December 2014 Photo Challenge

Thought for the Day: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

With the new year comes new challenges, new ways to get creative, more ways to express yourself and increase your skills. Each month of 2014 have had a photography challenge designed to expand my photography and show pieces of my life that normally are passed over. Think about it. How many things do you take for granted in daily life? My goal is to capture these precious moments and to slow down and recognize all the blessings God has given me. By having picture evidence of these experiences I will be able to look back and remember where I was at that specific moment in time. I created the following December Photo Challenge to hold myself accountable and challenge myself to look for blessings in each day. Here is the last one for the year! Enjoy!

December Photo Challenge

Please feel free to join me in this experience whether it is by continuing to visit here online, or by completing the challenge yourself. If you decide to participate please leave me a comment or email me at creativelyloving.wordpress (at) so that I can follow you on Pinterest or your blog. Have any other great photo challenges? I would love to hear from you!

Please note that the materials used to make this challenge were purchased from Jessica Gordon and all rights are reserved by her. If you would like to see these designs or any others by her, please visit here website here.


Thought for the Day: “In everything you do, put God first. He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” – Proverbs 3:6

I wrote this post over a year ago but I wanted to take a chance to share it again. Enjoy!

I know many people don’t like the idea of new year’s resolutions. I know many people make them and fail within the first 24 hours, the first week, the first month. They are hard to keep and sometimes we allow ourselves to get discouraged and decide that we should start again “tomorrow”.

I however, love new year’s resolutions! New years is a chance to start over, an opportunity to make improvements within the time frame of a year. I like the challenge. I like the list that I can check off of. I find it extremely rewarding.

Today I want to encourage this idea of new beginnings. If you find yourself struggling to keep the resolutions that you have set for yourself, don’t be afraid to modify them. If you fail, don’t be afraid to start over. You don’t have to wait for 2014 to set these goals again.

As I was pondering this idea of new beginnings and resolutions, I was reminded of this song about new beginnings and where my strength for these beginnings comes from. I was reminded about how important it is to slow down despite the business of life to thank the person who is responsible for my existence. I was reminded about the beginning that was called into play by God Himself.

I want to encourage you to make a point to sit down throughout this next year and spend time in silence. Spend time in worship. Spend time in prayer. Spend time in thankfulness to God. For some, this is ideal on a daily basis. For others, it is more practical once a week or a few times a week. Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely a hard thing to do because we live busy lives! But I think you will find it extremely rewarding in all areas of your life.

Think about it like this. Lets say you have an empty jar that represents your life.

Each piece of your life takes up a little room in the jar.

jar with rocks

For example, if your a student you have rocks that represent homework, classes, and grades. If you are a mom you have rocks for cleaning, cooking, and taking care of your family. If you work, you have rocks to symbolize that. You also have rocks for the hobbies that you enjoy such as scrapbooking, sports, singing, reading, etc.


With all of these responsibilities, it appears as if the jar is full. In fact, seeing all the things that we are involved in might be a little overwhelming. It might even seem that God doesn’t have room at all because there is no more space, or time.

God however isn’t contained to the little rocks in this jar. He is much bigger than that and is involved in multiple areas of your life that are already represented in the jar. If we take water and pour it into the jar, it will fill the spaces that are created between the pebbles.


Now the jar is truly full; it’s completed. Without the water, the jar isn’t finished yet because there are so many holes that still need to be filled. The water touches every pebble just as God touches every aspect of life. Without Him, life cannot be complete.

God has plans for each one of those pebbles. Whether they are happy pieces of life or pieces of brokenness and heartache, God has a way of making all of these pebbles into something beautiful. He knows why each of those pebbles takes up the space that it does.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Remember this as you decide how to spend your time this year. Make sure the pebbles in your jar are put into perspective. Start with the important ones such as family, school, and work. Then, if there is extra room add golf, shopping, video games, etc. And lastly, don’t forget to make your life complete with the water that is essential to life.

Final Collage

Wizard of Oz Corn Maze Adventure

Thought for the Day: “The priest answered them, “Go in peace. Your journey has the LORD’s approval.” – Judges 18:6

This past Fall my school put on an event at the Corn Maze for students and their families. Austin and I decided to make it a date night! It isn’t a far drive from our apartment so we ate dinner and headed out. Each year they choose a different theme to design into the maze. This year the entire maze was Wizard of Oz! We walked through the title and through each characters face trying to find our way out. Throughout the maze there are signs and check points that let you know that you are headed in the right direction. I made Austin take lots of pictures with me at these spots throughout our corn maze adventure.


