Thursday, September 26, 2013

50th Post Celebration! {Oh, and some more Autumn DIY!}

Good Afternoon, Friends and Family!
Today, I am celebrating my 50th Blog Post!
It has been an interesting journey thus far.
But a good one :).

I really feel like I am indeed finding my voice
which was the point of this blog from the beginning.
(New to my blog? You can find my first post here.)
As I've stated before,
I believe everyone has a story that needs to be shared
and this blog is my attempt at telling mine.
I need to share my story
because I need to stop hiding from my scary memories
and face them.
I need to fall in love with who I am.

I'm not quite there yet,
but I do see some very welcome changes in my life.
I was praying the other day
and I said to the Lord,
"Jesus, I think the blog is working."
He replied, "Don't kid yourself! It is!"
(I love how personal He is with me!)

Anyway, I just want to take a second
and thank all of you who are making this journey with me.
You don't have to tag along, but you do
and I don't take your presence lightly!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, on to the fun stuff! :)
I've got some more Autumn DIY to share!
I've been wanting a festive fall decoration for my office door at work.
With some Pinterest Inspiration,
here's what I can up with:

Here is a basic tutorial:

Materials Needed:
Burlap cut into strips about 1 inch wide (I used a piece approximately 12" by 9")
Hot glue gun & sticks
Wooden Initial (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)
Fall flowers & other decor

Cut your burlap into strips. I also had to cut 4 2" square pieces to put over the ends.
I hot glued the end piece on first then I started wrapping the letter.
This part was the most difficult and took the was pretty tedious.

Once I got it all wrapped up
(I told my mom I felt like I was wrapping a mummy...),
it was a breeze!

Then I simply hot glued leaves to the bottom of the "S".
Then added the flower on top of the leaves.
Then attached the acorns and the pumpkin vine
(I have no idea what the official name for these are...I just call them pumpkin vines).
I added the bow and hung it on my office door!

EASY!!!! :)

Happy Crafting!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Children's Book Review {Happy Fall!}

Okay, I know it may seem weird that I'm jumping 
from a Boudair Photo Shoot to a Children's Book Review.
 But hey, this blog isn't titled "A Roller-Coaster Life" for nothing...
When I say that life throws MAJOR TWISTS AND TURNS at me,

Anyway, on to the review...

As I've mentioned numerous times, 
I currently work at split shift for the Greater Peoria Family YMCA.
I spend five hours of the day as a Y-Achievement (Before & After Care) Educator
at Thomas Jefferson Primary School.
The other three hours of the day,
I spend in the office at the YMCA doing the job of an administrative assistant
to the Director of Youth and Family Services.
I know I've said it before,
I love that I get to spend sometime with my kids
and sometime in my office.
I feel like the change of pace keeps me from burning out.

One of my favorite pass times when I'm at the school
is reading to my little people.
I make trips to the Public Library at least once a week
to get new books to read to them.
Lately we've been focusing on Autumn Themed books.
'Cause as we all know...

These first few books are very easy reads!
In fact, I had my younger kids (kindergarten and first grade)
read them to me! :)
"I See Fall" by Charles Ghinga
"The Leaves on the Trees" by Thom Wiley
"Let It Fall" by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

The next three books had bigger words
so I had to do the reading,
but the kids LOVED them
and the illustrations were adorable!

"Squirrel's Fall Search" by Anita Loughrey & Daniel Howarth

 "Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze!" by Maureen Wright
In reference to the story line,
this one was my favorite!
Very cute!

"By the Light of the Harvest Moon" by Harriet Ziefert
In reference to the illustrations,
this one was my favorite!
GORGEOUS pictures that will make you CRAVE all things autumn! :)

Thank you for viewing my Children's Book Review!
I would love to know what your favorite autumn books for kids are!
Happy Fall, Everyone!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A New Photography Experience {Boudoir}

Ok, I know what you're thinking!
"Seriously!?!?!?!? She took Boudoir pictures?!?!?!?!"
Let me answer that with a resounding, 

Now, that's not to say that I wasn't nervous about it at first,
of course I was nervous.
I'm ALWAYS nervous before a new photography experience!
And, yes, I wondered a bit about what people would think
of me and my morals if I did a boudoir shoot.
But honestly, it was this Lovely Lady's LOVE STORY that won me over!

She and her husband will be celebrating their 
10th Wedding Anniversary this coming year
and she can FINALLY fit back into her wedding dress 
after having FOUR CHILDREN!
(I think BOTH of those facts are worth celebrating!)

I will be taking more photos of this lady and her family 
Stay tuned!

Oh, and yes, I do plan on continuing to take Boudoir photos.
I have a criteria in mind that the model will have to meet,
but I don't see anything wrong with a woman 
giving her husband photos of sensual images of herself.
God is the Inventor of Sex
and He created it to be pleasurable for a husband and wife.
If you don't believe me, 
just check out the Song of Solomon in the Bible.
You can find a great article about God's thoughts and opinions on sex here.

