Long time, no type! 

I just wanted to quickly update ya’ll about our move to Colorado. Maybe another time I’ll post lots of pictures, but if you follow me on IG or Facebook, you’ve seen plenty (more than you want to, even). I’ll give it to you in bite size pieces:

Why we moved:
We have always known that we wouldn’t stay in Arizona forever. My heart cannot handle the city and Dillon loves life adventures. We thought about Tennessee, Texas, and Colorado and figured we would wait until Dillon graduates in May. However, things began moving and shifting in our life and eventually we thought: this move is right in front of us and all signs pointed to Colorado. Lo and behold, Dillon’s job was ready and willing to take him to Colorado. We knew that if we waited, we would have passed up some great opportunities to change our lives for the better. We wouldn’t turn that down.

The move: 
In short: I hate moving and I hate driving across New Mexico while it’s in the single digits in the middle of the night. It was a very long trip and I’m okay if it never happens again. There is nothing else to say.

Post move:
When we moved, we had enough in our savings account to hold us over until we were settled into jobs, home, and routine. Unfortunately, that can be pretty difficult. Dillon is still working for Northwestern Mutual, but it hasn’t been as fulfilling as it was in Arizona. He’s had a couple conversations, and we are (hopefully) days away from an offer from his dream job. It would be a blessing financially, emotionally, physically, and a great opportunity for his future. It opens so many doors. I’ve applied to many, many, MANY places, but nothing has come to fruition quite yet. It’s so stressful, but I’m completely at peace with it. I’m learning so much about patience and trusting God while I wait. Please keep us in your prayers about this! In the meantime, I’m doing some part-time work at my mom’s office, coordinating their marketing while also spending time at a horse-boarding facility. The latter has been so wonderful for me, as I’m able to learn and grow in my knowledge and care of horses. I’m soaking in everything I can in hopes that it will serve well in my future. We are renting out a portion of my parent’s home until we can decide if we’ll buy or rent and in what town and where we get jobs and what kind of home we want and where we’ll go to church. To be honest, it has it’s challenges. We are so incredibly, overly, and abundantly thankful for the love we feel in having a “middle ground” while we decide what our life looks like, but being 23 year old newlyweds, it can kick our pride pretty hard. We want to be independent and fending for ourselves. However, I remind myself that in 10 years, it won’t matter. We won’t remember sheepishly saying we’re staying with our parents, we will simply remember the incredible love extended to us and how well that launched us into a future we could only dream of without it.

Thank you for being a part of our journey. We would love to hear from you and have you visit us!

With more love in our hearts than all the snow in Colorado,

Cameo and Dillon Pierce

An Apology & So on, so forth.

First, I would like to apologize for two things. One being the fact that this post will be the worst one, maybe ever. No graphics, photos, decorations, links, or even proof reading. I am typing this on my iPhone while laying in bed, my husband (snoring) next to me. I just need to write, so welcome to my very raw thoughts while late at night. Second apology, the etiquette series! I have drafts of them all but they’re spotty and incomplete and if you’re anything like me, you’re lucky to even breathe before 10:00pm and if you know us, we are in bed right after. It’s coming! Moving forward…

I have two thoughts that can often become my mindset, both extreme opposites of another. Either I do not deserve this grace of God’s or grace does not deserve me. Either I am too sinful, too messy, too rebellious, too doubtful, too angry, too depressed, too needy, too ugly, too boring, too selfish, too fake, too complicated for grace to apply to me or I am too good, too smart, too cool, too self reliant, too strong, too determined, too jaded, too proud to think that I need grace. Either I am a pure desperate mess or I point fingers at those who are “worse” than me.

Like I said, extremes.

Through this season of life though, I am learning it’s okay to be in the middle. In every area, it’s okay to just listen to God and my heart and not live in extremes. So what does the middle of these two grace thoughts look like?

A very, very important woman in my life, a life changing woman, once said through her own tears and anguish and emotional despair, I am not enough for His love and thank you, God, I DON’T HAVE TO BE.

