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The Freckled Canvas

The Freckled Canvas: January 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Goals | January Update

True to my word, I'm updating on my goals! Because when people don't have accountability they tend to not to do it.

I want to never have my hair up when I sleep.
I did really well with this goal, I think I only slept with my hair up once or twice!

Wear my hair down more. 
I did pretty well with this one. It was definitely down a whole lot more than it had been in the months of November and December. My problem is that I don't wash my hair everyday, generally every other day and on the second day I tend to wear it up.
Wash my face every night. 
This one I failed miserably on! I did wash my face every time I was in the shower so I'm getting better but I still have tons of room for improvement. I'll be starting fresh February 1!
Read the Book of Mormon at least twice.  I want to read it at least once by myself as well.
I've been reading along with @BofM365 with my family, we're a couple days behind but we're doing great! I haven't started by myself yet.
I want to be better about keeping a personal history by journaling. 
I journaled everyday for about a week and then I kinda just forgot. I have been trying to remember to write down one thing from each day in my Simplified Planner though.
I want to be better about keeping my life organized and simplified this year. Thanks to Emily Ley's Simplifed Planner
I've been doing really great. I feel so calm when I have my day planned out, even when things need to be changed around. It's kept me organized, and I crave organization in my callings and this helps so much! In February I'll be blogging about organization in my WeBeLoS calling and my Chorister calling has helped me find calm and peace.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Southern Savers Couponing 101 Class

My mom is a major coupon-er. When I moved home in 2012 I was completely shocked at the transformation my mom had undergone. Gone were the days that if I asked please with it dripping with sugar and batted my eyes she would buy me one treat from the store. [My favorite at the time being Cinnabon cereal, which NEVER goes on sale, hey Kelloggs throw me a bone and send me some coupons? Pretty please?] She made a list at home and clipped coupons and we only bought things that were on sale. And each time I would ask for something I would get the same reply: "Is it on sale?" And generally it wasn't but I really wanted it!

Then in 2012 when my mom broke her leg I pretty much had to do the shopping for two months and in the beginning it was painful. I list from each store I had to go to with coupons galore that I had to use and sometimes I had to plan it out and make multiple transactions to get the discount. And after about 3 weeks I was hooked. I couldn't believe that I had been paying full price for stuff that I was getting for pennies on the dollar! It was like a rush when I would get the receipt and see how much I was saving!

My mom has two sites she really loves to use I Heart Publix and Southern Savers. Jenny Martin, the brain behind Southern Savers, travels and does some Couponing 101 classes. To look for a class near you click here if there isn't one you can email her about hosting one in your area at workshops{at}southernsavers{dot}com. She did one in LaGrange, Georgia last week and my mom and I went. For a small fee you get treats, water, a handbook and 2-2.5 hours of instruction and help. It's a steal! I would definitely recommend taking it the class. I want to coupon even more now.

Some of the favorite things that I learned:
  • 40% and over is on sale
  • if there is no price listed in an ad then it's probably not on sale
  • when they put "surprisingly low price" all it means is they had nothing nice to say about the price
  • grocery store sales run in cycles (6-8 weeks in the south and 10-12 weeks in the north)
  • you don't need to buy enough to last eternity just enough to get you to the next sale, maybe a little buffer. 
  • the best printer for coupons is a Brother laser printer (HL2240 and the wireless version is the HL2270 and they go on sale once a month for $50 and $79 respectivley)
  • You should never pay for coupons online or fill out tons of personal information
  • The newspaper coupons you should look for are Smart Source, Red Plum and Procter and Gamble (that last one only comes out once a month)
  • Call companies and ask for coupons (KELLOGS -I'm for real, get with me about some coupons for that Cinnabon cereal!)
  • You can use expired coupons with rain checks at Publix (check your stores, they may do it too)! If they expire the day the rain check was written you can still use them! Just have the person who wrote the rain check staple the coupons to the rain check.
  • Shop with apps!
    • Shop Savvy
    • Southern Savers
    • Ibotta
    • Checkout 51
There's tons more that you learn but you'll just have to go to a class!

