Monday, October 31, 2011

A Boogity Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters


one: i've got scary music playing at work....i am scaring myself with it when my point was to scare others, more specifically my boss. fail. i really wanted to dress up as a zombie this year. maybe next year.

two: carved pumpkins with my sister on friday. it was fun. then we watched paranormal activity 2. i really need to stop watching scary movies before bed. but i love it. paranormal activity is the best out of all three! 

my pumpkinhead sis:

three: love this song.

four: i went corn mazin' the other weekend with lauren! we made it out. woop woop!

five: trying to find a new job is SO hard. dang economy. i am thinking of picking up a part time job on the weekends. ick.

six: the end of the year comes way too fast. but i actually don't mind it. this year hasn't been my favorite. nor was last year. maybe i'll catch a break next year. 

seven: contemplating running a half marathon in december. i may die. {kidding}

eight: have you signed up for my giveaway?!?! 

watch out for ghosts, ghouls, zombies, and vampires tonight! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In love

with this song...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Giveaway- Early Bright!

Hey sweet friends!!! It's giveaway time!

I simply adore this shop!!! 

Dawn {the sweet shop owner} and I share the same love for little trinkets.

When I received a couple bracelets I bought in the mail...I about died from cuteness!

One you lucky followers will receive this Pray, Love, Remember Locket

"There's rosemary; that's for remembrance. Pray, love, remember." ~Shakespeare, Hamlet

 Image of Pray, Love, Remember Locket 
Image of Pray, Love, Remember Locket

Image of Pray, Love, Remember Locket

Mandatory Entry:

You must be a follower of this blog.

Additional Entries (Leave a separate comment for each):

(1) "LIKE" Early Bright on Facebook.
(2) Follow Early Bright on Twitter.
(3) Tweet or Blog about this giveaway, must include a link. 

If tweeting, please use a tweet similar to this: 

"Win an adorable @shopearlybright locket from @michabella4!"

In love with some of Dawn's other items in the shop?? Great! Use this 20% discount code on your purchase: FBFAN2011 {Good til Nov. 30, 2011}

Giveaway ends Tuesday November 1. Winner will be announced Wednesday November 2.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mission Trip Recap

{this is a very long post}

First off- I want to thank Alisha, Amanda, Ashley, Baily, Kylie, and David for guest posting for me! If you missed their posts, please make sure you go back and check them out. It was truly a pleasure to have y'all on my blog!

Romans 12:1 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship."

What an amazing/humbling/busy week in Ringgold, Georgia. It was such a blessing to be able to go on this short-term mission trip. An answered prayer. It was exactly what my heart needed. There were a total of 8 of us. I did not "know" a single one of them. Each of us had a different personality and were 25-60 somethin'. Pretty interesting, but we all got along. I honestly was pretty nervous and didn't know what to expect, but it turned out wonderful. 

In the town of Ringgold, 7 or 8 people died from an EF4 tornado, that was on the ground for over 50 miles. Remember that crazy week of tornadoes in April?? Devastating. It truly doesn't hit you until you are there. We drove through Ringgold when we got there on Sunday night to check out the town and the house we would be working on. We all got chills driving through Cherokee Valley up to the Cope home. Trees and houses were wiped out. There was a cone placed where a house was that marked a family that died. 

Meet the Cope Family:

{Seth, Joy, Dale, and Shay}

We were all truly humbled and blown away by this family. They had such a positive outlook after such devastation in their lives. Their family survived, by seconds. Only 1/4 of their house was left standing, all four cars were damaged. NOT ONLY THAT but their business, a pharmacy, was completely damaged. They were left with nothing. They've been blessed with help each week on their home and the love and support from their church and others around them. Seth spent his entire winter break working with us, which was a blessing for us as well. 

So what did we do? Well we put up wall frames for the room the Cope family is pictured in. We also installed numerous windows (2 stories high and very dangerous, thankfully no one was injured), and installed doors. Finished part of the roofing as well. The best part was how patient Dale was. Each week they have a new team coming in and he has to teach them what to do and re-tell his story every time. An amazing man. Praised God all week for us. 

AND I got to use power tools (I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR) and eventually got over the fear of scaffolding. I am pretty sure the numerous amounts of coffee to keep me warm helped. Seriously, never drank that much in my life! Joy Cope even made us some amazing latte's! 


