November 30, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight :: Nov.

Today is special day... I can't wait to put the spotlight on 3 of my sponsors for this month!

Meet my sweet friends... :-)



Meet Jess!
... From JMN Way

I love the Lord, He has changed my whole life and given me so much more than I could have ever imagined. I am married to an amazing man and we do youth ministry together at a small church plant in AZ where my husband is the Student Ministries Director. I love to bake in my spare time and share the sweets that I make!

Blog ~ Twitter ~Pinterest


Meet Adrienne!
... From La Vita e Bella

A 30 something educator blogging about all things beautiful and my journey through it all.  I blog on a wide range of topics from daily musings to my favorite ideas for kitchen creations and home decor.

BlogTwitter ~ Facebook



Meet Hallie!
... From Life:Oceanside

Hey y'all, I'm Hallie and I blog over at Life:Oceanside. I am a native Minnesotan (just like Kenzie!) who left her roots and moved across the country to start over. I blog about planning my wedding, my two crazy fur-babies, and all about my new life, Oceanside.

Blog Twitter ~ Facebook

*** Be sure to keep checking back on Hallie's blog this next week especially... A little birdy told me there's a group giveaway coming up and Hallie and I have partnered up... ;)

These girls are some of the very best! I've disabled comments so you can take the time to check them out and show them some love! Let them know I sent ya on this beautiful Friday! ;)

November 29, 2012

Just call me the chapstick junkie...

A few weeks ago, my friend Erin from Sweetness Itself posted a picture on Instagram of her new sugar cookie scented chapstick.

I saw it.

I was sold.

Of course I e-mailed her because you can never, ever go wrong with Christmas scented goodness for your lips. Never! Okay, okay - being real, though, I'm a chapstick JUNKIE. I love chapstick with all my heart. I always have one or two or ten with me. I know, it's sort of a problem.

On a side note - have y'all heard the Christmas chapstick commercial on the radio? Whether you have or haven't... I'll just let you know that a big ole' smile breaks out across my face when I hear it. Every time.

Of course, there were more than just the one scent - and so, I ordered every kind in a heartbeat. I also ordered a few other things so that I would be eligible for free shipping...

And when it arrived on my doorstep... Let me just say, PURE JOY! I absolutely love trying new products. Like, love, love, LOVE. That's why I enjoy Birchbox so much.

My package entailed all of these goodies...


And would you believe it if I told you that I got it all for $13.00? Bargain shopping at its finest. But, it gets even better... How? I'm in LOVE with every product I got! Winning. That's all I can say.

If y'all want to get yourself some of these Christmas-y chapsticks, e-mail my dear friend Erin @ erin_sweetnessitself@hotmail.com and she will hook you up! I'm guaranteeing that you won't regret it... And they'd make the most perfect stocking stuffers!

November 26, 2012

The Time I Got Asked to be on X-Factor...

Yesterday was one of those days that was super surreal. You may have seen my tweet late last night:

"I continue to surprise myself daily. You would think I wake up in the morning and say, "Hey, what shenanigans can  get myself into today?"

Let me elaborate... I just so happened to be on Twitter when the producer of the X-Factor live preshow was. What are the odds? He was looking for 2-3 fans who would be interested in being interviewed about the show, favorite contestants, how we feel about the results, etc. etc. etc.

Uhh - y'all probably mute my tweets on Wednesday's and Thursday's cause I clearly get a little too carried away with the show. I fall way too in love with the contestants and actually cry when my favorites get sent home. Yeah, I'm that girl.

Anyway, he contacted me because I was hashtagging #TeamBea like a pro. Beatrice Miller has been my favorite for a long time comin'. She's a 13 year old who has the voice of an angel. For real. I've never heard anyone with a voice so incredible. Unfortunately, she was sent home last week and it pretty much ruined my Thanksgiving... She was crying, and here I was, a million miles away... Flat out bawling like a baby. But, y'all have to cut me some slack, I was just really emotional. Mother Nature gets me every time. Alright, TMI. Sorry, sorry.

Nonetheless, I absolutely love Bea and was so sad to see her leave. I'll really miss watching her perform each week.

Onward with the story though... My parents chatted with the producer via phone and Google hangouts and before I knew it - they were signing a consent form for me to be interviewed live via webcam this Wednesday night... At 6 p.m. central time on the X-Factor website before the show starts!

But wait... It gets SO much better! 

...

My best friend Alicia gets to JOIN ME!

I'm telling each and every one of you right now... You do NOT want to miss this. Alicia and I are basically personality TWINS and I've got to say... We are hilarious when we're together!

