Five Minute Friday: Keep

Keep

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat on the floor of my room with several piles around me wondering, what do I keep? There are times when I’m not quite sure what to keep or give away. And there are plenty of times when I know I need to give things away and I don’t. I hold onto them for just a while longer and then down the road I give it away.

There was a day last week when I knew exactly what I needed to do and I went through with my plan. After praying with my friend over the phone I used the decorated shoe box I made and put that book I knew I needed to give away to her. I added a few other little gifts, wrote her a letter that said,” …because I love you,” and dropped it off at her apartment.

It was wonderful to give away what I knew I wasn’t called to keep.

She and I were both blessed and healed through those moments.

I’m thankful I didn’t keep that book.

Five Minute Friday: Wait

Wait.

Phew.

This word stings during this season of my life.

I’ve waited several months to see how a relationship would or would not unfold.
I’ve waited for responses from friends hoping they’ll text back.
I’ve waited for email responses regarding my job search.
I’ve waited for that silly episode to appear on the app so I could watch the tv show that pulls at my heart strings.

Oh yeah… I’m definitely in a season of waiting.

It’s challenging. Overwhelming. Scary. Exhilarating. Humbling. And good.

Yes.

Ouch.

I do believe it’s good.

What can I do while I wait?

Grow closer to Jesus.
Pray.
Read great books.
Listen to encouraging podcasts.
Serve a friend.
Go for a walk.
Exercise.

I want to honor The Lord as I seek out and wait for what’s next.
As I lean on him in the waiting I pray He will refine me and redeem this time of waiting.

Four humble ways to save money while in college

While I was in college there were moments when I needed help and was too prideful or embarrassed to reach out and ask for it.
I needed:
Help with my academics.
Help with finding better campus housing.
Help with finding my way around campus and understanding the wolf pack lingo.
Help with finding a book at the library.
Help with raising support for a missions trip.
And one of the most sensitive areas- financial help.

There were moments I publicly asked for financial help and secretly received it, both left me humbled and thankful for God’s provision in my life.

One of my favorite artists said, “We’re never too old to be helped.” – Kari Jobe

I believe it’s true and I’m here to offer a few helpful money saving tips to you.

1. Consider buying pre-loved and/or new clothing for very cheap ( NWT- new with tags and new without tags)
Chances are high that there are local thrift stores, good wills, consignment shops, well priced boutiques, and/or yard sale venues near you. A quick google search could help you find local shopping opportunities near you! I would say that 99% of my wardrobe is from this category. And I can not tell you the number of times I’ve found great clothing from my favorite brands (Banana Republic, Joe’s Jeans, LOFT, J Crew, Bullhead jeans, Ann Taylor, The Limited, Free People, etc).

There are treasures to be found at the goodwill! I can smell my favorite brand the second I walk through the door…kidding…I wish it were true.

2. Find a small/flexible part time
On campus: If you’re living on campus you may want to consider having a job through a federal work study program offered by your college or through a college department. Potential job opportunities include: tutoring another student, working as a TA, working at the gym, or the library. There are many benefits of working on campus such as: an employer who is willing and able to work with you to coordinate a flexible work schedule, making friends, gaining and refining your skills.

Off campus: Often times there are local restaurants, fast food, coffee shops etc that you could work at that are easily accessible by walking or riding a bus.
If you enjoy working with kids serving as a babysitter could be a great fit. Often times websites like Care.com or sitter city can serve as a way to connect to a local family in need.
You could check your local college campus newspaper’s website, checking the classifieds section for local/on campus jobs or internships.

3. Finding FREE and inexpensive groceries
Once a week on my campus there was a local church who came to one specific location to provide free groceries as well as great books and Bibles. Ask around and see if there is a local church or organization that serves your campus in this way.

Receive free groceries from a local food pantry. There are a few where there is no need to give out your personal information and some with little to no application process besides honestly expressing your need. In Raleigh there is one specific food pantry that serves the community multiple days a week called, With Love From Jesus where there is no need to apply or share any personal information. Click on the link below for more information:
http://www.withlovefromjesus.org/to-receive-help/

Local farmers market- once a week our campus set up a farmers market on campus offering healthy and inexpensive fruits, veggies, and more! And there was the local farmer’s market offering a lot more!

Inexpensive groceries: It may be a bit more cost effective to drive further away from campus than to spend money at a local grocery store. Check in see if there are any Aldi or Trader Joe’s stores in your area as they often provide much cheaper and better quality groceries.

4. Purchase new/gently used furniture for free or for a reasonable price
It may be difficult to furnish a new apartment or home on a small budget and it is possible. You can visit your local good will, habitat for humanity, or Craigslist posting. There are Craigslist postings for cheap and even free furniture that individuals post, giving it away from inside their home or curbside (outside pick up). **safety tip (travel in a group of three or four for picking up Craigslist items for safety reasons). **

I hope you enjoy a few money saving tips. Happy saving!

Recycle, reuse, for a purpose, for you!

I enjoy arts and crafts, it’s an activity I can engage in to feel refreshed! Here’s my latest project!

I thought about tossing this baseball cap away because I never use it…then I decided otherwise! I visited Pinterest for inspiration and quickly thought of a new design I could embellish it with.