I was not paid or asked to write this post from Southern Savers. This is genuinely how I felt about it.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Should I Use Rit or Tulip Dye?

Remember when I posted about the kid's I nanny's halloween costumes? And how I talked about dying their clothes to make the costumes? I wrote about using two different brand of dyes. And now I'm finally getting around to reviewing them. I was not paid to use these products or write a review on them.

I've been a fan of Rit dyes ever since I can remember, since that's the kind my mom had always used. I went to the place I have always gotten Rit dyes at Hobby Lobby and they weren't there. So I thought they didn't carry them anymore so I just picked up the tulip brand. I later found out that Hobby Lobby keeps Tulip brand with the t-shirts and Rit brand with the fabric. Why can't they just get along and cohabitate?

I really liked Tulip for the ease of dying. There were a lot less steps before putting the fabric in. But there is a downside, they don't hold the dye very well and they don't have many color options. It took three rounds of dye to get the Tigger pants to look that orange, two of Tulip and one of Rit. It bothered me that they looked so much darker wet than they did dry.

Rit dye has lots more options and varying shades of a few colors. It's a little bit more complicated of a process but it holds the dye a whole lot better. It does say on the box to leave it in for some amount of time or until you reach the color desired. Leave it in longer than the amount of time because when you rinse/wash it the first time A LOT of the color comes out. And that goes for both brands.

So even though I liked the process better for for Tulip brand I'm definitely going with Rit brand. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them!

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Pinewood Derby Awards

Updated 2/21/15 | If you found me through pinterest, that's so exciting! I'm so glad you found this fun idea for your cub scouts! As of today there are 348 repins. I never thought this would get that popular! I'm no longer in cub scouts, I know super sad but I'd love to see how you're using the idea in your packs! So comment below with a link to a post about it on your blog or email me at emailelliemurphy {at} gmail {dot} com and I'll share them at the end of this post!

I saw these last year on a friend's kid. I thought it was genius but I didn't have anything but a picture. They're relatively easy to make.

I had my brother cut a limb of pinewood into a bout an inch/inch and a half discs. Then I laid them out on some tin foil that I put on a cookie sheet. You want to make them at 200 for an hour or so to kill any bugs and dry out the wood. You want to give each disc some room, so while baking I only put 12 to a sheet.

While they are baking cut the ribbons. I cut mine about 26 inches long, but I'd add at least two more inches because it was a little short on  a few of the kids. 

To keep the ribbon from fraying I singe the ends. If you look closely, one end is starting to unravel. You don't have to worry about cutting it before singing it, just gradually bring the flame closer to it and it will burn away. It doesn't take much flame to get the job done.  

To attach the ribbon I recommend hot glue gun. Mine was mysteriously MIA so I borrowed a neighbors. And I have never used a glue gun that I have loved as much as this one. If you are looking to buy one, get this one! I'm going to hate giving it back.

So I put a little less than a quarter size amount of hot glue and then put the ribbon on just a little more left than you would think to. You'll see what I'm talking about below. I like to pick a side that's a little bit cleaner looking so it looks nice and the letters show up better.

Then you put a little bit more than a nickle on top of the ribbon and then put the other end on top. I like to push down on it pretty hard so that it will lay flat and not have bumps.

Here's the awards. I used a sharpie to write the awards on them. I put the year since I did these last year and plan to do them again next year if I'm still in cub scouts. (Let's all say a prayer I'm not!) The wood will tear up your sharpies so use a bunch of old ones or buy a new net and have the pack reimburse you. To make 24 medals it cost me about $20-$25. But I have some left overs, like hot glue sticks. 

We had about 15 medals already written on but came with the others ready so that we could award kids for whatever reason.  This was a multi-pack race so we had an honorable mention for each pack because we've had it happen, on accident, that a pack goes home without a single award. we also had the 1st - 3rd place medals ready. 

Here's the list we started with:
Most Patriotic
Best Use of Color
Spirit of Pinewood Award
Most Unique
Most Realistic
Most Creative

The Spirit of Pinewood Award was new to us. But we often have some kids who either don't have a car but are great helpers and cheer everyone on or have a car and do the same. And we just wanted a way to be able to recognize them. We loved it and can't wait to do it again next year!