{our team & the Cope's} 

{ohhh ya.} 

{just a tiny bit freezing}

{the wall frames}

{200lb windows we installed}

{we had a system for installing them, worked out great, no serious injuries!}

{having a beer in Chattanooga, TN}

It was hard to leave. Even harder to come back and not help build anything for 8hrs a day. I so very much hope to be able to do more short-term mission trips like that! Can't wait to see how the Cope's house turns out. It's going to be BEAUTIFUL! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Guest Post- Soldier Boy

Hey y'all! I am back from my mission trip! I'll be doing a recap this week.
BUT today I have a special treat for y'all!!

Friends, meet David. 
Aka- 'My favorite soldier' {as all my twitter peeps know him as} 
You also may remember him from this post.  

It's nice to have a man blogging in a ladies world today! 
Very brave. 

So, let's give him a warm welcome!


What's Up With This Blogging Stuff?

Well, as you can tell by the title, I’m a little out of touch with this whole blogging world. But this chica (Michelle) introduced me to it. And at times while being deployed, a soldier can get really bored. The picture below describes it perfectly. 

If y'all havent noticed, I’m a goofy type of guy, just ask Michelle.   

Ok ok. I’ll tell a little about myself.  I grew up in FL in typical white boy neighborhood. Have two brothers. One 14 months younger than me, and then my identical twin. Sadly he is a Marine, but I won’t hold it against him. I’m currently employed by an organization called the U.S. Army.  Don’t ever work for them, lol.  J/K. I’m on my 4th deployment/vacation with the military….ummm…oh ya, what do I do in the Army? Well, I am a 'Grunt' aka Infantry, I also have a secondary job as a Combat Engineer.  Neither one is a very safe job but then again, we don’t live in a very safe world.

{Me, Jon (aka Twin), little bro-Michael}

Well, lets start off with this girl that I know and how she helped fill my boring days of being in Afghanistan full of fun.

I remember Michelle in HS, and just out of the blue I get a FB message from her, found out she was totally stalking me, but that’s totally cool with me, I mean how many guys do you know that has a hot girl stalking them?? I sure as heck don’t.  So shortly after, our friendship hit off pretty good. I mean, I got a kick ass care package with some crazy good “Epiclicous” cupcakes. By the way…I’m Black on cupcakes, Michelle.  (Black-military term for having nothing left) Soo, gonna need a refill. :)
That’s pretty much it. Next time I’ll teach you guys…err, I mean ladies, cause I think its mostly a woman audience that is on this Blogging thing, how to make a home made explosive torpedo! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Post- Spencer and Kylie

 Happy Friday!!! Today's guest post is by a sweet girl, whom I happen to stumble upon her blog after some sweet comments she left on mine. I stalked her blog for at least an hour. It's amazing. Humbling. Beautiful. Inspiring. I am so happy, that at last minute, Kylie was able to do a guest post for me! Y'all need to hop on over to her blog after reading this and follow along with them on their journey!! Thanks again Kylie! -xoxo


