1.17.2017

5 days in.

I arrived in Chennai 6 nights ago. How could that possibly be?! It feels like the time has flown by. I feel like now I'm completely behind in my writing and I can't possibly catch up, but I must start so I can finish. I hope that I can write about many of the young men and women I have met and tell their stories and how they have inspired me, but for now, I will just start with 10 things I've learned in India.

1. There are real life living saints on this earth right here, right now. 


The program director of ZOE in India is living proof of that. The stories I hear of what he has done for children is just incredible, inspiring and unbelievable. He rescued a young woman who was screaming because she was refusing to be sold to trafficking by her own brother. He had tied her to a chair and cut off her arm. Jabez heard the scream, came to her rescue, and rushed her to the hospital. After she was released, he brought her back to her home in the slums and kept guard outside her door at night to keep her safe. Eventually he grew the trust of the community and he was able to start his program there. Not only is he running the ZOE program, he also manages orphanages and many other charitable projects. His dream at night is to help 1 million children in his lifetime and he keeps a running tally of his current number. I believe 100% that this man will not only achieve that goal, but demolish it.

2. There are about 12 different head nods to communicate different things in India. 

I'm pretty sure I am a jedi master now. Just YouTube it, it's really quite fascinating. 

3. You do not need HALF of the stuff you own or buy. 

Get rid of your crap and donate to ZOE. Right now. I'm not even joking. Not even a little bit. Being here and interacting with these people and seeing their love and friendliness when they have little to nothing has made me realize that the life I live is quite ridiculous and completely outrageous. If I got rid of 1/4 of my stuff, I could fund an entire group (approximately 40 children in a group) to pull them out of really, really terrible situations, start their own group, feel like a family, learn to live on their own, start a business and make a life for themselves and feel like they have a purpose in this life and achieve a dream. Seems just a bit more fulfilling than having the nicest mini van in the neighborhood or that name brand bag and it's pretty insane anyone would think otherwise. 'amiright?

4. I will never again complain about Texas road rage. 

There is no such thing after seeing how India traffic works. Horns honking, beeps, allllll the sounds. There is no lane system really, people make their own as they cut in and out and pass. Stop lights are optional and cars, buses, cows, people, dogs, motorcycles and rickshaws all share the same small road. Freaking insane.

5. Mission trips are different than the ZOE program. 


I was a mission trip virgin. I really had no idea what to expect. I knew I was going on some very long plane rides to check out and cheerlead some kids. Don't get me wrong - I'm sure mission trips make you feel amazing as a person but what I have always assumed is you go in with a group, fix some things up, leave, and then it basically goes back to how it once was. ZOE is pretty much nothing like that. ZOE empowers these young men and women. From the very beginning, they get to do it all. Once they form their group, they get to name it, elect their leaders, decide when they meet and how often and so on. ZOE empowers. They are creating a life for themselves and realizing their dreams, something they never thought to be possible. I hope to expand on that later. And we get to go witness these miracles and encourage them and love on them and give them high fives and hugs.

6. If you come to India, you will surely be a celebrity.

By today, we decided we should start charging 500 rupees per photo. It's really ridiculous how many people stop you to ask if they can take their picture with you. If you are wanting to feel like a celebrity, go to India. All the kids, when asked what questions they had for us, asked "how do you get your skin so white?" LOLOLOLOL

7. When you think your life is rough, come back and read one of my stories about a ZOE kid.


Because it's not. When your kid thinks their life isn't fair because they didn't make the soccer team or they're mad because they can't go to the movies with their friends, maybe you can remind them that there is a 15 year old girl in India that lives under a make shift tent with a fabric cover out in the farm land by herself to be able to care for her ducks and even stayed out there during a cyclone so that her ducks would be safe.

8. You can survive solely on naan. 


For those that really know me, you have to know that I'm not exactly the most adventurous eater. I pretty much stick to my usual and don't stray far from what I'm used to. When I decided I was coming to India, I started stocking up on the little travel Vanilla Coffeemate creamers and protein bars. Half of my suitcase was primarily snacks. But so far in India, I've managed to sweet talk my way into Domino's, fried chicken and a kid's grilled cheese with smiley fries. Naan is good, though! It's India's version of a tortilla - pretty tasty! Not so much the curry.

