Monday, July 25, 2011

Living Backwards

Living backwards.  Not literally.  But living with the end in sight.  It's something that I struggle with on a daily basis.

It's something that society completely neglects.  We want now.  Immediate gratification.  That's how we're taught.

This week, a young girl from our church painted a picture to me, and to the community, of how to live your life backwards.

Rachel tragically died at just 9 years old on Saturday but her legacy, ALREADY, is insane.  

Her dream was to impact lives.  Giving up her birthday so that 15 strangers could have clean water.

You might remember last year for our birthdays, Blake and I asked friends and family to help us build a well in Africa so that others could have clean drinking water.  Well Rachel wanted this too.  She figured $300 would impact 15 people and it'd be awesome.

Rachel fell short of her birthday wish when she launched her campaign this last June, only raising $220.  But she vowed that next year for her 10th birthday, she'd go big or go home.

Well that's what happened.  She has gone home.  And her campaign has gone big.  Like huge.  Really, really big.

I literally click refresh on her campaign every hour and just sit there in shock at the rising total.

What an impact she is having.

I also think about why this story has gone viral.  Celebrities, professional athletes, national news anchors have all jumped on board to bring hope and life amongst tragedy in honor of Rachel's wish.

At our core, we all want to have an impact.  We all desperately need hope in the midst of hurt.  It's how God made us.

But how?

By doing as Rachel has done.  Living backwards.
Just this week, a village who had NEVER had clean water received it for the first time.

We promised we'd be back. from charity: water on Vimeo.

Rachel is now responsible for bringing clean water to almost 25 villages just like this.  

Imagine if 25 of your nearby towns didn't have clean water.  It would change everything for them to have clean water.
Rachel's big dream was to help 15 people.  That has now turned into almost 6,000 people.  Over $115,000 from $220.  And rising.

This girl's impact and ripple is beyond comprehension.  She lived backwards.  Offered up what she had, and now watches from heaven as the amount of life change she has caused is only something of God-sized measure.

Again, I am reminded that water changes everything.

She inspires me.  To live more selflessly.  To be generous beyond comfort.  To focus on how my life can have a ripple effect on others.  To have faith like a child.  To think of how I want to be remembered.  

Rachel gave me perspective.  And for that, I am grateful.

If you want to give to Rachel's campaign, visit here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Photo Editing: Presets

One of our best investments in the last two years has been a good DSLR camera.  And although we're still learning how to use this bad boy to it's fullest potential, I just LOVE the picture results that we've been able to capture.

I'll let you in on a little secret though: presets, presets, presets.  I've mentioned before that Adobe Lightroom is my go-to editing software (a friend downloaded it on my computer for free - find one of those friends!).

I recently came across some BEAUTIFUL presets from Pretty Presets.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Backyard Recreation: Hot Tub

Awhile back, on Mother's Day, I was called frantically outside to "see what Dempsey (our dog) did".

Naturally, I immediately ran outside only to find a super exciting sign "written" by Brecken:
Yep, my son is super advanced.  Writing w/ pen at 12 months. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Annual Vacation - Car Camping

I love to camp.  Do you believe me?  

What about if I told you that camping meals regularly looked like this?

Yep.  Every year, an ever-growing group of amazing friends pack up our cars, unplug from the world and spend a week in Eastern Washington, camping on the river.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wedding Gift: Date Commemorate

We are in the heart of wedding season. 
In addition to fun wedding shower gifts (like I showed you last month), I've also wanted to find creative ways to gift and bless the new married couple....without breaking the bank.

When I think back to some of my most favorite wedding gifts, anything that is nostalgic, or personal stands out.  I did need those forks and cups though - so thank you to those that provided those for my cupboards. :)

Then, I was introduced to my creative budget-friendly solution:

Amongst a million other super cute posters, I came across this beauty:
Which was fittingly titled "Oh, Happy Day!"

At $14 each (but 25% if you order three or more - which I did), this was the perfect solution!

Fast forward a mere five days, and the cutest little package showed up at my front door, ready to be matted and framed.

I ordered three, each individually in the wedding colors of the respective bride and groom.

After scoring some great sale frames from Michaels (with an additional coupon of course), I used some scrap burlap as the background matte, tied it up with some lace ribbon for decorative presentation detail, and VOILA - my new Wedding Date Commemorate!
Don't you just love the barnwood frame?!  Love these right now.
So there you have it, a personalized cute wedding gift for that next wedding you've got on the calendar (and I know you have at least one on there).

Go check out A Vintage Poster, and don't forget to use her coupon code MORE4ME for 25% off.

Linking to:
Delightful Order
Hookin Up with HoH

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July

This was one of the best 4th of July's on record for the One in the SAHM household.

Backyard BBQ, friends, SUNSHINE, and some sparklers!  What more could a girl ask for?!

We seriously had such a great day.  I even prepped by switching out my Spring Wreath for a much more Americana wreath!
Scraps of fabric from my Playroom Pennant
Leftover ribbon from Brecken's 1st Birthday
Clearly, as you can tell from the materials, I did this during a naptime (because I needed to use all supplies that I already had on-hand).

Back to enjoy the sun - I'll be back with some more fun wedding gift ideas tomorrow (or Thursday depending on how much sun I want to soak up!).
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