Saturday, March 30, 2013

First Tutorial - Oatmeal Carton Headband Holder

Good Morning & Happy Easter (Again!)

As I said in the title of this post, this is my FIRST tutorial (and I'm more than a little nervous about it!) I suppose I should begin by saying this is NOT an original idea, I have found similar projects on Pinterest and simply put my own "spin" on it.

I realize this will come as a shock to you all, but I am a Girly-Girl (NO WAY!!!! YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!?!?!? LOL)
Ssssoooo, it should come as no surprise that I LOVE accessories. Scarves, fun tights/leggings, SHOES, and, of course, headbands. I've collected headbands for years and have a quite a few of them (some, rather expensive). Now, that being said, I haven't been able to find a good place in my house to keep them. Instead, I've been throwing them all into a hat box where they get all tangled together and I've broken more than one just trying to get them untangled. Just look that this MESS I've been dealing with!

I finally decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!! And I found an Oatmeal-Box-Turned-Headband-Holder Tutorial on Pinterest and decided that's what I was going to do! I decided I wanted to do the "old book pages" look. Here's what I started with:
I happened to have a Gift Card to Michael's so I went on a little shopping trip last week and picked up my Decou-Page (pretty much the same thing as Modge Podge).
The instructions on the Decou-Page advise waiting 20 minutes between each layer of Decou-Page...I found I was able to get about three book pages on my oatmeal box at a time. I let it dry the allotted 20 minutes and added three more until the carton was complete. Let me just say, I ADORE the look!
Thank you for viewing my first tutorial! Please comment/critique!

Love, Sarah D.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Good Evening & Happy Easter!

I hope this finds you safe and warm as well as those you call your own :). (That was kind of a weird opening statement, wasn't it? Well, I am weird...and I'm okay with that) This upcoming Easter holiday has got me feeling even more melancholy and nostalgic than usual (and that's saying something!). In a way, I suppose it's a good thing...I've previously found that it's when I think and meditate on the "regular" things in life that I'm open to hear His still, small voice and I'm able to see the tiny glimmers of Him in my everyday life.

Lately, things have say the least. Doubts have surfaced. Negative voices have been excessively loud. These things...tend to wear a person out. And I don't know about you, but when I'm worn out, I tend to have a generally low opinion of my self...and we all know what that means...Sarah starts sending out invitations to the biggest pity party of the year. But I was able to cut the "Poor-Sarah-she's-got-it-so-tough" party short thanks to a gentle but firm reminder from my beloved Pastor, Jeffrey A. Lashley. From the pulpit last weekend, he said to us (the congregation at Pentecostals of Peoria) that when we are--to quote L.M. Montgomery--"in the depths of despair" if we can get our eyes off of ourselves and our situations and focus on God, we will feel better. Pastor suggested that we should sing about Him and His greatness in midst of dark trials and His light would shine through. This may seem elementary to you and I guess in a way it is, but I needed the reminder. And, in the last few days, I've put his suggestion to the test, and it worked! When I was feeling low, I called to memory songs and Scriptures that spoke of the greatness and faithfulness and love of God, and I would feel better.

One Scripture that helped in particular this week, was Ephesians 2:1-10. Which reads:
        "It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
        Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."

If I'm understanding that right, and I'd like to think that I am, that is basically saying that He's got control of this. He doesn't need my help. There's nothing I can DO to save myself or make Him love me anymore or any less...I am saved by His grace alone, I just have to receive it and trust in it and Him.

Thank You, Jesus, for the grace You bestow on me every day. Thank You that it follows me everywhere I go and is always there when I need it. Thank You for this upcoming Easter Holiday and everything that it represents. Thank You for the sacrifice You made...for me. I know that if I had been the only person that would ever need saving, You still would have endured Calvary and conquered Death, Hell, and the Grave. That's how much You love me. And I love You, because You first loved me

Love, Sarah D
 See His Grace at work...for me...and for you.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Instagram Diary - 25th Birthday!

Good Afternoon!

