DIY Ring Light for under $40

I made this ring light a few weeks back, and thought I would quickly share the tutorial with you guys. Its super simple and way cheaper than buying an actual ring light which can cost anywhere from $100-$300. This tutorial has the stand included with is awesome if you're not facing a wall and need a stand. Below is the full video tutorial that explains how to make it.

Wire wreath (18 or 20in)
aluminum foil
Paper towel holder
zip ties
crazy glue
LED lights (I used 2 for the 20inch, you can get away with 1 for the 18in) (I used
Power Adapter

I think you need to watch the video to better see how to make it, connecting the lights to each other is tricky. But feel free to comment below with any questions you might have.

Happy DIYing!

The pursuit of failure...

I took a little (long) break from blogging, and I think I'm finally back! I have really missed writing. I forgot how much I love to write, Its just so innate in me. If I'm not blogging, then I am in journaling. I just enjoy putting my thoughts down and I finally feel like I'm ready to blog again. I have been what you might call soul searching. I think I had a midlife, or is it quarter life crisis? Well I wouldn't say crisis as much as a funk. I have been desperately searching for what I thought might satisfy me, and surprise surprise, nothing has. Staying home with my boys has given me the biggest identity crisis, I don't know what to do with my time that I feel is worthwhile (I know, it all sounds so terrible). As terrible as it all might sound and as much as you might be saying, I know the answer, It's just the truth about how I felt. So I had to step back from everything and just let God convict me.

I was searching for meaning, when meaning was hitting me in the face. And to your surprise it wasn't being a stay at home mom or an awesome wife, but following Jesus! You might say I already did that, but my answer was I wasn't doing it well enough. I wasn't consumed with the creator as much as I was with creation. I felt like i needed things to occupy my time, I had to "contribute" to our household, I had to be this awesome "do it all" mom. When God doesn't ask for any of those things. My efforts in the pursuit of things that didn't really matter went unsatisfied and here I was not knowing what to do with myself. And I would love to say, "thats when it hit me"... but it wasn't. I went on to chase meaningless temporal insignificant things, that alone weren't bad, but I just tried to make them the things that gave me purpose.

The process was slow but the transformation was painful. It was like God convicted me of one thing after the other. Have you ever had someone break up with you and tell you why you suck? Me either. But I imagine its something like that. You know that scene in Seinfeld where he tells her she's pretentious? I just realized how many things I was doing with an insincere heart. I would love to say, I'm all better, I have it all figured out, and life is awesome, but this is an ongoing process. It has been a combination of the right people in my life, the books I'm reading, and the amazing sermons by John Piper (that feel like a hand reaches out of my phone and slaps me in the face). I remember talking to my husband and him saying, "there she is". I didn't know what he meant by that. He explained that he sees the "old me" in there.

Y'all, when I was in high school I was on fire for God, I mean weirdly telling people all about Jesus every chance I got. I also went to a bible school because I just wanted to know everything about God. Jesus was literally life (which should not be considered weird Christian behavior). But sometime after I had Jed I felt like that was gone. If you could imagine a fire, then someone pouring water on it. When Benjamin died more water was poured, when we lived with RJs grandma, more water. When RJ went to training, more water. When we moved to NY, more water. So I was running on cinders. It was just the tiniest light that kept me going, I didn't know how to come out of it. And it took more heartache and more disappointments to finally realize that the pursuits of this world are meaningless. Not to say that I wouldn't tell you that before if you asked. I knew it, I just wasn't believing it. So I tried different momentary things to fill up my time, like projects and blogging, ministries, and activities. All of which are not bad things, just not the point. So my life might look pretty similar in most ways, but my heart is different. I'm not doing things to satisfy some empty God shaped hole, I am doing it to bring glory to God. I'm sure a year down the road I will have another epiphany about life, because thats just how sanctification works. We are constantly growing and God is constantly changing us.

The reason for the picture above is because I remember posting this years back (in college) and loving it so much. And a few weeks ago I saw it again, it was an aha moment for me. It speaks so perfectly to my soul! I  have the tendency to want to do things to prove myself. To who? I couldn't tell you. I just don't want to be what people consider a "failure". So when I read this, I am reminded that it is not in my failures that I should have fear, but in my empty pursuits.

Why you shouldn't talk bad about your husband online

Social media is sometimes the disease that keeps on giving. Don't get me wrong, there are aspects of social media that are really awesome, but sometimes it can be a really crappy place. Interacting with people online, I think for some reason we say things we wouldn't normally say face to face. Often times that includes people closest to us. I have to admit that I myself have wanted to post some passive aggressive comments about people on Facebook. I think we all have those moments of wanting to give someone a piece of our mind without actually talking to them. Ive recently noticed a lot of wives who do it to their husbands. But I have compiled a list of reasons as to why you shouldn't talk bad about your husband (or anyone) online, but also anywhere else.