The following is just a glimpse of the article 
that I believe directly relates to the usage of boudoir photography in marraige:
"Eric Elder suggests asking a powerful question to help clarify
the battle against sexual temptation:
will this lead to greater intimacy and fruitfulness
with the husband or wife God has created for me?
This filter is helpful for both married people and singles.
If an action doesn't build intimacy or fruitfulness, it probably destroys them."

Ssssoooo, does Boudoir Photography lead to greater intimacy and fruitfulness
with the husband or wife God has created for me?
In this specific case, I would say:
This Lovely Lady has all the right motives behind her actions
and therefore, I'm proud to say
I'm the photographer behind these beautiful images!

I would love to hear your thoughts on Christians, Sex, and Boudoir photography!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Grandparent's Day Kids' Craft Tutorial {"Owl" Always Love You}

Good Evening, Everyone!
Yes, I realize that it is EXTREMELY odd 
for me to posting more than once in a single day.
What can I say?
I've had a CRAZY couple of weeks
and therefore LOTS to share with you all
and I have time at the moment to post! :)

As I mentioned in today's earlier post,
I always MAKE something for my Papa and Grandma
in honor of Grandparent's Day.
I wanted to do the same thing with my TJ kids.
(Here's a hint: Grandparent's LOVE homemade gifts!)

I decided to have the children make
"Owl" Always Love You 
Grandparent's Day Cards.

They were VERY SIMPLE to make!

What you will need:
Variety of colored construction paper

 I let the kids chose whatever color of construction paper they wanted.
I folded the construction paper in half
to form a card and then I drew a simple owl template on the front.

Next, I had the kids tear up pieces of brown construction paper
and glue them to the owl template.
Cutting the paper would be fine too,
I just personally like the uneven "ruffled feathers" look. :)

Then I had the kids cut out eyes, beaks, and feet
from construction paper.
I even helped some of the kids put glasses on their owls. :)

And, no, you are NOT hallucinating...
some of those owls DO INDEED have swords.
The kids informed me that
these were NINJA OWLS.
I just went along with it.
Finally, we wrote the message on the inside of the cards.

Some of the kids changed the message a bit
to reflect their own personal styles.

Thank you for viewing our craft!
I hope you enjoy making them as much as we did!

Happy Crafting!

Hi! My Name's Sarah and I Have a Problem {I'm a Compulsive Diy-er}

Good Afternoon, Friends and Family!
FALL is in the air!
And I am VERY EXCITED about it! :)

Okay, so we all know that in general I am a CRAFTY person,
seems to bring it out my crafty side even more than usual.
Grandparents' Day was last Sunday
and I usually like to MAKE whatever gift I give my 
This year was No Exception! :)
(Shout out to my ADOPTED Grandparents!
They didn't have to put up with me as their grandchild...

LAST YEAR for Grandparents' Day,
I knew I wanted to do something FALL related
(SHOCKING, right?)
I had a PINTEREST INSPIRED SPRING craft in my head
that I decided to AUTUMNIZE
(Yes, that is a word...I just made it up...).
(You can find my Spring Inspiration here)
Here is my Project: 

I still LOVE it! :)

I knew I was going to have a difficult time 
trying to top that this year...
And to be honest, 
I didn't top it.
But this Grandparents' Day craft is special in its own right too...

This is only the FIRST of
SEVERAL AUTUMN DIYs I have planned...

Stay tuned! :)

What kind of fall decor have you made and/or enjoyed?
I would love to see what you like!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Getting to Know My New Kiddos {From the Inside Out}

Good Evening, Everyone!
I hope you all had a good day
doing whatever it is that you do all day long :). 
Personally, I had a LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG day
and I am feeling completely worn out.
But I wanted to take a moment 
and share a special craft that I did with the kiddos
at Thomas Jefferson a few weeks ago.
(Sorry, I'm so late posting has been a CRAZY couple of weeks!)

I wanted to start the year off right at TJ
by getting to know my kids.
Getting to know new people is difficult,
but kids make it pretty easy 
in that they will flat out tell you what their likes and dislikes are.
But instead of simply asking them about themselves,
I decided to make a little craft out of it
(Pinterest inspired OF COURSE!).

I let the kids choose whatever color construction paper they wanted.
I traced a Heart Template on to the paper.
I then instructed the children to draw "puzzle pieces" in their heart.
Inside each puzzle piece they were to draw something they loved
and then add lots of pretty colors to their drawings.
To finish, I had the kids cut out their hearts 
and then glue them to a large 11X17 piece of construction paper
to which we added the words: 
"Getting to Know (Child's Name)'s Heart...
From the Inside Out!"