I celebrated by 25th birthday earlier this week and just wanted to share some of the fun moments of the day with you!


Even though it was a PRETTY SIGNIFICANT day, I still had to work...however, my darling little children did their best to the mood festive!
Two of my kiddies brought me a balloon...along with chocolate and a McDonald's gift card...I feel loved! :)

I had brought my laptop to work with me and was jumping online to look up some fun, springy crafts for the kiddos to do in the next couple of weeks when I noticed the Google logo seemed to be extra festive! :)
Look! Even Google is celebrating my birthday! :) (you can't really tell...but that is the Google logo)

Some of you may be aware of this, but I'm sure it will be news to at least a few of you...I have worked a split shift for the Greater Peoria Family YMCA for a number of years now, and to be honest, I LOVE it!!!! It works great with my daily life (plus, I get a nap in the middle of the day a few times a AWESOME is that!?!?!?!?) Anyway, the day of my birthday, I got to leave early from my first shift, so the Momster took me out to Cracker Barrel for Birthday Brunch :).
Had a WONDERFUL made-to-order omelet and hash browns :)

I had a pretty small "Wish List" for my birthday this year, I requested cold, hard cash from all of my friends and family, except for my beloved Sister. I told her I wanted a "Country Music Birthday", so she purchased a couple of great cds for me (Thompson Square and Hunter Hayes <3). She also blessed me with a new purse...what can I say? She knows me! :) From the Lord, I requested a beautiful day with 60 degree weather...let's just say, He came through with 1/2 of the was GORGEOUS day with bright sunshine, but it was only 28 degrees and windy...SSSSOOOO, the Momster and I celebrated with a fire in our fireplace! :)
It was warm and toasty INSIDE even if it was blustery and frigid OUTSIDE!

While we were enjoying the warmth of the fire, the Momster brought out THE BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!! Generally, I am NOT a chocoholic and prefer white cake over chocolate, but for some odd reason, when she asked what kind of cake I wanted for my special day, I informed the Momster that I wanted a "Better Than ___" cake (I'm attempting to keep this blog "PG" rated).
It was just as FABULOUS as I had hoped it would be...The Momster is an EXPERT BAKER!!!!
Unfortunately, even though my Momster did a BANG UP job on the cake, I was unable to share any of it with my babies (school rules do not permit homemade treats). I still wanted them to have "birthday cake" with me, so I compromised and bought them my favorite snack cakes...ZEBRA CAKES! :)
Needless to say, the Zebra Cakes were a HUGE HIT!!!! No leftovers :)
One of my favorite parts about working with children, is how precious they can be. When my kids found out my birthday was coming, they SHOWERED me with drawings!
This particular artist must have been feeling a bit shy. She left this for me on my desk rather than giving it to me in person.
 The day wrapped up with me spending time with my favorite cousins and the youth group from church (my cousins are the Youth Leaders). Unfortunately, I didn't capture a photo due to my arms being full with my cousins' youngest bundle of joy, Little Miss Myah :). All in all, I had a very nice birthday.

I enjoyed sharing it with you!

Love, Sarah D.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"You Can Stand Under My Umbrella..."

Good Evening!

I hope this finds you enjoying a nice, relaxing weekend! If not, then I hope you can have a relaxing day tomorrow! :)

Ssssoooo...last Saturday I spent the day hanging out with my Sister, Melissa, my Nephew, Jordan and my Cousin, Maranda. We were actually together to celebrate my nephew's 12th birthday, which is today as a matter of fact :), and my birthday which is coming up on Tuesday. I had brought my camera along for the day with the intention of capturing a couple of cute family moments. However, that did NOT turn out to be the case. I did use my camera, but it turned into a full shoot of me and my cousin playing in the light drizzle that was falling. 

Let me brag on my cousin, Maranda, here for a second. This girl is 14 years old and more like a sister to me than a cousin. Anyway, she has graciously allowed me to take her pictures on MANY different occasions. Lately, however, she's been wanting to get BEHIND the camera. All pictures of me in this blog were taken by here...did I mention she's only 14?!?!?!?! :)

Please enjoy the music while viewing our photos! :)

Don't forget to let me know what you think!

