Sunday, December 30, 2012

Baby Bump Update and It's a...


Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Procrastination

Our family Christmas celebration is less than four days away and I am JUST going Christmas shopping today.  I happen to have an appointment in a nearby city, so I'm killing two birds with one stone.  Yes, I know that most of you have had your Christmas shopping done weeks ago.  I am a major procrastinator.  I am a major CHRISTMAS SHOPPING procrastinator.  I can't think of any year that I have ever had my shopping done with more than a few days to spare.  

Before you start thinking, "Shame on Liza!  She is so irresponsible..."  In my defense, I would like to list several reasons why Christmas Shopping Procrastination is not such a bad thing after all.   

  1. Contrary to what the rest of the world says, we Procrastinators DO get good deals.  See here if you don't believe me.  Told you.
  2. My side of the family has a hard time making up their minds about what they actually want for Christmas.  If I'd buy something in November, they'd probably change their mind by December.
  3. In waiting until December 21st to shop, you have plenty more days to take special notice of what friends and family need, want, or hint about.
  4. When you DO finally go shopping, you are motivated and focused like nobody's business.  Get 'er done, folks.
  5. You do not have bulky gifts and presents underneath your tree crowding out your living room.  When the gifts finally do make their way under the tree, they are ready to be opened, like, the next day.
  6. My side of the family also has a nasty habit of sneaking around and finding out what you bought for them.  I (we) have been known to open up people's purses, check for receipts to stores, unwrap and rewrap presents, bribe small children to spill the beans, etc.  If you buy the presents on December 21, they don't have much time to try their sneaky business.
  7. Folks like me hate shopping and fighting crowds and enduring the annoying commercialism of Christmas.  If you procrastinate and save all the shopping for one day, at least you are not ruining multiple days with these sorts of things.
Now that I have shared valid reasons why it's not so bad to procrastinate, let me arm you with a few important points to make your own procrastination successful.  Procrastination is a fine art, friends.

  1. If you decide to procrastinate shopping and shove it all into one day, you MUST have detailed lists.  List the names of people you are buying gifts for, the things you are buying for them, then organize those things according to stores, THEN organize the store lists according to the most efficient route through town.  Let me know if you'd like me to design a graphic organizer for this.  It will be cute and functional.
  2. You must, MUST watch the weather.  Especially if you live in Iowa.  You will be, um, majorly out of luck if a snowstorm hits on the very last day you were able to go shopping.  Try telling your cute little niece that she doesn't get a present from you because the roads were too icy yesterday...  Not cool.
  3. You must take online ordering and shipping times into account.  If you aren't able to buy things in physical stores, you've got to get your poop in a group a week earlier, unless, of course, you are comfortable spending oodles of money on overnight shipping.  
There.  Now YOU can be a cool Christmas Procrastinator just like me next year.  :)  Enjoy the last few days of hustle and bustle, friends.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last Days of December...

These are moving fast, friends!  AND, now that I think about it, the last few days of 2012 are moving fast, too.  Sounds like a perfect time to snag one of these pretty babies while you still can!

Message me for bulk discounts and/or FREE shipping if you live in Sioux Falls or Sioux Center!

(This calendar measures about 4'' x 6''.)

Did I mention they come in their own little display case?  They sit perfectly on your desk or counter!

This little guy is about 4'' x 4'' - about the size of a floppy disk.  So cute!

Enjoy the last days of your December, friends!\


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Random Four

1) Last night some volunteers from the ministry I lead, who happen to ALSO be great friends, came over.  I did some training with them, but we mostly had great fellowship.  And we ate THIS.  Holy smokes.  I highly recommend the recipe.  Love you, chorus leaders!

2) My friend Jill owns a tortilla shop.  She was born in Sioux Center, but lived and worked in Croc, Mexico for several years and now...she's back in Sioux Center.  And now we are friends.  And now Mark and I eat her salsa, tortillas and chips like it is our job.  Praise the Lord.  She had 90 kindergartners tour her shop a few days ago.  So cute.

