Friday, August 24, 2012

Guest-Post & Giveaway @ My Beautiful, Crazy Life!

Hello lovely readers! Today I am guest-posting over at My Beautiful, Crazy Life. Head on over and check it out! While you're there make sure to look around on Breanna's awesome blog and say hello! She is a sweetheart, so you all better be following her. There is also an opportunity to win a book by John Piper and a $5 Starbucks gift card. So if you want some free caffeine and a good read, you should probably go and enter now! =)


On a side note, today was my last day of work. I think the best part was when they stuffed me full of cookies, brownies, and ice cream at my going away party. It was hard saying bye to all my beautiful clients, but I am also getting excited to get back to school next week. I can't believe how fast summer has gone by! One more year of school and then I am off to do heaven knows what in this big crazy world! Yikes!

Happy Friday!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

His mercy is greater.

The number one thing on my mind lately is nothing less than
God's mercy.
How? How can the most powerful Being ever to exist, love me? I don't think anyone is capable of comprehending something so
He knows every single detail of my life. All my mistakes, all my half-hearted attempts, all my unloving thoughts. When I think of pieces of my past I literally feel sick, yet the God of the universe loves me all the same.

I think I'm pretty much the definition of undeserving when it comes to God's love.
But he
to love me anyways.

Sometimes I feel trapped in past mistakes. I know I have the ability move forward, but some days I don't feel like I deserve to. But you know what? I need to anyways.

Dear Michelle,
You are forgiven and you are loved more than you will ever know. You might not deserve it, but I'm God and loving people is what I do. Your past will always be there, but it doesn't have to define you. There will always be things about the present you don't like as well, but the present doesn't have to define you either. Let ME define you. Circumstances are only circumstances. I am not a circumstance, I am a constant. Abide in me, trust in me, live for me.
Your Savior, Creator, and Father

Insert your name where mine is. I can guarantee, this applies to you too.

Goal for this week: live in God's mercy and redemption and do NOT let my past hold me down!

Friday, August 17, 2012

twenty one...and a little bug spray.

Last night I went camping with a group of friends to celebrate my 21st birthday! It went by way too fast, but it was a blast! It may have taken a year and a half to put up the tent and twice as long to get it down, but was good bonding time. I honestly thought we might have to just sleep out on the wet grass, but eventually we did get up our lopsided as it may be! And the guys barely had to help...go figure!

Once it got dark out and I was finished pigging
out on my birthday cupcakes, I started to remember
I was afraid of the woods at night. Call me pathetic,
go ahead I dare you. Usually I have my superhero
dad there to keep away all the bad guys hiding in
the woods, but this time I just had a bunch of friends
who liked to make matters worse.
But hey, I survived!

This morning we faced yet another challenge...taking the tent DOWN. You would think this would be a fairly easy process. But my friend, I'm sorry to say you are wrong. At least if you're with my crowd that's the case! I may have went a little crazy pounding in the stakes with a rock. They were NOT wanting to come out of the ground! Luckily we could count on our good friend Ty to get them out after a good 20 minutes of prying.

We finally got to have some breakfast...if you consider breakfast STUFFING our faces with donuts.

All in all, it was a fantastic mini trip with my beautiful friends. Campfires, s'mores, nature walks, smelly bathrooms, bugs, mud, chilly nights, hamburgers and brats, cupcakes, tents, balloons, scary stories,





Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Strength to the Powerless!

Tomorrow will be the longest day of my life. I have this theory that if I don't go to sleep, I won't have to wake up and face tomorrow. My research paper will not have to be written, my room can stay a disaster, I can call in sick to work, the garage sale items can go unpriced, and who really needs to go grocery shopping anyways? theory is nothing but wishful thinking. Luckily, there is a bright side of things!

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
-Isaiah 40:29

Now isn't that good news? =) I suppose tomorrow will have to be faced...but I know I can count on my powerful God to sustain me! If you have a long day ahead of you, don't forget to seek the Lord's strength. Do that and you can get through anything. And it probably wouldn't hurt to get a good nights sleep either. haha on that note...I am going to sleeeeeeeeeep.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Birthday Eve.

I only have a few more hours left of being 20 years old.

Say what?! It seems like just yesterday summer was starting and my birthday was nowhere in sight. Now my birthday is less than 2 hours away! Honestly, I keep forgetting about it. Most people look forward to their 21st birthday for such a long time. I guess I'm just an oddball like that...forgetting my birthday. It's probably because it feels nothing like my birthday. Tomorrow will consist of waking up at 7:00, heading to work til 4, and then coming home and working on a research paper due next week...that I have yet to start. I'm starting to feel like a lame responsible adult!!! But, before you go thinking I don't have ANY should know that I am taking off work Thursday and Friday to go camping with a bunch of friends and I will finally be able to party it up! I just have to wait a few days. In honor of the eve of the day of my birth, I decided I would take you on a trip down memory lane and share a few pictures of my epic birthday parties back in the day. Enjoy a few laughs!