I don’t have to push myself in such a dark hole, rejecting the idea of mercy and renewal because I don’t see myself as adequate. Because I am not! That’s what the cross is for, to bridge the gap! I don’t have to pretend I’m too good for grace, because my Jesus didn’t exclude me on that dying day!

I am loved by Jesus.
I am not worthy.
I am not enough.
And thank you, Jesus, for taking what I deserve so I don’t have to be.

Goodnight.

a long journey to long hair

My poor hair. I’ve tormented it all my life. From bleaching it, to going dark, DARK brown, to cutting it myself, back to bleaching it, dying it purple (which STILL isn’t fully out of my hair yet…), I’ve abused it. My mama always begged me to grow it out long and keep it natural but this girl wouldn’t have it. After I got married, I cut quite a few inches off in my attempt to “nautralize” my hair. However, I couldn’t put money into maintaining it so it soon became a mess of split, dead ends, roots and DRYNESS. For Christmas though, I got some money to put towards taking care of my naturally blonde locks. So, here is what I am doing in order to grow my hair out long, strong, thick, and full!

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1. A GOOD CUT & COLOR: I haven’t had a good cut and color in yeaaaars so I splurged on an uh-mazing-salon here in Tempe, Altered Ego Salon & Spa.** In fact, the last cut I had was with my best friend with a pair of kitchen scissors and a glass of wine. Not okay. So for this round, I put my hair in the hands of Nique, literally, and told her to fix it. The ends were totally uneven and dead and frayed and just horrible. She cut off the nasty stuff, added layers, and returned me to my (slightly more than) natural blonde. She’s a miracle worker.

2 & 2b. VITAMINS: I take one prenatal and one triple omega per day. There is no real proof that prenatal helps your hair grow, but I’ve heard it’s more helpful than biotin. Don’t read into this though, it is supplemented with an adverse pill. Triple Omega vits have three hugely beneficial oils that will help skin, nail (also, I’m going polish free to get my nails stronger!), hair, and overall health. Warning: TOs are huge. Like, hardly fit into my pill box huge. Yes, I have a pill box.

3. MOROCCAN OIL: My saving grace. My better half. My support. My lifesaver. My moroccan oil. If you’ve used this, you know what I’m talking about. I put this in my hair when it’s damp, before a blow dry, or if I use mousse for my blowdry, this oil will go before my straightener. It’s super versatile though so you can pretty much use it whenever you want to add silk, love, smoothness, yummy smelling heaven. This bottles are expensive but it’s worth it! Don’t skimp on this stuff and buy the knockoffs; they won’t work like this!

4. SULFATE-FREE SHAMPOO: This shampoo is free of pretty much everything nasty. Nature’s Tree hair line is one of my favorites; I’ve never used a product of theirs I didn’t like. They’re completely all natural, smell SO good, and sulfate-free! Sulfate is the stuff that makes your shampoo suds up so when you switch to this, you feel like it’s not cleaning but it is! Sulfate can add a ton of build up and really nasty your hair up. Skip it at all costs. Also, I have fine hair so I used to shampoo my hair every day. I’ve now gone to every other day or every two days (hello, hats!!). This lets your scalps natural oil take care of your hair rather than stripping away the good stuff.

5. PADDLE BRUSH: This isn’t pictured above but a good, quality brush will surprise you with it’s many wonders. This is my favorite brush I’ve ever had. I grew up stealing my sister’s until mama got me my own. They last for YEARS. Apparently, they’re good for brushing through hair as well as being really gentle. I can’t claim to be super smart about it, I just know that I’m a snob about using any kind of brush except my own, beautiful paddle brush.

So there you have it, my journey to completely revamping my hair! Has it worked? I don’t know about length yet but I DO know that I’m marginally obsessed my hair now. Also, Dillon sweetly pointed out my roots today so I’m thinking it’s growing! Time to schedule that root touch up…

What tips do you have? Share in the comment section!

Freezer Meals

Have you heard of freezer meals? If you’re in the blogging world, chances are you have an idea of what I’m talking about. If not: freezer meals are meals you make in advance, typically all at one time, freeze them, then throw them in the crockpot when you need an easy meal!