3) I am busy designing calendars for the new year.  Are you excited to see them?  I am excited to show them to you.  Here's the best part.  They will be small, cute and cheap.  Start looking for a little spot in your house that could use some functional adorableness.  They'll be in my Etsy shop soon!

4) I can feel our little baby kick now.  Hooray for 17 weeks!  It feels like I have a little goldfish living in my stomach.  So weird!  Mark thinks it's a boy because it's so rambunctious.  I still think it's a girl because...well...because I'm stubborn like that.  We'll see who "wins". :)

Goodnight, friends!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Leigh's Blankies Design and HELLO World!

Oh, hello world!  It's so nice to see you again.  So nice to be a part of you again!  After about 10 weeks of not-so-fun morning (and night and everything in between) sickness, I am back.  Praise the Lord.  I hear the second trimester is the best, so I'm going to try to enjoy this sweet spot for all it's worth.

My latest project, now that I've been up and running walking, has been working with Andra at Leigh's Blankies. Leigh's Blankies is a phenomenal ministry that makes and delivers adorable blankies for children in need all over the world.  If you want to join in their mission, for every blankie YOU buy, two others are donated to bless kids in need.

Visit their website here to learn more about their story and heart.  It's a super cute site and you will leave with warm fuzzies.  Promise.

Of all the print material I designed for Leigh's Blankies (to match their super cute site), the business card was my favorite!  I hope it helps stir up some more publicity for their ministry!

I love, love custom orders, so don't hesitate to message me via my Etsy shop with your ideas!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rainy Days

I love, love, love rainy days because...

  • Rainy days are darker.  I love low-lit rooms.
  • Rainy days are conducive to reading books, taking naps and drinking warm things - all things I am very passionate about.
  • Rainy days are also conducive to layers, boots and warm clothes.
  • Rainy days sometimes ruin busy plans and force us to slow down - to a pace I am more comfortable with.
  • Rainy days make relaxing noises.  Pitter patters, trickling water, light thunder in the distance...
  • Rainy days are refreshing and give the ground a good drink, and rain makes things greener.  Green happens to be my favorite color.
  • Rainy days wash away dirty sidewalks and grimy streets.  They are a fresh start.  Rainy days also wash my car for free.  ...not that I ever really wash it anyway.
  • Now that I think about it, rainy days are also very conducive to quiet moments and thinking deep thoughts - other things I am very passionate about.
To my friends in Northwest Iowa - Happy Rainy Day.  Enjoy it for all it's worth.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Liza's Letters

In honor of the Today's Letters blog, here are several letters that I would like to share today.

Dear Mom,
Thank you for driving five hours across the state to bring me freezer casseroles and crock pot meals.  Moms know just what we need.

Dear Little Baby,
Thank you for cooling it.  You haven't make me puke for, like, four days.  Holy smokes.  You still seem to initiate an awful "gaggy" feeling after 7PM, but it's nothing a little R&R with a good book or the Food Network can't cure.  I am liking you more these days.

Dear The Fray,
Your newish record sounds similar to all of your other songs.  But you know what?  I barely care.  In the words of the late Whitney Houston, I will always love you.

Dear Alex Clare,
You are creative and cool.  I like your drum patterns, your distorted-ish vocals and your simplicity space.  Thanks for the good tunes.

Dear Ed Sheeran,
Your "hit" A Team is very, very depressing, but two gold stars for your fantastic lyrics.  I heard you on a indie radio station a really long time ago and I said to myself, "Self!  This guy is going to be famous someday!"  And, now you are.  I would also like to mention that I also knew that Relient K was going to be famous when I was only 1 of, like, 20 people at their concert back in my middle school days.  Someone hire me to scope out stellar talent!

Dear Fall,
I wish I could be enjoying you more.  To say "you are my favorite season" doesn't quite sum up how much I love you.  Keep the colors and cool temps coming.  Little Baby and I will enjoy you twice as much next year to make up for this year.

Dear Mrs. Meyers Candles,
Thanks for making my house smell less sterile and new.  You rock.

Liza Jane DeYounge

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pregnant Liza - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Aaaand...we're back, folks.  So much has happened since I last blogged, I'm not even sure where to begin.