my name is kylie.
i am married to my best friend,
and we are currently humanitarian photographers
and videographers in south america for a
humanitarian organization called
we love what we do. we love bringing real people's
stories to life through film.
you can see our work here.
what inspires me to do what i do?
to be who i am? 
1. old people
i just can't get enough of old people. not only are they wise, but they are adorable. when two old geezers have been loving each other for years and years, and they still hold hands and do the little things that used to make a young buck's heart skip a beat, i can't help but just feel the love and try to emulate that in my own life and marriage.
2. children
children. especially children on the other side of the world. the children who live different lives than me are fascinating and humbling. they teach me so much about how simple life can be - and how little you really need to be happy. children laugh, smile, play and love freely. within minutes of arriving in a village, i am surrounded by chicitos holding my hands and giving me hugs. my heart literally explodes with love every time i see little babes wrapped up in a poncho on their mum's back, or when they chase after me with the camera to catch a glimpse of themselves on live replay. they make the world a happier place. period.
3. poverty
We love Angél and his sweet little home
poverty is hard. it is unfair. it is disheartening. and it is preventable. i choose to travel to places where luxuries are not easy to come by, and where the given necessities like running water and electricity are rare. these experiences teach me to be humble - to count my many blessings - to reach outside of my little comfortable box and help people around me who don't have such comforts. they just need a little help. i can be that help and YOU can, too.
4. travel
Hiking in Amaru
who doesn't love to travel? my triplet sisters and i run a blog called traveling triplets and we sell handmade vintage items from around the world at our little shop. traveling is full of adventure - free spirit - no plans - and learning. i absolutely love exploring this world we all share, and finding ways to make that happen is just a priority in my life.
5. my sisters
as an identical triplet, i grew up with two sissies right there by my side. we shared beds, a room, a car, clothes, and everything in between. we never left one another's side until we gradually married off. to this day we are the best of friends - they inspire me to be good, to do good and to live a happy and creative life. they are more than just sisters to me - they are literally a part of my heart that can never be separated. i love them to the moon and back.
6. families
families are why we are here on this earth - to live, love and be happy. when i travel or volunteer abroad, to bond with families and see people's lives change for the better because of something i was able to do or help with is valuable beyond words. strong families who care for one another deeply and are willing to do anything for each other make the world a safer place to be. everyone needs to be loved.
7. humility
let's face it. we live in a world of technology, luxuries, materialism and consumerism. sometimes you just need to step away from the computer, turn off the TV, put away the iPod and silence your iPhone and "tune out" of the world. take yourself outside. get outdoors. go somewhere new. see what life is like in your own backyard. in your own communities. on the other side of the globe. i am always humbled to travel near and far and see children who wear the same clothes for months and months, tattered and torn and dusty from days of no bathing and i remind myself, "i really don't need all that much."
8. photography/videography
it's what keeps me learning, growing, thinking, seeing and dreaming. when i am behind the lens i am in the creative zone. it is my outlet - my escape - and my passion. i love nothing more than capturing moments that otherwise are forgotten or erased by failed memories.

life is oh so good.
there are so many wonderful people.
places. experiences. opportunities.
take advantage of that.
be inspired.

i hope you will come stop by my blog
and say hello!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest Post- Picking Wildflowers

Hope y'all have had a great week so far! 

Like to give a shot out to a birthday girl today. Happy Birthday Miss Chelsea !!! {aka-Pippa} 
I heart you, even though you don't like pumpkin, you weird ol lady.

Today is a special guest post from my friend (blog/real-life) Baily. This girl has such a beautiful heart. We are twins or more like sisters. We've fought. We've said some not-so nice things to each other. But in the end, we love and are there for each other. I am so thankful God has put her in my life at a time when I needed a friend like her. God has taught me a lot through her and our trials. We just get each other and there is so much beauty in that. Thanks for filling in for me Baily! -xoxo.


Hello! I'm Baily, a real-life friend of Michelle's and fellow blogger-girl.  I am so excited that she has asked me to guest post for her while she is away "living a life of love" on her mission trip.  She is such a wonderful example of God's amazing grace and unfailing love and I hope she knows how grateful I am to have her in my life.

Our friendship was an acquaintanceship in our adolescent days.  It wasn't until we discovered each other in the blogosphere that we built a true friendship and when I moved back home to Florida last year, she and I were able to be "real-life friends."  As I look back on my journey and what has brought me to where I am today, I realize that God put Michelle in my life for a reason.   Through sharing our faith, I know she is my sister-in-Christ and I am able to relate to her in regard to our life experiences - our tribulations, our triumphs, and our yearning to live a life of love, despite somewhat jadedness.  (And that's okay, too, because I've learned that a little jadedness eventually becomes a blessing in life if you look at it as a strength and not weakness).

So, when I freaked out at the thought of what I was going to write about for this post, Michelle offered a prompt to write about the little things I am thankful for based off the book 'One Thousand Gifts' by Ann Voskamp.  I thought this was a perfect idea because 1.) I love this book 2.) I am one of those people that believes that it's the little things in life that matter the most and 3.) it's that time of year again when we celebrate all the blessings we have received.  But most of all, I thought this would be perfect because over the past year,  my life-story has been about redemption through God's grace and how to let go of MY plan and trust in His plan (regardless of how mysteriously He may have designed it).  Because of this, I relate to Ann Voskamp in many ways and find enormous inspiration in this book.  I urge you to check out the website!!

In celebration and honor of 'One Thousand Gifts' - A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, here is a short list of just some of the little things I am thankful for.  It is powerfully healing to recognize the simple things that fill my soul with joy and it brings peace to step away from the materialized things we let overshadow the smaller things that mean much more. 

