Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Haven of Hope

In October of 2008 I signed up to be an independent distributor with Premier Designs Jewelry, and it's a decision I am SO glad I made. At the time, I was looking for a little extra money and a little distraction. I had recently miscarried, and the timing felt right for starting Premier. The business has given me a chance to enjoy some girl time and like most people entering the business, I was hoping to pay down some of our debt: student loans, cars, etc. Already, we have paid Cole's truck off early! So for a little over a year now, I've been known to many as "the jewelry lady," a phrase that made me cringe at first - I mean, how cheesy?! :)

Last weekend I was honored to get to travel to Haven of Hope, a retreat center owned by Premier Designs in Argyle, TX. Anyway, it was my first trip to Haven, and one of my jewelers, Kailen, came along, too. The trip was amazing. We met Andy and Joan Horner (the founders), toured Premier manufacturing and the home office, learned a lot about the rewards of growing a long-term business, and most importantly, gained a new appreciation for the company. How many other corporations encourage prayer and focus on Biblical principles? Not many! Haven was an incredible experience, one that's actually really difficult to put into words! Here are some photos from the trip:

Already, I've had a great experience with the company... I'm looking forward to growing my business consistently and hopefully someday being able to stay at home with our kids! In it's 25 years so far, Premier has made a difference in so many lives, mine included! What a huge blessing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Giving thanks!

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What an awesome time of year... Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for quite awhile now. As a child, Christmas was probably my favorite, for obvious reasons. Christmas always brings so much stimulation for kids - new toys, flashing lights, lots of sugar... :) Of course, Christmas is a wonderful time of year, and for reasons that greatly trump toys, lights and sugar. Most importantly, it's an amazing reminder of God's love for all people and a celebration of Christ's birth!

So the American holiday of Thanksgiving probably shouldn't be my favorite, but it is. I think I made the personal transition to Thanksgiving being my favorite sometime after Mom was diagnosed with Hodgkins. I was young and impressionable... and mom could have died. Her battle with cancer was the ultimate reminder to count your blessings. Our family always joins hands at Thanksgiving and we each share what we're thankful for. There is never a dry eye in the house. I can't remember from year-to-year what anyone lists, but I will never forget the swelling in my heart, the feeling that God is right there with with us in the room.

Thanksgiving for me, is always a necessary reminder. We should count our blessings year-round! Something about the holiday brings with it peaceful reflection and an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Every November, without fail, I transform into a teary-eyed, sappy girl. My poor husband! God has blessed my life so tremendously, and I am really undeserving of all He provides.

This year, I feel like I have more to be thankful for than ever before. I'm married to a wonderful, Godly man. Don't get me wrong; Cole isn't perfect, our marriage isn't perfect and I'm not perfect, either! (I know - shocker.) But God had a perfect plan when he put us together and I am continually amazed by the ways that He works in our relationship, bringing us closer together in happy times and with every trial we face, too. On our wedding day, I never dreamed that I could grow to love Cole more than I did in that moment; of course, I was completely wrong about that. If you think I'm emotional and sappy now, just wait until we've been together for 10, 20, 30 years. It's only going to get worse, Cole. :) I love you.

I really believe that Cole and I wouldn't be together today if it weren't for faithful, praying parents! Several times when I was growing up, I remember Mom telling us that she and Dad's prayer for us girls is to marry kind, loving, respectful Christian men. So I'm thankful for my parents, for loving and supporting and praying for us. I'm thankful for my Dad. He has always been a great example of a loving husband and father and positive role model for us girls.

I'm thankful for my in-laws! So thankful that long before Cole and I ever met, they were raising him to be a good man. They've welcomed me into their family with open arms, and are so loving and accepting of me, even with all of my flaws. I'm thankful for my sister-in-law, Emily. She is beautiful inside and out, and has such a kind-hearted, happy-go-lucky personality. It has been really fun getting to know her better.

I'm thankful for my little sisters. Two beautiful, talented, intelligent young women who amaze me on a regular basis. I have so much love in my heart for you two girls. When I think of you, I know that you each have great things ahead of you, and I'm so proud and excited to see what the future holds!

I'm thankful for family, good health, our friends, our jobs, my Premier Designs business and our home. I'm even thankful for our faithful four-legged pups, Royce and Layla.