CDs IK Bid Party 2013

Thought for the Day: “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32

Every year our clubs host a bid party to celebrate and welcome our potential new members into our clubs. They have to go through Club Commitment Week but this is the first party of this process.

Each club starts individually by hosting a party with their own bids. This year we were invited into a lovely home belonging to one of the business owners at Southern Elegance Designs. (Click on their name to check out their Facebook page. They are trying to hit 1000 likes!) They served us mashed potatoes with various toppings in martini glasses called “po-tinis”. They were delicious! Their tables were beautiful and it was so sweet of them to put so much effort into our party.

After dinner we went through every club member and bid and introduced ourselves. Then we headed to a church where Koinonia meets us for a devotional and pictures. Everyone looked so beautiful and did a great job hosting this event for our soon to be new members. We spent at least an hour taking pictures with everyone. Hope you enjoy the slideshow with some of my favorites!

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CD IK Paint Brawl Mixer 2013

Thought for the Day: “I am oppressed and needy! May the Lord pay attention to me! You are my helper and my deliverer! O my God, do not delay!” – Psalm 40:17

One of the mixers that we throw each year to get to know incoming Freshman and other students interested in clubs is our Paint Brawl Mixer. We have so much fun playing games, hanging out in the sun, and getting messy! My goal was to make my shirt prettier than it ended up last year. After I washed it there was a beautiful array of paint stains left covering the previous brown paint from the previous brawls. For those of you who know me, I hate getting my hands dirty, much less my whole body… Please, be proud.

Paint Brawl PhotosPaint Brawl 9 Paint Brawl 6 Paint Brawl 7 Paint Brawl 10 Paint Brawl 1 Paint Brawl 1.5 Paint Brawl 2 Paint Brawl 3

Get Busy Bash 2013

Thought for the Day: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.” – Romans 12:10

Each year LCU greets the new school year with Freshman GO Orientation. I was able to participate in this tradition through the Get Busy Bash in which all the clubs on campus celebrate the beginning of a new year by showing the incoming freshman their school spirit. We want to get to know some of the new potential members and try to get them excited about rushing in general no matter which club they select.

CDs sets up a booth and serves purple drinks, pass out bracelets, and paints our CD swirl on faces, hands, etc. Koinonia sets up a booth where they play milk pong. Once you get the ball into a glass of milk you race against your opponent to chug it and the winner gets to shove a pie (mostly whipped cream) into the other person’s face. Austin has won two years in a row.

One of the organizations on campus feeds everyone dinner. Its so chaotic and fun because everyone is excited to see each other after they’ve been gone all summer.

Right before the end of the evening each club gets to seranade or sing a club song. I love this part of club! The boys get to use the rest of their milk during their song at this event because it is outside but man does it start to stink! We had fun running around them trying to avoid the milk splashes. Austin kept trying to hug me after they were finished but luckily I was able to avoid it. This was such a fun way to welcome the new school year.

Get Busy Bash

S’mores Pie

Thought for the Day: “But he said, ‘Now bring meal.’ He threw it into the pot and said, ‘Pour it out for the people that they may eat.’ Then there was no harm in the pot.” – 2 Kings 4:41

I needed a good recipe for a club mixer this year and found one for S’mores pie on a random site that I stumbled across called Tasty Kitchen Blog. The funny part is that the recipe was originally from Tonya Ferguson whose blog 4littleFergusons I follow regularly. This has become a favorite of Austin’s and has been fought over at church potlucks so I thought it would be smart to share the recipe. Be sure to head over to their sites by clicking on the blog names to get more great recipes and leave them some love!

Smores Pie

Click on the recipe to view it larger. Enjoy!


Starting Nursing School

Thought for the Day: “Whatever you do, work headily, as for the Lord and not for men,” – Colossians 3:23

Last semester I began the four semester process of completing a nursing school program in which I earn a RN certificate. I remember how excited I was to get accepted in April. It was the only school I applied to and I was accepted on my first try. It was such a blessing!

Austin and I moved back to Texas exactly six days after we said “I do,” and I started school three days after that. It was crazy and hectic but so much fun at the same time.

My first day of school was overwhelming. There was a schedule passed out, color coded for each class, lecture, lab, clinical session, etc. As I read over it I got more and more excited but realized even my OCD organization wasn’t going to cut it. I spent the first month readjusting. I learned to study, I learned to be organized, I learned time management, I learned how to put my homework down and say “I quit for tonight” so that I could save just a little piece of my sanity. Its hard work! But that’s just the part they warn you about before hand. The part they forget to mention is the worth that is hidden beneath the homework and class time. It’s incredibly humbling to be a part of this program and I love learning from some of the best nurses this world has to offer.

