Sunday, October 30, 2011

Progress Report

About 2 weeks ago I posted a list and a challenge for my readers.  It is a list of 12 things that I want to accomplish by the end of the year, you can click here to read my 12 by 2012 post.  Last weekend I completed 2 more items on my list, and continued working on the others.  Planning my mission trip for next year, which is the biggest task on my list, is coming along nicely.  I still have a TON to get in steps, baby steps.  I keep praying for the Lord to prepare me and help me stay on task, and I know He is.  You can read my post about my mission trip here.  I also visited a church this week with a friend.  It was only for a small group discussion, but the people were so friendly and welcomed me with open arms.  I want to go to a few services first before I decide if I want to make this church my home.

Now, let's talk about what I accomplished!  Last weekend I baked the cupcakes that I wanted to try.  I have baked plenty of cakes and a few of them have been from scratch.  I have a mouth full of sweet teeth and asking me to pick a favorite cake is like asking...ok, I can't think of a good comparison, but I really like sweets.  One of my faves has always been strawberry cake.  So, when I found a recipe to make strawberry cake from scratch, I decided I had to try it.  Despite a few set backs (a mixer that broke about half way through and 13 year old baking powder to name a few...what?  Are you gonna put on your shoes and drive to the grocery to buy a 99 cent container of baking powder or are you gonna wing it?  That's what I thought.) it turned out pretty good.  They kinda tasted like strawberry muffins, not as sweet as I would expect for a cake.  They were also a little dense, but that can probably be attributed to the 13 year old baking powder that I was too lazy to replace and the fact that I did not use cake flour, nor did I sift the flour I did use.  This post is revealing more about my laziness than I anticipated.  Sheesh.

In addition to baking the cupcakes from scratch, I also made the amazing frosting to top them off.  What constitutes amazing frosting?  How about a whole jar of hot fudge topping!  (This post is also revealing more about my eating habits than I anticipated.)  I didn't use my original buttercream frosting recipe, but this one instead.  And...brace yourself for more of my slothful behavior...I opted not to make the butter to create the frosting.  I was really looking forward to trying that out, but dairy is expensive!

All in all, the cupcakes were delicious, though I chose an unfortunate method of decorating them.  And now, I only have 6 more items to mark off my list!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Change Will Do You Good

I just have to say that I am pretty proud of myself.

When I started this blog back in April I knew 2 things for sure, 1) I wanted to use it to showcase my photography, and 2) I would probably abandon it after about a month out of boredom, like I have done with so many guys blogs in the past.  While it has morphed from my original concept of showcasing my photography in to more of a commentary on life, I have been very faithful about keeping up with it.  Just wanted to give myself an internet high-five on this amazingly beautiful fall Saturday.

Oh Liz Lemon, you so crazy!
Image via
I believe the time is approaching for me to have an actual template made for my blog.  Something unique that reflects my style, my style of writing, and my readers.  What do you guys think?  Any suggestions?  I'd love to hear from you!  I thrive on feedback.

Tomorrow I'll be posting an update on my 12 by 2012 list, and soon I'll be posting my first tutorial!  Thanks to all my readers, you guys are the best.  This high-five is for you too ;-)


Friday, October 21, 2011

A Heart Too Big, A Wallet Too Small, And Time Too Short

Boys from Sarah's Covenant Homes.  Courtesy of

In my previous entry, I posted a list of 12 things that I hope to accomplish by the end of the year.  My 12 by 2012 list.  I am happy to report that I have been able to check some items off that list.  My inbox is now empty and I plan on keeping it that way.  Wednesday I  took the items I cleaned out of my closet over the summer to Goodwill (finally).  And I think I may have found a new gym.  This weekend I am going to make the cupcakes I mentioned, and the frosting.  Sing with me "Nobody's gonna break my stride.  Nobody's gonna slow me down.  Oh no!"  Wait!  I just had an awesome idea...I should be taking pictures of all this so I can make an awesome 80s montage for you guys!  "Please no!" you say?  Fine...your loss.  Your loss.

Moving on.  As you can see, I am making some great head way on my list.  Of the 12 items on my list, the one that is most important to me (and will probably be the last to get checked off) is planning a mission/volunteer trip for next year.  You guys, I have seriously spent every bit of spare time I had over this last week praying about this and googling my little heart out.  This is something I have wanted to do for so long now, I would say it's been weighing on my heart for at least the last 10 years.  My friend Jade over at Adventures of a Gringa in Guate... (check her blog out...she is incredibly talented!) has inspired me to follow my heart and finally start making this a reality.  Really, I feel it is more than just following my heart, this is something I am being called to do, and I can't ignore it any longer.  Anyone who knows me knows I am a very tender-hearted and compassionate person.  I've always had a heart for the broken-hearted, and for the longest time I thought it was a curse.  All I wanted to do was help those people, to love them and comfort them, to show them that they are not alone.  My heart was too big, my wallet was too small, and I was always in a hurry.  And I must confess, even when I started researching, I thought "This just hurts.  I want to help so bad, but I'll never come up with the money to do this.  And I can't take off will I pay my bills?"  