What are YOU thankful for?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tonja's Senior Pictures

I've always had an interest in photography. It started in high school when I was on the yearbook committee - or whatever you want to call it. (Cole would say geek squad, I'm sure... but in all reality, we were a very cool group!) During college I took my first official photography class - a one hour, easy-and-fun course taught by Tod Megredy at Southwestern College. What a blast! Ever since, I've wanted to get the hobby really going, but just couldn't seem to find the time, energy or money... Nice cameras aren't cheap! About a year ago my friend, Sarah, started her own photography business - with lots of encouragement from me. :) Sarah's new biz has been going great, and for awhile now she has been suggesting that I give it a try... Recently she even loaned me one of her cameras to practice my skills. Thank you so much, Sarah!!!

I was extremely lucky to get the chance to "practice" on Tonja, a foreign exchange student from Norway who is staying with my family this year. Tonja was so much fun to photograph - she was completly laid back, patient with my lack of experience and willing to try just about anything. I couldn't have asked for a more cooperative or beautiful model... The girl has absolutely flawless skin and the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen!!! Here are a few of my favorite shots:



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Busy, busy!

I'm almost TOO busy to keep up on my blogging lately! What's a girl to do?!

In the past few weeks, we've had tons of guests at 109 Northfield! First (Oct. 10th) was the Anderson wedding, followed by a home football game and our annual Zubaz tailgate on the 17th. So... here is a quick and easy photo tribute to the past few weeks:

Tyson and Jamie got hitched. The wedding and reception were gorgeous, as were the bride and groom.

Our friends all looked smashing... here are a few of them!
Jess and Josh Horton

Andy and Sarah Pavkov

 The 2nd Annual Zubaz Tailgate was a HIT! Our group grew to over 30 members. The ringleader, Andy, has dreams of growing the tailgate to over 50 next year... If you're interested in participating, Andy can get you discounted pants... Come on! Everybody needs a pair of these. Email Andy by clicking here!

Out tailgate was complete with a banner, and K-STATE Snuggie! Good times were had by all...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All hail the queen!

I am totally and completely biased, so it's a good thing I didn't get to vote. :) Congrats to my baby sis, Hannah, who won Homecoming Queen at Friday night's football game! She is such a sweetie... hard to believe she is already a senior in high school! It seems like just yesterday when Hannah would beg Jess and I to take her to the "session-con-stand" at football games when we were in high school. Dad was even in tears watching her walk across the football field. The baby has officially grown up! I'm feeling a little emotional and a little old, too...

It was really fun to get back and see my family and watch the Vikings WIN, too. Here are a few photos from my quick "up and back" trip Friday. We had three couples crashing with us this weekend for a friend's wedding, so I wasn't able to stay in Winfield for long and Cole didn't get to make the trip... I'll attempt to post some pics of the Anderson wedding later this week, too.

Check out the football Grandma Joyce caught at the game!
Hannah's Fan Club:
Dad, Mom, Grandma, Jess and Andy

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Operation Recuperation

Whew! We had quite the Bluegrass this year. It was a fun, fun weekend with family and friends! I've included some photos of our stay in Winfield, but I sure wish I had taken better photos and more of them! We were lucky to have some good friends of ours join us for their first bluegrass ever. We hope Brett and Cindy want to come back! As usual, we are exhausted. The festival (or "Big Blue" as Dad calls it) really wears us out.. It seems like I'm still trying to catch up on my sleep, and it's already Wednesday! During my "Total Tone" class at the gym on Monday, one of the girls there had also been in Winfield. She said she even cried on Sunday because she didn't want to pack up and leave... This festival is serious business! :)

One very special family friend wasn't able to make it to Bluegrass this year. Janet was just too sick. In May, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, underwent surgery and some chemotherapy. Then she got a staff infection which never seemed to improve. Eventually, the infection took over, shutting down her liver. She passed away yesterday, and we will miss her so much. She is truly pain free, at peace and in heaven now.

Janet was actually the person responsible for bringing our family to Bluegrass for the very first time - 12 years ago. When we moved to Winfield, she worked with Dad at the bank, and somehow convinced him to give the festival a try. (He wasn't very excited about paying good money to park our camper less than five miles from home for the entire weekend!) One visit was all it took. We're hooked. As long as I live, Bluegrass will always make me think of Janet Menke. She really was like a grandmother to me.

