Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

2013 Bucket List - Progress Check

Man, this year is flying by. I can't believe it's almost May which means it's almost June which means I'm almost 24. 


Let's see how the Bucket List is coming along, shall we?

1. Run at least 3 races (any distance 5K and over)


-10K Coronado Valentine's Day Race: Feb 17th / DONE! 54 min, 8:30 mile pace

-5K Los Angeles Run or Dye: March 9th / DONE!

-15K San Diego Hot Chocolate Race: March 24th / DONE! 1hr 26min, 9:14 pace

-Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon: May 11th / registered!

I can't believe I'll be running my first half marathon in less than 2 weeks! Finally joined the double digit club with 10 miles last week. It was probably one of my best runs to date, no knee pain, definitely the longest I've ever ran, and managed to cut 30 seconds off my 15K mile time!

Boo ya. 

2. Read 30 books

So far, I've completed 3 books.


That means I didn't finish a single book in April. Whoops? 

To be fair, I'm actually reading multiple books right now, so hopefully will finish all of them in May. But still, reading is one of my favorite hobbies, I need to find the time for it!

Keep up with my reading progress here.

3. Get a passport

This one is on the back burner for now. Turns out I have to actually save up the money so that I can apply for my passport. I guess with no trips planned, it loses it's urgency. 

Kind of funny that I picked up the application in January, and have yet to submit it. If that doesn't scream procrastination, I don't know what does.

4. Travel outside of the country (preferably missions related)

No updates here. Honestly, this one is in God's hands. I've officially decided that if I'm meant to go out of the country this year, He will make it clear to me. 

And if not, 2014's where it's at.

5. Cross off at least 2 states

This is for my 50 State Challenge.

No flights booked, but I'll be crossing off Indiana when I go to The Influence Conference in September. 

And I officially have a second trip in the making, as well! You might remember that my roommate is currently recovering from surgery. Well I could not be more excited to get her back home. And as soon as she gives me the green light, I'm booking a flight up to Oregon to check out her state and road trip it with her back to Cali. 

Looks like Indiana and Oregon will be getting crossed off this year!

6. Meet a blogger friend IRL

If all goes as planned, this will be crossed off in May :)

7. One spontaneous trip

Tahoe: Back in January

8. One random act of kindness per month

January: gas station

February: check! 

March: check!

April: _______

I think I was spoiled in January and February with very clear signs from the Lord as to what my random acts should be. 

So given that today is the last day of April, I ask you: 
what are your favorite random acts of kindness to give or receive? 

9. End the year with 0 balance on credit card

Revision: Maintain 0 balance on credit card

Definitely been keeping my credit card paid off every month! I've got a small balance on it right now that will be paid off with this week's paycheck. Woo hoo!

10. Double my savings

Revision: Rebuild my savings

If you're confused about the change in these last two bucket list items, check out this post. 

Last month, I had my savings account at 44% of what it used to be. Goal: get that number to 100% by the end of the year.

At the end of April, I have 59% of my account back! Up 15% from last month, not too shabby. 

11. Cut and donate my hair

Crossed off in January.

11. Take Milissa on a sister weekend getaway

This will be taking place this summer :)

12. Get a blog makeover!

My new look was revealed yesterday, and I could not be more thrilled with the final product!

Amy, from the Charming blog, designed this beauty, and I have nothing but amazing things to say about her! If you're ever considering doing a blog makeover, I'd highly recommend this girl!

What do you think??

So there you have it!

My progress, or lack there of in some areas! Keeping it real, folks!

{Bucket List progress tracked here}

Monday, April 29, 2013

Oh My Word

Pretty sure I said this phrase like 239854 times this weekend. 

Mainly because of the 106 degree weather. But also because of the freaking phenomenal music from so many of my favorite country artists. 

And oh my word were a lot of pictures taken this weekend. 

So here's a teaser:

3 days. 3 nights. 

And still managed to make it to work at 7AM Monday morning. Bam. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Prayer Chain // Week 9

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! I am writing this post in advance, since as you are reading this I will be soaking up the sun at Stagecoach!

I'm sure by now I've already blown up your Instagram feed, so you probably already know that :)

My praise this week is that God is so incredibly patient with us. I felt it this week. I felt how patient He is when I go from feeling the closest I've ever felt to Him, to wanting to ignore Him completely in .2 seconds. 

