Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cheers to a Year in Review

Happy New Year's Eve! 

What better way to top off the year, than a review of 2013. There were so many great things that I experienced and learned this year that I couldn't possibly put it all into one post. 

So I'll spare you the details and give you the short and sweet version of 2013 in review. 

Found my spiritual father and began my life in Christ. 
'A' proposed
Me and A decided to make it official.
Bought a new car. 
Celebrated 26 years.
Started Blogging again. 
 Found out we were pregnant.
'A' turned 30. 
Family trip to Six Flags
Saw Beyonce in Concert.
Booked our ceremony site for 2014's 'belated' marriage celebration.
Went to our first Twins Game together.
State Fair with the family. 
Started a new position!
Lupus Walk with family and friends. 
Got through most of my pregnancy without killing anyone.
Had a rockin' baby shower!
Spent valuable time with my family.
Met New Blogger Friends
Hosted 12 days of giveaways for December :)

Overall, it was a pretty great year for me! I am so excited to ring in the New Year with A tonight! 
We are making dinner, then going to recap the year together, and top off midnight with a bowl of ice cream and maybe some sparkling juice :)

Sounds like a fab New Years to me! 

What are your plans?

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year Resolution: Following God's Will

Time flies. 2013 flew. 

And while in past years I would have been beating myself up over what I didn't accomplish or coming up with ludicrous lists of things I want to complete in the next 365 days; this year something is different. 

This past January something changed in my life. I found true life. I found the Christ. I found my true identity and stability in Him. And in accepting Him as my Lord and Savior this year, I discovered that His plans for my life were much greater and better than any plan I had ever put in place. 

2013 has been absolutely amazing, and I am excited for what 2014 has in store for me.

Oh, when negative thoughts came my way this year and things didn't look the way I expected them to look, I would have normally thrown in the towel and fed into negativity. Talked about how life was unfair, and why did I have to endure this 'struggle.' But I learned that got me nowhere! In fact, I learned that I shouldn't look at the situation, because it can look bad but as long as I love God and keep Him first everything works out to my benefit!

This year I learned standing on God's word, no matter what came my way, and keeping my faith in Jesus showed me how faithful He is to me! 

For 2014, I plan to put my focus on getting more out of my relationship with Jesus. I know that He is the reason for all that I have and all that I am. 

His word shows me:

I will keep my focus on Jesus and everything that I need will be fulfilled! 
Everything I desire He will give me; everything according to His tremendous plan for me! See, ifs you seek Him first and His righteousness, all of those things will be added unto you, too!

I'm filled with joy and excitement on what I will give to God and others this coming year, and what more joy and fulfillment in my life I will receive from Him!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Wonderland + Bump Update: Approaching 37 Weeks!

Admiring a winter wonderland... 
Me and A decided to venture out to some local walking trails to capture a few shots after running some errands. He's never really down to get behind the camera, because he says "I'm not a photographer!" But as long as I keep asking, I know he will do it for me because he loves me! Ha!
Not to mention, today is was 42 degrees out! 
Which in Minnesota, is quite warm. 
We definitely enjoyed the beautiful day!

It's really amazing to see the beauty in this earth. All the colors and wonders of each season that our Lord has created for us to enjoy. 

And the mystery of birth, the process in which our bodies know exactly what to do and how the perfect combination creates an embryo that grows into another human, growing inside of me. 

Just like our God, its all quite amazing!

Jesus is truly showing me the magnitude of who He is, and who I am in Him. The mysteries of this world are just a glimpse of the mysteries I will discover in Him. In approaching the new year, I am excited to see what God has planned for our new family. But first, to get through this pregnancy :)

Update on the Bump!