Here are some photos from this weekend...

Brett, Cole and Cliff grilling and drinking.

Hannah and toothless Emma. :)

Bluegrass brings out the musical side
(and the not-so-musical side) in all of us.

Ready to head to the Pecan Grove!

Cute couple! BUT looks can be deceiving. They are ornery. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another reason I ♥!

I may be nerdy, but stuff like this is really interesting to me... Wish they had KC on this graphic, too! :) You may need to click the link to see the entire thing... Enjoy.

The Most Frugal Cities in America:

Budget help from

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Road to the Bowl!

Support our Junior League fundraiser by donating, and earn a chance to WIN a trip for two to K-State's post season bowl game. Of course, there is a SMALL chance that the Cats won't make it to a bowl game. In those unlikely circumstances, there will be a cash prize awarded of $1,000. To learn more about service projects of our Junior League, click here! To donate and earn a chance to win the trip, click here!

Any help you can give is GREATLY appreciated, thanks! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The countdown begins...

Football season kicks off in 12 days!

We're so excited for another K-State football season to start, whatever the outcome may be! Living in a college town can really stink at times (i.e. move-in weekend and awful traffic) but September always makes me thankful to live in Manhattan! "Hotel Eilders" as we're calling it, has been taking reservations for the first few home games already. We love having our friends and family visit us any time, and especially when tailgating is involved... We haven't scheduled the "2nd Annual Zubaz Tailgate" yet, (NO - we don't do this for every home game!!!) but it'll happen. Here are some photos of past tailgating fun:

It was painful for Cole to wear so much purple! :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mom's Surgery

Mom called Monday to say she would be having surgery on her neck/back on Tuesday afternoon... Talk about short notice! Evidently the surgeon was able to squeeze her into his schedule, but the message got to her only the day before her surgery.

In 1995 Mom had back surgery on a herniated disc, which the doctors originally diagnosed as bone cancer. Once they got in to check it out, they realized it was just an abnormal-looking herniated disc. Whew! Our life was pretty much a roller-coaster ride for a few years there... At one point they were just sure she had lung cancer, too. Nope. I guess doctors tend to assume the worst when they're dealing with a cancer survivor! I think we were all a little nervous, considering her history.

The surgery went really quickly once they started. Three. Hours. Late. I wonder, did God want us to spend a little more time praying, or what?! The operation only lasted about an hour and twenty minutes. What an enormous blessing to hear that things went well after all that waiting! Hopefully no medical professionals are reading this, because I'm sure I'll butcher some of the technical parts in this process...

Basically, they went in through her old scar on the front of her chest. They cut out the bad disc, removed several bone fragments that were pushing on her nerves, inserted a titanium plate and added pieces of cadaver bones to grow over the plate. The bones will eventually connect with other discs in her back, limiting her mobility, but greatly reducing the pain she has been experiencing. For years she has had migraine headaches, tingling in her right arm, and severe back pain. She had been considering spinal decompression therapy, but two weeks ago she was told that there was only one millimeter of tissue protecting her spinal cord from permanent damage, and she decided it was time to go forward with the operation.

Wednesday afternoon Hannah and I were able to take her home, but I was really surprised they let her out so quickly. She'll be wearing this oh-so-stylish brace for about six weeks. I'm sure she'll be good and ticked off that I posted the picture. :) Just remember - I love you very much, Mom. You've been a blessing to my life in more ways than you'll ever know!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Layla learns to sit.

Ahh. Puppies. They are so stinkin' cute, but we forgot how much work they can be. Here's a video of crazy Layla, who joined us on our recent trip to Iowa. She was a hit with the family... Especially Cole's great-uncle, Dick, who after two days with Layla, was convinced that he and his wife, Elaine, are ready for a new puppy. Pretty much everyone loved her... Everyone except Grandma Betty, who "doesn't like dogs." I think she was more than a little sweet on Layla, but just wouldn't admit it. :)

Okay, so she doesn't actually sit yet... It's a work in progress.

Monday, July 6, 2009

By George, I think we've done it!

We've been meaning to visit Cole's grandparents in George, Iowa for several years now. Each time they're in Kansas we hear the familiar... "You come visit us. Okay?"