Thanks for viewing!

Love, Sarah D.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!!

Good Evening, Everyone!

All I can say is THANK GOD TOMORROW IS FRIDAY!!!! This week has been CRAZY! In some ways that's good...the week flew by! But it also completely exhausted me! I am looking forward to a "doing nothing important" weekend :).

As I was contemplating what to discuss in my blog this week, I actually had several different things come to mind that would have been interesting to talk about (I won't spell them out now...maybe I will actually do some writing on them in the future).

For the time being, I just wanted to share a few tips that have, thus far, gotten me through this, and many other hectic weeks. Now, I do NOT, in any way, want to put anyone under the impression that I've got my act together and never have a freak out moment during a crazy day! That is ABSOLUTELY NOT the case! I am just as human as everyone else (just ask anyone who's been around me for more then 3 seconds...they'll tell you!). I tend to be a rather emotional female and, more often than not, get caught up in the stress of the moment and have some sort of meltdown, whether it be in front of God and everybody (OOOOHHHH, the memories!) or in the privacy of my own little mind. Now, having said all this, I have dealt with we call it a handicap? :) I have dealt with this "handicap" long enough to have learned a thing or two about how to deal with it.

The following are tips and tricks that have benefited me in my own personal life and I just thought I'd take a chance that maybe, just maybe, there is someone else out there who struggles with similar issues :).

#1 - Plan ahead
I try (I'm not always successful, but I do make the effort)to know my schedule at least a week in advance. That way I have a guideline in my head of when and where I will be doing everything that I need to be doing. It's very easy for me to "double book" myself when I don't have a clear schedule in my head (or on my phone). This also helps eliminate long moments standing in front of the closet trying to decide what to wear...if I know that tomorrow is going to be a "run-around-like-a-crazy-person" day, I will know to dress in clothing that is more comfortable and functional versus sassy-but-I-have-to-remember-to-keep-my-stomach-sucked-in-'cause-this-top-is-a-little-snug...:) (Admit it...that made you smile).

#2 - Know Your Limits
I am not Superwoman...never have been and never will be...and honestly, I have NO desire to be! Even when I have a week meticulously planned out, there is always SOMETHING that comes up to add at least one more item to my "To-Do" list. If that little "Pop-Up" is something that you CAN say "no" to, it's okay to say "no" to it! If I'm already stressed to the max, I will only be putting MORE stress on myself if I accept yet another chore.

#3 - Schedule a Break
If I know I've got a busy week ahead of me, I make sure to have some time set aside for me to just breathe and relax a little. Sometimes, I LITERALLY have to schedule this break into my week. In the past, I have pushed myself to the breaking point before I applied the brakes and took a break (sorry...couldn't resist...the pun originated in my ADD brain and I had to share it!) Anyway, I know that kind of continuous stress can and WILL damage a body and spirit. To give you an example, last night I made sure that I took a long, relaxing soak in the bathtub before going to bed for two reasons: (1) I sleep better if I have a hot bath before going to bed...and we all know how vital a good night's rest is during a stressful week! and (2) it gave me a little break from the stress of the week. I didn't rush. I took my time, enjoyed soaking in the hot water, read a little bit, and just unwound from the day.

#4 - Remember You're Not Alone
It helps me IMMENSELY to remember in the midst of a stressful week that I'm not facing the craziness alone. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20b "...and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Jesus understands stress. (If you don't believe me, read "In the Eye of the Storm" by Max will change your perspective and your life if you let it.) It's not His Will for us to face the challenges and everyday roller coasters of life without Him. In the moment when I feel like I can't take anymore, acknowledging that He is still in control of the Universe and walking by my side facing EVERYTHING with me helps. And it helps more than a little bit. And furthermore, He WANTS to help! Scripture tells us what to do! "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (I Peter 5:7 NIV)

#5 - Take a Minute to Laugh
If I look hard enough, I can ALWAYS find SOMETHING amusing in my life. Yes, even when I'm stressed to the max! In my case, that is one of the great rewards of working with children on daily basis. Kids are a delight when nothing else seems to move me. And that is just the plain truth of it! Similarly, laughter has a way of making us feel better when we're having a rough day. If you really seek it out, you will find a reason to laugh...and, I know it makes me feel better, I hope it does the same for you!

