I woke up a 5 am this morning from a weirdly interesting dream and wrote a final paragraph on my iPhone to a story I’d never started…I’ve been writing all day. Lets see if this isn’t like all my other projects that never get finished.

He’s got all the control

It might be hard to give up control in our lives but we, as Christians, need to recognize that God has a plan and had the ultimate say in all things.

I’m learning, and have been learning, this lesson the hard way for the past…all of my life? (So let’s say 19 years).

As a person, I am very imaginative and it’s pretty easy to get my hopes up. You can tell me tonight that tomorrow you have plans to take me out and I will imagine a billion different scenarios in my head before you finish your sentence. I like to imagine. Imagination is important to me. It’s also often my biggest heartbreaker.

I like to imagine things a million different ways and make it perfect and make it magical and in my head I lead my perfect life. But what about my actual life? Sometimes I’m so much in my own head imagining things and envisioning futures that I forget what I should be doing or that my life is right in front of me and I should be living it instead of imagining I’m living it.

When opportunities knock on my door I’m quick to imagine everything going perfectly. But things almost never go how you planned.

I know in my heart that when God opens a door for you no one can take that blessing away. No one can stop you from walking through it and getting what he gives you but yourself. But I also know that it is according to His will.

Ever since I was a child I heard my family and my pastor and congregation praying “Señor ha la obra como tu quieres. Que no sea nuestra voluntad pero la tuya” which means “Lord do this how you want it. Let it not be our will but yours.” Jesus himself said :

And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Matthew 26:39

You see the will of God is perfect and He knows all things. Our will is not even near perfect. Our sight is so short, we cannot possibly see things the way God does.

When I was applying to colleges I was so adamant about going to NYU. I prayed and prayed and prepared and prayed and prepared some more. I told God how much I wanted to go there and I begged him to help me get accepted.

I got accepted, but for financial reasons going to my dream school was just not a possibility. You can imagine I was devastated. I cried and cried and cried. I looked for other ways to go. I tried to convince my parents I could handle a $60,000 loan. I googled till the cows came home and I called the school and stayed on hold for ages to try and get them to give me any financial aid.

But it wasn’t going to happen. I wracked my brain and cried and fought but that door was closed. Looking back on it now, I spent a year and a half at Brooklyn College (I’m taking a year off to save money and try and help my parents) it has been the biggest blessing.

At Brooklyn I met some of the most amazing people. I had a physics class where when we had to do labs my partner sang worship songs while she worked and I could hear her and knew that it was God at work. Through her I met my friend Christian who I consider one of my closest friends and who has such a beautiful dynamic and relationship with Christ. The friendship I had with these two while at school gave me a newfound confidence in who I was as a person and who I could become with Christ.

And I can’t leave out JD, who I spent an entire semester in class with but didn’t speak to until after I’d screwed up my final and almost failed the class. To this day he will send me a bible verse when I least expect it. I don’t even know how many times I was sitting there slumped and defeated and the verse he sent lifted my spirit.

God has an interesting way of working. You will never understand it, but all you have to do is trust it.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. It never is. When you have everything planned out and it all goes wrong. It won’t be easy. And when you have nothing planned out are are simply waiting, it might even be worse. But have faith in God. Just have faith.

I spent most of today telling myself that. In the back of my mind was a constant “alright God, I know you have a reason behind everything. Just help me.”

I’d been praying for a certain job position that had been mentioned to me for about a week or two now. I’ve been praying for God to give me the right job for longer than that but I was sort of semi offered one that I thought would be more than perfect. I’d already started planing outfits in my head and what I would have on my desk. You know, imagining.

Quite literally God sent me the answer.

I was praying in my living room and I’m praying for a lot of things and then when I start praying about this position, I’m telling God how perfect it is and what I could do with it and how I could grow and asking him to move things in my favor and that moment my Dad calls.

I though “Jesus could this be it?”

The conversation started with “Hey honey, unfortunately”

And it was it, but not the it I was hoping for.

Am I disappointed? Yes.

So I’m telling myself all the time “Alright God, I know you have a reason behind everything. I know mine is out there. You’ve got it saved.”

And I’m writing this now to remind myself. And to help anyone else that might need it.

If you scrunch up your frustrations and try to fight with God it won’t go anywhere. Just ask for His peace.

His peace and His love.

Have faith in Him, He’s got this.

Storage Solutions for the Small Apartment Dweller

If you know what its like to live in a small apartment you know the struggle of trying to find room for everything.