Betty and Gordon

Last weekend we finally made the trip to join them for the holiday, and what a fantastic weekend it was! George had great reason to celebrate; 2009 marks the 125th anniversary of the town, which also happens to be the hometown of Cole's grandparents, Arvin Eilders, who now lives near Salina, and Betty (Smid) and Gordon Siebring.

Our stay was packed with activity... We watched the cutest little circus ever, ran a 5k on the town's new bike trail, ate tons of delicious food, watched a parade with more farm equipment than you can ever imagine, toured Siebring Manufacturing and of course, watched the fireworks! The town of only about 1,200 pays for their impressive display each year by auctioning off pies made by local residents... Many sold for over $200!

There is just no better place to celebrate the independence of our great country than small-town USA!

Betty and Cole watching fireworks.

Happy 125th Birthday to George!

My favorite float in the parade... Only in a small town. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Layla Lou

She's a sassy thing! We just picked her up this weekend, and Layla will be seven weeks old on Friday... SO tiny! She especially looks small next to Royce, who weighs about 75 pounds. Now that she has gotten to know us, she has really started to show off her personality... Royce was a really low-key puppy, but Layla is certainly not! When she wants to play she jumps around so much that she can barely control her own body. It's actually very funny. Hopefully I can post a video sometime soon.

We're in for a long haul. The last two nights she has woken us up three times to let us know that she needs out... NOW. At least she's not "going" in her kennel! :) Cole thinks this is good practice for babies. I'm pretty sure Cole has another thing coming...

"Listen here, pipsqueak. I'm in charge!"

After assembling the kennel I was pretty sure it would hold her, but Cole and Royce had to prove that it's big enough... For an entire litter!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My first night at 4-H camp!

As a child, I was never involved in 4-H. Some of my friends went to camp each summer... and I was always a little jealous. It sounded like so much fun! As part of my job at Rock Springs, I'm spending this week at camp. It'll give me a chance to better learn our facility and the processes that I'm not usually a part of with my "day job." Last night was my first night at 4-H camp as the administrator on duty. Let's just say it was... exciting. Here are a few highlights:
  • Cleaned up vomit.
  • We were in a tornado watch, and there was quite a thunderstorm, complete with lightning show.
  • To keep them out of the lightning/rain, we moved campers to our primary storm shelter (which is also an auditorium) and tried to entertain them with movies.
  • They 'booed' my movie choice of Robin Hood. I guess I'm old and boring. They preferred Tarzan and Mulan.
  • Woke up at 4am to L O U D thunder. Storms don't usually wake me, but I was a little on edge. When you're responsible for 359 kids... Yikes!
I'm sure I'll survive the rest of my stay... but I'm exhausted already! Hopefully the weather cooperates for the remainder of the week.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thought for the day.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

- George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some friends of ours recently told us about this website and I wanted to share - because it's pretty cool. Cole and I had been using Microsoft Money (which we didn't like very well) and then switched Microsoft Excel to track each expense and keep an eye on our budget, but Excel can be so time consuming... After checking it out, we gave a try, and you should, too! It's FREE. Who doesn't like free?! And it imports all of your financial info into one place... Checking, savings, credit card, auto loan, student loan, mortgage, 401(k), 403(b), Roth IRA, etc. It's an excellent tool for having an overall picture of your net worth and allowing you to clearly focus on eliminating debt or increasing investments...

You don't have to share your SSN or other private information; they'll even alert you of suspicious transactions on your credit card, alert you when you're nearing your budgeted spending in a specific category. There are over one million users, and the site has received multiple awards... I could go on, but you'll have to see for yourself!

So.. why is it free? Because takes a snapshot of your finances and recommends {enter: advertisements} the 'best' products for you. For example, your current savings account may only earn .03% APY and might recommend an interest-bearing savings that can earn you 3% APY. Of course, to view these offers, you have to click on them - you can always ignore them if you're happy with whatever system you have going. :)

Hopefully you'll find to be as handy as we have!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Curb Appeal.

After three years of being homeowners, we have finally finished landscaping our front yard! I sure feel like a 'real' grown-up to be planting bushes and flowers that I actually know the names of. :) It just killed Cole to cover up the "best grass" in our yard, but it was worth it! We originally planned to use steel edging because we just love the way it looks... Have you ever priced steel edging??? Yikes! Instead we opted for a heavy-duty plastic edging. It's actually made for containing stone patios, so you can bend it into practically any shape you choose. It was so convenient and much more affordable than the steel, too. Here are some pictures of our handiwork:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Painted Turtle.