Today, I will provide your laugh...enjoy! :) (This is only a clip of the original, but it still made me smile)
Sarah D

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

ALWAYS go back to what you KNOW

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

My mind has been running kind of helter-skelter this week and, quite honestly, I've really had to focus to keep myself from having a crying jag. In the moments of near hysteria, Jesus has a little trick that He uses to calm me. It goes a little something like this:

"Sarah, you're stressing out over what you don't know. You don't know where I'm taking You. You don't know what I'm up to. You don't know how things are going to turn out. How about this? How about you leave all the "don't knows" to Me and focus on what you DO KNOW? Come on, Love (what? God doesn't have a pet name for you?), tell Me what you DO KNOW."

I take a deep breath and begin, "Well...I know that I woke up this morning with health and strength in my body.""

"Yes" He agrees.

"I know that in a world with a struggling economy, I have a job to go to everyday. I may not make that much and it may not be the greatest job in the world, but its stable."

Again, He agrees.

"I know that You have given me talents and abilities that allow me to keep that job. I know that I was blessed to learn the importance of responsibility and integrity at an early age. That also allows me to keep my job."

"Yes, Love," He says. "You're getting the hang of this. Now what do you know about Me?"

Here is where I can't HELP but get choked up! "I know that You love me. That You never give up on me, even when I give up on myself. I know that I am nothing without You, but we are everything together. I know that You've never failed me and I know You never will. I know You have a plan and a purpose for my life greater than I can hope or imagine. I know Your timing is perfect. I know You are righteous in all Your ways and holy in all Your works. I know You hold the world in Your Hand. I know nothing takes You by surprise. I know You are the Author and Finisher of MY faith."

He interrupts, "Love, isn't it so much better to talk about what you DO KNOW, rather than what you DON'T KNOW?"

He's right, of course, He's God after all.

So...I was reminded again today...when I'm faced with uncertainty and frustrating situations, I should go back to what I know. Why? Well, first of all, it takes my mind off the stressful situation that I've been over-analyzing for WAY TOO LONG. Secondly, it puts me back in the right perspective: God is still on the throne and just because I'm confused doesn't mean that He is. And finally, it really does calm me and make me feel better.

Might I humbly encourage you to give it a try? :)

Sarah D

Monday, March 4, 2013

30 Day Photography Challenge :)

Good Afternoon!

I just have to say that I am VERY EXCITED about today's blog!!!! 30 days ago, I found a photography challenge on Pinterest (COMPLETELY OBSESSED with that website!!!! <3). I am an ASPIRING photographer and I thought, "Oh, this seems cool...let's see what I can do with it!"
Now that you have seen THE CHALLENGE, I shall share the photos with you! ;) PLEASE feel free to critique any and all of them! Some, I admit, could have been MUCH better, but I developed a case of bronchitis at the beginning of the challenge and simply did not have the ENERGY to put a lot into it. Throughout THE CHALLENGE, I have been posting a new photo to FACEBOOK everyday...along with the photos I will be sharing the original descriptions I wrote to go along with them :). HERE WE GO!!!!

Day One - Self-Portrait
(Apparently, I wasn't feeling very WORDY on this particular day, because I didn't add anymore of a description than that...however, I must have been feeling CUTE because I took and saved THREE Self-Portraits instead of the required ONE...)

Day Two - What You Wore
New All Stars & SASSY bag!!!! LOVE!!!! <3<3<3<3

Day Three - Clouds

Day Four - "Something Green"

Day Five - After Dark
I like this shot 'cause it reminds me of one of my favorite songs, "Come Home" by Lordsong..."There's a light of hope still shining. Mercy leaves it on. So you're wandering heart can find it's way back home..."