Maybe I didn't consciously acknowledge that I was trying to ignore Him, but I knew I was doing just that. And lo' and behold, then hit the off day. {Ironic? I think not.}

But the off day turned out to be only an off morning, because the second I asked God to come straighten out my mind and heart, He did. The second I asked Him to change my mood, He did. 

He's a good and faithful God, guys. Good and faithful, I tell ya!

My prayer request for this week would be that I truly learn to rest in the Lord. I want to know what that looks like, especially when it isn't feeling natural. 

I find that it's easy for me to come to God when I want to. But sometimes, there are distractions. Sometimes, my sinful heart creeps up on me when I least expect it to. And I want to learn to run to God for rest in those moments. 

Keeping it short and sweet today! I got me some country tunes to jam to :)

Happy Sunday!

How can I be praying for you today?

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. 
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them 
pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 

James 5: 13-14
Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Friday, April 26, 2013

Erin Asked, so I Answered!

Erin from the infamous Living in Yellow asked some good questions yesterday. So I figured what better to post on a Friday than some serious Q&A.

And to offset the seriousness, I give you recent pics that haven't made the blog yet. 

Here we go:

1. If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would it be?

Hmm, this is tricky. I will absolutely say that I wish I had accepted the love of Jesus into my heart at a younger age. I would have loved to lived my life in a glorifying way through high school and college, and I wish I had loved people without seeking approval and validation in return. 

That being said, would I have done things differently? Here's where I don't have an easy answer. Would I go back and choose sin all over again? Absolutely not, I know better now. I see the effect that sin had on my heart, and I wouldn't ever choose that for myself, or anyone else. 

But, I love the people that I met through out those years of straying from the Lord. I pray for them often, and can't wait to watch as God changes their lives as He has mine. 

And I'm thankful for my heart that sympathizes for the lost. Would I have that empathy in my heart if I hadn't gotten lost myself? Who knows. 

So there's your answer. There is something I would have done differently, but I'm thankful that I don't have the opportunity to. I trust that God will use my life just as it is. 

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

5 years.. so let's see. I will be 28, turning 29 in a few months. 

Well, for one thing, I see myself planning an amazing golden birthday party for myself since 29 will be the lucky golden year. Gold EVERYTHING. Get excited. 

I hope to be in full-time ministry, specifically women's ministry. I envision myself working for a church, but only God knows!

I hope to have met my husband by then, possibly even started having kids depending on where we stand in our relationship/marriage. 

Oh, and I see myself blogging. Definitely blogging. 

3. Do you honestly want kids?

Yes, yes and yes. 

I have always wanted to be a Mom. I didn't dream about my wedding growing up, I dreamed about my kid's names. And I don't know how or when, but I have complete faith that I will be a Mom one day. To a lot of kids. 

That being said, do I honestly want kids any time soon? Well, considering I'm not seeing anyone now, I guess that's a no brainer. 

But even without that small factor, I know that I'm not ready to have kids right now. I love the season of life that I'm in. I'm thankful that I am allowed to put myself first, and fill my time with whatever I want to do. I want to make sure that I'm fully prepared to give that up before I even consider having kids. 

4. What has been the best moment of your life so far?

It's funny, but I think the best moment of my life is a moment where I felt the most broken. 

January 1st, 2012. Standing in worship at my first church service in who knows how long. Raising my hands out as far as they could go, tears streaming down my face, proclaiming my desperation for God. 

And immediately feeling filled with hope. So. much. hope. 

That's when everything changed for me. And that was the best moment of my life so far. 

5. What is your life theme song? 

Good Life by One Republic. 

And about a million worship songs, so we'll leave it at that. 

6. What is one thing you have yet to accomplish that you want to do before you die? 

Speak in front of a group of women and really share my heart, and my story. 

7. If you could choose one thing to be known for, what would it be?

That no matter what time it is, when we last talked, or how well we know each other, I'll be there. Hands down. 

For the little things, and for the big. I want to be known as someone who others can turn to for help, love and support. 

Or wine, laughs and tears. Whichever you prefer. 

8. If you could do anything you wanted right in this very moment (no consequences, no fear, etc.), what would it be?

Pack up and go travel the world. 

And I'd bring my family and friends with me. 

Side note: You all are invited. 

9. What has been the most challenging moment in your life? 

Picking up the pieces of a broken heart. 

Good thing God has a knack for putting them back together for me :)

10. Summarize yourself in one word.


And on that note, I'm off the STAGECOACH!