How far along? 36 Weeks 5 Days
Total weight gain: 18 lbs
Maternity clothes? I am no longer comfy in jeans, and mostly wear leggings and oversized sweaters. That's my uniform now. But luckily this time of year, that's everyone's uniform :)
Stretch marks? Yes, a few on my belly. Don't get me started on the itchy belly!
    Sleep: Hardly, acid reflux and heartburn keep me uncomfortable and Baby L is most active when momma is trying to catch some Z's!
Miss anything? My small belly! Haha. I'm getting over lugging this thing around. 
Food cravings: For the past week or so I have wanted to eat everything in sight. I know they say the baby is supposed to double in size in the 3rd trimester, but whoa. It's like I can devour everything :) I gained most of my weight in the last month. 
Anything making you queasy or sick?  Thankfully no!
Gender: Girl :)
Labour signs: Still having Braxton Hicks all the time now, they are mostly uncomfortable! Also pretty bad pelvic pressure.
Symptoms: Fatigue, backaches, pelvic pain, starting to swell -_-
Belly button in or out? In or more or less flat lol 
Wedding rings on or off: Still On.
Happy or moody most of the time: Moody LOL - Ready to meet her!
Looking forward to: Kissing my baby girl, a few months off with her, watching her and A bond!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 27, 2013

School Blues...

Happy Friday!

Hope you all had a very enjoyable holiday spent with family and friends! 
Today I am gonna sit down with you and share a little more about my journey through college and some true advice all you students should definitely use, that helped me!

For those of you who are enjoying your winter break, and don't want to be reminded of how you have to go back to class, I apologize now!

Life had happened to me, it got in the way of me going to school like the traditional student. I went to an out of state school, Northern Illinois University, and ended up coming back home after finishing my first year there. In the fall I became really sick, and with trying to figure out my diagnosis with Lupus and figure out the disease, as well as time in the hospital, I decided to stay closer to home for school. 

It took me quite awhile to finish college, but I made it. Jesus taught me throughout my journey that it was never a race and it was always a journey. Much like life! Many people that started never ended up finishing, so the fact that I was 25 just finishing my undergrad didn't bother me. He taught me to be faithful and it would pay off!

I had a full-time job & became a full-time student. 

Little did I know, most of my college life would like this. Coming from quite a large family, (seven of us!), I was putting myself through school and had to take on the financial responsibility of the role as well!

One of the major ways I saved on expenses was by discovering a book rental service, like CampusBookRentals.com. Every semester I would buy books for well over $500+, and then the end of the semester be able to only sell back and get a portion of the funds back! While I was excited when I got that $200 back, I had a net loss of $300! Not okay! 

Well, I never went back to buying books, unless needed! I would spend $50-75/each renting most of my books each semester - maybe totally $200 which was so much less than buying!

Perks of renting: First off, you save 40-90% off of bookstore prices by renting used books! And with CampusBookRentals.com you get free shipping both ways, you can highlight in the books like it's your own, they have flexible renting periods, and the icing on the cake is that they donate to Operation Smile with each textbook rented from their site!
(Operation Smile is a charity that helps heal children's smiles through medical procedures; dealing with cleft lip and palate)

They also have a new service, RentBack, that allows you to rent out those textbooks you own to other students! Hey you could start a business with this, just sayin :)


For any of you who are interested in trying this out, I've got something special for you!
I am teaming up with CampusBookRentals.com to give one lucky reader a $25 credit towards your book rental from their site!

Just enter by using the rafflecopter below! Good luck!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy Thursday!

I've been a bit MIA from the blog scene this week. Enjoying the holidays as much as possible.. 

one. Me and A doing last minute shopping for gifts earlier this week. We braved the crowds and came out alive. I always say I won't do it again next year, but I'm going to just classify myself as a last minute shopper. 
two. Waffle fries and seasoned sour cream at Granite City. Yum.
three. My mom got Layla a cute set for her crib for Christmas. One of the many additions Layla got for Christmas. She is beyond spoiled and not even here yet. 
four & five. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you would have noticed I've taken out the twists. The first photo is immediately following, and the second is after washing and straightening. Such a fun (-_-) process! I feel like I look more mommy-ish! 
six. Enjoying hot apple cider I got the k-cups as a gift for my Keurig for Christmas from Momma Bear. Absolutely Yum. 

Hope you are all enjoying the time spent with family and friends this week! And next week we will again be with loved ones to bring in the New Year! 
Aw, I love this season! I am so thankful to Jesus for what He has done for me to live such a fulfilling life! I have amazing family and friends and am so thankful for everyone in my life!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Last Minute Shoppers, Listen Up!

Happy Monday! 