I don’t know how many times I’ve rearranged my room since it first became my room. It feels like every time I do, I throw out trash bags full of stuff and there still isn’t enough room.

With this dilemma on hand, ingenious storage is everything. I’ve got my shoes in these kids stacked baskets (which have been around  since probably the day my brother was born), my heels and bags are inhabiting a dvd rack I salvaged from my father and my coats are in a bin that doubles as a mini table.

But I hate that bin. I mean at least the stacked baskets are bright colors. Any the dvd rack looks good covered in my favorite purses and heels. But that bin, I hid it under fabric or behind stuff most often.

Just because its storage doesn’t mean it has to be ugly.

So here’s one of my solutions to lack of storage and lack of well attractive storage.

So you know those tins filled with popcorn that go on sale every Christmas season?

You know, these

 

Well my dad gets them pretty much every Christmas and while most of them get trashed, one or two manage to live in our apartment.

Why not put them to use?

Materials:

  • Holiday  Tins (emptied and cleaned)
  • Spray paint
  • Acrylic or Craft paint
  • Duct Tape
  • Inspiration😉

photo 4

So I took two of the larger tins and taped them together one on top of the other. If you want more room, cut out the bottom of the top tin before taping them.

If you don’t want to tape them together you can just use them as is. Mine act as a “coffee” table.

Then you can spray paint it, or them, any color you want. Then go to town with your paint brush.

Heres’ what my tin looked like before hand.

photo 2

Then I added on the top one, spray painted it first (so I could do the second one without smudging anything) and painted.

photo 1

I was originally just keep doing flowers but then this parrot happened.

photo 1 (1)

Then a portrait of my cat Memphis happened…photo 2 (1)

At this point I was committed to the animals and the humming bird came alongphoto 3 (1)

And here she is the finished product!

photo 4 (1)

There you have it. I can now hide things in here and not think about how weird it is to have Christmas stuff out in April.

What creative ways do you store your stuff?

P.S. I painted this!

P.S. I painted this!

Well I am definitely no Picasso, and I doubt anyone would ever consider my work serious art but I painted this yesterday. I was sitting on the couch on my computer and I felt, “well there really has to be something better to do right now.” So I got out my set of water color kids paints (Which I bought for an entirely different project) and started looking for inspiration. I found a rainbow owl and imagined myself doing it and got to work. What do you think?

Peanut Butter Cupcakes and Fun Memories

Hey everyone!

Here I am with a new recipe that I have to say really made me reminisce.

During my sophomore year of high school I met my best friend and started playing Volleyball on my schools team. These cupcakes, Peanut Butter, make me think back to one of my favorite memories of that year.

My best friend was at the time dating, or maybe she wasn’t dating him at that moment they may have just been talking I don’t remember exactly, a boy who freshman year I was embroiled in a feud to the death with. Danny was my mortal enemy and while we hadn’t quite settled our differences our shared love for my best friend meant that we couldn’t insult each other as viciously and constantly as we had the previous year. I can now say that one of my favorite qualities Danny posses is his cooking ability. Geez can that boy cook! He can also bake a mean peanut butter cupcake!

So here’s the scene, we’re all sophomores. We’re all silly, unmotivated, unfocused and definitely no where near proper and classes have just finished for the day. As per our traditions, we all gathered at another friends locker to wind down together before going to our respective activities or plans. I get to my friends locker and they’re huddled around the open door staring inside whispering and shushing each other. Anyone else would’ve thought “must be drugs or alcohol” but not with my friends. I instantly thought “They’ve either got food or a cat in there.” It was food.

Peanut butter cupcakes to be exact.

We began downing cupcakes once the hallway cleared of people we didn’t want to share with when we realized that there was left over frosting. Now it would be a lie if I said I didn’t occasionally still eat frosting straight out of the jar but what we did that day was more than eat. Somehow we ended up have a full blown frosting war. I had frosting in all the weirdest places once we were through. It was pretty darn delicious too!

So after a battle of the ages, I realize that practice was about to start and if I was late I would be doing laps for at least 10 minutes. So I ran down to the gym, into the changing rooms, and straight to the sink. I have never changed so fast for practice in my life. Once I’m ready coach and the rest of us all start warming up when my coaches attractive older son walks in, in work out clothes, with a volleyball in his hands. You could practically hear the hormones buzzing.