Honestly, I've had some of the most epic birthday parties ever. I insisted on having a sleepover party every.single.year. My poor mother. Deep down, I know she loved all of them. Well, here is my last time signing out as a 20 year old, I'll let you know if I feel any different in a few hours. Have an amazing week!!!

Shirt: Maurices//Pants: Gap

Friday, August 10, 2012

dear, friday and what china sent my way!

Dear Friday,

       I can't believe you are already here. As much as I love you, you are starting to upset me. Oh sure, you can be fun and all, but do you realize the more often you come around the sooner summer is going to end?! I just thought I would fill you in on that little secret. So please stop coming around every 5 minutes. Ok? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                         Yours sincerely,

Dress: gift from China//Shoes: Payless//Bracelet: American Eagle

A few of my lovely friends recently got back from a trip to China and this beautiful dress I'm wearing is what they brought back for me! I was so excited when it was given to me and it definitely made me feel special! I have some awesome friends with excellent taste in clothing! =P

I hope you all had a fabulous week and enjoy your weekend!!! =)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Caprese Pasta Dish

I have been on an experimental kick in the kitchen lately and it has been a blast! I love trying new recipes and my family is usually more than willing to be my personal taste testers! Tonight I tried a Caprese dish over angel hair pasta. I found it here via Pinterest, but I tweaked it by making it into a pasta dish. It's super easy! 

All you need is:
-1 large log fresh mozzarella cheese
-Cherry tomatoes
-Fresh basil
-Angel hair pasta

And all you have to do is...
1. Cut the mozzarella into cubes and put into casserole dish.
2. Take a handful of basil and cut it into strips; add to dish.
3. Cut tomatoes into halves (or smaller); add to dish.
4. Bake at 350 degrees (approximately 15 min.) until cheese is melted and bubbling as so...

5. Boil the pasta and drain.
6. Place a scoop of the cheese dish onto the pasta and enjoy! This is especially tasty with a few slices of french bread!

Tips: One problem I found was that the cheese settled too quickly, making it a little hard to eat without cutting it up. I used a generic brand cube of mozzarella cheese, but next time I will definitely use a fresh log and hopefully that will help with the consistency. However, it still tasted amazing using this method!

Monday, August 6, 2012

lessons from dennis.

Today was a long day. A lovely day nonetheless, but long. Long enough for me to come home and take a nap at 5:30 and not wake up until my dad came marching in telling me the hamburgers were ready at 7:45. It was a typical Monday I guess you could say. I'm lucky though, because unlike a lot of people who dread Monday mornings, I love heading to my job every morning. Being there just makes me happy and teaches me so many lessons. I work with disabled adults and they are the best teachers in the entire world. Their joy is contagious. There is one particular sweet man who I have the privilege of working with and I want to share with you some of the "lessons" he has taught me in the last few weeks.

Dennis is ALWAYS happy. Even though he has endured things most people couldn't imagine, he just has this joy within him that shines so bright. He finds a reason to smile no matter what. We usually go around in the mornings asking everyone if they would like to pray for anything. Dennis is always eager to do so. This was his prayer the other day:

"Dear Lord, thank you for this special, special day you have given to us. Please help us to glorify you in all that we do and to have a wonderful day. In your precious holy name, the ONLY holy name, Amen."

Now, this might seem like a simple prayer, but let me remind you that this sweet man has a hard time remembering things and a lot of what  he says doesn't always make a lot of sense. It doesn't matter if he can't always think clearly with his head...his heart isn't affected by that one tiny bit.

Today I was chatting with him as I was getting ready to head home for the day. He was asking me if there was anything special going on tomorrow. (This is a usual question for him. He loves when anything out of the ordinary is going on.) I told him tomorrow was just going to be a normal day and he proceeded to ask me what day tomorrow is. I told him tomorrow is Tuesday and his whole face lit up. His reply: "Tomorrow is Tuesday?! I work on Tuesdays! I work EVERY day! It is just so wonderful; I can hardly wait!"

This man can take the most ordinary things and find joy in them. I can't begin to tell you how much I admire this about him. Every day to him is special. He gets excited about "working." He gets excited when I tell him he can have milk with his dinner. He gets excited when he gets to write with an orange pen. Most of all, he gets excited about God. He is constantly reminding everyone that those beautiful flowers outside, ya they come from God. And if you ask him what his favorite book is he will tell you it's the Bible.

Every day I leave work with a new flame in my heart. A flame that makes me want to be as excited about life as Dennis is. He never views himself as limited. I want to find joy in going to work and drinking milk with my dinner and writing with colored pens.

