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2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
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Prayerful Bloggers

magic.

28th August 2014 || reviews || 2 comments

Listen, I love Disneyland.

I mean I REALLY love Disneyland.

Like… I have an annual pass to Disneyland…. and I live in Washington.

I love the magic of it all. Like I walk into Disneyland and I feel like anything in the whole world can happen.

and then.
Then there’s the Disneyland Hotel. Just read what happened in May.

So one of my FAVORITE parts of staying at the Disneyland Hotel are these little magic lights you get to sleep under! They look like this:

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So. much. magic!

Thanks to Tomoson (seriously if you’re a blogger and want to review things… JOIN NOW) I got a strand of LED lights in the mail. And while I completely lack the Disney magic & resources, I created my own makeshift super wannabe lights above my bed to sleep under.

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I love the lights – they are battery operated (which is so nice because really who wants to fumble around with unplugging things when the lights are off and you’re in bed?) and I LOVED that the actual strand is clear, so it’s not too noticeable in the daytime or with the lights on.

All of this Disney + lights + magic just gave me the BEST idea.

What if you had a sleepover… inside of Space Mountain…. with the lights off?

WHAT! BEST IDEA EVER, SERIOUSLY!

ps. I’m going to Disneyland soon. just to rub it in. ;D

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

2 Comments  

This picture changed my life.

26th August 2014 || camp arnold., faith. || 2 comments

One of my favorite things to do is to let kids take my camera. Not my phone or a cheap point and shoot, but my DSLR. I want them to know that I trust them. And I love getting to see things from their point of view. I spent the afternoon at camp last week, and when we went on a walk to pick blackberries, I gave my camera to 4-year-old Ellen. Look at this kid:

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Of all the kids I know, Ellen’s love for me has transformed me the most. One of our friends once told me that Ellen loves me so much it’s almost creepy. But I’ll take it, because I love Ellen so much. I pray all the time that I’ll be the kind of person worthy of all the love her little heart has to give me, because her love comes with a bunch of trust and vulnerability and adoration. It’s the kind of love that can build or can easily destroy. I want to build. Only build. Jesus said that if you lead a child into sin, it would be better for you to have a millstone thrown around your neck and be tossed into the sea. DIE. It would be better to die than cause a child to sin. Are. you. kidding. me. I look around and my life is FULL of children. So many opportunities to fail.

I was looking through the pictures Ellen took and I saw a picture that started changing my life the minute I saw it.

Before I post it, I want to point out again that my life is FULL OF CHILDREN. First, I am a youth pastor. One of those cradle to college ones. Second, I spend my days off traveling – sometimes in my car a few hours, other times in a plane for a few hours – to see my friends and their children, who are also my friends. So when I say my life is full of children, I’m not even kidding.

So here’s the picture.

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At first glance it just looks like a picture of my camera and my shorts and the bottom of my shirt. I almost just X’d out of it and deleted it. But then I realized this:

This is how Ellen sees me.
This is what it looks like when she takes a camera, keeps it at eye level, and takes a picture of me.

Unless she looks up:

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or is at a distance:

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But neither of those satisfies the words of Jesus, when he says “whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (mark 9:37) When we welcome people, we want them to be comfortable. We ask them if they’d like something to drink, or to take their coats off or would they like freshly baked banana bread or something. Welcoming someone means bringing them in and making them comfortable.

Straining your neck isn’t comfortable. Having to talk louder to be heard isn’t comfortable. Having to stand far away to get the whole picture isn’t comfortable.

I thought of something Pastor Matt once said years ago. In Exodus 34, Moses goes up to Mount Sinai to get new tablets to be written on because he broke the first ones. Verse 5 says “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him…” Pastor Matt said, “No matter how high we climb, God has to stoop to deal with us.”

God comes down to us. We strain our necks and talk loudly but in the end he meets us where we are at because we can only go so far.

That picture Ellen took convicted me to my core, because I don’t want for Ellen to grow up not feeling comfortable or welcome in my life. I looked at a bunch of pictures of me and Ellen over the years and there are so many of them where we are on the same level, which encouraged me and told me that I’m on the right track, but my prayer is that I never get tired of the work involved in being loved by children.

Told you her love transforms me. Thanks for always changing my life, Ellen age 4 (1, 2, 3 also + beyond)!

PicMonkey Collage

2 Comments  

oh hey friday #4 | the one about catfish

22nd August 2014 || everyday life || 3 comments

 

Let me first say that part of why I’m fascinated by Catfish is that I cannot even begin to imagine how people can fall in love with someone they have never met.  I have a history of building friendships from social media connections, but they don’t feel real until they are sitting across from me with coffee in-between us. How can people be so vulnerable and intimate and connected with people they aren’t even sure is a trustworthy person?

