Weekend.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What a perfect summer weekend. 
Michael (Shawn's best friend) is in town, and we've enjoyed the sun, the backyard grill, and our dear friend as much as possible (minus the millions of swarming cicadas).
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We look a little serious about our food... we were just so ready to dive in! :)
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Thanks to Shawn for being the behind-the-scenes photographer. He really was there, too! :)

Love this.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For obvious reasons, I can't get enough of this sweet commercial.



What a privilege to be a soon-to-be nurse!

"Redeeming love has been my theme."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On Monday morning, when I flipped my calendar over to the new week, I saw these words:

"Granddaddy's birthday!"

I had penned his birthday into my calendar months ago, before my Granddaddy went to be with Jesus in January. It was a stark reminder of the brevity of our life here on earth. None of us knew he'd be gone so soon.

I thought about him all day on Monday, and I even remembered the year before when Shawn and I had called him on his birthday. He was excited that we'd remembered, and told us a string of his latest jokes (his trademark) as we chatted and laughed. You'd never know that his prognosis at that point was so grim, as he continually chose joy despite his situation.

So even though I remember Granddaddy's last days vividly, they're hardly what my mind goes to when I think about him. I think about the rich, beautiful legacy he left for his family. For me. One of my favorite parts of that legacy was his love for the hymns.

Growing up, my sister and I travelled quite a bit with my parents from church to church, and often one of the first things we'd do when we arrived to a new church was to run to the nearest pew, flip open a hymnal, and try to find Granddaddy's name in the index of authors. He had written a hymn that even today is published in hymnals, and it always made us swell with pride when we found his name.

We grew up learning a singing countless hymns, and it was always a source of pride when we could sing through all four verses without glancing down at the hymnal. :)

Today, though, those words have become so much deeper. I can scarcely sing an entire hymn without tears in my eyes as I think about the words I'm singing. When I've had a rough day, they bring solace and encouragement. When I'm alone in the car or the shower, they're what I revert to singing. It's not that worship songs today have less meaning, but the richness of songs that have been sung for literally hundreds of years by countless believers are so powerful. The stories behind those who wrote them are equally astounding. Take this one, for example.

One that's been a favorite of mine in recent months has been, "There Is A Fountain."It's all about the Gospel - that the spilling of Christ's blood is enough to make us clean, whole, free.

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.


There are six verses, and the fourth one has to be my favorite:
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.



If it means so much to me now after just 18 years of following Christ, how much more will those words of truth mean to me after ten, twenty, thirty more years of knowing Jesus?

I know these words were so precious to my Granddaddy. I saw the tears in his eyes as he sang them and the peace that enveloped his countenance. I heard him sing them loud and strong, just days before his death.

What a legacy.
What grace.

A tour of my craft room.

All disclaimers aside (it's never clean, it's not decorated how I want, etc. etc.), this is definitely one of my favorite rooms in the house.

Come on in!
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My little craft room is just off of our bedroom. The door just makes it look like another closet, so it usually stays shut when guests come (because it is rarely, if ever, this clean).

I hung those frames a couple days ago, so I'm not really finished with them yet, but I'll be sure to show you when I do finish!

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This sewing machine (below) actually works! My grandma gave it to me. Isn't it beautiful?
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Then the opposite corner of the room: a cross painting on board, my rotary mat and cutters (life savers, I tell you!), and my old sewing machine is housed in the blue table.
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Then on the left side of the room, shelves upon shelves of crafting supplies. It's a somewhat organized mess. I can find where things are, even though it may look like chaos. Just fuels the creativity, right?
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Thanks for visiting!
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Come craft with me sometime?

Bliss.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dear Saturday morning,

I've waited (not-so-patiently) for your arrival all week long.
Now you're here! And you're glorious.

This week was exciting,
exhausting,
stretching,
and affirming
that nursing is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.
It is such a privilege to learn at such a rapid pace
(about a week and a half of a normal semester per day)
but I could not be more thrilled to be part of this program.
I can't believe at this time next year, I'll be taking the NCLEX
and, Lord willing, starting a job!
I'm praying He leads in what setting I'm supposed to pursue...
so far my favorites are acute care/trauma and community health,
but we will see.