Finding unbiased and fair judges for judging the non-race awards is really hard. But being a ward missionary has it perks in a situation like this. I had the missionaries be the judges, one set of elders and one set of sisters, and then a couple kids and their mom since they don't make it to cub scouts often. The elders were the best at coming up with additional awards.

We added these:
Most Invisible for an awesome camouflage paint job. 
Most Arrow-dynamic for a car that litterally looked like an arrow
Most likely to time travel for a car that was the spitting image of a deLorean.
Hottest Car on the Block for a car that had some awesome flames

Here's some pictures of the kids with their awards

let's be honest, that shirt didn't hurt his chances of getting an award

Yeah, I realize I spelled hottest wrong, already have another one made for him.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I'll Stay Where You Want Me to Stay

Music speaks the words we cannot seem to say. For me it speaks the words my Heavenly Father can't actually say to me. It seems when I am hurting and begging for an answer He speaks to me through music. This week it's been hymns.

It started on Sunday. I was asked to lead the music on Sunday to fill in for the regular chorister. I had been fasting for peace and understanding. It started to come during the opening hymn. I posted it on my instagram earlier this week. I could feel the spirit so strongly as the congregation sang. It felt almost as the people I had come to know and love were trying to comfort me with these words. I only had room for one verse in the graphic but look at the the rest of the song.

Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All mysterious be bright at last.
Be still, my soul.: The waves and will still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joy restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

He is guiding my life, however hard it may be for me, but He is taking an active part and molding me to what He needs me to be. "Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake" Not gonna lie, having confidence that there's a plan is freaking hard! And hoping that I'll be okay soon is really hard too. One day it will all be clear and I WILL understand. 

Soon I will be chillin upstairs with my main man and he will explain why things were the way they were if I don't already understand. But what really stands out to me are the next two lines. To know the highest highs I have to go through some really crappy stuff. I thought I'd been through enough but Heavenly Father has some big plans for me and I can't wait to see what they are. 

So let's go back to Sunday. By the time the song was over I was having a hard time keeping it together. I knew Heavenly Father had made sure I was leading so I would be paying close attention to the words of the hymn. And if that song wasn't enough to drive home His point let me just tell you the other songs. We sang "I Stand All Amazed" for our sacrament hymn and "Our Savior's Love" for our closing hymn. I think it's safe to say God had a hand in that.

Let's fast forward to Tuesday. I went to transfer meetings with one of my besties, Sister Ballard and then brought her companion back. It's almost like being back in a great singles ward, one that I would drive two hours to go to every week without complaint. President Cottle, the mission president, had asked the missionaries to sing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go." He had the third verse up on the projector and for a moment I thought the second to last line of the chorus said "I'll stay where you want me to stay" Holy Freaking Cow, could that be any bigger of a direct message! By the time we started the second line of the first verse I was already in tears and then it only went down hill after that.

It may not be on a mountain height,
Or over a stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle's front
My Lord will have need of me.
But if, by a still small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine,
I'll go where you want me to go.

I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord,
I'll do what you want me to do.

Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin
Some wand'rer whom I should seek.
O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,
Tho dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet:
I'll say what you want me to say.

I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord,
I'll do what you want me to do.

There's surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth's harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life's short day
For Jesus, the Crucified.
So trusting my all to thy tender care,
And knowing thou lovest me,
I'll do thy will with a heart sincere:
I'll be what you want me to be.

I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord,
I'll do what you want me to do.

If you remember in that big post about all this I said that my answer to the question of "Where would you like to serve?" was quite similar to "I'll go where you want me to go." How good is our Heavenly Father for giving me this song to calm my troubled heart! I'll stay where he wants me to stay. And I'll work towards be okaying with that. 

Can you see why I was started tearing up so fast? I wanted to be at the battle's front, spreading the word but that's not where he needs me. I am constantly asking Him to be my guide through this "dark and rugged" path that I'm navigating. I'm constantly working my way into the dark to see a little more light from Him. I really am "trusting my all to thy tender are, and knowing thou lovest me." I don't have a plan b. I put all my eggs in one basket and counted them before they hatched. I'm feel like I'm back to square one with my life and it's a freaking scary place to be! 