I’ve only been in school for 1 semester, 20 weeks, 94 days… but I’ve already learned so much. I understand why it’s difficult and why they pay attention to details. I understand why it will only become increasingly difficult as the semesters go by. It makes me feel blessed to attend a school that places that much effort into my education and into my future. After all, it will be the difference in someone’s healthcare experience. If I am ever a patient lying in a hospital bed, I want the very best caring for me. That makes me want to be the very best for everyone else.

Three more semesters until graduation! Here’s to working hard, learning a lot, and becoming the best possible nurse that I can possibly be.


Happily Ever After: Honeymoon

Thought for the Day: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1

Saturday morning after our wedding we woke up, hit a CVS for the few items we forgot to pack and then hit the road. We headed to Newport Beach, California to spend a week relaxing and soaking in the sun before starting school the following week.

Now before I start telling you about our trip, I have to brag on my husband for a minute. He planned this entire trip by himself and did a fabulous job! Don’t believe me? Keep reading…

We arrived at our hotel and checked in. I was very excited to be out of the car. This was the nicest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in. He picked a suite that had so much space for us to relax.

IMG_0381Honeymoon 2After getting settled in, we found a local red box and picked a few movies to rent for the night. I was still exhausted from all the wedding prep so I didn’t really want to go out. We went to pick up the movies on the way to dinner. Austin drove down Pacific Coast Highway so that I could see the beach. He had me look up places to eat and we picked a little pizza place about 20 minutes away from our hotel. We ate early so there we had nearly the whole restaurant to ourselves. We sat by this cute fish tank so naturally I had to take a picture. The pizza was delicious!

Honeymoon 3

I practically begged Austin to take me to the beach before going back to our hotel. It wasn’t too hard because he was definitely excited too. We had a hard time finding parking spots that didn’t cost a lot of money. Most of them were closing soon anyway because the sun was getting ready to set and they close at dark. We pulled into a neighborhood and found a little park tucked behind some beach front properties. We parked at the park and simply paid a couple quarters into the meter and walked the extra 10 yards to the beach. I love the beach and treasured every second walking along the waters edge with my new husband. Before leaving I requested a few sand pictures for my scrapbook. He happily agreed and helped me draw pictures into the sand.

Once the sun had gone down we returned to our car and headed back to our hotel. I was exhausted and probably slept 14-15 hours that night. I woke up well rested and excited for the day. I google mapped an iHop for breakfast but it took us to a local breakfast joint. We were starving and decided to stay rather than find an actual iHop. There was newspaper articles on the wall that shared the story of the restraints owners and their family history. It was so interesting and made the wait go by super fast. I ordered a delicious tomato, sausage, and cheese omelet. YUM!

With our bellies full we drove back to our hotel ready for a nap, stopping by a Redbox to swap out our movies. We watched movies and napped until later in the afternoon when we had a fun couples date planned. Massages! I’ve never had a professional massage before but I loved it. Honestly, I thought it ended way to soon!

Austin let me pick the restaurant for dinner that night. I loved getting all dressed up and walking down to the restaurant together. There is a huge shopping center down the hill from our hotel so it was an easy and refreshing walk. On our way through the stores there was a giant coy fish pond. I loved it because you could see all the fish swimming around. I told Austin I needed one of these in my backyard someday but I don’t think he was convinced.

Honeymoon 5

Honeymoon 4This was my favorite meal of vacation by far. We sat outside on the balcony that only had two tables. If you looked past the construction there was a great view. It was so nice having our own private dining room. I was so full from dinner that I had to take my cheesecake to go. They forgot to give us forks in the to-go bag. You can imagine how stupid I felt calling the room service at our hotel for 2 forks. It was totally worth it though…


We got up extra early the next morning for DISNEYLAND! It was a short drive from our hotel and we were too excited to notice how early it was. While it was busy, we were still able to get onto plenty of rides.

Honeymoon 1

Honeymoon 6We had planned to stay until the park closed so that we could watch one of the shows. I only made it until dinner time. It was so exhausting, and I started getting a headache and stomach ache. We headed out early and slept in the next morning so that we could stay for both shows the following night. The second day went way better than the first because we started the day well rested. We got to hit all our favorites one last time before the shows and stopped for our favorite meal at Disneyland: broccoli cheddar soup in bread bowls with hot chocolate.

I was sad to leave the park because it meant going home the next day. I enjoyed our short little trip together and didn’t want it to end. It did though and we made the drive back to good ole’ Arizona. The excitement wasn’t over though. We had less than 24 hours to finish packing up to move to back to college. That however is a story in itself, more tomorrow!