Working at a camp certainly has its perks. Check out this lil' guy found roaming around outside our office yesterday! He's about the size of a quarter...

Friday, May 1, 2009


It was so much fun watching all of the creative "entrances" to Winfield High School's prom this year... Some of my personal favorites were the girl riding on a donkey (dressed to look like a unicorn), a couple strapped into one of those giant rolling blow-up balls and of course, the Flintstone-Mobile. :) For me, watching this prom tradition brought back so many fond memories of good ol' WHS.

We're baaack.

Whew! Vacations are fun, but can be exhausting, too. We got home from our Texas trip late Sunday evening - only to drive from Kansas City to Manhattan in a torrential downpour.

Our vacation went too quickly! We started out in San Antonio and finished in Austin. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that we just happened to arrive in San Antonio smack dab in the middle of San Antonio's Fiesta, an annual 11-day party featuring mariachi bands, parades, lots of delicious Tex-Mex and margaritas! Here are photos... many photos. Enjoy!

- San Antonio -

Of course, the real reason for our trip was for Mark and Becky's wedding! What a great time... After looking back at all of our pictures, I'm reminded of what an awesome group of friends we have. Sadly, it seems like weddings and K-State football games are our only excuses to see each other. Soon, we'll all be married.. Then we'll have to start making other excuses to get together. I'm sure we'll be able to come up with something! :)

- Austin -

Monday, April 20, 2009

Texas or Bust!

This is a big week for us... we're headed to Texas for a wedding/vacation. First, we'll spend a few days in San Antonio, doing the River Walk thing... Then we'll head to Austin to "keep it weird" for Mark and Becky's wedding. So, after spending this weekend in Winfield, and getting home last night around 9:00, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with the packing and trip preparations that can be so stressful before a vacation! I'm working today and we fly out early in the morning...

We had a great weekend in Winfield. I had two jewelry shows, which were lots of fun and both went pretty well. It was also Hannah's first prom... I can hardly believe that my baby sister is old enough to go to prom!!! In Winfield, finding the most creative ride is a pretty big deal. (When I was a junior, we pushed our dates in shopping carts! Sounds weird, but Dad wired up flashing lights, and we threw confetti... Lots of fun!) Hannah's group had a fantastic ride, possibly the best I've ever seen. The Flinstone-mobile, as we called it, was made mostly by Hannah's date, Kevin. Mom and Dad and Kevin's parents added some finishing touches. It was a hit! They even won the "most creative ride" award.

Lots of pictures to come!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

#60: Breakfast in bed...

Number 60 is an item on my list that I've been dreading. I never thought I'd get it done... for several reasons. First of all, Cole is an early riser and a light sleeper. I am neither of those. So I knew that even if I made it out of bed before him, all of the clanging in our kitchen would surely get him up before I could actually bring him breakfast.

By some stroke of luck, I woke up early Sunday morning and I was wide awake, no chance of snoozing a little longer. Cole has been working long hours lately, so he was awake, but still pretty tired. It all went something like this:
A: Will you stay in bed for just a little while longer?
C: Sure. Why?
A: I need to check you off my list - would you prefer pancakes or french toast?
C: Surprise me. But I still think it's weird to eat food in bed.
A: Just work with me here... take a few bites and then you can get up. Don't move... I'll be back.
Now wasn't that romantic?! :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Did you know?

If you're anything like Cole and I, you're impatiently waiting for your tax return... after the layoffs at Parker Hannifin, we were fortunate that Cole got to keep his job, but with a required 10% pay cut and reduced bonuses. Ouch! So anyway, we're stockpiling any spare change we can, building our savings up. Just in case...

Our itty bitty Kansas return came mid-March, and I've been checking our account frequently to see when the Federal will arrive. Not that we're doing anything exciting with it - saving most and using some for our trip in April, a much-needed vacation to Texas for Mark and Becky's wedding! (Very little economic stimulation coming from the Eilders this year, sorry folks.) Long story short, did you know you can check for the exact day your Federal return will be electronically deposited, if you've selected that option?! Just enter these three things:

1) Your SSN.
2) How you filed. (Single, Jointly, HOH, etc.)
3) The dollar amount of your return.