But I just want you to know God hears your heart's pleas and wants to help you. And seriously, I'm all about my newest inspiration "I'll stay where you want me to stay." In fact I might even get all crafty mccrafterson about it and but it on a wood block. {You know exactly what I'm talking about!}

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Monday, January 6, 2014

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Friday, January 3, 2014

It Is Not The End

I wasn't ready to write this. I'm probably still not ready but you'd start to ask questions soon and instead of answering each person and opening that wound each time I'm doing it once. I'm not looking for sympathy or for advice. Honestly I've pretty much heard it all, and I know it's true but it's not helpful. Not right now.

One day it really clicked for me that my dad was baptized. He had missionaries teach him the gospel of Jesus Christ and he believed and followed Jesus Christ's example and was baptized. I remember even at that young age that I was so thankful for their help. Because of them and my mom sharing the gospel with him, he was baptized and they were sealed in the Washington DC temple and I was born under the covenant. I knew that day that I wanted to be like them. I wanted to share the gospel too.

Years later I was in some type of meeting with young men and women and they talked about serving a mission. They talked at what felt at length about young men serving. But they didn't talk about young women. I was irked by this. Young women were encouraged to serve missions too, not as strongly as the young men, so why weren't they talking about it? I raised my hand and asked about young women serving and they kind of glazed over it and moved on. It continued to bother me through all my Sunday young women's meetings when they would talk about encouraging young men to serve. Why weren't we told that young men should be encouraging us or that we should be encouraging each other?

I didn't understand it, but I still had the desire to serve a mission. It didn't matter if I had had the support from my leaders growing up; it was my decision to serve. The missionaries that helped my dad have had their efforts multiplied with each person my dad talks to. They, my dad, and I will never know the extent their influence has had. I wanted to be able to do His work, spreading the gospel so that whoever I might have taught would be able to spread the message to people as well. It wasn't for the rewards; it was so that I could make our Heavenly Father happy.

Really, that's what it boiled down to. I wanted to make my Heavenly Father happy. I wanted to be able to say at the final day that I had done everything I could to pay back what those missionaries had been able to help give me by doing the same for others. It didn't matter where I went, I wanted to serve. I'm a picky eater, I hate bugs, I don't like being hot, the list could go on. I knew my Heavenly Father would do the same thing for me that he did for Nephi. He would give me no commandment, or call, without preparing a way for me to be able to fulfill it. (see 1 Nephi 3:7) Once people started asking me where I would like to serve I could say with an honest and full heart "Where ever the Lord sends me!"

I had started my mission papers in 2012 and then was frustrated at every turn. I was "mom" for quite a while around my house because of one thing or another. This summer I felt like it was finally my time again. I started preparing myself to turn in my papers, including things my bishop had asked me to do. To be clear these were just his requirements not requirements from headquarters in Salt Lake. In October I had finally completed the requirements and finished my paperwork. From the time I reopened my papers to the time I met with my stake president was a week and a half. October 30.

I felt confidant. I felt like this is what I should be doing with my life. On the way home from that interview my mom and I listened to Nashville Tribute Band's Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved to Do. Listen to the song and then read on.

I bore my heart to my mom. Leaving would be so very hard for me, but more than worth it. Because how could I tell my Heavenly Father that I couldn't give him 18 months when he had done everything for me? And I knew that no matter how hard it would be for me to go, it would be infinitely harder to come home. I knew I would love the people so much that my heart would never feel completely whole again.

At the time the turnaround for a mission call was about 2-3 weeks. With each day that passed my heart rose and sunk. I have trouble with letting myself get too hopeful and then my heart shatters when things don't happen. I would get so very excited and then have to tell myself that this may never happen. Little did I know then that it would shatter so badly.

This was the picture I submitted with my papers

My papers were submitted and a few hours later headquarters called my stake president to talk about a few things. No big deal. November 1. I didn't find this out until he called my parents after having the opportunity to talk to me about it. We sat in a room for over an hour after he had called and told my parents instead of just talking to me. November 3.