My friend Ryan needs to watch Catfish. I don’t even remember why, but it just needs to happen. So I have compiled my 5 favorite episodes of Catfish because there are THREE SEASONS worth of stupid episodes to wade through (remember that one with the rapper T-Lights? POINTLESS!)

Anyway. Here, in no special order, are my top 5 episodes of Catfish over the past 3 seasons.


ONE // John + Kelsey
Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.32.16 PM

TWO // Lucille + Kidd Cole
Probably one of THE DUMBEST people to EVER be on Catfish.
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THREE // Derek + Lauren
Oh gosh. <3

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FOUR // Artis + Jess
One of my favorites for the sheer stupidity of the catfish.
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FIVE // Antwane + Tony
Uuuuugggghhhhh this one made me SO MAD.
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…but let’s be real. We all really watch Catfish for Max & Nev. ;)

3 Comments  

Mirror Lake

20th August 2014 || adventures || 7 comments

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Last Saturday I went on a hike to Mirror Lake. It will be the last hike I get to go on until the end of October, and I’m pretty bummed about that. But it was a beautiful day and a wonderful hike with really fantastic people. These hikes are my favorite new thing in my life.

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7 Comments  

hello, I am….

19th August 2014 || everyday life || 7 comments

Awhile ago I wrote about my #1 search engine referral: chinchillas!
Today I’m going to write about my #2 search engine referral: “Stephanie Orefice” .. aka ME!
Hopefully if people really are searching my name in hopes of figuring out what I’m about {so weird, but hello} then this post would be a great landing page for that.

IMG_8139-I am an only child. I blame most of my social issues on that.

-For two years I lived in Seattle. For a year I lived in SoCal. Now I live in the Portland area. West Coast is the Best Coast ;)

-The sound of running water is my favorite sound.

-Legally Blonde is my favorite movie and musical, and I actually prefer the musical.

-I drink coffee like it’s going out of style.

-Baby elephants are my favorite animals. I love their floppy little trunks and their lack of balance. 0423

-Even though I live in Washington, I have an annual pass to Disneyland. Because magic.

-I’ve maintained an online blog of some sort for 11 years.

-Sometimes I straight up am amazed by the fact that I wear glasses. I look at a picture of myself and think “woah, I wear glasses.” Or I’ll want to ask people “Do you realize that I wear glasses every moment I am awake?” because I just think it’s fascinating.

-I have a white streak in my hair. Like Anna. You know, from Frozen.

-My love language is quality time. and thai food.

-I’m the most insecure about my nose. I think it’s really big and makes me have a weird facial profile. It looks normal from the front but from the side it is so pointy.

-Honey sticks from farmers markets are the best.

-When I was little, I told people that Jonathan Taylor Thomas was my cousin in an attempt to make friends (refer to the first thing I mentioned about myself before you judge me). I said that I got a scar on my leg from playing roller hockey with him, and now I seriously have NO idea how I got that scar.

 

…I think we are all so much more than we could ever convey with words and stories. We were created to be experienced, and so this is only just the surface of the wholeness of my being. But at least it gives you a better idea of who I am.

7 Comments  

Where the heck did summer go? | Weekly Wishes #7

18th August 2014 || everyday life || 4 comments

People. of. the. internet!!
(that’s my name for anyone who stumbles upon my blog)

Where the freaking heck did the summer go? It seems like just yesterday I was pulling out my shorts and standing with my head towards the sun, basking up every ray of it…. and now stores are putting out Halloween stuff and I kinda want to go to a pumpkin patch and I can smell caramel apple spice everything in the air. I just don’t even know what is happening anymore.

My friend Braden once told me that years zoom by the older you get because a year becomes a smaller portion of your life. Like when you’re 10, one year is 1/10th of your life. That is a bigger, fuller piece of the pie. When you’re 29, it is just 1/29th. Smaller. It makes so much sense and I think about that often.

Anyway. This week’s wishes:

  • Go to Camp.
    This weekend/next week will be insane. I need to get away for a little bit.
  • Try out a sample I received a few weeks ago.
    It’s cute. I love it. More about that… hopefully later this week, right?? ;)
  • Um…. go to the post office. 
    Yes… still. My gosh.
  • Do some coloring. 
    I’m trying real hard to plow through a few more things on my 101 list since it’s almost over (WHAT!).
  • Finish my t-shirt quilt. 
    Cassie and I were going to do it this weekend but plans kind of didn’t line up, so hopefully it’ll work this week!
  • Organize my bathroom closet.
    Like my bookshelf was last week, my bathroom closet is a HOT MESS!