And PRESTO! The exact date of your deposit appears. March 27th, in our case; I love Fridays! This may be the smartest thing our government has ever done. :) Only kidding. Click here to try it out!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Baby Beam!

The Beam baby is here! Parker Grace arrived on March 15th, and I can't wait to see her!!! I'll probably try to meet up with Leesa, Dusty and Parker next Monday when I'm in Wichita for work... Click here to see Parker Grace! :) Does she look more like Mom or Dad? I can't decide...

Monday, March 16, 2009

She said it best...

An old friend of mine from high school (who also happens to be a Premier Designs jeweler) recently used her business to help out her dear friends who lost their baby girl. What a beautiful thing she did - bringing together over 100 people to remember sweet Cora and support a playground in memory of her! Check out Amanda's blog here:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Parker Grace

My friends Leesa and Dusty are waiting for their new bundle of joy to arrive... Parker Grace should be here sometime in the next few weeks. (Isn't that a cute name?!) Here are the pictures from Leesa's baby shower that some friends and I threw. We had a great time making play-doh babies, watching Leesa open gifts, and chowing down on some yummy cake! I was especially proud of the clothes-line of onesies in the background. :) I can't take credit for that one, though... I think I found it online somewhere!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More layoffs.

The rumor was true.

After laying off 46 hourly workers this January, Cole's employer has now also let go of four salary employees. It was a company-wide decision; sadly, several plants had to let people go. Cole was not one of them... The announcement was made yesterday while he was in Red Oak, Iowa, for a class. We feel so fortunate to have our jobs... at least for now. What a tough experience.

Please pray for those who have lost their jobs - and that this economic stimulus package actually stimulates our economy!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Beaver Creek Blues!

Mondays stink! Wish we were back in Colorado... :)
Here are some pics from our trip last weekend:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

#85: Write a letter to a politician...

When my sister, Jessica, was in elementary school, her 1st grade class wrote Governor Joan Finney requesting that Kansas adopt the Barred Tiger Salamander as our state amphibian. I'm sure there were many other students involved in the "salamander movement," but Jess has always been proud to have been a part of that particular bill. She wound up with a biology degree, so I guess she was destined to have a high aptitude in life science, even at a young age! Gov. Finney signed the legislation into existence, and the rest is history, or so they say... You can read more about our state amphibian by clicking here.

Earlier this month, I was able to check off #85 on my list. I didn't actually write the letter myself. Instead, I discovered a resource that I'm excited to share... It's called the Family Research Council (FRC) and it's a nonprofit "organization dedicated to the promotion of marriage and family and the sanctity of human life in national policy." So far, I've agreed with the FRC on every issue... I signed up for email updates and occasionally they email me with policy concerns. I have the option to send and edit a 'form letter' or 'form email' to government officials. I would strongly encourage you to sign up for updates at their website. On Saturday I even received a note from Representative Lynn Jenkins thanking me for my input. She signed her own name and hand wrote, "Stay in touch!" on the letter. It's no salamander, but I'd like to think that I'm making a small difference...

Monday, February 9, 2009


I've been following my friend Amanda's blog pretty closely for a few weeks now. She's been posting updates about a baby girl named Cora, who passed away this Sunday. Cora's story is heartbreaking. I tear up every time I think about her parents and what they've already been through at such a young age ~ or at any age, for that matter. It's obvious that they've been a shining example of God's love to those around them. So many people have been praying for Cora.

No matter where we're at in life, it's so important (and really difficult, at times like this) to remember that God doesn't make mistakes, that this is His plan.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Des Moines is cold in January! :)

You're probably thinking, duh Amanda. Of course Des Moines is cold! Last weekend I headed up with some new girlfriends for a Premier Designs Rally and we had a blast! I swear, though... The temperature gauge on the way up there read -25. NEGATIVE! Fortunately, we spent most of our time inside the hotel and conference center. It was a blast! We left inspired by the speakers and each other - and we got to see the new spring line of jewelry!! It's all gorgeous! The best part of Rally was getting to hear testimonies from other jewelers living throughout the midwest, learning about all of the missions that Premier Designs supports, and meeting so many fantastic new friends. Here are some pictures from our weekend. Did I mention that we had a blast?! :)