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Author: Sam Allen

Even though my all time favorite color is green, I do no have a green thumb. I have been a killer of plants for a few years now, but my mother-in-law inspired me to embrace the dirt and turn it into something beautiful. I actually enjoy pulling weeds. Really, I do. I have even bartered with my mother. She is going to clean my bathrooms (all 3 of them!) in exchange for me doing her yard work. I looooove this deal! So thanks mom-in-law and mom! In March, I began my quest. The first task at hand was conquering the weeds. These weeds were taller than most plants! Shovels had to be used to get down to the roots. It was bad but a wonderful fresh start! In the following weeks, I purchased a bag of star-gazer lilies from Costco. This seemed like the simplest route to take. Dig a hole. Stick the bulb in. Cover it. Water it. Love it. Done. And it truly was this simple! I planted these bulbs first thing in the morning about mid-March. Within two months, I had this little beauty

This week has finally come. The first leg of our many trips of this year. On Thursday we are leaving for Dodge City, Kansas to see two of our very good friends, Cody and Kelsey, get married. But we aren't going alone. Our other wonderful friends, BJ and Melissa Rice are driving with us to share the drive and explore the western states! The night of the wedding we are then trekking north to stay at Andy's grandparent's ranch in Winner, South Dakota. We will be riding horses, floating down the Niobrara River, hiding from wild turkeys, and relaxing. Then we'll go a little west to Rapid City and see Mt. Rushmore and stay in a cabin. Yes, a cabin! I am so glad I got camping in tents off the table! I love nature, but that's a little too close for me. I like walls. And last, but not least, we are heading back south to go to Castle Rock, Colorado to stay with Melissa's college roomate and her husband, Danielle and Jason, who just recently moved there. And we are doing all this in a span of 10 days. Roadtrips are so fun! I love all the little stops along

I found this image a few weeks ago and planned on posting it here, but I didn't have anything to write to accompany it. I still don't. However, these past few days I have been thinking about forgiveness. What it means to forgive and to be forgiven. I hold grudges. Extreme grudges. Grudges that have lasted years. I struggle with this on a daily basis. What if God held grudges? Jesus taught us to forgive no matter what, 70 times 7. How can I ask for Christ's forgiveness for my lifetime of sins when I can't turn around and forgive others for individual actions. Then I also think about things I have done in my life that I have been forgiven for by my friends and family. I am so grateful to have earned their forgiveness. God by his grace forgave us for our sins when He sent His very own Son to die for us. For you. For me. By his grace, we are going to one day be able to be fully immersed in all His glory and be with Him in His holiness. I truly can't wrap my head around that, but without His forgiveness that wouldn't be

I met Amie Machelle Thompson more than 15 years ago. Where we actually met for the first time is unknown but we spent many years together in elementary school together involved in girl scouts. We shared a hatred of camping and the outdoors. We even 'got' poison oak at camp once and got to spend the rest of the camp in our tent. It wasn't always good times in girl scouts though. She was the spoiled brat and I was the cry baby. Some things never change. Middle school came and went but in our eigth grade year we took a class trip to Washington D.C. A trip I will never forget. That trip was 10 years ago. That's the trip Amie and I claim is when we became best friends. Since April 10, 2000 we have been inseparable. We shared many sleepovers, many tears, many drives, many trips to Disneyland, many tubs of ice cream, many many laughs, many summers, many beach days, many snow days, many boyfriends, many trips to the mall and swap meet, a few trips to D.C., and many movie nights. When Andy asked me to be his wife, Amie was the first person I called after

This week I just finished up reading the book of Jeremiah. Overall I liked it but it was so depressing! But I kept on knowing that as in each book, God has given this book to us to learn from it and to reveal Himself to us through it. This is the first time I have ever read the prophets so it is very new to me but it deepens the rest of history so much. It adds another layer to the historical books of the bible like first and second Kings. I first started realizing this when I read the book of Ezra and Nehemiah last year. To learn that Cyrus was named years before he was ever to proclaim the rebuilding of the temple and that Jeremiah declares Nebuchadnezzar by name and even dares to count the years of the captivity. The overwhelming proof that Jeremiah was a true prophet of the Lord is astonishing yet because of the bad news he brought to the Israelites, because of their own iniquities, they sought to kill him! Mostly I have loved to place the verses that I have always treasured into context. Many people love Jeremiah 29, but to learn why

A very wonderful and generous friend of mine gave Andy and me tickets to see a special preview of the new show coming to Disney California Adventure, World of Color. And let me tell you, I am beyond excited. When I seriously think about going I just want to cry. With the crazy amount of crowds that descend the parks over summer I didn't think I would be able to see the show until the fall but now I can beat the crowds and feel special all in the same night! And then even better, I get to go back to Disneyland with my fellow princesses the following Sunday. Excited is an understatement right now. Here's some interesting facts on this new show from the Disneyland Twitter feed

"This Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has annointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." Isaiah 61:1-3 I can't wait to read the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah! I am only in Psalms after starting my journey through the Bible 18 months ago. My coworker, and friend Melanie, just gave me her business card with this verse from Isaiah 61 and the words are so beautiful. God is our healer, our salation, our comfort, our reason for praise. These words encourage me as Andy and I have started saving for this year's mission trip to Mexico. While in comparison to other mission trips, the fees are relatively small but it will still be a small struggle

After graduating high school in 2004 I had no idea where my life was headed. After a few short months a life altering weekend changed my life's perspective forever. I discovered the never-ceasing love of Christ. Growing up, I had attended church and was heavily involved but I never truly asked Jesus into my heart nor was I leading a life centered upon God's will for my life. Almost immediately, God began to open doors for me to keep accountable to my new found faith. Through a mutual friend and a little help from Myspace, I met my husband-to-be. Andy is the man of God that I always wanted but never knew I needed and with him I began my journey discovering the promises held for my life found in God's Word. I even started to attend church with Andy, and while the church meets humbly in a local middle school, there is nothing less presented than the everlasting Word of God. More recently I have been blessed beyond belief with the job that I always wanted. In college, a professor asked me what I wanted to do with my career, and I casually threw out that I wanted to work for