I must admit right now: I buy into the natural foods, eat healthy, feed your family well-rounded meals, cutesy stuff, blah blah blah but I was raised by Don Beard which means I like red meat, lots of seasoning, and if I can’t pronounce something or know what it is by looking at it, I won’t eat it. I just won’t. This makes it difficult for me to follow along with all these gluten free, egg free, taste free, texture free, fun free meals that are all over the internet. Give me some steak with a side of mashed potatoes and biscuits, and you’ve won my heart.

However. I know better. I should at SOME nutritional value to my home. With busy schedules though and dinner often not even being started until after 8:30pm, I just don’t have the patience or desire to spend an hour making some healthy meal. I. Just. Don’t.

Perfect solution: freezer meals. Below, I’ll list some links to where I got my information/recipes from. These resources are AMAZING and so thorough. This post won’t be but hopefully it will show you how easy it is so you will actually want to look at those meals.

This is my way of doing this:

1. Gather recipes and go shopping! I wanted between 10-15 meals and most recipes make 2 bags so I just found six I liked. I also tried to get meals with common ingredients. This allowed me to buy ingredients and use them wholly rather than a bit here, a pierce there. 

2. Prepare freezer bags. On your freezer bags, write the date, name of recipe, and the directions on the bag (i.e 1/20/13    Italian Sausage and Peppers    Thaw in fridge, drizzle with olive oil, slow cook for 6-7 hours on low)

3. Prepare meat. Clean your chicken cuts, trim fat off anything and everything (ew), and put them on plates to grab from when needed. Then wash. your. cutting. board. and. knife with HOT water and soap!

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4. Fill! I put the baggies in a mixing bowl so they wouldn’t fall over. I put the meat in first, then the veggies. Some people will tell you to cut all veggies beforehand but I like to do it as I go. Shake the bag then lay it flat in the freezer! That’s it! And look how little mess is made:

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When you go to cook your meal, put it in the fridge to thaw overnight or throughout the day then just follow the directions on the bag!

I hope this helps! If not, or if you have questions, ask below and I’ll answer as best I can! Also, check out these links for recipes and really thorough instructions!

http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/02/freezer-cooking.html

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/09/slow-cooker-freezer-meals-make-8-meals.html

Happy freezing!

chains.

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I found this picture on Pinterest tonight and had to process it through writing, which I’m sharing with you here.

I cannot speak for others, but I know for me, my chains have been released. But removed? I don’t think so, not for me at least. Through grace and through the cross, those chains are released, unlocked, loosened but I tend to still carry them around, hold them up on my fragile being. I wonder why. If I really think about it, it’s probably because I don’t know what it’s like to be completely free of my chains, my hardships, my broken heart, my sin, my depression, my devestation, my insecurities, my doubt, my hate, my emptiness. I’ve spent so long, my entire life, adding on more weight, more heavy chains onto my soul; yet thousands of years ago, Jesus died for me. That moment, the chains were unlocked, they dropped yet daily, I grab them back up, throw them around my body and try to walk.

What would it be like to run? What would it be like to dance? What would it be like to raise my hands up? What would it be like to touch another person without cold metal? I’m not sure but I know that whatever it’s like is how God created me to live.

Yet I’m still fighting so hard to keep my chains on.

I don’t really know how to take them off, to loosen them. But I do think that it will take time and recovery, both of which I’m already working through. I know it takes love, support, community, intentional relationships, honesty, intimacy, vulnerability but none of that can be done until I fully trust God to not only release, but remove my chains.

If you would, please keep me in your prayers through my journey of learning to be free.

With lots of love,

Cammy.

whimsical.

I figure I should first get you up-to-date on my life then I have something on my heart I’d like to share.

Our quiet life is still quiet, yet also messy, painful, joyous, redeemed, grace filled, and beautiful. We are continually learning not only who each other are, but who ourselves are, and most importantly who Christ is. I thought I had it all figured out but boy, how wrong I have been. I am so grateful for the trials God is guiding us through, as they have already begun transforming into blessings.

I have started my new job and am very thankful for it. It’s not quite my dream job, but it gives me a chance to really step into a role that I know I can fill, and am excited to fill!