We bought a house, moved to a different state, unpacked, started a new job...  We're painting, making our house into a home...  We're adjusting and transitioning.

Some of our biggest news is that we're expecting!  The BABY bump is coming soon, but for now I'm sporting a nice CARB bump.  After all, the baby will need some insulation for the winter.  You're welcome, little pipsqueak.  I'm about 10 weeks, and we got to hear the heartbeat yesterday.  Fun.  It was very fast and very strong...and very, very cute.

My lack of blogging is mostly due to being super overwhelmed and sick.  If I were my usual self, I would probably be able to handle our many transitions fairly well.  Because, well, let's be honest...I've moved over a bazillion times in my life.  (My record is moving five different times in one year.)  BUT, "Pregnant Liza" is not as versatile, flexible or steady.

Oh!  You haven't met Pregnant Liza yet?  So sorry.  Let me introduce her.

Pregnant Liza looks a lot like the Regular Liza, except she is a little thicker around the midsection these days. Though the Regular Liza cares a decent amount about the way she looks, Pregnant Liza does not.  Pregnant Liza barely takes a shower, let alone does her hair.  She doesn't care that her roots are growing out, or that she needs a hair cut.  She is comfortable doing a pony tail or tiny bun  Pregnant Liza disregards all of her cute jeans and tops, but she needs to buy new leggings and stretchy pants before she gets holes in them from wearing them so often.

Regular Liza used to love coffee, ketchup, Mexican food, spinach salads, and lots of veggies.  Pregnant Liza hates all of those things, including just about every other kind of food.  Unlike most prego ladies, Prego Liza does not have ANY cravings.  When absolutely forced, she will eat macaroni and cheese, rice baby cereal, vanilla protein bars and sometimes a potato...but if it is after 5PM, she will probably puke it up later anyway.

Speaking of puking, Regular Liza will do ANYTHING in her power to NOT throw up.  Pregnant Liza doesn't really have a choice.  Whoever dubbed it "morning sickness" was silly, because Pregnant Liza has a lot of afternoon and evening and NIGHT sickness.  She is very sick of feeling sick and very, VERY sick of throwing up.  Classy, right?

Regular Liza would choose to wake up at 10AM and go to bed around 1AM.  Pregnant Liza would choose to wake up at 10AM and go to bed around 8:30PM...that is, if she was able to nap from 2-3PM.

Regular Liza tended to be highly sensitive.  Pregnant Liza is EXTREMELY highly sensitive.  Any less-than-perfect smell, texture, temperature, lighting, noise, touch, or feeling is a big deal and very hard to tune out.  Pregnant Liza struggles to not feel overwhelmed in sensing every flipping detail in the world.

Though the Regular Liza loved to think creative thoughts, design up a storm, invest in lots of ladies, and be semi-over-committed with ministry sorts of things, Pregnant Liza can't seem to cover all of those bases anymore.  She's learning what it means to be less prideful in NOT saying "Here let ME take care of YOU," but to be willing to say, "I need YOUR help and can't do this on my own."  She hasn't been able to attend all the church and youth group activities and hasn't been able to keep in touch with her friends as much as usual.  Pregnant Liza needs a lot of grace these days.

Pregnant Liza also struggles to fight for joy.  Though she is not clinically depressed, her ridiculous hormones are giving her a run for her money.  Hopelessness, discouragement and despair crouch at her door, ready to take control at any weak moment.  She is clinging to some good scripture and trusting the Lord to fight her battles, but she is still weary.

Pregnant Liza is learning what it means to be more selfless, more enduring, more steadfast.  She's learning about dying to herself.  She is growing in having more of a heart for those who DO struggle with clinical depression and/or long-term health issues.  She's experiencing a desert, maybe a drought, but her roots are growing deeper and stronger in search of good water.  She knows the struggles are good, meaningful and worth it.  But let's be honest, they are still not EASY or pain free.  She wants to do a good job of embracing suffering and welcoming the testing.  We'll see how that goes...