Later on in the practice coach split us into teams and we scrimmaged a game among ourselves. Guess who was my setter? Yep, you guessed it. While we’re playing coach calls a time to show one of the other girls better technique and I’m standing there trying to seem cool and nonchalant. His son looks at me and goes “Hey, Xio right?” and here I am a sophomore with a team of juniors and seniors surrounding me trying to be cool “Uh me? Yeah. What’s up?” He had the worlds most confused face as he raised his hand pointed at my ear and said “Whats that?”….I — obviously mortified– had to own up and try and make it seem like I had it all figured out. “Oh just frosting…We had a bit of a mishap while we ate cupcakes earlier.” He just stared at me. “Smacked. My best friend smacked me with frosting.” At this he laughed and thankfully my coach blew the whistle and we had no other choice but to focus.

You see cupcakes are magic. And this recipe will magic you up some delicious peanut buttery delectable-ness!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes!!!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk

So as usual this recipe was found on Pinterest on a blog called wishesndishes.com. My brother lovesssss peanut butter, and by loves I mean his idea of a snack is to take the enitre jar and a spoon to his room. And the best thing about this recipe is that is straight forward and simple.

Just mix all the ingredients with a mixer. Unlike my vanilla cupcakes where the frosting was more of a liquid this batter turns out much more thick. Mine looked like this:

 photo 1 (2)

After you mix everything up, line your cupcake tin and fill them up 2/3. Then bake for 20-25 min and let them cool on a rack.

Here are mine, sans frosting, don’t mind our Kool-Aid powder.

photo 2 (2)

Simple right? I’m planing on some chocolate frosting, or maybe no frosting at all. Depending on what my brother thinks.

How do you you guys like your peanut butter?

-Xiomara

A True friend: Lessons from Job

So someone has let the sock monster, who usually inhabits the dryers in our local laundromat stealing my socks, loose in my apartment apparently and I’ve noticed that a whole bunch of my clothing has gone missing. Last night, while I tried to add pleats to one of those unlucky skirts that hasn’t gone missing, unlucky because its plain white and ill fitting, I decided to download the Bible.is app on my Iphone.

While I have heard from a few people that they spend more time listening to the bible with apps like Bible.is rather than stopping to read it, I am not judging how you get you Bible fix as long as your actively taking time to get it I’m happy and I know God is too, I’d never really tried listening to it myself. I usually put on a Disney movie or some other musical so that I can listen and sing along while I craft my heart out. I once listened to a free audio book, Divergent if you were wondering, and while it seemed like a decent idea I HATE when strong female heroines fall in love the moment they see a guy despite someone constantly trying to kill them. I just sit there and while its a sweet idea and while I’m in that “I wonder who my future husband is, I wonder what he’s like, I wonder what kind of a wife I’ll be” stage I just can’t wrap my head around still finding the guy standing next to you attractive when someone is shooting at you or threatening your family. Then again I’ve never been in a life threatening situation like that, Thank God, and I’ve never met a guy who makes me feel all warm inside and inspires me to be brave enough to do the seemingly impossible at the same time. That’s a different post all together though.

Anyway, last night as I (unsuccessfully) tried to add pleats to the skirt I listened to around 14 chapters of Job with the Bible.is app. In our Sunday classes we’ve been given chapters from the book of Job to learn the attributes of God and see and understand who He is in our lives. I chose to listen to Job not only because we’re using it on Sundays but because I realized that I knew his story but I had never really stopped to read it myself. The struggle of growing up a Christian. Some people think its the easiest thing in the world, but its no easier than leaving the world behind and giving your heart to Christ. In my experience growing up in the church, I spent so much time listening to preacher, going to Sunday School, in services, with church brothers and sisters that its easy to say you “know” the Bible. I knew that the bible said that Jesus said he would give us His peace, not like the world offers peace but His true peace. Don’t ask me where that was though, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. 

It wasn’t until I realized that I didn’t know as much as I thought and took the time to look for it myself, John 14:27 by the way, that I started to dedicate myself to finding the things I “knew” for myself.

Last night I found myself awed, and slightly confused, by Job and his story. This was a man whom God himself said “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright” (Job 1:8). Makes you wonder doesn’t it, If someone went straight to God to ask them about me, what would God say?

God had blessed Job in many ways and that was the first thing the enemy went after, he took all his riches, all his livestock, all his servants, AND his 10 children. He was just there and one after another messengers came with their bad news. He literally lost it all in a matter of moments. And yet he didn’t get mad and ask God “WHY!?” He understood that he was nothing compared to God and he had no control over anything, that it was all in Gods hands. Even after he got sick, he still didn’t curse God.