Beauty in even the small things.
That's what I want to live for.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Liebster Award!

I am so excited when I saw that Deidre from Nowhere To Be and Forever To Get There nominated me for the Liebster Award! This is an award given out to bloggers with less than 200 followers. Bloggers can nominate each other to help spread word about their blogs. Deidre, you were so sweet to nominate my little old blog! =)

Here are the rules!
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer.
4. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
5. Go to their page and tell them
6. No tag backs!
Sooooo...let's do this thing! =)

A little about me...

1. I am a city girl stuck in a small town. As much as I love this place, I crave the city. I can't wait for the day I can move to NYC. I'm having a hard time comprehending how anyone on the planet can afford to live there, but in the meantime I'm crossing my fingers I win the lottery soon.

2. I only have one more year left until I am done with college! I have no idea what I'm going to do after I graduate, but I'm hoping to save up for at least a year and eventually go to grad school. I am a counseling major and I hope to get my masters in social work. I want to work with adoption or foster care and help kids find a place where they are loved and appreciated!

3. I'm almost 21, but I'm often told I look 15 or 16. Everyone says I'll appreciate this dilemma when I'm older, but unfortunately I don't appreciate it now.

4. I am a sugar addict. I try staying off the stuff, but I usually don't last more than 3 hours.

5. My favorite days are sunny ones, buy rain is always welcome! There is nothing like a summer storm to cheer me up!

6. I mentioned I want to work with adoption, but even more I want to adopt! And be a foster parent. There are so many kids out there and if I was capable of taking in 150 million kids, I totally would.

7. I have a puppy named Hollywood Estelle...but usually I just call her Holly. She's not really a puppy...she's 5 years old. She is a Shih Tzu/Bichon mix and I love her a whole lot. My parents let me take home a puppy for my 16th birthday and I've loved her ever since. =)

8. I grew up in gymnastics until I was 14 and I miss it a whole lot! Watching the Olympics really makes me wish I would have stayed in it a little longer. But now I'm just an out of shape 20 year old who can barely touch her toes anymore.

9. My favorite job is probably nannying. Getting paid to hang out with kids all day is awesome. It's not a cake walk, but it's fun! I'm hoping after I graduate I can find a more permanent nanny job since it's hard find one just for summers. Beverly Hills Nannies, anyone? =P

10. I'm a daydreamer. My class notes are always filled with more doodles than information. There are so many things I want to do and I usually try, but then I realize I can't be a ballerina if I can't touch my toes, I can't be on broadway if I can't sing, and I can't fly if I don't have wings. But it's fun to dream. =)

11. Last but definitely the most important...I live my life with one goal in mind and that is to glorify my Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave me this life and I don't want to waste it by living for temporary things. He is my strength, my purpose, my everything.

NOW...for Deidre's questions she left for me!

1. Why did you name your blog what you named it?
     -I named my blog Step by Step because that is how I try to live my life. Not to look to far ahead, but to           focus on the here and now and make the most out of it!
2. If you could trade lives with any celebrity for a day who would it be and why?
     -Jordyn Wieber! She is amazing at what she does!
3. What is your go to website when you are bored?
     -Facebook or Pinterest!!!
4. If you could have picked your name when you were born would you keep it what it is or would it be different?
     -For years I wished my name was Alyssa. My parents had originally picked that name but then my dad decided he liked Michelle at the last minute. When I was little I thought it was boring, but it's grown on me.
5. Why did you start blogging?
     -To share what is going on in my life and encourage anyone else who might be facing the same things.
6. What was the first job you ever had?
     -I worked at a grocery store bagging groceries, stocking shelves, cleaning, and bringing in carts.
7. Who and where was your first kiss?
     -A boy. In a place. =P
8. If you could make one wish for the future generation what would it be?
     -To use time wisely! If there is something you want to do, do it! And do it wholeheartedly.
9. If you were an Olympic athlete what event would you want to partake in?
10. One thing you would never ever do, not even for a million dollars?
     -Skydive. I would die of fear before I ever saw the million dollars!
11. Your dream job?
     -Social Worker in an adoption agency!

1. How many siblings do you have and where do you fall in the lineup?
2. What is your job/what is your career goal?
3. What is your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
4. Do you have any secret talents?
5. What is your favorite TV show?
6. Who is your favorite band/artist?
6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
7. What is your favorite event to watch in the Olympics this year?
8. What is the number one thing on your bucket list?
9. Is there anything you are deathly afraid of?
10. Do you play any instruments?
11. What is one book you would recommend?

-Angela @ Ladyhub
-Kajal @ In the Blue
-Aissa @ Love Tenfold
-Shannon @ More to Hollywood
-Jessica @ Preppin' Postgrad
-Amanda @ Rasberry Beige

Please check out these blogs! I love catching up on what they have to share! =)