should insert here that I miss teaching so much. There are days where my heart aches to not be able to use the passion and gifts that the Lord has given me.  The love that I have for students still overwhelms my heart. Some may think that this sounds dramatic but I still well up with tears as I think of another school year starting and not being back in the classroom. At the same time though the Lord opening up writing & speaking opportunities is reminding me afresh that the Lord's mercies are new every morning and that He has a special plan that He is laying out for my life.}

I share all of this to say that part of the dream is in a state of "transition" and I am excited to share about one of the opportunities. I submitted two stories to CausePub and BOTH were accepted!! I was so delighted and honored and now I need your help. How can you help? By voting for one or both of the stories that I have shared to hopefully be published in the book. You can click HERE to access both stories or you can click HERE to access the story entitled "Hope is Always a Miracle" or click HERE for the story entitled "The Power of the Simple Words "I'm Sorry"". 
Thank you so much to those of you who have already voted and to each of you for all of your lovely support and friendship. I appreciate your prayers for other projects that I am submitting my writing to and for upcoming speaking events that I have committed to sharing my story at. My prayer is that the Lord would redeem the time of sickness for His glory and to be used to encourage people to fall more in love with our precious Lord. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store during this season of new dreams! 

7/15/13

Made to Crave Online Study- Chapters 1 & 2

Hi y'all! I am so delighted that several of you are joining StephanieCrystal  & I on this adventure of reading through the "Made to Crave" book. {If you haven't already purchased the book but would still like to - please feel free to join us at any point - even if it is just for a week or two!}

This week we are discussing chapters 1 & 2 of the book. To me the main thing that stood out to me was really the title of the book: that we are "made to crave".  But just like I mentioned last week I really am challenged to examine the questions of: what do I crave? What does my mind crave? What does my heart crave? What does my soul crave

Like me, you might not crave food, but like me maybe you crave other things that you know are placed before my relationship with the Lord or in some cases above it. This is hard to face and even harder sometimes to admit... especially in the summer during our "free time". But honestly... doesn't how we use our "free time" show us what we crave? It does for me. And honestly this week I am seeing that I spend a lot of time wasting some of the precious time that I have by just "vegging out". Filling the silence and loneliness that comes with chronic illness with spending hours on the Internet that I don't need to spend. Those hours could be used to serve others or just resting in my precious relationship with my Lord. Instead of looking to fill the loneliness and quietness that comes with Chronic Illness with "noise" I could fill it with more of my Heavenly Father. So I have started to evaluate that and some other areas of my life. I am taking those before the Lord to pray through! 

So just like last week I am left with many of the same questions that challenge my heart. I am left with lots to continue to pray and think through! What about y'all? If you are a blogger please feel free to link with us below and share your thoughts and if you don't have a blog please leave a comment in the comment section. I am so confident that we can all grow and learn together in this process! 

P.S.- If you haven't already clicked around the "freebies" page of the Made to Crave website I highly encourage you to spend a few minutes there! 

Here is the reading schedule for the rest of the study for those of you that would like to join us :
July 15-Week 2-
Chapter 1-What’s Really Going on Here? & Chapter 2- Replacing my Cravings
July 22- Week 3-
Chapter 3- Getting a Plan & Chapter 4- Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat before Thinking
July 29- Week 4
Chapter 5- Made for More & Chapter 6- Growing Closer to God
August 5- Week 5
Chapter 7- I’m Not Defined by the Numbers & Chapter 8- Making Peace with the Realities of my Body
August 12- Week 6
Chapter 9- But Exercise Makes Me Want to Cry& Chapter 10- This Isn’t Fair!
August 19- Week 7
Chapter 11- Stinkin’, Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day & Chapter 12- The Curse of the Skinny Jeans
August 26- Week 8
Chapter 13- Overindulgence & Chapter 14- Emotional Emptiness
September 2- Week 9
Chapter 15- The Demon in the Chips Poster & Chapter 16- Why Diets Don’t Work
September 9- Week 10
Chapter 17- The Very Next Choice We Make& Chapter 18- Things Lost, Better Things Gained
September 16- Week 11
Chapter 19- Live as an Overcomer & Summary/Conclusion