Last week’s wishes:

  • Read a book
    Didn’t do this one… I poured all of my energy into reading the Bible instead. I think that’s okay ;)

 

  • Get my bridesmaid dress altered
    I made the appointment… that should count for something because that was the scariest part for me!!
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  • paint my nails
    I kind of did the exact opposite… I was so stressed out by a handful of things that I bit them down… a lot. Yikes!

 

  • organize my bookshelf
    YES! Here’s a before and after:
    IMG_8359IMG_8366For bonus points I also organized my desk just saying.

 

  • send out mail
    Fail. fail fail fail.

 

Linking up with Weekly Wishes.

4 Comments  

oh hey friday | #3

15th August 2014 || everyday life || 10 comments

ONE //
Good news. For the past 2 weeks I’ve been really disciplined with my money and have kept to a budget. I wish I could say that I’m now the richest person in the world, but all it means is that I didn’t have to check my bank account to make sure I didn’t have $0. It wasn’t that difficult, which surprised me. We’ll see how long this carries on.

TWO //
Pretty Little Liars is the worst. Like it is actually the worst show that is on all of television, ever. Watching PLL makes me want to slam my head against a wall because every girl is an idiot. What is the point of this show? This show is so stupid. I hate this show. It is so pointless. AND YET I KEEP WATCHING IT! ugh. Please be over.

THREE //
It is straight up TOO HOT in my room. Kind of all of Washington, but ESPECIALLY my room. I can’t sleep when I’m in my room and I can’t function because the air conditioning doesn’t really cool my room down at all. It’s all too hot. I want to sleep outside, cozied up in a sleeping bag or something.

FOUR //
This may have been my favorite social media interaction of all week:

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FIVE //
Today is LESS THAN TWENTY DAYS until I’m reunited with my favorite little loves. I cannot wait to watch them sing and fall and twirl and laugh and cry. Love them with all of my heart.

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10 Comments  

not in love, but I’m in something.

14th August 2014 || uncategorized || 1 comment

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Awhile ago I tweeted something that pops through my head often. I said “I’m not in love, but I’m in something.” Because I like a boy, but I am pretty sure he doesn’t like me. Do you know about Lucy and Schroeder? Sassy little Lucy van Pelt is smitten with Schroeder, even though he is pretty clear about not feeling the same way. The boy I like hasn’t (yet) expressed annoyance with me, but it doesn’t seem like he likes me.

So I went on a date. With a different boy.

Who was really great. We walked around for a few hours, talking about lots of different things. and he said we should have dinner sometime and I agreed and made note of how fantastic he was.

and I got in my car…. and I started comparing him to the boy I like. and that made me want to cry, because if this was a few months ago, I’d be over the moon. Gavin DeGraw captured it in song perfectly: “You’re amazing, I’m attracted, but I’m terribly distracted.

I thought of something Madeleine L’Engle once said:

“It’s a strange thing, how you can love somebody, how you can be all eaten up inside with needing them–and they simply don’t need you. That’s all there is to it, and neither of you can do anything about it. And they’ll be the same way with someone else, and someone else will be the same way about you and it goes on and on–this desperate need–and only once in a rare million do the same two people need each other.”

It’s so true. and that first part of it sucks, that part about being all eaten up inside with needing someone who doesn’t need you.  But that last part seems to make it all worth it, the once in a rare million part.

I’m not in love. I’m in something. and I’m trying to pull myself out of it. Sigh.

1 Comment  

Birchbox Favorites

13th August 2014 || reviews || 2 comments

I’m not really into beauty stuff. I have had the same “routine” for years, and I rarely try new things. EXCEPT FOR: Birchbox! Every month I get a little box of various beauty samples to try out. It’s only $10/month and every time you leave a review of a product you earn 10 points… 100 points is a $10 credit in the Birchbox store! Love it. I’ve been a Birchbox member for over TWO YEARS, and for the first year or so I just hoarded the samples.. until I realized how DUMB that was. So the past year I’ve been really deliberate about trying my Birchbox samples, and I wanted to share some of my favorites.

 

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1. Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle // $21.95
There’s a shampoo and conditioner as well, but I use neither of those things.. however. The smell of this stuff is TO. DIE. FOR. If I could bathe in it, I would. Maybe that’s weird. My sample bottle lasted FOREVER, so I know the full size is definitely worth the investment.