I am so excited for the holidays to come this week, because there is such an important reason behind it all! Christ is definitely the reason for the season, and yesterday at church I was overwhelmed with just how much He loves us! (Post on that later this week!)

REASON # 2-  I get to spend some quality time with my family which is always a blast. Reason being, I have 6 siblings, and 6 nieces/nephews so it makes for a pretty big party! It's chaotic and so relaxing at the same time! (How does that work?)

This weekend was filled up a Christmas get together with friends, new hair, church, and last minute shopping. Oh yes, I am that girl that has a few more things to go out and grab today (procrastination at its finest). 

So, for any of you last minute shoppers, I am going to give you my wishlist from Persun Mall, just in case you are feeling in the giving spirit and want to order a few things for moi! ;) 

Persun Mall has some pretty awesome stuff this season, so definitely check out their site, because they offer great looks that are super affordable!

Ok, seriously just a coincidence everything is black and white.. But hey black is definitely a go to color for many, so these might look good on anyone! I am very excited to get back into heels and out of flats once the baby comes, hence my choice of shoes! 

Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Small Teachings: Don't Give Up!

Happy Sunday! I wanted to post a quick motivational scripture this morning before I head off to church. It's one of my absolute favorite scriptures and has helped me understand what to do when I am going through.

Earlier this year I was in a place with my profession where I felt trapped. I had been working in the beauty buying office, but was not sure that was where I wanted my future to take me. I was having difficulty finding motivation to push through and follow God's plan for me. 

God told me that He was going to see me through but I had to work hard everyday at my job and do it for HIM. So, in every task and assignment I devoted it to Jesus. When I would get upset, frustrated, or stressed I would say "Lord I am doing this for you" and I would put the smile right back on my face and keep pressing. 

Sometimes that is one of the hardest things you can try to do. To be faithful and do the right thing, no matter what. But I will tell you Jesus does not lie. His word does not return to Him void, if you are faithful to Him, He will be faithful to you. 

One of the keys to understanding this is knowing that you are following His plan. And although sometimes things don't work out the way Jena thought or wanted it to, it doesn't mean it's not working out for my good. (Romans 8:28) God is good behind the scenes! 

So in conclusion, I stuck to believing and holding onto His word. In September, I was offered a lateral position on the Interactive/Marketing team, a raise, and much more flexibility in my job. I no longer take work home with me and with a new baby on the way this was the perfect step for me. I know Jesus did it because He led me in each and every step to this place and He promised me this in the beginning. It was up to me to hold onto His word and be not weary in well doing. 

So hold on. Even if it feels like there is nothing you can do to change your situation, Jesus is bigger than any situation. And as long as you are living for Him and faithful to Him, It is NOT over. 

Hope this helped you! 
Don't ever give up on God!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Showered with Love

A couple weeks ago I was beyond blessed at baby L's baby shower. Me and A received so many gifts it was unreal how much we got for baby L. 

To end the work week, I wanted to share a few photos to recap the event... 
Of course, I was happy with all of the sweets that were made. 
(You guys know how I get about food :P)
My family did such a great job of putting everything together for the party!

The night ended with A stocking up my truck, and us going through all the goodies we received when we finally made it home. I am so thankful to God for all of His many blessings. Including the wonderful family and friends He has placed in my life. We have not had to buy much of anything for baby L, which is such an amazing blessing! 

I am so excited to meet her, and for her to meet so many people that love her already!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Small Teachings: Don't look at the situation

My dad teaches a faith clinic each week on Thursday nights. One of the messages he gave us a couple months ago stemmed around understanding that God is bigger than the situation at hand. 

Often times, we waver in faith when things start to look tough. I am learning that looks can be deceiving.
In fact, I am learning that keeping my focus on the prize (Jesus) and my mind and soul in the right place, makes it so much easier to ignore what the situation looks like. I haven't always thought this way, I've told you before I used to be the biggest worry wart. I now know it got me nowhere, and in fact I was worse off with a headache of worry. 
Understanding that God's word tells us that ALL things work together for my good because I love and follow Christ, makes me put the load on Him! Yes, ALL things. I talk to God all the time and remind Him of His word:

"Ok, Jesus, I know what it looks like, but you said ALL things work together for my good - so I am trusting you to work out your plan for my good!"

