Thoughts on Problem Solving…

(Source: Bing)
I spend most of my waking hours problem solving.
Professionally, I am an administrator and that requires me to look at different angles each day. My role requires me to keep the workplace productive and maintain a harmonious work environment. Some days I’m a great problem solver, some days… not so much!
Today (while banging my head against my desk! Just kidding!) I was thinking about problem solving and how often I look at it as a curse. Many times, I am so frustrated with an issue that I cannot look at it clearly. I cannot see a brighter outcome because I often focus on the problem of how it was created versus looking at an issue with a renewed sense of hope.
Some times when I have an issue, I’ll google it to see if there is a viable answer or I’ll reach out to a friend. I’ll ask that friend how they would handle the problem or seek out advice from a peer. However, many times, I realize that I’ve totally missed the point.
My problem solver is right beside me during the whole thing. Friends, our problem solver is the Lord! He can look at our circumstance and make it new. He can remind us to look at our circumstances in a new way that brings everything into perspective.
So today, when I stopped complaining and thinking about how awful things were, I realized the blessing in the circumstance. I realized that I was given an opportunity to rely on him and watch his mighty hand orchestrate the perfect solution!
Perhaps, you have dealt with similar frustations in regards to problem solving. Here are some encouraging scriptures that might help you along the way:
Proverbs 3:6, ESV “In all your ways, acknowledge him and he shall make your path straight!”
James 1:1-27, ESV “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
2 Peter 3:9, ESV “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon… BACON

(Source: Google)
Over the weekend, I went to a cooking class with a girlfriend and learned how to make a delicious brunch. 
One of the side items was brown sugar bacon. Just writing about it makes my mouth water! YUM!
Brown Sugar Bacon

Preheat oven to 350-375
Place your bacon on a cookie sheet
Bake the bacon for 10-13 minutes 
(this varies depending on thickness)
Once you have achieved the perfect crispiness, remove some of the grease
(tilt your baking pan to the side and slowly pour into a cup. Don’t fret about losing your bacon, it’ll be OK!)
Add brown sugar
(the instructor just grabbed a handbook and shook over the bacon)
Bake for a 5-8 minutes
(again this varies depending on thickness)
Serve

I have a new found love for bacon now as I know the mess can be contained. Hallelujah! 
Go on, try it! You’ll LOVE it! 

Haiti Sunrise.

(Source: Google)
In three glorious months, my husband, sister and I get to watch the sun rise and fall in Haiti. We will be traveling to St. Louis Du Nord on June 18th and serve the folks of my favorite country for 10 fun filled days. 
This will be my second time to Haiti and the first for both my hubby and sister. I am so excited to travel with them and watch them experience Haiti for the first time. During our visit, we will be working with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission by loving on the sweet children of Haiti. 
Currently, we are in the planning process and fundraising for the trip. We have been sending support letters to our friends and family via e-mail, facebook and snail mail. Also, we have been focusing our efforts on communicating regularly with the other part of our team which is comprised of a small group of friends from Illinois ( I met them the first time I was in Haiti!). And finally, we are preparing for the trip through prayer and seeking Gods plan for our trip. 
Haiti is unlike any place I’ve ever been. The people are used to nothing and so they are equipped to give everything. They love and laugh deeply. They understand the importance of food, medicine and education and are grateful for any amount they receive. 
I have fallen in love with the country and its people and am thrilled to have the opportunity to go again. If you might be interested in praying or financially supporting us, please let me know through private message or comment below. 
Also, if you hang out at my lil’ blog often, be prepared to hear more about the planning process and the actual trip… it’s going to be a blast! 

Painting Part I: Prep Work

We are currently in the process of painting our kitchen and pantry. I’ve taken this project on and Jason is encouraging me to be self-sufficient. You see, I’m not a manual labor kinda chick. I’m the manager! I organize how a process should be accomplished and leave the details to someone else. However, for this project Jason is not free and therefore is teaching me accomplish my goal! 
You may be a super DIYer and have prepped and painted many walls! I on the other hand, am not that girl! And I’m thinking if I am not that girl that there are probably other women that need some direction and encouragement too. 
Therefore, I’ve outlined a few necessary tasks you must accomplish in order to properly prep your walls for painting.
1.) Clean out and remove items. This included our pantry & all items on our kitchen counters. 
2. ) Take Everything off of the walls.
3.) Remove all of the plates (electrical etc).
4.) Scrub Edges of baseboards and above counters.
5.) Sand and putty holes in the walls. (This process is a little slow because sometimes you have to repeat it).
6.) Unless you are a surgeon painter, use tape to protect your cabinets, trim, etc. 
7.) Drape big pieces with cloth.
8.) Protect your floors with plastic.
And you are ready for phase II… 
Go get ’em painting queen! 

March Madness–Big Blue Nation

 I can’t let this month continue to progress without at least talking about March Madness…

I am a true blue Kentucky fan! We spend most of our “fun” money on UK football and basketball tickets. We enjoy being around KY fans and cheering on our CATS! That’s why we spend most of March glued to the TV with our friends… 
The NCAA tournament gets a lot of buzz but for us… it is a true highlight of the year. We have a UK geo mesh wreath on our front door, a UK garden flag waving in the yard and our social calendars revolve around when the CATS will play. 
This weekend we were able to watch the CATS advance through the first two rounds of the tournament and enjoyed every minute of it! 
We are so grateful to be a part of the Big Blue Nation and are proud of our “boys”! 
Are you enjoying March Madness? Who are you cheering on? 

Furry Friends: Baby Girl.