2015/01/img_0522.jpg

I rummaged through scraps of fabric my mom had lying around and traced the shape of NC to the fabric. I cut it out and hand sewed it to my baseball cap!

TA- DA!

2015/01/img_0521.jpg

I am so glad I chose not to throw it out. Here’s a little jingle that I hope will encourage you do embark on your own exciting craft…

Recycle, re-use, for a purpose, for you!

Under construction: my room renovation

I’m in the process of renovating my bedroom. This little renovation has taken place without spending a penny. And you can do this too! “How?” You ask. I’ve got the answer, “Recycle, re-use, for a purpose: for you!” That’s how!

And there are a few things tucked under my bed…okay, okay…several things (and that’s alright) here’s how:

Steps:
1. Get organized
2. Give generously- to family, friends, and my local goodwill
3. Glean little treasures- I asked my amazing mom for help (she gave me several pieces for this room! (And whose to say you can’t do a little receiving or swapping with a friend/ family member too?)
4. Get creative and crafty: I made a few wall decor items with items I had and found in my mom’s garage

I’m not claiming to be any sort of interior designer and I know some of these pieces may be a bit out of place..it’s a start, right?!

The room in all it’s glory 😉

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/524/68998079/files/2015/01/img_0492.jpg

Wall decor

My finished wall

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/524/68998079/files/2015/01/img_0504.jpg

I created the three ballet slippers inspired pieces. (Pinterest inspiration and my personal creation.)
Materials: scissors, strong, childhood ballet slippers, and frames.

The remaining wall decor was created by my amazing mother!

My room renovation thus far…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/524/68998079/files/2015/01/img_0498.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/524/68998079/files/2015/01/img_0501.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/524/68998079/files/2015/01/img_0500.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/524/68998079/files/2015/01/img_0507.jpg
This room renovation is a work in progress and the only thing I plan to spend money on is a new comforter and sheets.

I hope you draw some ideas and inspiration from this post. Happy room renovating! Go have some fun!

My Story: Ditching fear and disobedience and dreaming BIG!

I am the first born child to a determined father, a patience and gracious mother, and the first grandchild to amazing grandparents. Spanish is my first language and I learned English in kindergarten and was encouraged to go to college at an early age. In between those  thirteen years I went through lots of embarrassing phases.  I was that kid with no filter at the grocery store and the one who never took a nap ( Me, tired?…NEVER!)  I loved pretending to be a Disney princess,  high- tech spy, Lizzie McGuire wanna be, sassy cheetah girl, and a disciplined NJROTC cadet (Cadet Kelley may or may not have sparked that interest, just kidding). And a writer for my high school’s newspaper. Clearly the latter interest stuck. Thank Jesus, right!?

Junior and senior year of high school threw me for a loop as I meandered through the process of trying to go find a college to go to. It was a trying time to attempt to be a trail blazer as the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college. I knew next to nothing. What I did know overwhelmed me even further: my parents told me neither they nor myself would be taking out any loans for me to go to college. Ouch!  I crossed my arms and rolled my eyes (I am sure I can win awards for this one…not! I know its my downfall.) After the stinging subsided I moved forward with a plan.

Time out!

Spoiler alert: I graduated from college debt free! Praise God. I believe your son or daughter can too!

I planned and prayed with my parents. I must have searched, “scholarships” into google a billion times. My mom and step-dad encouraged me to search for scholarships and would ask me how the process was going. My mom and I worked on filling out the FAFSA. I applied to close to one hundred local scholarships and received a few that I put towards my time at a local community college. Ewww…community college, trust me, I didn’t like the sound of that one either, however, I received a great education and experience! My biggest dream was to attend a four year university and live on campus. I worked diligently for two years and transferred to North Carolina State University for the final two years. I was able to live on campus and I made beautiful memories.

I graduated from NC State (alongside peers I graduated from high school with) and four days after later moved to a new city for an internship that later became an amazing employment opportunity. I’ve been working for an amazing, faith based non-profit ministry for the past five months. I have made even more heart-melting memories here as well.

This is my wild story and I am sticking to it!

This is a very condensed version of my story and it was not an easy one. I could not have done it without the love and strength of Jesus Christ to sustain me and the support of my parents, family, and friends along the way. I know had I not obeyed my parents I would not have graduated debt free nor would I have been able to venture out after graduation due to the weight and responsibility of college loans.

I am very thankful for the ways Jesus has provided for my needs all along the way and for the counsel of wise people in my life. I can look back and write down a long list of the lessons I’ve learned throughout this journey and I will say the overarching theme is: doing life God’s way is the BEST!

I don’t claim to have all of the answers.

I am a young soul learning how to navigate adulthood and many unanswered questions, however I have navigated and survived those teen and college years. I hope to be able to aid you and the significant youth in your lives to see the world in a different way. I hope you are encouraged to pursue your dreams by surrendering them to Jesus and when He says so, learn to pursue what He has for you in His way in His timing. I believe there is a way to do this by being good stewards of what He has given us, including our money.

I hope you’ll choose to ditch fear and disobedience and dream big!