What a great opportunity to give your stresses up to the Lord! 
He will take them with open arms. 
How great is our God!

Hoping this encourages you to enjoy your Thursday!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Seeing Plaid

Happy 'B'ump Day!

What a beautiful day we have ahead of us!

Like my mother always says, today is another beautiful day that the Lord has made!

No matter if its snowing, cold, or gloomy it is such a blessing that our eyes have been able to see it.
I am very thankful for Jesus and his grace and mercy on me daily :)


I am officially 35 weeks and 2 days pregnant. 
Its now a little over a month until my baby girl is planned to be here...
She is the size of a large cantelope this week :)
I have never really been one to like melon, which to many is so weird. 
I prefer strawberries, clementines, apples, peaches, pears, and pineapples.. 

Oh pineapples... 

Blue Cardigan: Heartbreakers
White Oversized Top: H&M
Green/Blue Plaid Leggings: c/o Jane
Black Booties: Heartbreakers

I am really loving the plaid trend, and thanks to Jane - I totally opted for some plaid to add to my wardrobe from their site. At this stage in my pregnancy I am battling a bulging waist band, stretch marks -_-, and non-stop moving tummy. So it only made sense to go with leggings as they are the most comfy in this last trimester.

Take a look at some other plaid I'd love to have:

Jane is a site that I adore. It is a daily deal site, that features new handmade and boutique items every day, at such great affordable prices. They run new deals each day that last a few days or until sold out -which sometimes means hours! Take my advice and react quickly because there are such good offers, other shoppers don't let them pass by! :)

So visit Jane! You will have a new favorite on your list, I promise!
Follow along with Jane on social media:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Small Teachings: Our source of True Love

Jesus is teaching me the importance of showing love to one another. That is something He did in His ministry on earth and still is showing us today.

For He is the source of love, and if we don't believe and receive Him we shall never know what true love is.  By showing His love and helping others, I can become a light for Him. He became a light in this world of darkness to show all men they could have true life and that life more abundantly. 

I want abundant life, and each and everyday seeking after Him is filling me with more and more. Just as his disciples, I cannot sitback and not share it with the world. That is just how good Jesus is to me. 

I am beyond blessed and I am thankful for every moment of it. 
All thanks be to Jesus.

linking up w/ totally posted tuesday

Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekend Recap + 12 Days of Christmas Winners!

Happy Monday, loves!

Decided to share some shots that never made it up in the fall... 
This was my very warm winter coat from last year, that is hard for me to button now! (Haha!)

There's so much snow now, so it's great to look back and reminisce! However, the weather is supposed to be in the 20's this week so I am happy for that! (Sad, but true)
Coat - Calvin Klein
Scarf - H&M
Boots - T.J. Maxx

This weekend was a pretty productive one! 
As you can see, I have a new blog design - still in progress, but I really wanted an update :)
I also want to welcome all of my new readers! Excited to have you on board!

Me and A cleaned the carpets at the house, paid bills, went grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, and spent all day Saturday in a birthing class. Oh and I finally found my ornaments and finished decorating the tree, whew!
And now onto finishing the baby's room! I hope to get everything in there good and ready before she gets here, I am only 5 weeks away :) Eeekk!!!

So a few things I learned from the birthing class this weekend:
one. It will be hard, but I can do it. I think fear of the unknown is the biggest part of this process, but knowing all the different ways it can go I just pray to Jesus for the best possible outcome and know that He will see me through it!
two. I am really not going to sleep. We did an exercise where we calculated how many hours would be spent feeding and changing diapers and it was roughly 8 hours of the day (or more depending on situation)... Fitting in time to eat, shower, nap, get other things done will have to fit in somewhere. I commend single moms that have done this thing alone. I have a new found respect for you. 
three. It will all be worth it. Meeting her, seeing her, loving her will make it all worth it. Bringing home a new little person into this world, welcoming a new little heart in to love and becoming our own new little family will be worth it. The sacrifices that are made to raise a family are becoming more real to my life right now and I appreciate my parents for raising seven (yes, 7!) children! I am not up for that challenge, but hey mom and dad you did a good job! :)

Also - Huge congrats to all of our 12 Days of Christmas Winners. Please click here to see if you won!

Enjoy Your Day!