Then I found this:

This broke me.  My heart burst with joy and sadness all at once.  (Us ladies are crazy like that.)  I had to find out where these boys were from.  A quick Google search later and I found Sarah's Covenant Homes, India.  This organization offers family-style homes for physically and developmentally disabled children in Ongole, India.  The children that they serve were either abandoned or relinquished by their parents to the state.  In India, disabled children are the most likely to be abandoned and the least likely to be adopted.  There are restrictions that have been imposed which make it very hard for foreigners to adopt any Indian children.  This story in particular crushed me.  (I know you guys are getting tired of the phrase "broke my heart"...thought I'd change it up for your sake.)  

I finally found where my heart belongs.  It belongs in India, and it belongs to the orphans.  The neediest of all the orphans of India, the disabled.  I found an organization called Adventures In Missions that I have decided to plan my trip through.  The mission I would like to go on is scheduled for 10 days at the beginning of April.  I am still praying about it.  I am ready to go, but scared to death.  I'm only employed part-time right now, so I don't have health insurance.  I would need to get a passport, all kinds of immunizations I'm sure too.  Then there is the money... approximately $1500 by the end of January.  It's overwhelming.  Oh, and, my family thinks I'm nuts.  Always comforting.  I also found another mission that I would like to go on.  This one is probably what gave my family the idea that I am crazy.  It's called  The World Race.  11 countries in 11 months.  This one excites me beyond belief...and terrifies me beyond belief.  I think I am going to go for it though in 2013.  It's a little more daunting from a financial standpoint.  We'll consider India to be my Rocky Mountains and The World Race to be my Mount Everest.  Here's hoping I make it to the summit.

If you would like to learn more about Sarah's Covenant Homes or the Share 11 project, click here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

12 By 2012

Alright, it's time for me to be honest...I am a procrastinator.  I blame it on the artist in me.  I can't create without inspiration, therefore I spend my time waiting to be inspired to do anything.  Even typing that I know it's a load of rationalized crap.  One of my favorite ways to procrastinate is by reading blogs.  While reading one of my faves the other day, The Small Things Blog, I came across a post that inspired me to actually take action on a few things that I want to accomplish.

It's called the 12 By 2012 project and was actually started by another lovely lady that I started following, Danni at Hello, Friend.  The idea is to make a list of 12 things that you would like to accomplish before December 31, 2011.  They can be big or small, it doesn't matter, just 12 things you want to get done before the end of the year.

Here is my list:
(I love making lists)

***Update: I marked off the things I have accomplished so far.  You can check here and here to read about my progress.***

1. Post at least one blog entry each week.
- Kinda failed at this one.  I did fairly well until about a week before Christmas.

2. Plan my first mission trip/volunteer adventure entirely.
- Crossing this one off.  Even though it wasn't fully funded, it was still planned entirely.

3. Register for the 2012 Flying Pig Half Marathon.
- I didn't get registered by the end of 2011, but myself and 3 other friends have decided to compete in the 4-person relay instead.  I am so excited...I can't stand it!!

4. Finish the scarf I started knitting.
- Alas, I did not finish it.  However, I did get further along than I ever have before.  An accomplishment in my book.

5. Clean out my inbox.

6. Take the stuff I cleaned out of my closet this summer to Goodwill.  Finally.

7. Find a new gym.

8. Make cupcakes using this recipe.

9. Make my own butter and then use it to make yummy butter cream frosting for cupcakes.

10. Visit my family in Tennessee.
- Didn't make before 2012, but shortly after the start.

11. Find a new home church.

12. Finish outlining the children's book I am writing.
- Ummm...yeah.  Writers block.

There it is.  I put it out there for the world to see so now I have to do it!  I will post an update each week, and would appreciate any encouragement.  To my fellow bloggers, if you would like to participate in this simply create a post with your 12 By 2012.  Then visit this post at Hello, Friend and leave a comment with a link to your post.  Danni is creating a list of everyone who is participating so that we can encourage each other and be accountable.  I think this is pretty cool and I hope you will participate!

I have 11 weeks left to accomplish my 12...pssh...I got this!