A few things I'll be doing today:

1. Admiring our new garden, in its very humble beginnings.
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We planted a vegetable (and fruit) garden last year,
and despite our lack of any gardening knowledge - it worked!
We're hopeful it will this year, too.
We've decided not to plant any vines this year,
as it was so difficult to find anything under them once they completely covered the rest of the plants.
So far, we've planted 3 types of tomatoes (including a kind called "Mr. Stripey," whose name cracks me up). We've also planted jalapeƱos, bell peppers, okra, squash and zucchini, and more.
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Grow, little garden, grow!

2. Playing with my new toy.
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My new sewing machine came in the mail yesterday!
I was only home for about 20 minutes between class and work,
and I spent every second admiring its never used buttons,
smelling the brand new plastic,
and dreaming of projects for the future.
Seriously, I'm so excited.
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I loved my $27 thrift store machine dearly,
but it'll be so refreshing not to fight with a machine
to do what you're asking it to do.
This one is like driving a Cadillac in comparison!
I have a feeling a lot of my Saturday will be playing with her.

3. Studying. No surprises there.

4. Teaching. No surprises there either.

5. Loving every minute I get to spend with my Shawn.

So Saturday,
I wouldn't mind if you smelled like fresh brewed coffee,
looked like warm sun through our windows,
and took your sweet time.

Love,
Whitney

Faith.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd." 
- Hebrews 11:1-2, The Message
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Early last week, when I was praying (and mostly worrying) about the possibility of the accelerated program, my mom was choosing faith. In faith, she bought this little vase so that when the good news came, she would fill it with flowers. And on Friday when the good news came, fill it with flowers she did! She dropped it off at my work and was such an encouragement. Thanks, Mom!

I started school again yesterday and it has been a joy - and a huge challenge, as I completely expected. I'm not sure how much or how little I'll be able to blog this summer. We shall see. :)

On a completely different note, I'm guest posting today at A Stitch In Time. We're carving stamps

Happy Tuesday!

It's here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Just popping in to announce that Brighter Day is back!
(And within 5 minutes of opening... one sold! Sorry!)
There are 6 bags (at this point) and many more to come once my new sewing machine comes in the mail next week. Let me know if you have fabric requests or ideas, ok?
Happy shopping!
:)

Accelerating.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I am rejoicing as I tell you... I got in to the Accelerated BSN program!!!!

Thank you so much for your prayers as this week has involved so much waiting and hoping. I feel like it's Christmas morning! I could not be more excited!!

So what does this mean?
It means 5-days-a-week school all summer.
I just looked at the schedule, and it looks like I'll be in class from about 8am to at least 4pm each day.
It'll be crazy, but so, so worth it.

Thanks again for your prayers and concern.
I am just so thankful that God saw fit to miraculously put me in this program at the very last minute.
He is so good!!!

Waiting, waiting.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

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To be really honest, these last few days have not been very fun.

To make a long story short, I found out about a week ago that a spot had opened up in a program at my school that I'd been on the waiting list for. This program would cut off 8 months of my time in nursing school, and I would finish in April 2012 instead of December 2012. I immediately replied with, "YES! Please consider me! Please please please!!" or something to that effect. :)

One other student was interested in the spot, so it's down to the two of us for the final decision. We were supposed to know on Tuesday afternoon. Then it became Wednesday morning. And now, on Thursday, we still don't know. It's very obvious to me that the Lord is teaching me to wait. On Tuesday afternoon, there was even a bomb threat at my school which caused everyone to evacuate, prolonging the decision. As if that happens every day!

In the meantime, I've been busying myself with anything and everything:
cleaning the house,
cooking soup,
sewing purses,
returning emails,
running errands,
pulling weeds,
all the while, checking my email on my phone about every 10 minutes to see if there's news. Each time I do, my heart starts to race, just hoping for an answer. Hoping for the answer I want.

Sadly, as I've been waiting, one of my favorite distractions broke: my sewing machine. I guess I had asked a lot of a $27 machine, but it still made me so sad as I had planned to make lots of bags to be ready for the re-opening of my shop. I guess that wasn't part of His plan. I'll still have several to list, so not to worry, but it's all just so obvious to me that He is in control and I am not.