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I also volunteer (more than I work at my actual job) at a wonderful place called Horses Help. I’ve written briefly about it a few posts ago, and still absolutely adore it. I don’t work with the riders though; in fact, I’m usually one of four people there most days. I work directly with the horses, making sure they’re comfy, cleaned, not killing each other, and keeping the grounds clean. It’s a lot of physical work but I am loving it. It is my place to escape and just “be”. Those horses hear more of my heart than many close to me do.

Dillon is still in school and working plenty. Our focus has shifted to graduate school and all that comes with that. Arizona, Vanderbilt, Colorado? Who knows where God is going to take us!

Speaking of which, I’d like to transition to something that I’ve been working through in my heart and in my journal but would also like to share it.

I was thinking about my dreams the other day, the things I hope for and imagine. I would love to build our own home on a plot of land (like this) and a simple barn. Dillon could work in Denver, which he loves, and I would stay home with our kids, who would play outside and be home by dusk. I would want horses on our property, one for each of us. Our home would be open to whomever needed a meal and a bed; it would be a central gathering place for our family, friends, church, and community. There would always be a pie coming out of the oven and music in our home.

That sounds like heaven to me; I long for it, imagine it, dream of it. But there is a voice in my head, either belonging to Reality or Doubt that says things of such will never come to fruition. Am I silly to think it’s possible? Maybe. Will it? Who knows. 

But then a thought occurred to me…if my deepest dreams of home don’t happen, that only means God has something better in mind. I know that sounds so cliche, but think about it this way: our dreams are deep within our hearts, hearts that God created and is deeply vested in. So don’t our dreams first come from Him? He creates, forms, develops, cultivates my dreams and so I know, without a doubt that whatever my dreams are, even if they’re currently unbeknownst to me, they will come true. I suppose that’s a whimsical way to say that God has a plan for my life.

I like whimsical.

Enjoy your whimsical night!

All Sons & Daughters

I recently found a new worship duo that I’m ob.sess.ed. with called All Sons & Daughters. I want to share a song of theirs with you.

A couple weeks ago, after a really encouraging meeting with a really wonderful woman of God, and after an equally encouraging phone call with a sweet, dear, understanding friend, this song came on. I was driving alone so I turned it up, rolled down my windows, opened the sun roof, and sang. I don’t know if it even qualified as singing, as I was literally YELLING the words over the music. I am sure I was off key, completely off tune, and likely squeaking the high notes but I couldn’t even care. I encourage you to listen to this in the same way. See what your heart feels. Just try it.

Listen to other songs by them. I assure you that they’ll all hit your heart in a unique way. Worship does that.

Be blessed, feel loved, experience Christ.

Faith & Finance

In the season of life I am in, there are MANY lessons I learn every single day. One that comes up in almost every area of life is money. Money is tight for so many people right now, definitely including newlyweds that are full-time students, but we try to implement money-saving practices! I thought I would share a few of our favorites with you!

Pay cash! With the exception of my beautiful (and as I remind D, always reliable!) car and student loans, we don’t accumulate any debt. We don’t have credit cards nor do we use payment plans. We pay straight cash for things, literally. When our paycheck(s) come in, we have already budgeted every single cent that needs to be spent until the next check then pull out exact cash for the things that accept those payments i.e. grocery, personal spending funds (or allowance…I just hate the word), tithe, the inevitable Target runs that I’m addicted to, etc. We pay cash for two reasons: 1. To avoid debt and unnecessary spending. For some, it’s no problem, but for us, we choose to only purchase what we have in our wallets. 2. It’s much easier to see how much money you’re spending when it’s physically disappearing from my wallet rather than swiping our debit card. Paying cash keeps us accountable.

Personal Spending Funds. Also known to many 10 year olds as… allowance. This is my least favorite money-saving tool, and Dillon’s most favorite, probably because he’s so much better at it than me! Depending on our budget for that week, we each get the same amount of cash to do whatever with. If Dillon forgets his lunch at home and needs to buy it, that comes from his PSF. If I really want a great new shade of red lipstick or a pumpkin spice latte, it comes from my PSF. This helps each of us prioritize our own spending and discourages random spending on things that aren’t very important, using the money that is set aside for other things in our budget. Like I said, I’m a work in progress in regards to this. In fact, this week, I’m hiding mine from myself so I can save it and buy a cute shirt next week! See, I’m learning.