What really just awed me about it all were his 3 “friends.” Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar all seemed to be pretty shaken up about their friends troubles when they show up. “When they say him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads” (Job 2:12). They seem pretty shaken up don’t they? I mean I could understand their pain and panic at seeing their friend like that. When I was in high school and I’d just started really getting close with my own best friend she got really sick. My best friend is always sick, haha, if its not asthma she’s got a cold, but that time it was different. I was so worried for her. She was, and quite frankly still is, my other half, how could I survive high school without her.  

See now here’s where Job’s friends really go wrong. When my best friend was in the hospital I prayed, at the time, like I had never prayed before. I asked God a million times to make her better, I begged him to take whatever it was she had and send it far far away and never let it come back. I was like 15 and this was when I “knew” the Bible and God from what I’d heard growing up. I remember saying “God, In church everyone is always talking about you being the one that has the last word and the best doctor we have. They pray for their sons and daughters who don’t serve you when they get sick. I don’t have any kids but I have my best friend and she’s a good person. She might not be here in church but you love everyone right?” My friend may never know that I prayed for her during that time, and that my prayer put Gods eyes on her and His mercy on her, or that I pray for her and her family to be happy, healthy, and safe every chance I get but I do it anyway.

Because friendship is not a mutual benefits program. You don’t become someones friend because of what they can give you. Friends help each other, spend time with each other, laugh with each other, cry with each other, friends remain friends even when one of them has nothing in their pockets. At least their supposed to.

Job’s friends sat with him and saw all that had happened to him and their first instinct was to judge him. They told him that all the things that had happened to him were saved as consequence for a mans wickedness. They said that he must have done something wrong for all this to come upon him. Zophar said “You say to God ‘My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.’ Oh how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you” (Job 11:4-5). Though Job defended himself and was honest that he had not sinned against God his friends judged him. For them that was the only good reason they could see for God to bring such pain on Job.

It is terribly heart breaking when someone who says they are your friend betrays you. Its worse when you realize someone that “cares” about you actually thinks your a terrible person. Imagine what Job must have been going through. His friends show up in his time of need and instead of trying to comfort him they tell him he should just admit he’s a sinner and that’s why all this happened to him.

When you are at your worst, when your is heart broken, when you have nothing left to give, when rock bottom is not even enough to describe the place you’ve found yourself, cry out to Jesus. There is hope in him. If you are blameless or if you have sinned, if you come to him with a humbled heart and show with your actions that you believe and rely wholly on him, Jesus will answer. He will be your friend when you have no one to comfort you. He will not judge you, He will not constantly remind you what you did, He will take your sin and send it to the depths of the seas and never remember them.

He will love you.

And love is more than anything that anyone could ask for.

Non-Baking related! An Adventure in Paper Mache

Hey there!

While I realize that I am clearly Miss-Adventures/Misadventures in BAKING, It would be the biggest lie and a huge disservice to who I am if I didn’t admit that who I am LOVES all things DIY and sharing what I create on one of my DIY kicks. So once in a while I’ll be sharing my DIY and non-foodie related ventures with you guys.

My most recent project was paper mache! As a kid when ever science project time came around we never even considered making volcanoes. For my mom, science project time usually meant taking the simplest project she could help us do or the one with the least required materials. Once she even did a project with my brother to test the strength of advertised paper towels. Materials: 3-4 different paper towel brands, water, and pennies. Simple right? I remember my brother and mom counting pennies as they added them to wet paper towels that one of them was holding.

To this day, my brother refuses to use all other paper towels. If its not Bounty he won’t touch it.***

But while browsing Pinterest for decoration ideas for our church’s anniversary service I came across this perfect cardboard B.

Post image for DIY Paper Mache Letter:<BR>Better than any you could buy at the store

 

I looked, I clicked, and it wasn’t long before I determined this was something I could do, and I would do.

Despite never using paper-mache the recipe to make and the instructions were easy enough even for the beginner crafter.

Here’s my how-to, as usual not perfect and nowhere near what already established craft sites are able to do (but I hope you enjoy nonetheless):

Materials:

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Tape
  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors

Alright, seems simple enough right? It is.

First you’re going to pick your letter and font. If you want something fancier than free hand go ahead and print out your letter/number on a full page, cut it out, and trace it on to your cardboard.

I used cereal boxes so the size of my numbers came out predetermined but I’m sure if you wanted to make HUGE letters/numbers you could use those big pieces of cardboard paper that are used for like garage sale signs or even those gift boxes you use for clothes. While I did research I found that its recommended to use thinner less porous cardboard, so whatever you decide to use just keep that in mind.