I'm so excited take advantage of this amazing opportunity. The show is obviously something I'm passionate about and the three of us will have a blast! :-)

If you want to watch us, make sure you tune in Wednesday at 7/6c time right HERE! I would love for my followers to watch. It's always cool to see someone you "know" on national video... Even if they just so happen to be a complete freak and you're not necessarily proud  that you know them. ;-)

Do you watch X-Factor? Who's your favorite contestant this season?

November 22, 2012

Thankful.

While my family and I are celebrating Thanksgiving in our PJ's today with lots of good food, I just wanted to quickly share the verse I've been holding onto this week especially.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you." 

God wants us to be thankful in ALL circumstances. Not just this week, today, or tomorrow. He wants us to be thankful no matter what trial we're going through or which mountain we're facing... He wants us to know that He is the God who will always provide for, love, and care for us. 

I'm thankful for the wonderful group of family and friends I've been blessed with! I can count 9 girls in my life that I know will be there for me no matter what. I'm especially thankful for my bloggy friends. :-) I'm thankful for hardworking parents who will always love me. I'm thankful for the sweet babies and kiddos the parents in my community allow me to snuggle and love on constantly! I'm thankful for my beautiful horse and my sweet puppy. I'm thankful for sleep, coffee, scarves, and most importantly... My Jesus and how He continues to bless me, use me, and see me through each and every day! This life is SO beautiful and I am so beyond grateful.

I truly hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with love, laughter, and a grateful heart that surpasses any and every care in this world. Sending all my love and hugs to each of you!

November 21, 2012

So What Wednesday! :: Vol. 2

My favorite link up of the week is heeeeeere! 

And it's Wednesday - which is basically Friday this week... :-)

EEP!

I'm ready to link up with Shannon for...

So What Wednesday 

This week, I'm saying... 

SO WHAT...

- If can't stop drinking Salted Caramel Mochas. They're just so, so, SO good.

- If I can't wait to vlog for Stop and Smell the Roses next week. Vlogging has easily become one of my most favorite things to do.

- If my family likes to celebrate Thanksgiving in our pyjammas every year... It's pretty much the best tradition EVER to grace my little life.

- If I completely restored my laptop this past weekend and still haven't had time to sort all my music out again... I'm just so glad that my computer is working MUCH faster!

- If I deep cleaned my whole bedroom on Sunday... And so what that I actually wanted to. Gotta love those strange clean-freak phases!

- If tonight, my friend Amy and I are going to see the Lincoln movie after Thanksgiving service at church. We are absolute NERDS who love Abe. Haters gonna hate.

- If all three posts I've written this week have been link ups. Some weeks, I need a template to follow.

It's basically Friday, y'all. And the rest of this week is going to be filled with good food and Christmas turkey spirit. ;-) Enjoy!

November 20, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly :: Vol. 1

When my sweet friend Sarah posted about her new link up... I jumped on board right away. I'm pretty much excited as all getout. 

the good, the bad, the ugly

The good: It's a short week! Holla for Thanksgiving!
The bad: That should mean I'm more focused on my studies... But that's totally NOT the case.
The ugly: I haven't even opened my backpack once this week...

The good: I've discovered SO many new Caribou drinks that I've fallen in love with.
The bad: My momma does not approve of all the caffeine I've been downing. And, my sleeping habits don't approve of it either.
The ugly: It's actually really becoming a problem. But, I can't stop and I won't stop. Salted Caramel Mochas have officially become my love language.

The good: I don't have physical therapy this week! Not even once!
The bad: That only means I'll have to work harder next week...
The ugly: Andddd... I haven't done my at home exercises since last Thursday... Oops!

Yeah, I can tell y'all I'm loving this link up already. :-)  Make sure you join in the fun on  Sarah's blog!

November 19, 2012

Hey, that's Pintastic!

Today is the very first time I'm linking up with AP for...


I've been keeping up with this link up for weeks, but I've never actually participated. In fact, I told AP that she should slap me via internet because of my absolutely horrid procrastination habits.

Anyhow, I'm happy to be here today and can't wait to share my project! So here we go!

I found this project on Pinterest this summer and knew I had to get it done. Luckily, my dad and best friend were free for the weekend and agreed to help!


I was in desperate need of a new jewelry organization. Luckily Jen from Something Like That Designs laid out everything on her blog for this project. Check out the link above if you want to see how she did it! I also got in contact with her and she gave me all the details on dowel/hook size, etc. She is so friendly and just downright wonderful!