So there you go!  You'll have plenty of time to get to know Pregnant Liza a little better in the next five to six months.  Hope you can tolerate the new voice on the blog.  :)

On a more serious note, though I seem to be super sullen and full of complaints, we are very grateful and happy to be having a baby.  We had been "trying" for about a year and a half, so to be pregnant now is a special miracle and answer to prayer.  My goal is just to be honest and transparent about the everyday sort of life that I live.  My goal is to be REAL with you, friends.  Life happens, and it is usually not quite as perfect and full of hearts and flowers as we'd like it to be.  Regardless, it IS beautiful and the journey is always worth it.

On a even more serious note, for the next five or six months, I will be accepting any and all ideas to combat nausea and vomiting.  And...please pray that I am one of the lucky mamas that is only sick for 12 weeks.  Thankyouverymuch.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Bible Study Party

Tuesday night was our last bible study for the summer.  It was also the last party I will get to host in our tiny apartment.  Oh, how I've turned into my mother, in making up excuses to decorate and cutesify things.

We had a Favorite Things exchange...

Assembled mini-fruit pizzas....

And ate some more goodies that we shouldn't have...  Played some fun games...

We had FRUIT, though!  Does fruit outweigh the chocolate cupcakes?

Oh, how I have grown to love these gal pals.  Miss you already!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Yamahopper

This thing is going to make its comeback when I get to Sioux Center.  

Watch out, folks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Camping, Coffee & Percolators

This sums up several things that I am thankful for.  1) Campfires  2) Eggs, potatoes and breakfast skillets  3) Bread  4) Coffee fresh out of the percolator  5) Friends who like to cook  6) Talks about theology and other deep things  7) Camping

Special thanks to Halee for all the deliciousness.

PS - When my dad was little, he wanted to be a percolator when he grew up.  Now I know why.  Percolators are awesome.

PPS - My dad turned out to be a pilot, not a percolator.

Monday, August 13, 2012

On House Hunting and Moving

We don't have cable, but every time I go to my parent's house, I fight the urge to plop on the couch and watch HGTV's House Hunters for hours and hours on end.

From now on, I will not be yelling, "Duh!  That is the dumbest house.  Buy the OTHER one!" at the TV.  These poor people deserve much more compassion.  After viewing a million and one homes in Sioux Center, I know that house hunting is a very tiring ordeal.  No matter what, you have to sacrifice some of your precious "wants" to make room for "needs" and things that will make an overall better investment.  Such a huge choice hasn't easy.  Mortgage calculators, spreadsheets, Dave Ramsey's advice, and husbands who are smart when it comes to math have become treasures.

We are trusting God to lead us to the house He has for us!  He is such a better decision maker than we are.  I'm excited to have another story of His faithfulness to tell...  Heck, He's been faithful already!  I am not nervous about offers or counter offers or finding out which house we will get at all.  I'm not stressed.  I am sleeping very, very well at night.  I'm just tired...which, in the broad scheme of things, is not such a big deal.  Praising Him for lots and lots of peace.

As we wait to see which house will be ours, I will be enjoying the last moments in our little apartment.  I will procrastinate packing until the last week (there's no sense in feeling displaced earlier in this process, folks).  I will also be spending too much time on Pinterest trying to figure out how to work with some less-than-ideal house-sorts-of-things.  AND, I'll be itching to go to the paint store, Ikea and some of my favorite thrift stores.  Is it weird that I am already praying for supernatural favor when it comes to good deals?  From prior experience, I have learned that the Lord DOES care about teeny little things like that.  He is so nice to His kids.

I would also like to add that I HATE HATE HATE wood cabinets and plan to paint the heck out of each and every cabinet in ANY house.  No, I don't care that some of the cabinets are nice and relatively new.  This will be MY house and I will paint brand new cabinets hot pink with polka dots if I feel like it.

Glad I got that off my chest.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Camp Dress Up Night

Pulling some pictures out off my camera finally.  I wish this one would have turned out better!  Dress up night at camp...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Change of Address

We're going to have a new address soon...from Sioux FALLS to Sioux CENTER (not to be confused with Sioux CITY).

It's tough to blog about something so huge and sad and exciting and crazy...where would I even begin?  Maybe someday when we are settled in and things make sense again, I'll be able to collect my thoughts.