Day Six - Obsession
Lol...anyone who knows me, knows I'm addicted to Starbucks...I usually only get one tho...but today was "Buy 1 get 1 FREE"...;)

Day Seven - Changes to Come
Ok, PLEASE excuse the semi-lameness of this...I was hoping to get pic of a building under construction or a pregnant mommy...but that just didn't happen today...the best I could come up with was Daylight Savings Time

Day Eight - Routine
Every morning I have a tall glass of juice and a cup of probably wouldn't wanna talk to me first thing in the morning without the

Day Nine - Someone You Love
Ok, so OBVIOUSLY, this is a photo of a photo...but haven't seen my big Sis, Melissa in a few weeks and I've really been missing her the past few days so I decided that she was the person I wanted to photograph today...and my beautiful nephew, Jordan, as well :) I LOVE YOU, SIS!!!!

Day Ten - Childhood Memory
Took my YMCA kids on a Field Trip to the new Riverfront Museum today...watched a Planetarium show...brought back childhood memories of seeing Planetarium shows at Lakeview with my Dad :)

Day Eleven - Something Blue
Two of my little baby girls soaring into the blue ;)

Day Twelve - Sunset
My Boppy Girl (my cousin, McKenzie) says this reminds her of the African Savannah :)

Day Thirteen - Cannot Live Without
There's not much I can't live without...I don't NEED much, but I NEED Him & He is the music of my heart ♥
 Day Fourteen - Eyes
Three of my favorite people (my cousins, Maranda, Madi, & McKenzie)...all with BEAUTIFUL PEEPERS!!!!

 Day Fifteen - Silhouette
Three FABULOUS females!!!! ;)

Day Sixteen - A Good Habit

Day Seventeen - Technology
If there's anyone who's got technology "wired", it's her! ;) ♥ My Madi!

Day Eighteen - Your Shoes
these boots!!!! ;) ♥♥♥♥

Day Nineteen - What You Want
In preparation for the blizzard occurring now, my kids and I created these beautiful snowflakes and hung them on our classroom window...WE WANT A SNOW DAY!!!! ;)

Day Twenty - In My Bag
Ssssoooo are some of the necessities I carry around with me on a daily basis...notice I said "some"...I actually have a lot more junk in my purse than

Day Twenty-one - Faceless Self-Portrait
Okay, so I realize I have posted several different photos containing shoes...but what can I say? I'm just a shoe kinda girl! ;) Also, anyone who knows me knows about my Black and White fetish ♥♥♥♥
 Day Twenty-two - Inspirational
This happens to be two of my very favorite people, my cousins, Steve & Amber Kinney. They inspire me in many ways, but this is a photo of them with their three foster kids. It's a HUGE commitment to open your home and heart to love and provide for three darling little people that could be snatched away from you at a moment's notice. This family inspires me to lend a helping a hand even when there is a possibility for me to get hurt in the end. Love you guys! ♥♥♥♥

 Day Twenty-three - Patterns I'm sure you can see, we have LOTS of different patterns going on here :)

 Day Twenty-four - Animals
Ok, so OBVIOUSLY I did NOT take this photo today...I took it last summer on the College & Career trip to St. Louis. :)

Day Twenty-five - Stranger
I don't know this lovely lady's name, but at the same time I don't know if I can really consider her a "stranger". After all, she works at Starbucks, my home away from home :).

Day Twenty-six - Close-Up
Our AWESOME Mr. Tim!

Day Twenty-seven - Celebration
It's a SNOW Party!!!! :)

Day Twenty-eight - Flowers
This is the bouquet I carried in my lovely friend, Alisha's wedding :)

Day Twenty-Nine - Black & White
Mini icicles hanging on the banister in front of my house :)

Day Thirty - FINAL DAY - Self-portrait

As kind of a "P.S."...this big fella was watching me take my final self-portrait and barking the whole about giving a girl performance issues!!!!

 I hope you enjoyed viewing my photos as much as I did taking them! 

Have a great week!!!!

Sarah D