2. Eve Lom Cleanser // $80.00
You read that right. $80. But let me tell you. I remember carefully reading the instructions on my sample just like it was yesterday. You rub it all over your face while it’s dry. Then you get the muslin cloths as hot as you can and you hold them over your face. It creates this amazing mini-face sauna. After my sample ran out, I tried that same method with other face washes (to see if it was the method or the actual product itself) and it wasn’t as great. Hands down still one of my favorite samples. I think about it often and hope one day Birchbox accidentally sends it to me again. ;)

3. Kind Healthy Grain bars // $11.88 for 3 boxes of 5
I. love. these. grain. bars. I love all the flavors. My favorite is actually a vanilla blueberry one, but they don’t sell it on Birchbox. I buy one order of these every month, because they are THAT GOOD.

4. Jergens BB Body Cream // not available on Birchbox
Every so often Birchbox just sends a little extra sample – something they don’t necessarily sell but think you might like anyway. I AM ALL ABOUT BB CREAM, so when I first started seeing this all over I KNEW I had to try it. The sample lasted me awhile, and I weirdly love the smell. I got a $2 off coupon in the box with this so it only cost me $9ish dollars for the full-size one. Seems pricey, but I swear by this stuff.

5. Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Cream //$19.99
This changed my hair life. My hair is usually a giant frizzy mess, and this stuff tames it better than any product I have EVER used. Not only that, but it’s really light and doesn’t make my hair feel all oily. I have been rationing out my sample while looking for it at TJ Maxx since they have basically every other Fekkai hair product there EXCEPT this one… but once it’s gone I will buy it full size one way or another. Welcome to my life, you brilliant glossing cream.

6. Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm // $34.00
Hold on, let me climb a mountain and sing beautiful songs about this BB Cream because that is how much I love this product. I use it every single day. It evens out the color of my skin and does away with my naturally dark eyes and basically makes me feel like a million dollars. If I could marry a beauty product, my name would be Mrs. Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm. Totally worth the $34.

7. Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer // $28.00
For as long as I can remember, magazines (which were where I got ALLLL of my information up until Pinterest became a thing) always said that moisturizers NEED to happen every day. I never really liked them – they usually make my face reallllly oily and shiny. This moisturizer, however, does neither of those things. It is so subtle and yet my face has always felt AWESOME at the end of the day when I’ve used this. My sample recently ran out (it lasted awhile because I never got in the habit of using it daily) and I’ve missed having it. Definitely going to be purchasing the full-size of this one.

8. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara // $18.00
This mascara works well enough. I don’t have high standards when it comes to mascara. I just really don’t want it to clump. So long as it doesn’t do that, I’m fine. This one meets that requirement… AND! AND! It has a fruity smell to it. I may or may not sniff it every time I use it. May or may not.

Well that’s it, friends. My 8 favorite beauty samples from Birchbox over the past two years. Have you tried any of these products? Are you a Birchbox member? If so, I dare you to share your favorite samples!!

2 Comments  

9 ways to support your friends who are depressed.

12th August 2014 || everyday life || 3 comments

Odds are, if you’re reading this, then someone in your life is battling depression.
I’m going to speak to you on their behalf for a minute.
Mostly because I want the people in my life to hear these things so badly, but I don’t really know how to tell them.

 

First of all. Let’s talk about depression.

Depression is an illness. It’s not a mindset or an attitude or a bad day.
Depression makes no sense to me. and I live with it. I’ve been living with it officially for 9 years. and I don’t get it.

If I am having a good hair day and wearing new shoes and got a free coffee beverage and fifteen random text messages from people telling me they are thinking about me, then why do I want to drive my car into the median? If I get a random letter in the mail at the very moment I am catching up with a friend on the phone, why do I feel like setting myself on fire or throwing rocks at cars or even just laying in bed and sobbing because the other stuff sounds like too much energy?

It makes NO SENSE.
So when my depression acts up, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not my choice to feel any of the things I am feeling.
I usually get to this point where I’m like “sleep or die.” Those are the two things. I either need to sleep ASAP or I need to die ASAP because my whole being is pained by the thought of existing.
Thus far in my life I’ve chosen sleep every time, but there are days when I wonder what would happen if I was braver.

That said, I found this brilliant list of ways to support people with depression. Let me first say, though, that these are all bandaids on a gunshot wound. These aren’t ways to FIX your friends or help treat their depression. These are ways to love them while they hurt, and I agree with every single one of them.


9 Ways to support your loved ones with depression
9 best ways to support someone with depression.
Do you feel you know much about depression?
Do you have friends who are depressed?
Are you yourself depressed?
I genuinely want to hear stories right now.

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