For now...

Sioux Falls friends - We are so sad to leave you.  We are NOT moving because we were unhappy here.  We love you.  We love Sioux Falls.  We love Young Life!  We ARE moving because the Lord has been leading and pushing and pulling.  Oh, to be a follower of Jesus!  It's not always easy, but it IS worth it.  PS - You won't get rid of us completely.  In case you didn't know, we'll only be an hour away. :)

Sioux Center friends - I am looking forward to coming "home".  I've missed you, family!  We've already been through so much together...I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for us all in the future.  I'm thinkin' He's up to some pretty big things.  Your cozy, small-town-sort-of-charm will be delightful.

To everyone - Pray that we find a home!  We are in the thick of house hunting, number crunching, and making trip upon trip upon trip back and forth to tour homes and chat with our realtor.  Pray for our transition, for peace in the middle of many mixed emotions, and that we'd finish well in Sioux Falls.

photo credit


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Pen Pals

Everyone should have a pen pal!  Do you have one?

Snail mail is such a lost art.  I would like Gary Chapman to invent a new love language.  It should be titled "snail mail" and should include sending and being sent things like long letters, tales of the Lord's faithfulness captured on fun paper, snapshots of summer adventures, repurposed envelopes, vintage stamps, and brown paper packages tied up with string.

Someday soon I think I will post templates to use to make your own envelopes out of bits of would-be garbage.  Wouldn't that be fun?  

My dear friend and summer pen pal, Sara, took the cake when she made an envelope out of a vintage dress pattern!  Cutest idea ever...

FIND A PEN PAL!  I promise that it will bring SO much joy to your life (and your pen pal's life!), it will be a simple pleasure, a type of therapy, and be well worth your time!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oh, hello, Zorbaz!

Oh, hello, Zorbaz!

It was so nice to finally meet you after hearing so many wonderful things about you from my friends.  

The whole "z" thing is a little annoying and overdone (since when are misspellings ever cute or good for marketing?), but your food is great...especially the Reuben Pizza.  Holy moly.  I don't think I'll be able to sleep until I find a way to recreate your recipe.  Watch out, because I think I almost have it down...

Thanks for your hospitality.  You are the perfect summer destination.

Liza Jane DeYounge

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Catch up!

I know, I know.  I've been terrible at blogging lately.  Here's a quick catch up post.


  • Beginning a "vegetable subscription" at a local organic farm.  They bring us whatever's ripe each week!
  • Mother's Day and Memorial Day with Mark's fam.
  • Several rounds of golf, hours at the driving range and a kayaking adventure with Mark.
  • Beginning a ladies' summer bible study.
  • Doing large amounts of laundry to get ready for Mark's summer assignment.
  • Attending EPIC amounts of graduation parties.  


  • Getting bombarded with Etsy orders!  Hooray!
  • Driving 1700 miles back and forth to Young Life's Castaway Camp and my job in Sioux Center...all in the month of June.
  • Flying an additional 600 miles to Castaway with my parents.  
  • Celebrating my sister, Micah's, birthday.
  • Mark and I doing music at Young Life club with Jake Ousley!  Check out his tunes HERE!
  • Spending time with my besties, Alisha and Shannon, on a girls' weekend.


  • A mini-vaca on the Mississippi River with my family.
  • Praying through and finally making one of the biggest and hardest decisions in Mark and I's marriage so far.  Stay tuned for more details.
  • Celebrating my father-in-law's, nephew's, brother-in-law's, and Shannon's birthday.
  • An 18 hour trek with 70 friends to Young Life's Timberwolf Lake Camp.  Please stay tuned for a blog post entitled, "How to Follow a Charter Bus and Drive a 12 Passenger Van Through the Night Without Falling Asleep"...
  • Working from my laptop in a seedy hotel in Michigan for a week.
  • Seeing MANY of our Young Life friends commit their lives to Jesus!!

AND, these are only the things I can think of now.  Holy smokes, our lives are busy...  It's good to be home!  Hoping for things to slow down soon...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Timberwolf & Thanks!

