October 31, 2012

Sweet Treat Swap - Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
My life has been so crazy this week with appointments! But, I've been looking forward to this post for so long... I absolutely CANNOT miss it. Even if I'm a little late... I'm here. :-)
Sarah and Amy started such a SWEET link up and I am so glad I participated!
My partner was the adorable, adorable, ADORABLE Julie. We hit it off right away and I just gotta say... This girl is a keeper! I love her so much and we've only "known" eachother for about a week... ;-)
This is what she sent me...
First off - this girl has the BEST nose for fabulous scents. Of course, one of the candles she sent me broke in the mail (ahem, careless postman...) but I definitely found a makeshift container and have been lighting them both every night while I study... Talk about LOVE. She also sent me three yummy Russel Stover pumpkins (two of which I ate the first night...) and my personal favorite... LINDT WHITE CHOCOLATE. If you know me, you know that I'm absolutely obsessed. And, to finish off the package... She included a card with the Wicked Witch of the West on the front... Wizard of Oz is another one of my loves. :-) This girl speaks my love language!
This link up has been so much fun! I love meeting new friends through link ups like these... Especially when there's white chocolate included. :-)
Happy, happy Halloween loveys!

October 27, 2012

Pain in the midst of the Incredible

Wednesday was a really overwhelming day for me. All I wanted was for it to be over. I was on the verge of tears for the entirety of the day. I had a big doctor appointment that evening and I was anticipating a very real treatment change...I knew it was coming. I felt it. I'd been told. But, I did everything in my power to avoid accepting it.

As of yesterday, I have officially begun yet another 4-week round of physical therapy. It's been about a year since my last round. The only real "differences" this year are as follows:

1.) I nanny 3 mornings/evenings a week.
2.) I'm taking 2 college classes on top of my high school courses.
3.) My neck condition has progressed.

In other words? I don't have time before/after school. I cannot afford to skip class. Progression = more complex treatment plan.

I know that being a juvenile arthritis patient often means that I have to work 10 times as hard as every "normal" teen my age. I get that. I've accepted that. I know what I need to do.

Yesterday was my first appointment. It was for me to walk into that office again, but I realize now that struggles and pain are always going to try to interfere with the joy already surrounding us... It's only a matter of perspective and what we choose to focus on.

This is me for the next 3-5 days. How I shower, sleep, etc. This tape helps with pain relief and also serves as a posture aid. 

I got so many questions today... "What HAPPENED to you?!" I don't think I fully explained once. Somedays, it's just not worth it. I just giggled a lot at the appalling looks I was receiving and breathed deep... :) But here's to the next 8 appointments. It's going to be tough to stay motivated, but I know it's worth it. And I'm going to do it.

Aside from my faith, the one thing keeping me going right now is the support I've been receiving from my online friends. All craziness aside, Wednesday was also an incredibly joyful day for me. I shared my Speed the Light launch post and you, friends from all over the world, stepped up and supported me in any and every way possible. You still are!

I've already raised $105 towards my Speed the Light goal and I know that growth is going to continue because God has called me to do something. Not only that...but the people He's blessed me with continue to be the people that they are called to be. I am so beyond grateful for the friends I've never "met," but know so well. 

I believe that through this time of growth and change, God is teaching me to fully and wholeheartedly rely on Him. He's teaching me to give of myself even when it's hard and of course, He's teaching me all about perspective and perception.

Despite the struggles that seemingly "change" throughout life - my God never does. He still in charge and I'm still learning from Him daily. :)

October 25, 2012

Dreaming a God-sized dream

I'm a goal setter. A daydreamer. One of those girls that constantly has a new {and typically slightly crazy} idea. I'm one of those "I'm gonna change the world!" type of people, if ya know what I mean.

I'm realistic. A doer. A determined, stubborn, fierce little thing that doesn't stop until things are done the "right" way. I'm a real piece of work, to be quite honest.

I attended a youth convention on the 18th/19th and God clearly laid out His plans to use me in a brand new way. All I needed to do for God to open these doors was dedicate time solely to Him for those two days and open my heart and ALLOW Him to reveal His awesome plans to me.

At my youth group, we have an opportunity to change the world through an organization called Speed The Light.

This organization aims to raise money for missions all over the world. This money is what touches, saves, and transforms lives. Christ is brought to those reached by the supplies and opportunities these funds provide.

God spoke to me at Minnesota Youth Convention this year and has asked me to raise $500 $1,000 within the next 3 weeks. I don't know how it's going to be done, but because God put it on my heart, I know that it will be done and I know that lives will be changed because of it. 

Within the next 3 weeks, I will be selling things such as: handmade ornaments, handmade holiday/birthday cards, clothing, and other misc. things on the blog/Instagram. I will also be selling these things in "real life" ;-) and hosting an event called "Parents Night Out," in my community, which clearly involves my passion... Children. I have also formed "The Backpack Project" which consists of filling backpacks with necessities (i.e. toothbrushes/toothpaste, toilet paper, non-perishable food items, hats/mittens, etc.) and donating them to the local food shelf. Each backpack will also contain a Bible. 

And, if you feel called to donate, you can do so HERE on my fundraising page or through the widget below.

If you do not have the means to help financially, I also accept ALL help spiritually. Keeping this organization in your prayers means more than words will ever say.

I know that whatever YOU give, God will give back to you ten-fold. This is coming from a girl who has given absolutely EVERYTHING. I currently have $60 to my name... But, I have put my heart and soul into this cause and will continue to because it's something I'm called to do and something I believe in. I know that...

God will provide.

He blesses us when we give.