Make it yourself. As much as possible, I try to make stuff that is more expensive to purchase. For example, we love chocolate milk but will never spend our precious grocery money on it. However, I make a great chocolate syrup that is so much cheaper than anything at the store. If I can make the ingredient, you absolutely bet I’m going to instead of purchasing it. The biggest savings from this tool is smoothies &coffee. We love both, anytime, anywhere. We love the green smoothies from Whole Foods with the kale, spinach, apples, and every other fruit ever created. We also love Vietnamese iced coffee or a hot cup of joe. BUT! we make both of these at home. Rarely am I at a Starbucks or Whole Foods. Skip the quick trip to your favorite coffee shop and just make it at home. If you do it enough, you’ll learn ways to make it better than the over-priced stores.

Meal Plans. Every week, I look at the weekly ad, our budget, and coupons, and the  best resource: my own kitchen. I take all those components and create a plan of every meal we will eat that week from breakfast to dessert after dinner. It sounds hard, but really isn’t with the help of Pinterest and Google! If you want my exact plan of action on this, just ask! I have it down to a (very easy) science. I write down the groceries we need for that week then, we go to the store and take…guess…CASH! Whatever we’ve budgeted for that week, we only take that much. This discourages “aisle binging” or rather, grabbing everything that looks so good! We literally only buy what we will eat that week (and staples such as flour, sugar, blah blah blah). This way, nothing will go bad before we have to use it, which would be a waste of money and food. Meal Plans take a bit of time but the pay-off is huge.

1. Give 2. Save 3. Live. I received this advice years ago but applied white-out to the first two. When Dillon and I got engaged, we knew that had to change. So, we try our hardest to live by this principal. Give what God asks of us, save more than 50% of our paycheck, and live off the rest. Sometimes, God asks more “giving” than “living” which is an extremely hard lesson for this instant gratification gal and budget minded guy. Life can get uncomfortable when you really want to put money you’ve set aside for others back into your pocket or when you want to pull money out of savings for a date night or when living equates to overdrafting. But, this has been the most valuable financial advice we have ever and will ever receive. I can only speak for myself, but I know that my faith is growing immensely in this. I’m learning that God’s provision isn’t about reimbursing my tithe or sending a larger paycheck than expected. God’s provision is the love, comfort, grace, peace, rest in Him even when the money isn’t there, when security isn’t there. God is our security and He has provided above and beyond. His love is just…SO great in our lives, even in hard seasons. I cannot even tell you. Give, Save, Live.

I hope some of these money saving tools can work for you in your life. If you’d like to know a more detailed description of how we do things in regards to money, please ask! We’re not perfect but we’re blessed. If you have any tools you’d like to share, please do in the comment section!

Be blessed, feel love, and experience Christ.

Pumpkins, Obama, & Romney.

Let me first start this post with a moment of “ahhhh”. The house is spotlessly clean, my coffee is sending up little whispers of steam, and the pumpkin candle is burning brightly. Home. This place feels so safe and cozy and full of love. I just wanted to share that.

I would also like to share my thoughts on politics, everyone’s favorite subject. I’m not here to talk about who I’m voting for, or what I believe about abortion, taxes, foreign trade, blah blah blah. I’m actually here to talk about Jesus, which can be equally controversial.

Growing up, I watched certain news networks, read countless books written by politicians, media correspondents, economists, so on and so forth. I soaked in political knowledge, current events, and history. I wanted to study political science or be a lobbyist or something that would make a difference in America and beyond. Even to this day, I read the news every morning and every evening, closely following the election and both national and world news. I think it’s important to be educated and informed, defending your beliefs and backing them up with factual knowledge.

