How to Relive Your Memories Today

**This post is sponsored by Shutterfly but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.**

 

This past Valentine's Day, I ran out of ideas on how to make the day of "love and all things hearts" a bit more special. I had used Shutterfly MANY times in the past to collect, consolidate and share memorable photos from every event imaginable. I recently heard about Shutterfly's "Make My Book" service and if you're like me, I'm all for saving time when possible. And they certainly delivered.

I had never used the Make My Book service before and was eager to start! Here is what I enjoyed about the service:

  • Time-Efficient. For $10 a professional DESIgner will curate 60-100 pictures submitted by the customer (he/she will make any necessary edits) and select those of best quality in order to design a beautifully-crafted photo book - for your review. I received my revisions in less than 24 hours! 

  • Professionalism. I am THAT woman that will ask a million and one questions. I was very impressed with how attentive and helpful my personal designer was with my needs and requests.  

  • Personable. At first, I was hesitant with this service; because, I like to be in control. I do. Before submitting my photos, I received a mini- questionnaire about themes, colors, quotes, embellishments, etc. and it put me at ease. My personal photo book was contrived within my wedding theme along with our entertaining memories that brought the very day back to life for us.   

I couldn't wait for my husband and our boys to see our very own wedding day photo book. After been married 5 years, I wanted to revisit our day of "I do's" - day one of the rest of our lives.

Some of my most cherished moments that day: getting ready with my bridesmaids & mother-in-law, my mom fastening my veil, a letter from my "fiancé," praying for our marriage and crying when I saw my dad (the only time I cried that day!) 

My son says, "beautiful mom!" 

My handsome nephews as the ring bearers. They practically stole the show! 

I married into the kindest, most genuine, loving family. They felt like family long before we said, "I do" that day. Levi loved seeing everyone!

Oh, and things got a little out of hand with the church instruments! 

A prerequisite for our bridal party was that you MUST LOVE to dance! They all passed.

My husband was in charge of the food and drinks. I just wanted to sing and dance with the people we love.

Clearly, the Make My Book service was a hit with my family. My husband was grinning while our boys pointed and laughed. 

"I found the one whom my soul loves." - Song of Solomon 3:4

...to be continued.

 

Thank you Shutterfly for delivering a quality keepsake filled with cherished wedding memories in a timely fashion. This book will last a lifetime in our hearts and on our coffee table.  

How One Woman Is Fighting For Freedom

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. It is a horrific crime that some have heard of but is hardly spoken of today. I came across Kelly's Instagram page, then her Etsy Shop and quickly became inspired by her cause, to end modern day slavery. Here is Kelly's testimony and more about Speak Justice Design Co. 

 

For years, human trafficking pulled heavily on my heart, but I didn't know what to do. Around 30 million people are enslaved around the world, and many of those people are in sex slavery. Just a few years ago, you didn’t hear much about sex trafficking, and most of us didn’t know much about how it was happening, especially in the U.S. There still aren’t solid statistics that accurately represent how many people are being trafficked because it’s such a difficult crime to track and stop. This global industry is making billions off of the innocence of the vulnerable. The average person trafficked into the sex trade is 12 years old. 12 years old.

 

 

It's a huge, dark, sickening problem, and I felt totally defeated whenever I thought about it. I didn't have much money to donate or much time to volunteer, so I just sat on God's call on my heart. I pushed it aside.
 


When I started my design business five years ago, I never imagined that God would use it as a vessel for his mission for me. I did contract design work for businesses and churches for a few years, and then I decided to open an Etsy shop to have a better outlet for doing the kind of design work that I love. During all that time, my business felt incomplete. I felt like it was supposed to be more, to mean more, but I didn’t know what.

 

Less than a year after opening my shop, God gave me the vision to use my work to take a stand. I had read another article about trafficking and was thinking, what can I do? How can I find a way to give? And God prompted, give your business away. Take whatever small reach and resources you have and leverage them for those with no voice. I knew in that frenzied, giddy night of brainstorming and praying that God had lined up everything -- my business, my Etsy shop, my social media platforms -- so that I would be ready when he tugged on my heart again. Here was the meaning. Here was the divine purpose.

 

I rebranded my business four months later to Speak Justice Design Co., and started donating from every sale to The Exodus Road, an organization that helps find, rescue, and restore people who are trapped in slavery. For every $10 that is spent in our shop, we donate $3. In the six months since the launch, we’ve raised almost $1,000 for rescue. That’s enough to pay for four weeks of investigations, or transitional care for nine survivors after a raid. I have never loved my work so much as I do now that I am helping fight for freedom.