We're at Timberwolf!  A group of 70-something of us piled in this charter bus and two big vans on Tuesday night.  18 hours later, we ended up in Michigan at Timberwolf Lake Young Life Camp.  The week reached it's climax tonight!  We are praying that many of these students encountered Jesus in a powerful way.  We have 2 more days of fellowship and fun, so pray for endurance, joy, vulnerability and for the Lord to keep on a-workin'.

Special thanks to so many of you who crafted "for a cause" in donating pretty things to be sold for our campership fund!  Also, thanks to so many of you who bought these pretty things...AND to those that just-plain-donated!  You are a big blessing!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Here's the "personal" version of our ladies' bible study on Exodus 33 (minus large and small group discussion).  Use the outline and questions below to engage the Lord and the scripture on your own time.  


BEFORE you read the scripture...
Prepare your heart to hear from God. Try listening to the video/song below. As you listen, prayerfully breathe OUT all the crap and baggage you are holding on to. Breath IN God and His Spirit. Focus on the lyrics, pray the lyrics. Relax, "dial" or "tune" in. Seek God and PRAY that He’d speak to you as you read today!  

Ask God to speak to you today as you read.  Consider using this scripture to pray for understanding:  Ephesians 3  - I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  God, give me the power to know Your love, to understand the fullness of what You have for me in Your Word today!

READ the scripture...

Find Exodus 33 in your Bible or favorite bible translation.  As you read, journal or take notes and prayerfully ask the Lord these questions.  (If you like ambient music to listen to AS you read, try this playlist:  Ambient Bible Study Playlist 7.3.12)
  1. God, what part of this scripture are you highlighting for me today?
  2. What do you want to say to me through this? In regard to my life? In regard to who You are or what You're doing?
  3. Now that You have spoke, how do you want this to change the way I live? How can I apply this to my life, God?
  4. Write down any questions that you have in regard to scripture.
MOVING FORWARD Ideas & Questions:
  • Read through this passage for a week, at least once per day.  Continue to journal your thoughts, your prayers, your questions, etc.
  • If you were able to speak to God face-to-face, what sorts of things would you want to say?  What sorts of things do you imagine He’d say?  
  • How/When have you seen God’s glory?  Actively look for and be mindful of His glory throughout the week.  Be bold in asking Him to show His glory more!
  • Research any questions that you have about this passage.  Google it!  Ask a trusted friend or seek out a commentary. :)

This Pinterest board is a compilation of fun things (art, prints, music, translations, commentaries, quotes, prayers, etc.) relating to Exodus 33.  Click HERE or on the Pinterest picture to snoop around.

If you are in the Sioux Falls area, available on Tuesday nights, and wanting to JOIN us at bible study, please leave a comment below with your email address.  I'll be in touch!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Etsy SALE & Closeout! FREE Stuff if you support camp!

Young Life Camp is coming SOON.  In just a couple of weeks, over 70 high school students will be jumping into a bus headed to Timberwolf Lake Camp near Lake City, Michigan.  A week at Young Life camp will likely be the best week of these high school students' lives!  They'll have a ton of fun, build relationships with caring adults from Sioux Falls, and most importantly, they'll be pointed to Jesus and having a deep relationship with Him.  In such a crazy culture, this will be a week of undistracted and set apart time for kids to focus on the Lord and get to know Him better.

As I write this post, Mark is on the phone calling kids to see where they're at in regard to attending camp.  Several are just waiting on the funds to be able to go.  A handful of people have already chipped in to help make it possible for more students to have this meaningful experience.  Do you want to chip in, too?

Some of my lovely, crafty friends have donated some of their creations to be sold in my Etsy shop.  ALL the proceeds of these handmade items will go straight towards the Young Life campership fund.  If you choose to purchase anything, you'll be getting something pretty for yourself AND helping a high school student get to camp in a couple of weeks.

BETTER YET...  All of the Camp Fund items' prices have been slashed!  Cute stuff is even more affordable!  Check out the "Support Young Life Camp" category of my Etsy shop for fun sales.