Gossip is gossip. I have such a hard time with gossip. I often say the first thing that pops into my head and not necessarily the best thing to say.  It is much easier to gossip online, wether in comments, messages, forums, tweets (ugh, tweets), or FB statuses. But when God said we were going to be accountable for every word, I think that includes tweets. Talking online can sometimes not seem like a big deal because we don't see the person who we're hurting but It's still gossip. You're "venting" or just being "funny," but it's still painting him in a bad light.

It changes your husbands reputation. Maybe you're just venting. Maybe you will change your mind in an hour. But as soon as you put those things out there people will form an opinion about him. I learned this the hard way. I said something about someone when I was really upset. After I was  over it, the person I told was still upset. I had already talked to and made up with them, but it was too late! They already formed an opinion based on the comments I made. On the other side of it, I have been the recipient of comments that have changed my opinion about people. The toothpaste analogy is really fitting in this scenario. Once you put those things out there, it is impossible to put them back. And you are putting it out there for hundreds of people to see. Imagine your shortcomings being broadcasted.

People will see you differently. Very rarely are people called out online. When I see a status that I don't agree with I usually don't say anything, even if I disagree. I think most people will either not say anything or try and make you feel better. But what people aren't saying, is that you're comments show you're immature and don't know how communicate in a relationship. What you're saying may be about your husband, but it also says a lot about you.

It will change you. You know what the best way to become a bad communicator is (besides that sentence)? Completely avoid your problems. Nothing will make you worse at it than completely avoiding a conversation. Do it long enough, and you have a great recipe for a bad marriage. Posting stuff online without the consequences of someone say anything will make you bitter, ineffective, and desperate for a resolution that might not ever happen.  

People are mostly going to agree with you because you're friends. So now not only are you bashing your husband but people on the internet are joining in. Can you imagine how awful that would feel if it was you? I can count on my one hand the number of times someone has told me they disagree with me online. Not because I'm always right (although I like to think that) but because friends don't want to make things awkward. Instead they probably silently formed opinions about me. I recognize that this is a lot of times easier said than done, because lets face it, the internet always listens. So what should you do?

Talk to your husband. Alway talk to him first and try to resolve the issue. And be open to the (rare and almost impossible) possibility that maybe you're the problem and the one that needs to change. Small example, when my husband leaves the milk out, he's not doing it because he's a mean vile man who wishes misery on my day. He just forgets. And you know what, It's not that hard for me to just put it back in the fridge.

Talk to a good friend. Preferably someone who is married and can relate to how difficult it can be.

Someone who doesn't gossip. I have friends who I know are going to agree with me and friends who are going to tell me like it is. There are times, unfortunately, that I just want to vent to someone (thats called gossip). Don't just talk to someone who will agree, but talk to someone who is going to give you sober advice, and someone who you know isn't going to tell someone else.

Someone who will pray. Most importantly, talk to someone who will pray for you. Not someone who just wants to know whats going on but is genuinely invested in your spiritual walk and wants to see you guys succeed.

I try and only ask for prayer or talk to someone when I'm having a really hard time. Most of the time I got to my mother in law  or sister(s) in law because they fulfill all of that criteria and because I trust that their opinion of my husband isn't going to change. Having spiritually mature friends who aren't just going to bash your husband is really important, for you and for your marriage.

There will be countless times where your husband will offend you or annoy you. So you will have countless chances to speak bad about him. Your husband will fail you because he is human and thats sort of what we're really good at. But fight the temptation to speak bad about him and instead pray. We are most disappointed when we put our trust in man instead of God.

I will add that this does not include major sins like verbal and physical abuse, cheating, or any sin that your husband is unwilling to change. You should always seek help and talk to someone about. Don't keep things like that to yourself. 

Hidey Socks (no show socks) Review

Recently I was asked by a friend of mine to review some socks, but not just any socks, no show socks! Those of you who know me, know my hate-hate relationship with no she socks. I HATE THEM! I think they're gross, I hate that they go into your shoe, and I think you might as well not wear any socks instead of no shows. So when my friend asked me to review them I said okay but that I was going to be honest about it. I was pretty skeptical about it and I kept thinking that I didn't know how I was going to write a bad review. So I finally decided to try them on and I have to say I am a changed woman!!! I'm not sure what kind of witchcraft is in these sock,s but they are awesome. Is this how all socks are suppose to feel?! I would walk a lot more if all socks felt this way. If i had to describe it, it would be like walking on what I could only imagine, baby pandas feel like. They are ridiculously comfortable! My guess as to what makes them comfortable is what they claim as "gel" but I really think is magic.