 

I know that not everyone has the same calling, which is why Speak Justice is about living intentionally at home in the world. That includes ending slavery. That includes purposeful motherhood. That includes serving your community and speaking up for the marginalized. Oh man, it includes so many good things! I want to live intentionally and inspire others to be intentional in whatever they do. I’m passionate about God’s mission for me, and I want to help others discover their mission too! You don’t have to waste any more time wondering what that meaning is you’re looking for. God has a call for your life right now.

 

It's still a struggle because I have to balance this passion with my other calls to serve my family (my pastor hubby and two sweet and spunky boys, 3 and 1) and the church. Sometimes I feel like God has given me more missions than what I can accomplish. But I do my best to trust him with that and keep working. To pursue His idea of success, not mine. To just be obedient to the call and let him fill in the rest. Because it’s really his mission, after all.

 

 

More about Kelly

Kelly is an optimist, a sensitive heart, quiet by nature and hopelessly forgetful. Her happy places are in meaningful relationships, pour-your-heart-out worship, autumn in the mountains and anything with her boys. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, Josh, and their two very social and animated boys, who are 3 and 1. She serves in student ministry with her husband and is the founder of Speak Justice Design Co.

 

CONNECT WITH KELLY

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | SHOP

What To Expect at NAIAS

**This post is sponsored by The Detroit Auto Show, Hyundai, and Steel Matters Development Institute (SDMI) but as always, all opinions are my own.** 

 

While we're all experiencing our own shades of winter, some of you may know that Michigan has some of the coolest temps this side of the U.S. - and currently dropping. And every January, we experience a warmup from the NAIAS - The North American International Auto Show.

 

Being my first time at the auto show, my expectations of all things lavish and luxurious were spot on from day one. Some of the most prestigious automobiles worldwide, I had the pleasure of photographing and testing for myself. This event was the winter-blues-bust I needed and NAIAS brought it's A-game.

So, which cars were my top picks, you might ask? If you are car-shopping like me, you really cannot go wrong with a showroom packed with car experts.

Below are my top picks as far as cost, mileage and family-friendly:

Top Left Clockwise: Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Yukon XL, Chrysler Pacifica, and the Chevy Traverse

Top Left Clockwise: Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Yukon XL, Chrysler Pacifica, and the Chevy Traverse

 

Santa Fe: fully-loaded and awarded for it's safety features in 2016-17, including Top 10 Best Engines and High Initial Quality by J.D. Power & Associates.

Yukon: luxury on wheels. Period. Extra room, comfort and an overall pleasant ride. 

Pacifica: Google's Waymo announced Pacifica as the world's first autonomous driving vehicle and will soon be accessible to passengers as soon as early summer 2017! The van was also awarded The 2017 North American Utility Vehicle!  Extra room, excellent mileage and exceptional ratings across the board.

Traverse: first drawn to it's sleek body style and pleasantly surprised by it's holding capacity, and also awarded for it's tremendous safety features which includes the underbody light for safe foot-kick assistance!

HONORABLE MENTION*

Top Left Clockwise: Hyundai Genesis G80, Hyundai Tucson, and GMC Terrain 

Top Left Clockwise: Hyundai Genesis G80, Hyundai Tucson, and GMC Terrain 

**Honorable mentions were ranked by several factors: size/capacity, price, and mileage.

 

Genesis: you name it, this car has it (well, besides a kitchen sink.) 365-degree cameras, HUD (Heads-up) display, built-in connect system, proximity detection, and overall focused on the driver's quality of life. With every purchase, a portion will go to Hyundai's charity, Hope on Wheels for pediatric cancer. The Genesis has your best interest to ensure your commute is more relaxed and less stress. 

**Buyer will also receive a 12-month Amazon prime membership.

Tucsona more compact version of the Santa Fe and also awarded for it's safety. The ideal ride for those with a smaller family, single or couples. 

Terrain: I've always had my eye on this versatile ride. The exterior has been revamped as well as the interior, similar to an Acadia with plenty of room for those outstanding road trips. 

 

 

Another highlight at NAIAS was the Cars 3 Movie: the reveal of the new characters, alongside the newly-renovated Lightning McQueen. 