ALSO, when you buy anything in this category, I'll throw in one of my lyric or scripture art prints for free (they are usually $5 in my shop)!  Choose from:

Show Me Your Glory | You Know Me | Remain in Me | Every Captive Free | The Lord Gives & Takes Away | Reason to Sing

Just let me know which one you want in your 'message to seller' at checkout.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Polyvore and Pinterest Pet Peeves

Friends.  I have a small pet peeve.  I am constantly seeing Pins on Pinterest or posts on blogs that showcase cute outfits.  It is semi-disheartening and mildly annoying when I discover that these cutie pie outfits are overly expensive. Two HUNDRED and FIFTY EIGHT dollars?!  Are you kidding me?

I guess I should probably point out  that MY definition of "expensive" encompasses quite a bit more than the average Joe...or should I say Jane?  Anything over, like 20 or 30 bucks is a big deal to me, folks.  I don't think I've ever actually bought something from J.Crew or Banana Republic OR anything "designer".  I practically grew up in Wal-Mart, so Target it my idea of fancy.

Let me preface all of this by saying that I don't want to portray that having cute clothes is crazy essential.  Because it's not.  There are plenty of other (and much better) ways to allocate your money.  Let's be good stewards of what God has given us, friends.

Otteny Dress - $258 :: Ivanka Trump Wedges - $130 :: Salvatore Bag - $1316 :: Stella & Dot Earrings - $54

Untitled #67

However, with all of that said, I know that there are plenty of ladies who might be interested in ways to cheat the system a bit.  Cute clothes for less.  WAY less.  Like, the dirt-cheap-kind of less.  NOW is anyone with me?  Yes?  Hooray!  Here we go...

The outfit I posted above is over $1800.  

...I think I just fainted...

Here's my version!

Take that, Polyvore and Pinterest!!

I hate the way I feel in heels (or wedges for that matter) so I would probably just throw on some cute sandals instead.  And I would probably skip the tote.  Newsflash: Purses do not have to match your outfit.  At least in my world, they don't.  I buy one cheap purse in some sort of neutral color and use it for every.single.outfit.  :)

Happy Friday, friends!  Don't forget to enter my giveaway!  It closes at the end of the day!!  Click HERE to enter.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Castaway Flight

Yet ANOTHER trip to Castaway.  This time it was shorter.  Like, WAY shorter.

My chauffeurs.  AKA: Mom and Dad.

Castaway from the air.  Have a great last week, friends!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Girls' Weekend!

A great girls' weekend = Starbucks ice cream, fancy DIY pedicures, a good bottle of wine, fresh veggies, a few tan lines, a great Redbox movie or two, good conversation, comfortable moments of silence, and the company of two of your besties.

This summer, I dare you to set aside one (or two!) WHOLE days for you and your most favorite friends to hang out.  Add a couple small "splurges" and enjoy every second.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Everyday Joy

There are several sweet-looking pins and art prints out there that remind us to "choose joy".  That is all well and good, but for a lady like me, joy is much more than a choice.  It is a fight.  Most days, I have to fight and go to war for joy, but more on that another time...

Today.  Today was a little bit easier.

It was a rainy day at Castaway today.  Rain.  Constantly.  All day.  Even as I write this, there's a little pitter-patter on the window sill next to me.  It's soothing and refreshing.  God's way of calming us down and giving everything a good, long drink.

It was a perfect, quiet, dreary day to get a lot of things done.  And, a perfect day to take advantage of the little coffee shop that is less than ten steps away from our little room.  I didn't even have to go outside to reach it.  Today, Rice Krispy Mochas are something to take some joy in.

True, Tuesday was seemingly uneventful, but there were certainly little bits and pieces of joy scattered throughout the day.  The Lord is so good  - kind of like a salt shaker! - seasoning every day with blessings and good things.  Sometimes we just miss them.

Did you have any "everyday" sorts of joyful moments?


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

My dad is the greatest.  He is an airplane mechanic and pilot and runs an airport in Iowa.  He is a pro at fixing anything with an engine - even things most people have given up on.  He has made sleds out of car doors, resurrected countless ATVs and snowmobiles and jet skis from the junk yard, and built an airplane in our garage.  He used to be a musician in a bar - complete with long hair, hippy clothes and a guitar - and now he leads worship in my parent's church and helps at the sound board.