Once you’ve got your letter/number drawn out, you want to cut it out and then do the same for the other side. It best to do the mirror image, at least that’s what everyone recommends, but I’m going to be honest, I couldn’t figure out how to do that. I’m going to chalk that up to the fact that I started working on this at around 11:30 and didn’t finish till about 2 in the morning so… and that’s all that I’m going to say about that.

Once both sides are cut out, cut strips of cardboard to the width you want for your number/letter and use tape to start building your number or letter.

photo 3

As you can see I started off using electrical tape, Don’t ask, but as you can’t see from the photo I later switched to scotch tape. It’s just to form the number/letter.

Once that’s done,  you can go ahead and make the paper-mache mix. Its made up of  one cup water, one cup flour and 1/2 tbs of salt.  You mix this together till it has the consistency of pancake mix. Not too thin, not too thick. Then, once you’ve got that you cut your newspaper into strips. I found that it works better when torn by hand, for some reason it just sticks and forms to your shape easier.

So next you just dip in the newspaper and when you pull it out use your fingers to sort of squeegee the excess off. Then you cover your letter or number with it.

You have to let it dry before putting on multiple layers. If you’re in a real rush a hair dryer works pretty well. Just don’t hold it too close and always be careful. If not place your project in a sunny well ventilated area and go have a cup of coffee, or tea, maybe read a book.

I don’t have a back yard, or an area where my mischievous cat Memphis Joe would not do everything in his power to reach the new object his Mommy created, so I opened my windows and placed the numbers in the space and  closed them again. It was a beautiful and breezy day so the sun and breeze did the drying for me and my cat could only gaze at them through the glass.

After you put your desired layers of paper-mache and its dried up you’ll notice that its pretty solid. That’s what I love the most about this. Sometimes when you make something by hand, at least when I do, I worry about how much it will hold up to everyday use or movement. Most of the time I worry when its DIY or re-purposed clothing cause who wants a big gaping hole in your shirt or skirt when you’re out in public. But the paper-mache holds together like magic.

paper mache  number2

When everything is dry you’ll notice that there may be bumps and other “imperfections” that you don’t want. Here is where you break out the sandpaper. I don’t know a thing about the different textures of sandpaper so I went onto the Home Depot website and did a little research before heading into the store to get what I needed.

spray paint and sandpaper

 

While at the store I also picked up some spray paint to paint the numbers with. I didn’t have time to do a fancy paint job so I wanted something that I could do multiple coats of in the day and a half I had left.

After sanding it down, again I’m not an expert so I’m sure it could’ve used some more sanding or something but that’s for the next time. I HIGHLY recommend painting it outdoors if you’re using spray paint. The can says indoor and outdoor but the paint smell is overwhelming and not for the faint of heart. I don’t have a backyard and I figured my dad might freak if I did them in the widow and got yellow everywhere so I made a makeshift painting station and boy was I feeling nauseous after I was done.

The best thing about the spray paint is that its relatively dry after 20 min so you can do coats and handle it a little easier, next time though I think I’ll buy craft paint or something and do a pretty design.

photo 3 (1)

photo 2 (1)

 

And once they’ve dried and you’ve done all the coats necessary you’ve got some pretty sweet letters as decorations.

I did these for my church’s 22nd anniversary since this year the youth society did the decorations for the dinner/lunch. And haha but when we’re actually giving the service our pastor, he’s also my god-father goes “well you see I told everyone it was 22 years but hmm I was just sitting here doing the math and its actually 21…so there’s that.” The nyumber 22 was already one all the invitations, programs, decorations, cake and my numbers so they stayed right there.

Here’s what they looked like act the church.

photo 5 (1)

photo 4 (1)

This was a pretty fun project I have to admit. I am definitely planning on doing it again, maybe with my initials or the initials of my best friends adorable niece.

Are you going to try this out yourself? What are you making? Have you done this or something similar already and have some tips or tricks for the next time I attempt it? If you have any DIY’s or crafts that you think I would love go ahead and send me a link or comment below! I would love to hear from you!

Have fun!

– Miss Adventure

*** Disclaimer ***

I don’t promote Bounty or anything. I don’t really care what paper towels we use at home, as long as they clean up whatever I just spilled and I don’t die later when I forget the spot I spilled something at and step on it.  I don’t know internet rules to promotion or fairness or whatever you want to call it, and someone who does will probably read this and think “She doesn’t even NEED a disclaimer”, but better safe than sorry I always say buddies!