I'm thankful for:
  • Supportive emails and FB messages I receive from friends of my parent's who read my blog... it does a special thing to my soul to know that I have touched someone else's. 
  • Sharing my testimony while serving tables at a restaurant.  What got it started?  I was selling raffle tickets to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness and the man told me of his recent diagnosis with the same type of Stage IV lymphoma that my Dad is a survivor of.  He told me his prognosis was not the best but that he was in the care of good doctors who had a clinical trial treatment that he was going to undergo.  I smiled and told him all about my dad's treatment - which had also been a clinical trial - but what touched him most was when I told him the grace of God and His almighty power was the healer above all in my Dad's victory over the cancer.  I still get chills thinking of that convo.
  • A break from social media.  Last week I sort of neglected my blog (again) and I simmered down on my I-Tweet-A-Lot-And-I-Don't-Care attitude.  I'm sort of having internet mood swings.
  • Steve Jobs.  No, he's not a "little thing" but in comparison to our Creator, he is.  So therefore, let me be thankful for his innovations - he truly changed the world.  In all the celebration of his life, I have been even more enlightened to see my God so worthy to be praised.  One person's creations changed the way we live our lives and we are in awe at Steve Job's legacy and creative genius...  But let us not forget to also look at God and how in seven days He created this entire world for us.  He created man, the stars, the mountains, and oceans, and desserts, and gave us light to see it all.  What an amazing, sovereign God!
  • The blogosphere.  What can I say?  I'd be lost without all the wonderful friendships I have made through blogging. 
"The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world."  -Ann Voskamp, 'One Thousand Gifts'

I'm also for thankful for Michelle letting me share those things with y'all today!  I hope your day is full of blessings of all sizes and that you are able to see God's love in each of them.  Thanks again!

peace & love

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest Post- Piloting Life

Hey lovebugs!!! Hope you are having a good week! Today's guest post is by another very dear friend of mine. We've even met, IRL, since she is now a FL girl. I adore this lady so much and I know y'all will too. Thanks Ashley! -xoxo

Hey there blog friends!
I'm Ashley... I blog over at { Piloting Life } 
and I'm thrilled to be here today guest blogging for Michelle.

I love writing about any and everything on my blog, but today I
want to share a few little things that I am incredibly thankful for in life.

I may not have the nicest house (my husband and I share a small apartment) or the biggest closet. I may have never met my mother's parents, and I may have grown up in a mobile home. None of those things are reason enough to feel sorry for myself. Ever. Each day is a blessing. We may never have all of the answers to life, but that should not stop us from trying and enjoying life in the process.

Sometimes it's easy to feel overwhelmed with life and all of the challenges it may present. I find myself wishing I had this or that in life, but then I remember to be thankful for exactly where I am and know that everything happens for a reason. Hindsight is always 20/20, and even if we're facing adversity... know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Each day brings new opportunities,
so I always try my best to wake up and give thanks for the day.
A simple "thank you" after waking up does the trick. (:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Here are a couple of things I am incredibly thankful for
that I sometimes find myself taking for granted....

My health:

Not everyone has the ability to ride a bicycle, or even walk for that matter. When I find myself having a rough day, it helps to remember simple things, like functioning legs, and give thanks. There is no reason to complain if you cannot find a parking spot close to the entrance of a building. We were given legs, so why not use them... right? Something as simple as having the ability to walk myself into the grocery store is something I try to remember as often as possible.


Every evening, unless it's too cloudy or rainy, we get to watch a pretty spectacular show. Since moving to Florida, we have made it a point to try and watch a sunset over the Gulf of Mexico at least every week or so. The beauty of something so routine as the sun setting is incredible. Watching a sunset is a pretty affordable way to get out and enjoy something that we often take for granted.

My job:

I may not have a job that pays the best, but during a time when many people don't have jobs (I know quite a few myself) it's hard to complain. My job may be one of those customer service type jobs that many people don't appreciate much, but that doesn't stop me from trying to make at least one person smile per day. I actually get much more enjoyment out of my retail job than I ever did my architecture job. That is no lie. I try my best to treat my job as a blessing and a way to make some one's day better with each interaction. It may not be the most glamorous job, but I am thankful for it each day.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Even when times get tough, do your best to stay optimistic and grateful.
At one point I had been writing regularly in my gratitude journal,
and it's something I hope to resume again soon.

When life gets tough (and it will)
we must work even harder to find goodness and gratitude.
I hope you have plenty to be thankful for in life!

Thanks for having me Michelle!