Things are never dull around my home. There are seven of us. Mom, Dad, my two brothers, my dad's parents and me. Grandma had just come home from the hospital a few days before and we had family visiting for thanksgiving who had just left and more family that had come to town to visit my grandma because things weren't looking well. On the way to check on his wife, my grandpa hit his head and was taken to the hospital. We were all up most of the night worried. It turned out to be nothing to be overly concerned about. December 7.  

I was the only one that made it to church the next day, and I missed sacrament meeting. After church as I waited to talk with someone my bishop came out of his office and talked to me across the hall. In front of a handful of people I don't necessarily trust or know he asked me if I had talked to my parents. Then he said the sentence that still rings in my ears. "The Stake President wants to meet with you and your parents tonight but that doesn't seem like it's an option anymore." He also said "I had someone call and tell your parents this this morning and to call and schedule a time." I knew right then and there what it meant. 

I tried to stay stoic for what felt like hours but was really only minutes. I walked down the hall to the back of the church, out a door to a spot where I never park. That hallway felt like miles, like I would never make it to the car. I made it. I made it out of the parking lot and down the street before my heart shattered. Shattered hard. I knew what the stake president wanted to tell me and I knew I wasn't ready for it. I pulled in my driveway, pulled myself together the best I could, walked up the front walk, I walked in the front door and right up the stairs and straight into my room and right onto my bed. How was I supposed to tell my parents? How was I supposed to tell my best friends who had been rooting for me for months, years even? How was I going to be okay?

My mom was the first one to knock on my door. She was the first to know. She was the first one to understand that it was not all right and that I needed to grieve alone. She was also never known to hide her emotions. She walked down stairs and instantly my dad and my aunt Sharon knew. Hours later I told the woman who has become one of my favorite people; she has become family to me. They were the only four who knew for days. That afternoon my dad called our stake president to talk about it. Making me wait days for a meeting that I already knew what the agenda was cruel.  I was told that I "didn't fit into their box." There was no other option, it was a flat no. We also found out that he had known for almost a week, but he "didn't want to ruin our thanksgiving" That was not his decision to make. That was the darkest day. December 8.

I retreated to a dark place. I didn't talk to people or respond to any kind of contact except my mom and dad. I couldn't even hear about missionary work, let alone talk to the missionaries in our ward. Missionaries who had become some of my closest friends. I yelled at God a lot that week. Why would he do this to me? Why would he let my local leadership handle the way they did? Why would he tell me no when I had such righteous desires? I cried a lot and slept even more because I would cry myself into hyperventilation attacks and then pass out.

That next week at church was the hardest. I had already started attending temple prep but now there was no reason for me to go. I couldn't even bring myself to tell the teacher, I had my dad do it. One more person. I wrote my friend Lauren and told her. One more person. I wrote my friend Riley and told her and tore up the letter before I could send it. I wrote the sisters serving in my ward so they would know why I couldn't be around them right now and I tore it up. I didn't want anyone who didn't have to know that I wouldn't be going.

I didn't want people to look at me and think I wasn't good enough. I didn't want to see all the same pitting looks I saw for years after my brother died. I just wanted to pretend like it had never happened. It didn't help that I had people close to my family asking my brothers for years when I would be putting in my papers trying to glean information without asking me.

Some days it feels like years ago that I was told that I would never receive that white envelope and some days it feels like today. Some days I make progress accepting that it won't come and other days I am pushed thousands of steps backward.

For right now my immediate family, the kids I serve in church and these quotes are getting me through.

"The trouble with you is you want to see the end from the beginning. You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you." President Boyd K Packer

"In the sight of the Lord it is not so much on what we have done, or where we have been, but much more on where we are willing to go." Elder Edward Dube

"Everything will be all right in the end…if it is not all right then it is not the end." Sonny (And yes I do mean all right, because things will not be kind of right or mostly right-they will be all right.)

If you're reading this and you're going through the same thing if you only remember one thing I want you to remember this- It's okay not to be okay. I'm not okay but I'm working in that direction.

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