Yesterday, I told y’all that I’ve been busy doing some really fun things. And I meant it. Lately my little world has been chalked full of some really exciting opportunities. 
About a month ago, I partnered with Jessamine County Animal Shelter and started volunteering. I have helped with a couple of their adoption events at PetSmart. During those events, I take puppies out on potty breaks, work with them on basic commands and try to encourage the “lookers” to add a furry friend to their family.
Another way the shelter uses volunteers, is through fostering. Many shelters are overcrowded and as a result they have to turn away pets or euthanize them to keep control. We decided to help in this capacity with Miss Juliet or Baby Girl (as J calls her).  While fostering, the “parent” gauges behaviors, how well they integrate into your home, with your other pets, etc as it all relates to their probability for adoption. 

In Juliet’s case, she is a black nine month old puppy that is very eager to please. She loves people and enjoys playing with toys! J and I wanted to work with her on basic commands, socialization with other pets and house training. All of our hard work paid off, because Juliet went to the vet on Friday morning to get fixed before going to her new home! 

She was adopted by a sweet family with three little girls. They came to the PetSmart even last Saturday and totally fell in love with her. While the paperwork was being processed, we had the pleasure of loving on her and working with her. It was sad to see her go! However, we have three very loved dogs of our own! 
When J dropped her off to the vet he sent me a photo with this text message “Bye foster mommy! Thank you fur sharing your home with me. I promise to be brave and love my new family. I love you”. It’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever read! I’m teary eyed even writing it… Don’t you just love a happy ending?!?
If you might be interested in supporting a local animal shelter, google it and see how you can help! Or if you are looking for a pup, consider adopting form a Shelter to help pups like Miss Juliet be saved from possible euthanasia. You can find shelter dogs or cats on www.petfinder.com or by visiting your local shelter. 

The M Word

Hi Y’all! I am thrilled to guest blogging over at Eat Pray Read Love today for Miss Kelli. She is doing a Wives Tales’ series that is INCREDIBLE! Go check her out! 
Jason and I married two years ago on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon in front of our immediate family on a Jamaican Beach. While dating, Jason and I acknowledged that we were very different in many ways. However, since we were sooo in love, we knew that our love for one another would always be the ultimate trump card and assumed that all of the daily functions of life would be easy to us! 
Fast forward to month two of marriage, we were still in love and still focusing on embracing our difference until we started talking about MONEY and made the choice to merge our check books. You see, I have always been a free spirit when it comes to money. At the age of 24, I purchased my own home, not because I planned for it and had a nice nest egg of money but because I wanted it. I worked two jobs and saved up the minimum amount for a deposit on a home and purchased it. I thought I was sooo smart and felt super empowered. Jason, also purchased a home when he was in his twenties but he’s more of a nerd! He saved his money purchased a home without draining his savings account. He always bought used cars and never spent money on clothes when he was in a bad mood. 
During month two of marriage, the dust had settled from all of our wedding festivities, our homes were finally merged and we had renters in Jason’s house. It was finally sinking in that we were married and doing life together. After some discussion, we decided to merge our checking accounts and start budgeting in efforts to stay unified. I was on board until the process started! I had a mini-meltdown and we promptly enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It was NOT easy!
We made the decision to enroll in FPU because we desperately needed a safe place to chat about our dreams and direction on how to achieve them. FPU made it possible for me to still be able to spend and Jason to save. Through the lessons we learned during the twelve week course, we were able to save money without compromising the lifestyle we wanted to enjoy. 
FPU gave us the tools we needed to create a budget (yes, I still shop when I’m in a bad mood!). With that budget, we have been able to change our financial outcomes and plan for our future. Within two years, we have successfully paid off all of our credit cards, vehicle loans and are currently working on building our savings. FPU also helped us learn how to trust one another and learn to compromise. Without the conversations that were initiated during our FPU classes, we would still be roaming around trying to figure things out… scared and in love is not always the best combo! 
Jason and I remain madly in love and have a successful marriage. Our financial struggles have proven to us that we can endure hardships and that free spirits and nerds can be happily married. 
Our story is not meant to be an endorsement for FPU but hopefully encourages you to focus on the financial health of your marriage. Life is a lot sweeter when you know where you are going and how you are going to get there! 

Brave

Hi Y’all! I am a well intentioned woman but often super scatter brained so I apologize for not blogging recently. I’ve missed babbling on about my world and catching up on yours! During my absence, I’ve been doing some really fun things. One of them includes attending a Bible Study at my church on Wednesday nights. I love spending time with my girl friends this way because it is really precious to have sisters that can lift you up in the Lord!

The Bible Study has been teaching us how to be Brave! The women of my church have been on a really fun yet challenging journey during the last couple of weeks. Brave, the Bible Study, written by Angela Thomas is basically a study that examines many struggles that women face each day.  Each week we join together, watch a video segment and chat amongst one another about our personal issues related to being Brave!

Angela tackles hard topics such as: I am worn out, I am suffering a thorn, I am undisciplined, I am trembling inside, I am invisible and I am broken. She presents these topics each week in the sweetest most loving way (and she’s Southern so I’m really into that!) and challenges women to surrender their lives in efforts to live the life that God intended.

We are currently in week three of the journey, I am undisciplined and I am learning so much! I love this study so much because it has been teaching me a couple of things: (1) the importance of getting into my Bible regularly (2) a reminder that in order to live a more fulfilled life, I have to seek His will for my life (3) the realization that he is the refresher of my soul (not my bed, exercise or ladies night!).

This study would be great for independent study or a small group. I highly recommend it. It will rock your world. Also, if you would like me to pray for you on any of the topics that I have mentioned, please comment here or e-mail me. I’d be honored to pray over your circumstance and stand alongside you as you seek a richness in life that only comes from our sweet Father!

Be Brave, Girlfriend!