{Deuteronomy 15:10~ Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.}

"We cannot control the rain, but, we can control where it does not fall. Bring Him to them." - Eric Samuel Timm

It. Is. Finished.

October 17, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses {Week 26}

Wednesday. Boom. At 3:04 today, this school week is officially over. Yep. Done-zo.


Anywho... Carrying on! Today I'm linking up with Mandy for Stop and Smell the Roses which is a bi-weekly link up where we film a short vlog talking about what we're thankful for. It's always loads of fun and I hope you'll join us!

Stop and Smell the Roses

{I'm very, very aware that I'm talking a mile a minute in this video! Y'all will have to excuse me as I filmed between Chemistry and College History study sessions... Excuses, excuses... I know.}

What are you thankful for? Looking forward to anything this weekend?
Thanks for stopping by! Have a splendid Wednesday!

October 16, 2012

New hair and blog changes on the way!

It's Tuesday. And I'm currently jamming out while contemplating whether or not to prepare for my chemistry test tomorrow... Hmmm... Yep, let the jamming commence.
I'm kidding. I do actually need to get studying. But, I hope you enjoyed some classic Backstreet Boys. 
Tonight, I want to share a few things with you guys!
First off... If you follow me on Instagram (xox_Kenzie), you most likely saw the picture of my new bangs this morning! I slipped a picture of my old bangs next to the new ones below for comparison. Besides for the crazed look in my eyes in the first picture... What do you think of 'em?!

I think bangs are a really easy way to change up a hairstyle when it's not quite time for a color... I think they really frame my face and fit my style, too! 

Secondly... I'm more than ecstatic to announce that I've been working with Jenn on a new blog design for quite some time now! She is amazing, amazing, amazing and I cannot wait to see what she's put together. On top of that, I'm THRILLED for y'all to see it, too! Lots of changes coming within the next couple weeks. :-)

Other than that, just a heads up... I am headed to a youth conference on Thursday morning and am going to girls night Friday night. I will be participating in Stop and Smell the Roses tomorrow, but, for the rest of the weekend, I'll be handing the blog over to several lovely ladies who have volunteered to guest post in my absence! 

It will be a good break from school and lots of quality time with my best friends will be an absolute blast. Please make sure to check back daily, though, and show my sweet friends some love!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week thus far!

October 13, 2012

Homecoming & World Arthritis Day

I LOVE Saturday's. I do! Up until today though, I hadn't "slept in" (without setting any type of alarm) since August. WHAT. Where is the time going?!

This week was homecoming week at my school and of course we did all kinds of fun things like participate in powderpuff football, dress up crazy, get prettied up for the dance, and infamously TP people's houses. Kidding, kidding. I totally didn't do that last one. ;-)

{The people who keep me going... <3}
It was a really fun week... But my entire class just can't believe we're already juniors. Time is flying and amazing memories are being made, but it's scary to think that we're almost done with high school. 

On Monday, for my english class, I gave a speech on juvenile arthritis and encouraged my classmates to help raise awareness. Not only did I get a perfect score, but I also felt like I did really well and my teacher and classmates were extremely supportive.

My biggest accomplishment this week, though, was participating in powderpuff football on what just so happened to be World Arthritis Day. Coincidence, or God's way of helping me show my arthritis who's boss? Definitely God's way. 

Every second of that game was so much fun and I actually played quite a bit. Even long enough to get completely plowed over by one of the foreign exchange girls that I absolutely love! ;-) It was an amazing feeling to be out there running around with some of my best friends all decked out in our class colors and I adore the fact that everyone treated me as Kenzie - another player - rather than the girl with arthritis. 

After the girls' big game (Ha!) We attended the boys' big game. It was a hard fought game, but our team ended up losing by one point. It was a great night, though. Our school raised a lot of money for breast cancer research and the dance afterwards was a lot of fun! Of course, I attended while sporting a heating/pain relieving patch... The game earlier in the day was pretty rough on me. I'm doing alright, though, and the fun I had is worth every ache and pain!

I think this quote perfectly defines me and this week's adventures...

Someone once asked me how I hold my head up so high after all I’ve been through... I said, "it’s because no matter what, I am a survivor, not a victim." 

As for my plans for today? Two words: Lazy. Saturday. I'm gonna lounge around in yogas and my robe and turn on some Netflix. :)

October 08, 2012

Grandma Jeanette's Apple Crumble

Well... Here we are again Monday. Welcome back.  Go back to where you came from.
I was in need of some serious cheering up today, so I decided to whip up a pan of my FAVORITE Apple Crumble. The recipe is my lovely grandmother's and today, I'm sharing it with you, loveys!
Let me just say, you are seriously deprived if you don't know my Grandma Jeanette personally... Because that means you've never gotten to taste her delicious Apple Crumble. I've literally grown up on this stuff.
This recipe is absolutely precious to me. I realize that I'm just a teeny bit extremely biased because of course I love my Grandma to pieces and think she's an even better baker than Miss Betty Crocker herself. But, there really is something so special about this apple dish. 
The recipe is short, sweet, and is as follows, friends...
 Place 4 cups of sliced/peeled apples in a buttered 8 x 8 baking dish. Sprinkle one teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 cup of water over the top. {Pictured above}
In separate bowl, crumble together 3/4 cup of sifted flour, 1 cup of white sugar, 1/3 cup of butter, and 1/2 cup of oatmeal. After crumbled, drop mixture over apples.
Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
That's all there is to it!
In my opinion, the most important step is to serve it warm with ice cream. :-) One of the best parts of this recipe is that it also reheats wonderfully!
If y'all are looking for a yummy new apple recipe to try this fall - this is it!
I'm off to have a piece of the dish I made up tonight! Mmm!