Have a lovely weekend, friends! Love you all so much!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Off Days

We all have em, right? Those morning where we wake up and think to ourselves "hmm.. I'd rather not."

That was me this morning. Mainly due to last night's laundry mishap. 

RIP brand new white shirt. And living room: sorry you are covered in soaked clothes. Pleeeeease have them dry for me by this afternoon? 
Thanks, you're a pal.

Funny how a bad mood spirals. Gets you thinking that the best remedy for the bad mood is to sit and sulk in said bad mood. 

"Ugh, I don't want to go to work today. I would rather just sit and lay in bed thinking about how annoyed I am right now."

"And don't even get me started on tonight's run. That sounds awful right now."

Yeah, that was me this morning. 

But the thing is: they're just clothes. The ruined shirt will be replaced at some point, and the soaked clothes will dry. It'd be preferrable if the work out clothes would dry before this evening's run. But if not, hey, maybe it'll make me run faster. 

And as for not looking forward to tonight's run? Well, there are plenty of people who would love to run 10 miles today. 

Like the Boston Marathon victims who have suddenly found themselves without limbs. 

Or my roommate who has found herself in a cast for the next 3 months. 

So on days like today, where running for over an hour and a half just does not sound appealing at all, I will remember how I felt when I had my stress fracture. And all I wanted to do was 
go run. 


You know the upside to an off day? It leaves me on my knees asking God for more of Him, and less of me. 

There's just no where better than kneeling at the foot of the cross, is there? 

Fake it til you make it, I say. I will be in a good mood today. By golly, yes I will. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Today's Look {Shabby Apple}

 It's a two-post-in-one-day kinda day. {Hope you don't mind}

You mighta seen this outfit pic on Instagram this morning: 

When I saw that this skirt was on sale, I knew I just had to share the good news with you guys. 

I got this for myself as a new job present back in October, and I've already gotten so much use out of it. Today's outfit pairs it with a simple white lace top and some fun jewlery, and voila! A colorful, yet professional, business casual look for the office. 

The skirt fits great! And I'm fairly certain it would be flattering on all different shapes and sizes. 

Check out Shabby Apple's site to find this skirt and more great finds!

Hope you're enjoying your Tuesday!

4 Sites I Check Daily

Back to link up again with Lauren and Tiffany. This has been one of my favorite link ups to participate in, so I'm excited to be back! 

{Check out my last Tuesday Topics post here}

The Austin Family Diary

So let's get to it!

4 sites I check daily:

K, let's be real here. I'm a professional blog stalker, so the sites that I check daily are all blogs. 

I figure if you're here reading this (you know, on my blog), you don't mind that I'm gonna use this opportunity to shamelessly promote my favorite bloggy pals, right? 

K awesome. 

One // Julie's blog, An Anchor for the Soul

I swear this girl and I share the same heart. Every post of hers has me nodding profusely at the computer screen. 

And I may or may not be meeting her IRL soon. Cue: major happy dance. 

Two // From the Nato's blog

I found Jami's blog when I bought my ticket for Hope Spoken, and signed up to hear her speak. AKA just signed up for the same people that Annie signed up for since she had the deets from attending the Influence Conference last year. 

So I immediately blog stalked Jami (as I said earlier, I'm a professional here), and man. This girl is good

Or should I say Jesus is good and doing some freakin amazing things in her life. 

IE: this.

Three // Kerrie's blog, The Williams Post

Reading this girl's posts and seeing her undeniable love for Christ seriously transformed my relationship with God, and my ability to talk about it

It's one thing to love Christ. 

It's another to be able to eloquently and confidently share that fact with others. 

Kerrie's blog helped inspire me to want to be a better witness of my faith. And I will always be thankful to her, because God absolutely used her to do a work in my heart. 

Four // I could list another blog, but I'll go ahead and list the sites that you know I'm checking on the reg. 

Like this one and this one

I'm sure you've never heard of them. 


I'm also gonna use this post to do a photo drop of weekend pics. Enjoy!

For those that saw on Instagram (@sweethomesb), yes, there really is a brewery next door:

Notice the board of brews on tap behind us. It's quite the neighborhood hang out on Friday nights. 

Saturday's are reserved for my Soccer Mom training. 

 And I managed to track down some Santa Barbara folks while I was visiting home.

We ended the weekend with a gorgeous hike, complete with a rattlesnake. 