9. Open your heart and trust in God and things will happen.


Never has this been more true. I've witnessed this for myself and for the young men and women in the ZOE program here. If you are willing to take that jump, He will be there for you on the other end. These kids take a risk by joining their ZOE group and the outcome is worth everything to them, just as it was for me to sign up for this trip.

10. Life is short, enjoy it.


Sounds suuuuuuuper cliche, but man is it so true. A year ago, if someone would've told me I would be going to Asia, I would've laughed. I have never had the desire to be crammed up next to people in a train so going to Asia was never on my radar for this claustrophobic girl. But man, I'm here and taking it all in. I've rode a horse on the ocean, got a henna tattoo, got my eyebrows threaded, slid down butterball rock and even tried lamb. I'm not saying I'm completely changed, but I've taken risks and chances and I've opened my eyes to a whole new world and I've loved every second of my time here.

That's all for tonight. xo

1.10.2017

Chennai, India 2017 Pre-Trip Prep

My house? Dead quiet. Something that happens about once every...century. The dog? napping. Three kids? Napping. (Oldest home from school sick, naturally the day before I leave for a trip.) Hubs? Asleep from an overnight the night before. Me? All jacked up on a Starbucks Grande Iced Caramel Machiatto wearing my lucky elephant leggings and taking in every last minute at home until I return January 21.
Why? I'm about to head to a far, far, FAR away land that is nothing like Allen, Texas called Chennai, India. It looks something like this, according to the third image that pops up on Google images:

Culture shock, much? 

It will take me two flights of 17 hours and 12 hours to get there. I leave at 4 pm tomorrow afternoon and land somewhere around 12 midnight their time Thursday night. That is a very, very long time to travel. Hubs keeps telling me I can do it. I know I can, because the last time I was on a plane for 13 hours, I was caring for 3 little humans and this time it's only me, but something gives me severe anxiety about being cooped up on a small metal thing in the sky with my legs cramped up for that freaking long.

So why am I going? What is this all about? Why would I leave my safe home and family behind?

Because one Sunday morning near the end of summer, I sat in my seat at church and God basically smacked me upside the back of my head and told me I was going to help children there I knew nothing about. I have heard these stories of God speaking to people, and have never really had that ah-ha moment until that morning. I remember I had lugged all three children to church on my own as hubs was working. It was a struggle, but know the importance of going. As they spoke of Zoe and our partnership, and the mission trip that would be taking place, I knew God was yelling in my ear and immediately after leaving the sanctuary, I ran back to our pastor (who happens to also be a friend thank goodness because otherwise he might think I was a crazy person - luckily he already knows this fact) and told him I WANT TO GO! and then proceeded to text the hubs: "sooooo, can I go to India?"

Our church partners with an awesome organization called Zoe Helps. They empower children to start their own businesses and get on their own feet providing for themselves so they can succeed and make a life for themselves by raising crops, animals and making textiles, etc.

Am I nervous? Yes. I have no idea what to expect or what I will see. Am I excited? So much yes. I already am in love with the people in my group. Am I scared to leave my family? Yes. But what an experience to share with my own children. So excited about that more than almost anything else.

I cannot wait to share more with you and my journey and plan on blogging as much as I can and sharing photos and experiences with you all. I hope to learn, be enlightened and see the grace and works of  God and grow deep in my faith and share a little of that with you all.

There but for the grace of God, go I...

10.25.2016

I Llike You (CTD416)

Hey, hey friends! I've had SO much fun this month guesting for the Color Throwdown Challenge. YAY! It's nice to be crafting again for a challenge. Maybe I will just keep doing it.

This week, the colors scream fall. Oh, I need fall to be here weather wise. I'm sipping hot cocoa as I type this blog post....
Here is my take on the colors:
You know me - anytime I have a chance to use teal and red, I'm alllllll over it. These little llamas from MFT are soooo stinkin cute! I kept them simple and just inked them brown.