I made a few changes to her original project just because they were things I had on hand. Particularly the command strips because my dad works at 3M... ;-)

Here's what I used:

- Old picture frame {I went to Goodwill and got mine for $1.99!}
- Dowels {Select the size that you think will work best.}
- Command strip hooks {If your daddi-o works at 3M, too.} ;-)
- Paint color of choice {For frame, dowels, and hooks.}
- Window screen {Or, chicken wire as she used in the above picture.}

We just HAPPENED to have old window screen lying around because we had a house fire when I was younger and have a shed full of odds and ends that "survived." Y'all might not necessarily have that, but I found that it worked great for my earrings!

Overall, I really love the way mine turned out!


What do y'all think of it?!

I cannot wait to see all of the other Pinteresting projects! Thanks for hosting, AP - happy Monday!

November 16, 2012

God Is Proud Of Me

This past Wednesday was the official offering for 3-2-1... A 3 week period in which my youth group raised money for a missions organization called Speed the Light. If you want to know more about it, you can check out my launch post HERE.

If you follow along with me here or on any other type of social media, you know that my heart and focus was on the $1,000 goal God put on my heart for the past 3 weeks.

Before I go on, though, I have to share something with y'all...

I didn't reach my goal.

And because of that, I was feeling like I'd somehow failed earlier this week.

 Even though I had hosted a Parents Night Out for 7 kiddos, crafted my little booty off, took those crafts to a craft sale, babysat like it was my job {HA! It is.}, and sold just about anything I could think of...

I still felt like I'd failed. Like every sacrifice I made wasn't good enough.

I was utterly exhausted. I honestly don't think I could have done anything more... Humanly, at least.

Ironically, about 3 weeks ago - my doctor told me that it was time to start physical therapy again. She told me that this time, it would be more challenging and I was really going to need to dedicate my time and energy as much as possible in order to see accurate results and in order to avoid plan B... Steroid injections.

The moral of the story is this: God set a goal in my heart. A number. He gave me passion, determination, and motivation... But He also gave me a reminder... 

The sheer fact that I am human. I am different. And I need to remember to take care of myself.

I neglected the first 2 weeks of physical therapy... Terribly. I threw little pity parties when I went to bed at night. I cried myself to sleep asking God to use somebody else because I couldn't fulfill what He was asking me to do.

After Parents Night Out, one of the mom's texted me. She said two things:

1.) "My son had a blast with you and we are so thankful that you asked us to be a part of your night!"


2.) "I'm so glad that you are not living for YOURSELF like so many others. I'm praying you reach your Speed the Light goal, Kenzie!"

Okay, you might as well cue the hysterical tears because that's what's coming and y'all know it...

I broke down.

She is one of the women I trust most. It's been a blessing to get to know her through church. And so, I texted her back thanking her for all the encouragement. I also told her about physical therapy and my feelings of failure.

She responded by telling me that no matter what I've raised, God has used ME. He's taught be about giving. About obedience. He's helped me grow in faith. He's reminded me to slow down. And He's proud of me. He would still be proud of me if I'd raised nothing. That's how graceful and loving He is.

Again, cue the hysterical tears... Cause this girl was in shambles. Completely convicted.

Just what I needed to hear and be reminded of. This life? Not mine. My struggles and feelings of inadequacy? Gone.  We serve a Savior who knows and loves us no matter what.

I raised a total of $495.50 for Speed the Light this year and giving that money to the offering on Wednesday was an incredible feeling. My youth group as a whole raised over $15,000!



I know if God can use me and change the way I feel - He can use everyone else {in their own ways} and He can change the course of their lives.

Just like that.

We serve a Savior that watches over us all, loves us more than words can say, and is continually proud of us despite the circumstances of this life.

Unending love. Amazing grace.

November 15, 2012

Let It Go

SUCH a great reminder. Will always be God.
I need to keep this quote in my heart.I found two quotes on Pinterest the other day and they were EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

There are so many days my head hits the pillow and I ask myself, "if I had to classify this day, would it be good or bad?"

I'll be the first to admit that 75%, "bad" pops into my head first.

So-and-so was crabby, I woke up late because of *insert excuse here...


Oh, the list could go on and on!

I'm am very, very slowly - but surely learning that it's absolutely okay to have "bad" days - but it is never, ever okay to dwell on them and let them ruin the days ahead of you. They are to learn from and let go of. It's that simple.

Things will inevitably change us, but we need to make sure we're not letting them reduce us and/or weigh us down.

That's why I love the quote to the right here so much. It's a simple and very logical idea that I forget all too often.