And there you have it folks, my San Diego weekend. 


So tell me, what sites do you check daily?

Monday, April 22, 2013


Redemption (noun)
1. an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.
2. deliverance; rescue.
3. deliverance from sin; salvation. 
4. atonement for guilt.
5. repurchase, as of something sold. 

(as found on dictionary.com)


This past weekend, I got to reunite with some very long-time, dear friends. Friends who I hadn't seen in quite some time, we're talking years here. 

This picture. Man, it just screams redemption

I wish I could sit you down for coffee, and tell you about each woman looking at you in this picture. I wish I could walk you through each of our lives, because you would be blown away by the power of God's love. 

Some of the stories are mine to tell, and others aren't. Some may grace this blog at some point, and others will not. 

But just believe me when I tell you, 
the love of Jesus Christ is life changing. 

You look at this picture and you see three smiling faces looking back at you. 

You don't see cancer. You don't see drugs. You don't see jail. You don't see alcohol. 

You don't see these things, because when Jesus is in the picture, He takes over. 

I look at this picture, and that is all I see. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. 

I see that prayer changes things

I see that God heals

And I see that there is no such thing as "too far gone" when it comes to Christ. 

He will reach down and pick you up from where ever you are, He's not afraid to get His hands dirty. 

Today, I am thankful that we are redeemed
That we are delivered, rescued, saved
Set free from guilt. No longer slaves to sin. 
Purchased as a prized possession. 

It doesn't matter where you've been. Walk in that truth today. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Prayer Chain // Week 8

Happy Sunday, beautifuls!
I'm excited for this week's Prayer Chain, because it's been a wonderful week full of praises. A lot of which were listed here, but honestly, the biggest praise of all is just the amount of peace I've experienced this week.
God's peace truly is an incredible feeling, and I have been blessed with a lot of it this week. So thank you to all of you who have been praying with me and for me for the past 8 weeks. I have felt the effects of your prayers :)
Getting to end this week with my family was another big praise. I am so blessed to live not only a mere 3-4 hour drive away from my family, but an incredibly beautiful one at that!
So I'm definitely thankful for weekends like this.
Prayer Request:
This week, I would really appreciate prayer for the people in my life who are currently either struggling in their relationship with the Lord, or walking without Christ entirely.
I would like prayer that I can learn to simply be still, and listen to how God would like to use me in each individual case. Whether it be by witnessing, or just by listening & loving, I know God has a perfect plan. I would like to learn to trust Him more, and listen when the Spirit is guiding me.
I hope you all know how thankful I am for each and every one of you. It is such a joy for Melissa Jo and I to be praying for you!
How can we be praying for you today?
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. 
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them 
pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 

James 5: 13-14

Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Friday, April 19, 2013

HAPPY Friday!

It's been a great week, so I'd say that calls for a HAPPY Friday post. 

Here we go:

*The fact that today is a flexday makes me happy*

If you're wondering what a flexday is, or what's the deal with the hashtag, check out this post. 

*Starting the Overcome the Lie 40 Day Challenge this week made me happy*

The 40 Day Challenge is a challenge to devote 40 days to being intentional about seeking to understand more about God's love for us. Last Sunday at church, our pastor said something that struck me. He said something along the lines of we will never be able to love others the way that we want to if we don't first understand the way that God loves us

This theme has been hitting me a lot lately. How understanding how much God loves us would radically change everything else in this life. So when the idea of a 40 Day Challenge was thrown out, I was all for it. 

I will be fasting from spending money on clothes. 

Yes, this will be a challenge. But helloooo rest of my closet that I've been neglecting!

*Wonderful time in the word left me feeling happy*

I never before realized how much it was emphasized that we are made in God's own image. 

I knew it was said, but three times in two verses? I think Someone's trying to tell us that we are pretty darn priceless in His eyes. 

So thankful that we are claimed as God's own. He reminded me this week that that is where my identity lies, not in anything else. 

*The fact that this time next week I will be back at Stagecoach makes me happy*

*Knowing that I'll be reunited with one of my very best friends while I'm there makes me extremely happy*

*Heading home to see the fam this weekend makes me happy*

*My blog redesign being almost ready to reveal makes me happy*

I cannot recommend Amy enough. 

And no, I'm not referring to myself in third person. I have zero design skills. So good thing Amy from The Charming Blog does!

Happy Friday, friends!

Love you all!