Like me, dad doesn't usually have a lot to say in large group settings, but if you can get him one-on-one, and if you ask him a few questions, he will surprise you with long conversations about life, history, politics, music, and memories.  Once you get to know him, you realize he's very attentive, notices the details, and is a great listener.

Dad, also affectionately known as "Dood", is the one of the most selfless people I know.  He's always been behind the scenes fixing, working, cleaning, and busting his behind day in and day out - all to set my sisters and I and my mom up for success.  He's always been available and involved in my life.  Of everyone in my family, dad and I are the most alike personality-wise, so I think he is especially neat.  But yes, I know, I am fairly biased.

Happy Father's Day, Dood!  In the words of Shane Lee, you are 'just awesome'.

Rock the block.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Simple, Everyday Prayer

Last night, the students at Young Life Camp were invited to accept Jesus as their Savior, and then they were given about 20 minutes of alone time to talk to God.  During that time, a bunch of us, including the camp volunteers and leaders, gathered in a room to pray for every camper by name - we're talking like 200+ names, folks.  ...that's a lot of names to cram into a short 20 minutes.

In the 20-30 minutes we spent praying together, I only had the time and space to pray "Jesus, save so-and-so," then quickly move on to the next camper, "Jesus, save so-and-so!"  On and on the names went... 

There was a part of me that felt guilty for such a simple prayer.  A four word prayer?  Heck, two of those words were kids' first and last names.  To make matters a little worse, I felt badly about not having much emotion in my sleepy state to put behind my prayers.  My "Jesus, save so-and-so" prayers felt empty and a little bland.
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. -from Matthew 6
Oh my goodness!  I am crazy thankful that His work doesn't depend on me having articulate, passion-filled, and elaborate prayers.

Don't have energy to pray something impressive?  Maybe you don't even feel like you know how to pray for something.  Big deal.  Pray anyway.  Heck, if it means repeating, "Jesus, save her!" or "Jesus, help me!" over and over and over again, know that He hears and delights in answering.

Let's be honest...  Which is worse: Waiting around for days for an articulate, passion-filled moment to motivate you towards prayer?  Or, just moving forward in your everyday, mundane sorts of moments and breathing simple prayers, believing God hears and responds in our weakness?

I think I'll choose door number two.

A good dad loves it when his little toddler tugs on his jeans and says, "Daddy, help me!"  A good dad finds a lot of joy in watching his children bumble around with simple steps in learning to walk.  So, the Lord delights in our small words and tiny steps of obedience.

Jesus, save so-and-so...and her...and him...and, well...all two hundred of them, please.  Amen.

Friday, June 15, 2012

On the Road Again...

Wednesday - 5 hours from Castaway to Sioux Falls.
Thursday - 1.25 hours from Sioux Falls to Sioux Center.
Thursday night late - 1.25 hours from Sioux Center to Sioux Falls.
Friday AM - 5 hours from Sioux Falls to Castaway.

To my little green iPod - Where are you?  These last few days would have been so nice with you around.  Please stop hiding.  It's not funny anymore.

Dear National Public Radio - You've been a great Plan B.  I am still trying to figure out why I like you so much.  I don't understand (or remember) half of the things you talk about.  Something about Egypt, the Euro, our crappy economy and Obama...  That's all I've got.

Dear Buick Park Avenue - You are awesome.  Long road trips with you feel like long rests in a Lazy Boy.

Dear Interstate 29 - I hate your construction.  Hurry the heck up.

To Young Life's Castaway Club - Glad to be back.  You are beautiful.

Check out for other awesome letters.  They rock.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Of Freckles and Other Castaway Things

We have our own little deck at Castaway.  It is more than delightful.

The air is cool and crisp, the sun is warm, the lake is cah-razy blue.

I had some time with the Lord this morning on our cute deck and asked Him for more freckles.

Two of my goals at Castaway this month are to get slightly tan (I have given up on the actually tan thing) and to get a lot more freckles than I came with.

I might be pushing my luck, but I know that the Lord cares about the little things.  He is so nice like that.
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