There are lots of things in our lives that are just heavy and need letting go of so that we can make room for joy in our hearts and blessings in our lives.

I'm so grateful... God is teaching me just that.

To learn to...

Let... 

It... 

Go...

November 14, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses Vlog {November 14th}

Time to get back into vlogging with my sweet Mandy for...

Stop and Smell the Roses

This week I'm smiling because of extra time with my big sister. :-) 

Prepare yourselves for a whole 'lotta crazy here, folks. I got my sister to vlog WITH me!
 
 
Another thing that's really making me smile this week is the fact that Britt Nicole tweeted me and Instagramm'ed a picture of us last night! Girlfrand say whaaaat?!




I was super blessed to get the chance to meet her this past September... You can read all about that HERE.
 
Britt is my biggest role model and inspiration. She took the time to pray for me when we met  - that says a thing or two... OR TEN... About the woman of God she is. LOVE.

Can't wait to watch all the other vlogs this week! But, for real, I need to go write my english speech now...
 
What are you thankful for this week?!

November 13, 2012

A heavy heart...

It breaks my heart to write this post because the little girl it's about is one that is SO near and dear to my heart.

Y'all, meet my cousin Tatum. She is an adorable little girl with a big personality. She's full of spirit and quite frankly, she cracks me up. Although her and her family don't live close by anymore, they are in my thoughts often - and when I get to see them, it's always wonderful.

This August, they attended our Grandpa's wake after he passed away. Tatum's sense of humor and mood during that long night kept me going and gave me the strength to stand up and give the eulogy. It was the joyful heart of this beautiful little girl that guided me through such a difficult time.

This is Tatum's story straight from her CaringBridge...

On Wednesday February 8 Tatum woke up with a sore eye after treating her eye for for what we thought was a eye infection for two days, the redness cleared Lisa noticed blood in the center of her eye. We brought her down to see the eye doctor in Morris who sent us right to St. Cloud to a pediatric eye doctor. After two apt she was sent to the U of M to see a cornea specialist and Tatum's been seeing him every week since. Tatum is also being seen by a glaucoma specialist whatever is in her eye is plugging the drain in her eye causing the pressure to go up which is creating the onset of glaucoma. 
We have been to the mayo clinic and our doctors have taken her info to conferences and have talked to doctors from across the country. Tate has also had 3 A/C taps which is where they pull fluid from inside her eye to test for cancers, viruses, disease and infections. They have tested for hundreds of different cancers, infections, viruses, and diseases with no answers. As of October 23 her vision in her eye was 20/50 and we still have no answer to what is causing all the problems in her eye.
Tatum is a trooper she never complains with the long doctor visits, blood draws and other test. Tatum is on 2 drops 5 times a day and a oral medicine 3 times a day. She has to patch her good eye for 2 hours a day to keep her bad eye strong. This is the most difficult thing for Tatum. Her cornea is so cloudy which makes everything blurry and she can't see real well so she gets frustrated. 
We are thankful to be in such a amazing place and to have such a great team of doctors that treats her like a queen and are always researching and making inquires to help fix our little girl!
We are thankful that so far it is only in her left eye and we are praying and crossing our fingers that we can find a answer to our mystery so we can start fighting back!
Yesterday, this "mystery" turned into a diagnosis when Tatum was diagnosed with Retnioblastoma, a form of cancer.
While writing this post teary eyed and heartbroken, I ask that you would please PRAY hard for her and her family... No matter what your beliefs are. No matter where you're at in life. I just ask that you would stop what you're doing in this moment and PRAY for this sweet little girl.
I don't know why God wanted their family to walk this path or travel this road, but that doesn't matter because the One who needs to understand it DOES... And He has a plan for them.
Jeremiah 29:11~ "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope."
The faith this family has in God is incredible and the attitude of their little girl and her big sister really proves that they are living by faith and not by sight. Because of Tatum's attitude, there is a different kind of fight in me. This little girl is changing the way I fight my arthritis. Even when it hurts, even when it's hard. If Tatum can get through this, I can get through the obstacle that's been placed in my life.
Above all, Tatum is a trooper. The status' and pictures her mom posts on Facebook continue to blow me away because this little girl continues to smile.
I know that Tatum is a fighter and I know that God is going to be with their family as He always is through this difficult time.
If you would like to keep "checking in" on Tatum as she goes through treatment, you can visit her CaringBridge site HERE.
I love you Scott, Lisa, Macee, and Tatum. My thoughts, prayers, love, and hugs are with you today, tomorrow, and ALWAYS.
Fight like a girl Tate! You've got this!