I know God has me in a place where He wants to teach me patience. (I don't know if I'm doing well on that one.) He's teaching me hope. Perseverance. Faith. He's teaching me how to pray. I'm praying boldly for patience today. I'm also praying boldly that I'm the one to be chosen for this spot. It would mean so much to me to be able to work as a nurse 8 months sooner, for Shawn's parents to be in the States when I graduate, and to continue my studies over the summer instead of just working and waiting for school to start in the Fall. So please join me in prayer if you would! I'll keep you updated.

"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope."
- Psalm 130:5

DIY: Turn your old jeans into skinny capris

Sunday, May 8, 2011

You guys are gonna love this.
If you can sew a straight line and have access to a sewing machine, you can totally do this.

Find an old pair of jeans that you want to change up a bit.
Mine are my "paint jeans" that I wear to work with little bits of acrylic paint here and there. They're boot cut and pretty wide at the bottom.

Before we begin, feel free to slap my hand for not getting a true "before" picture. I'm terrible at those. Here's the best "before" picture I've got: my jeans turned inside out. (Which happens to be your first step.)
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Next, lay a pair of skinny jeans on top, making sure the crotch lines up, and also the inside of the legs line up. (Not sure how else to say it.) :) As you can see below, I had quite a bit to trim off.

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Then, using a ruler, draw a straight line just on the outside of your skinny jeans all the way down. You don't have to make them capris pants at this point - you could just draw the line all the way down to the ankles. In my case, I also drew a line across the bottom for where I wanted to cut the bottoms off.
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Next, take it to your sewing machine and sew right on top of your marker line down the sides. Do this before you cut off the excess fabric. I'd recommend using a special sewing machine needle for denim, but depending on how thick your jeans are, you may not need it.

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Once you've sewn that line, you can try them on inside-out to see how they fit and make any adjustments you need to.

Next, when you're happy with the sewing, trim off the excess fabric.

The next step is optional - I decided to also make my jeans capris pants, so I went ahead and cut off the bottoms and hemmed them all the way around.

And that's it!
This only took about 20 minutes, and I am no pro sewer.
Happy jean-making!

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Study break.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A friend sent me this video and I cannot get over the cuteness...

Not only are they really good guitar players, but their smiling, bobbing little heads are to die for.

Any favorite YouTube videos you want to share?

DIY: Fabric labels

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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Ok, guys. This is so easy you won't believe it.

Here's what you need:
Freezer paper (I bought Reynold's brand from Walmart)
Cotton fabric
Inkjet printer

First, iron your fabric really well. I used a stiffer cotton because I didn't want super thin labels. Make sure your fabric is larger than 8.5 x 11". Next, iron a sheet of freezer paper onto the fabric, following the instructions on the package. Make sure this is also larger than 8.5 x 11".

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Next, measure and cut your fabric/freezer paper sheet into exactly 8.5 x 11" (or whatever printer paper size you use in your printer). I used a rotary mat and cutter to be very precise.
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Finally, design your labels (I used Photoshop, but you could easy just use a word processor) and send your fabric through your printer!

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These were designed for some napkins I'm making, but obviously, you could use your shop name, your name, or whatever you like!
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I was amazed with how this worked. And after it dried really well, I ironed it to heat set it, then washed it in a cold cycle and nothing even blurred or faded.

So there you have it - easy, cheap fabric labels. I hope you try it!

Brighter Day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

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As you may know, I used to have an Etsy shop where I sold jewelry, accessories, and all kinds of pretty little things. Because of the craziness of school, I closed it up for a while.

But I've decided that as soon as I finish school for the semester, it's time for Brighter Day to reopen!
So on Monday, May 16th,I'll open up shop again, this time with a new line of handbags. They're the perfect size to keep your wallet, keys, cell phone, and other necessities without the bulk of a huge purse.

I've been a busy bee with my sewing machine. Here's a sneak peek:

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And as always, 10% of all proceeds will go to IJM to help fight human trafficking and slavery.
I hope you'll check it out!
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