I hope you will join us this week and play along. Thanks for having me this month! xo

10.18.2016

To My Lovely Friend (CTD415)

Hey everyone! I'm posting a card today for the awesome Color Throwdown Challenge this week:
Such amazing fall/winter colors to get you inspired! Here's my take on the colors:
LOVE this layering deer from Hero Arts and the background stamp is also from Hero Arts. swoon! Have a great day!

10.11.2016

Everyone Deserves A Friend Like You (CTD414)

Hey hey! It's me again, back this week with a card for Color Throwdown Challenge #414. It's a beaut this week! Loving the cool warm colors for fall.
Here is my take on this color inspiration palette:
I used Concord & 9th's amazing die, a super cool Neat & Tangled Die and My Favorite Things stamp and die set Geometric Greenery. I hope you like it! xo

10.04.2016

Follow Your Dreams (CTD413)

Heyyyyyy guys! I can't believe it's been SO long since I've blogged here! Leggings have kind of invaded my craft room.

It was so refreshing to make a card again! I'm so excited to be the guest designer this month for the Color Throwdown Challenge. Such a beautiful a palette to work with.

Here is my take on the colors:
I used My Favorite Things dies and the Adventure Awaits stamp set from Newton's Nook! You know me and deer.

Have a great day!

3.09.2016

MFTv Guest Designer


Hey everyone! I am so thrilled and honored to be a guest designer for MFTv today over on My Favorite Thing's You Tube Channel. Be sure to also check out their blog for more information.


I do hope you will head over there to check out my video featuring MFT's Die-Namics. There is an awesome prize up for grabs, too!

1.19.2016

Succulents For the Win!

Ohhhh how I love the succulent trend. Today, I have a card up on the Butterfly Reflections, Ink blog featuring the fun Hero Arts Succulents stamp set and other super fun goodies. Be sure to head  over there to check it out!

1.12.2016

Share Handmade Kindness + Cardinal Sneak

Hey dudes! I'm up on the Butterfly Reflections, Ink blog today. Be sure to head over there to check out my card featuring the Altenew Cardinal and amazing Hero Arts Acts of Kindness stamp set.
Have a fabulous day! xo

1.11.2016

Ellen Hutson January Mix It Up Challenge

Hey guys! Coming at you today with a super bright card I made for the Ellen Hutson January Mix It Up Challenge. This month, the challenge is to mix Essentials by Ellen products and My Favorite Things products. Right up my alley! wink.
Have a beautiful day! xo

1.07.2016

Tomorrow Is A New Day

I have been dying to use these WPlus9 Amaryllis for quite some time now. They have been patiently sitting in my "to be used pile" since they were released and I finally got the chance to color these gorgeous flowers yesterday for this week's Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge: Something New. The product highlight is Wplus9 so it was perfect! The sentiment is also WPlus9. The silver hummingbird is a Memory Box die. The frame die is My Favorite Things.
I hope you all are having a fabulous start to the new year and if not, well...tomorrow is a new day! xo.

12.30.2015

MFT Challenge 261

Hey, peeps! The final sketch of the year. Wow, what a year! Here is my final card for 2015. Check out this week's sketch on the MFT Card Challenge & Inspiration Blog.



I hope you have had a terrific year being inspired by the MFT Challenge Team. I have had an absolute blast creating with MFT products this past year! Happy 2016 - much love and success ahead to you all! 

12.23.2015

MFT Sketch 260

Hey guys! Just a few days until Christmas! I am so not ready. YIKES! But regardless, it's time for another sketch this week over on the MFT Card Challenge Blog, yahoo! I went bold and graphic this week. Are you surprised? he he.



12.16.2015

MFT Sketch 259

Hey, hey! Just a few more sketches left for 2015. WHAT? Crazy talk.

This week's sketch is a super simple one. So I made a BIG impact with the rose background and monotone red color.