 

With a whirlwind of a weekend, I had an overall enjoyable first-time experience and for those interested in attending NAIAS, here are 4 beneficial tips:

  • Parking. I was able to park at Greektown Casino (free but some had to validate inside the casino) and take the people mover to Cobo. (Cobo parking is untouchable because of the media) so pay the 75 cents and enjoy the Detroit/Windsor scenery. Also, arrive as early as possible.
  • Comfortable shoes. You walk EVERYWHERE. This is a must. Coat check is also available for $3.00
  • Games. I also noticed the family-friendly activities scattered throughout the auto show: video games, racer driving, gift shops, a fresh-food market, local shoppe booths, and so much more. The kids will love this experience.
  • Ask Questions. I've said it before, asking questions is a must here. The experts are top of the line and so friendly. I didn't walk away once with a question left unanswered.

 

I hope you enjoy the Auto Show as much I as did in Detroit. The Auto Industry is an extremely competitive field with the driver and passengers' overall riding/driving experience as top priority. I look forward to many more reveals in the near future! 

 

 

**A special thank you to SheBuysCars for the opportunity to experience such an exquisite event. To Hyundai, for a remarkable luncheon and tour. 

What I Will NOT Do in 2017

We are coming to a close on the first week of 2017 and, I enjoyed reading everyone's goals for the new year! For me, I finally jotted down my aspirations for a fuller, healthier, and happier 2017!

And as we know, with a new year comes change: better health, more organization, making wiser choices, etc...

I've never been one to make a new year's resolution. I believe in goal setting and if I'm dissatisfied with my lifestyle, I simply won't wait until the new year to make necessary changes.

Having said that, I've created a list featuring what I know I will NOT do in 2017:

 

  • DIET. I believe in being more aware of a healthier lifestyle: mind, body and soul - healthy eating habits, A fitness routine, and taking a mini-hiatus. Food is meant for healing and MAINTAINING our health - all in moderation. 

  • DRAMA. There is enough hurt, sadness, depression, and disease daily around the world. I would much rather spend time resolving those issues that will make the world a little brighter, versus contributing to those matters that develop a lingering dark cloud. Choose to focus on a resolution rather than conflict.

  • WORRY. For the past several years, I have fallen victim to this trap. Worrying about my marriage, being a great mother, our finances...it is a thief of joy! It has diminished my faith as well as my emotional and physical self. The Lord asks, "why do you have little faith..."

Matthew 6:31-33
So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (NLT)

MY FAVORITE VERSE FOR 2017

  • COMPARE. Another thief of joy. Whether its my lifestyle, my children, or my relationship with the Lord, others' opinions shouldn't affect me nor should i reciprocate with judgement. No one story is identical to another. Keep in mind that we must guard our hearts, for with comparing comes envy, selfishness and jealousy. Embrace all you possess and give thanks to Him!

  • BE STILL. Although I have three active boys (husband included), I will continue to have my still moments with God- That will never change. I'm speaking in regards to exploring and remaining active with my family, sightseeing and experiencing all that will create invaluable memories. 

 

There is so much to look forward to with 2016 behind us and a year ahead filled with opportunities, and endless goals. I cannot wait to witness what the Lord has planned for your 2017!

Stay encouraged, ladies :) 

3 Easy Ways to Implement Square Cash Today

**This post is sponsored by Square Cash but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.**

 

It's officially crunch time for holiday shopping! Two weeks away and many of us are left with hefty holiday dues and/or undecided gifts for loved ones.  

Well, I have found in the previous years that teaming up with my siblings for gift-giving allows for more brainstorming and less headaches. Am I right?

This year I was "in-charge" of money pooling and purchasing the parents' gifts. The pooling process can be cumbersome, especially with family being out of state and schedules overpacked with little to no wiggle room. I get it. 

 

Thankfully, I was introduced to Square Cash which makes holiday-shopping more simple and less chaotic when it comes to paying dues. It has freed up time for the holidays and energy; because I need EVERY ounce for my little firecrackers. 

Square Cash is essentially the easiest way to send a quick gift or a swift payment, but what about after the holiday season? Well, let me tell you that once you download it here I have a few greats ways Square Cash will free up your time as it has mine:

 

When I first used Square Cash, my first concern was security. Because the app connects to my bank, credit card and phone contacts, I wanted a peace of mind. Thankfully, Square Cash has a security lock that requires a passcode to be entered before a transfer is executed. 

 

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As a SC user, I can choose to request or pay the recipient by Name, Cashtag (personal Square Cash profile name), Email, or SMS (texting) through my personal contacts with a tag line like:

Mom's gift

Babysitter

Rent.

 

Bottom line is Square Cash has made this mama's life a little easier now that I can send payments to whomever I choose and whenever free of fees and hassles. It's efficient and one less task I have to worry about this holiday season!