However, there is often a line that is crossed from knowledge and into ignorance; ignorance of oneself and the result of how you choose to share your own views. So often, we read or hear the thoughts, blurbs, and word regurgitations of of our peers about the injustice of the world, injustice of the government, injustice of the people, intolerance, tolerance, Chick-fil-A, or whatever else in the world people deem necessary to share their opinions on. And there is nothing wrong with that.

But you must ask yourself: what do people know you as? Do they know you as a republican or democrat? Do they know you by pro-life or pro-choice? Gay marriage? Higher taxes? Lower taxes? Do they know you by Fox News or CNN? Or do they know you by the hurtful thing you said about their beliefs? Do they know you by the pain you caused them when you unabashedly demoralized their opinion, often times in front of others? 

What are you known for?

Your love for Obama? Romney?

Or Jesus?

What are you known as?

A republican? A democrat?

Or a Christian?

Are you known for your kind words that are uplifting and encouraging? Jesus did not call us to fight to win over the “left” or “right”. He called us to love, to serve, to encourage others, to build one another up. We are called to be followers of Jesus, fisher’s of men. Do you believe you are able to do that if you are tearing other’s down with your sarcastic remarks about such-and-such?

Please note that I am not saying to be a door mat or not affiliate yourselves with any certain political stance. As I said before, it is important to be knowledgeable and well-informed. It is more important though to be loving and compassionate. I am also not saying to never discuss your views. Conversations are healthy, challenging, and valuable. But what do those conversations look like? If you leave any sort of conversation feeling as though “you won”, you have likely hurt the other person and owe them quite the apology.

What I am saying is that you are known for something and you can decide what you’re known for. That is your own decision. For me, however, I choose to try my hardest to be known for my love of Christ, you, others, my community, before you know me by my political position.

Simple as that. Ask yourself what you are known for. What your words do to others, on both sides of the issues. You are called to love, not win.

As of late…

It’s been too long again, huh? I love blogging so I’m not sure why I don’t make more time for it. Because I waited so long, I’ve stock piled things to talk about…which is weird.

Anyway. Life.

Dillon is back in school at ASU and still works the same amount of hours. I don’t understand how that man does it, but I sure do admire it. I’m still looking for a job, which is frustrating, but I’m enjoying this time to get my feet back on the ground after a very crazy, emotional year. It’s been really nice to redefine who I am and learn about myself. I’m so thankful that Dj has been with me so closely through it all. The foundation of our marriage is friendship, which has been so helpful. More on that later.

 

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This is Cochise, me, and my leg at a very unfortunate angle. I went riding a couple weeks ago with my cousin and her roommates. I’ve always been infatuated with this beautiful animal hadn’t been riding in years and years and years. As of late though, I’ve really been trying to focus on enjoying life, pursuing things that bring me joy, experiencing new things, and following my passions. This is one of them. I’m in love with horses but seriously lack experience and access; horses are few and far between in yucky Arizona valley. So, I decided to volunteer with Horses Help, an organization that provides hippotherapy, riding lessons, and events for those with special needs, both physically and mentally. My primary job will be to take care of the horses in the barn, and I’m really excited to get started. If you have any horse hookups, please tell me. Like I said, I’m really trying to pursue things I’ve put off for years.

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Dillon and I have a “family motto”, a little tagline that we hope to always keep in the forefront of our minds, and will someday pass onto our children. We chose “No Matter What” as a reminder to love one another, and others, no matter what; regardless of what is said, done, believed; or how they appear, act, are from, anything. Love completely unconditional, just as Christ’s. He loves us no matter what and we hope to constantly remind ourselves of such in our marriage and eventually in our family.

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Lastly, I would like to briefly follow up with my last blog post. It’s been better, slowly but surely. I suppose you can only turn your back on God for so long until you get tired of staring at pain instead. Over the past while, God has still been doing His thing, still writing my story on my behalf, and allowing me to experience the good parts. The parts that you underline and highlight and if you’re me, draw a heart around on the page. I’ve been writing them down, so I won’t continue to forget what God is doing. God is going to carry how His plan for me, regardless if I fight it or not. I can respond by either rejecting it and feeling the pain of the journey, or accepting it and feeling the grace of redemption, and I am slowly accepting it.

 

No Matter What.