They turned out GREAT!!!!
See for yourself! :)


Thank you for viewing!
Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

May We Never Forget {September 11, 2001}

Good Evening, Dear Friends!
I pray this finds you all doing well!

I believe I would be remiss 
if I didn't set aside a blog post in dedication to
September 11, 2001. 

I think we all remember where we were 
when we first heard the news 
that our beloved Free America had been attacked.
It's the kind of information that is 
ETERNALLY SEARED into your remembrance.
I was only thirteen but I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was at school, my beloved NLCA. 
The day had just begun 
and I was mentally orienting myself for the work ahead of me.
My desk at the time was the one closest to the classroom door. 
So naturally when the door suddenly burst open,
it made me jump in my seat.
Since my desk was facing away from the door,
I couldn't see who had entered. 
And therefore, I couldn't figure out what had the person so worked up.

Moments later, my amazing principal, Jonathon Lashley,
and my drama teacher 
- who I adored beyond all reason - Adina Lashley
ran past my desk talking excitedly.
I KNEW something MAJOR was happening at that point.
(My principal NEVER approved of running in the classroom!)
Moments later, my principal walked back by my desk
pushing the TV cart. 
He called for the students: "Please turn around"
(our desks faced the wall...typical ACE School of Tomorrow stuff.
You can learn more about the School of Tomorrow here.).

I turned around in my seat
just in time to see Bro. Jon shove an unbent coat hanger
into the back of our previously channel-free television
(we only used the TV as a monitor for viewing videos).
Naturally, I found this odd.
He fa-niggles with the hangers and some wires for a few moments
and then all of a sudden we have news images 
of a CATASTROPHIC NATURE flashing before our eyes.

As best he could under the circumstances, 
Bro Jon took a moment to explain what it was exactly that we were watching.
He announced that classes were cancelled for the remainder of the day
because he felt that we - his students - 
should have first row seats to this history-making tragedy.

I remember sitting in front of that television set '
for the rest of the school day.
Of course I took necessary lunch and restroom breaks,
but other than that, 
I sat glued to that screen.
I had just visited New York City that previous summer
on a school trip.
I remember being amazed at the height and majesty
of the World Trade Centers. 
To watch them plummet from sight that day was...

A few days ago,
I "re-watched" the news from that awful Tuesday.
The images struck me just as hard
as when I viewed them the first time.
Maybe even more so...
as I said I was only thirteen when this occurred.

Those people where just going about their daily lives.
Going to work at the Pentagon...
getting on a plane for a normal business trip.
And they didn't come back...

I could have added images from that day in this post.
But I just...couldn't.
I didn't lose anyone from my personal life that day.
And I consider myself beyond blessed for that.
But I did lose something that day.
Along with all Americans,
I lost my sense of security.
I lost brothers and sisters that I hadn't even met
and to be honest, I still feel that loss to this day.

September 11, 2001 showed me that sometimes
REALLY HORRIBLE things happen to good people.
And that human beings are capable of great evil.
But we are also capable of great compassion.
The whole point of September 11th
was to divide us through fear and catastrophe.
I don't think it is a coincidence that the terrorists chose
to exclusively use American and United Airlines.
They wanted us quaking in our boots
and ripped apart at the seams.
But that's not what happened.

In the months following 9/11,
this country came together in an unprecedented way.
We fought side by side,
hand in hand 
against a common enemy: Terrorism.
The Sleeping Giant had been awakened and wounded.
The kid gloves came off that day.
America went looking for her fight and found it.

Gargantuan tragedies like 9/11 scare me.
And they should.
But on this 12th Anniversary of the Attack on America,
I don't feel hopeless or discouraged.
I am a citizen of the greatest nation on Earth.
I am free to be whatever I want.
And, at least for the moment, I am safe.
But even if I lost my freedom and security tomorrow,
I would know that everything was still going to work out fine for me.
Because I'm a child of God.

He takes care of me
when everything falls apart.
When magnificent earthly buildings fall,
He reminds me that this is just my temporary home.
I am just passing through.
I wasn't made for here.
I was made for Heaven and for Him.
(John 14:2)
When I'm afraid of the evil lurking around the corner,
His word tells me that I am an overcomer
by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of my testimony.
(Revelation 12:11)
And when I am bombarded by hopelessness and discouragement,
He reassures me, "...I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
(Matthew 28:20)

The video below is one of the news accounts I viewed a few days ago.
Just thought I would share it.

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Photography for the Shields' Family

Good Evening, Everyone!
this week and frankly, I do not have the energy
to talk about it yet.
Instead, I'm going to share a photo shoot 
with you all tonight. 
I needed a bit of "happy" to focus on
and this LOVELY Family DEFINITELY has that!

Please meet: the Shields Family! :)

Thank you for viewing!
You know I'm ALWAYS open to comments and critiques!
Please visit again soon!