The socks themselves work because of the strap on them, I think that keeps the sock from being sucked into your shoe. I personally wore them a lot with my hightop convers and ankle boots. I don't own flats (because they're disgusting) so I couldn't tell you how well they work with them, but from the looks of it, I would figure just the same. They absolutely hold true to every claim they make. My feet weren't cold, even though it was 30 degrees out. They also didn't sweat, even though I wore them out all day. All in all this is an excellent product. I wish they would make all kinds of socks because I would buy them all and sleep in a bed of magic panda socks. I am definitely a fan, and if they're looking for a spokesperson of some sort I could do that too. I'm just here to help. So if you like no show socks, or the feeling of walking in the lap of luxury, then go out and buy yourself these socks, because they will change your life, or at least make your walk around Walmart more bearable. I'm kidding, nothing could do that, pretend I said Target. 

The people that change our life

We have been in the military for two years now! Wow that time just disappeared. It's strange because at the time I remember thinking, six years is so long and that it was going to seem like an eternity. Now we're past the two year mark and I can't believe that we only  have four years left.  When we first signed up a big part of me was excited for the "could be", but another part of me was really sad for the "could have been". But I have to say without a doubt, this is where God wants us. I remember having that conversation with RJ about joining the ARMY. He just didn't see where God wanted him to go, and it seemed like every door back home was closing.  Long story short, here we are station in NY.

 I'm not sure how many people get life changing experiences but I seem to get them by the bag full (is that a saying?). God just seems to want to impart remarkable wisdom in my life, like sprinkles on a cupcake. You don't have to look very hard to find remarkable stories in the military. You also don't need to look very hard to find stories of suffering, heartbreak, courage, and people who come from a completely different life than yours.

I remember sitting on the couch talking to this guy from RJs work. He has to be one of the most (if not the most) humble guys I have ever met. He grew up pretty poor in Detroit, Michigan and later joined the military. When they showed him the house he would be living in, he was amazed! You know, the "crappy" on post housing everyone complains about. He told the lady that it was huge compared to where he grew up. Huge?! Sometimes I think that It's a privilege to grow up with nothing because it gives you incredible character. I'm not sure what words I would use to describe him and his wife, but I think that content is the only one that comes to mind. Seems like such a simple word, right? But it is so rare. So incredibly rare, like a shakespeare signature. It seems that you find so little contentment in the world anymore.

 I cherish these "chance" meetings with people that have come into our life for such a small amount of time but have made the greatest impact.  I will never forget a card that our friend wrote to us before he left that said my life is forever better because of you guys. I don't think he could have know how much that would impact us, but it did. It was like a huge reassurance from God that we made the right choice. Both RJ and i have wondered if we made the right choice by moving so far from our family. How would God use us? Would we make a difference? Is this where we were suppose to be? It seems the longer we're here the more that doubt fades away. I don't think that we made a rash choice by joining the military or that God is working out a bad decision we made. The longer we're here, the more I see how God worked everything out for us to be here. I think the same is true from everyone we meet (like my father in law would say, It's like theres a God).

I can't say that It's been easy, that there hasn't been times where I wish I was home, or have literally said I miss my mom (which I didn't think was possible to utter out loud). But it has been an incredible experience! No, not the ARMY, but God. We have an opportunity to experience Christians from all over the world. They each have unique gifts, and personalities, and stories. The more people we meet, the more we fall in love with God. To meet someone that has lived an entirely different life than you, but they love God just the same. It gives me such an incredible sense of hope. To add to the things that I am thankful for in this experience, this one is at the very top of my list. I OFTEN get bogged down with what seems to be an increasing disdain for Christians in the world. It's really easy for me to feel alone. But through all of the people I meet, I am encouraged that God is working!! Even if the rest of the world doesn't want to acknowledge it. There is a very real, very present God in NY, and He seems to be constantly moving His people around.

The card we received from our friend went on to say that he hopes to impact someone else the way we have impacted him. What I wish I could have told him is that he already has. I don't know that any of our friends know that. It's not by giving awesome gifts, or killer parties, or even particularly fun activities, but just by being them. By giving me a sense of hope that i don't think i could have gotten any other way. It's like those scenes in movies when you see the girl the guy likes and everything is in slow motion and bright. Is that a weird description to use? Thats just how I feel, ok! I feel a bright, slow motion, sense of emotion towards my friends. This seems to be getting weirder the longer I type. So I will just say that people have a lot more to offer than we often see, and everyone can impact your life if you just allow them to. Which now that I'm typing this out seems like I could have summarized this whole thing in a couple of sentences. But if you powered through all that, you're awesome, and I love you. But don't worry I won't picture you in a slow motion, bright light kind of way.
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