November 10, 2012

God's not finished with me yet!

If you've visited this little blog lately, I'm sure you've read the post titled Dreaming a God-Sized Dream. And if not - click the link and head over there!

The past three weeks have been all about GIVING in terms of my finances, time, and energy. I'll admit, I'm utterly exhausted and extremely worn out from the craft/bake sales to the babysitting to the late nights spent putting it all together... But I am so happy. My heart is so joyful. I love laying my head down on the pillow at night and knowing that God is using me, stretching me, and molding me into the person I'm meant to be throughout the process.

3-2-1 ends this Wednesday and I still haven't reached my goal of $1,000. I know that SO many of you have been praying about this and I just ask that you would do that x10 this week. There are still greater things to be done and I'm not losing hope. :-) God's not finished me with yet!

If you are interested in donating - there's still time! 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

Also be aware that it says I've raised just $200 of the $1,000... Which is absolutely NOT true! Keep in mind that this counter only keeps track of how much I've made online... The various things I've been doing in my community have generated enough to add up to a little over $500 altogether. I don't want to "give away" the exact amount because I don't know what's going to happen yet this week and I want the final total to be shared in a special post Wednesday. :-)

Thank you so much for the support, love, thoughts, prayers, and donations y'all have given this organization and I during the past few weeks! You don't know how much it truly means to me.

Have a blessed Saturday and beautiful weekend!

November 07, 2012

So What Wednesday! :: Vol. 1

I'm late to the party... But better late than never, right? 

First of all, I just have to say... Each time I read one of  Shannon's posts I fall in love with her all over again. Seriously.

And since today has been one of "those" days... I HAVE to participate in her kick-butt link up. 

So What Wednesday

Here we go! This week, I'm saying...

SO WHAT...

- If I had Oreos for breakfast this morning. I woke up with a headache and immediately after I downed three cookies and a glass of milk, it went away. Just call me Dr. Kenz.

- If I spent all of last night and majority of today making political Mean Girls references. "THE PRESIDENCY FOR YOU OBAMA... YOU GO OBAMA. AND NONE FOR MITT ROMNEY."

- If I bit my nails off today while I was taking a college placement exam... Ugh. Okay. Maybe I'm actually slightly upset at myself for doing that...

- If I don't plan on opening my backpack at all tonight. My brain is FRIED from school today.

- I've been wearing leggings and/or sweatpants since last Friday. Mother nature is kicking my assets.

- If my bestie Jaycee and I have become addicted to Snap Chat and use it 24/7... Including when we're sitting next to eachother.

- If my plans for Friday are to have 10 kiddos from different families over for "Parents Night Out." And yes. They're all spending the night. Sleepover with my loves? Abso-freakin-lutely. :-) And all proceeds are going to Speed the Light!

Happy hump day!

November 05, 2012

I just can't wait...

On this glorious, rainy Monday morning... I woke up at 6 a.m. to "work." AKA - get the little boy I nanny in the door, get him some breakfast, flip on a Netflix movie, and catch up on what he did this past weekend/what he's thankful for. About an hour after he got here, we got all bundled up, got in my car, and I dropped him off at school. Before we went in, we prayed that he would have a good day and be nice to his friends. Then, after exiting the car, he grabbed my hand and we went inside... "Goodbye Kenz! See you tonight! I love you!"
 
That's my job.
 
I don't have class today. Currently at 8 a.m., I'm watching Rio with my little brother and typing up this post because I just need to write it...
 
I can't wait to be a mom.
 
There. I said it. I know I might get a lot of criticism for it, but this is my blog. It's my journal. And these are my words.
 
If you've followed me for awhile, you know that I love children with my whole heart. More than anything on earth. Whenever someone asks me what I do for fun, that's how I respond. "Well... My nannying job. And I love to babysit!" Trust me... I always get strange looks. Sorry, not sorry! It's the honest truth!
 
I don't mean this post in the "I would love to be a teen mom!" sorta way. Nope. Not at all. I have A LOT of growing left to do as a person. I have to go to college. I have to meet the man of my dreams... Everything will have its time.
 
Maybe I'm just mature for my age - maybe you think I'm absolutely crazy... But that's what's on my heart this morning.
 
I feel called to adopt. I feel called to work in children's ministry. I feel called to spend loads of time on missions trips to orphanages.
 
Eventually. All in good God's time.
 
As for now, though, I'm going to hold onto that passion in my heart and embrace the place I am at this moment.
 
I just can't wait for that day... :-)