Photography Friday - Week 4 / Something Red + a giveaway

Welcome to week 4 of Photography Friday. Photography Friday is a 20 week challenge to help improve our photography skills. There is a weekly prompt / theme for each week that you can be as creative with it as you'd like. This week theme is red and next week's theme is something or someone you love. For further information please click here


I'll be the first to admit that this week's theme was rather difficult for me. Yes, I know I picked the theme for each week but I thought 'something red' would be easier and way more fun. I've already critiqued my pictures to the moon and back and they aren't my favorite. However, I guess that is part of the challenge / learning process so I'm just gonna go with it. =)

For this weeks theme there are two little parts to it. First, I took some pictures of my Valentine's Day decor. Yes, I already have it up because Valentine's Day has been my favorite holiday for a long time. Before I was married (I refused to pout like so many people did/do) I threw an annual single girls Valentine's Day party. We would eat somewhere fun, exchange gifts and had a great time. If I lived in the same city as all my girlfriends I'd still probably host a girls Valentine Day party. However, I'm sure being married on Valentine's Day will be great too!

ISO 400   f/2.8   SS1/2000  50mm 1.4 Lens 

ISO 100    f/2.0   SS1/1600 

Here is part two. Since I love Valentine's Day so much, I've teamed up with a couple of blog friends to host a little Valentine's Day giveaway. I took a picture of each item we are giving away and you get to give me feedback on it. =) See how I brought you into this? Clever, eh?

Item 1 - 10 things I love about you. How cute are these? (Dave if you are reading this then you are seeing part of your Valentine's Day gift). I couldn't resist buying these and I thought it'd be fun to give one away too. Even if you don't have a boyfriend / fiancee / husband - give them to a friend, your grandma, your Mom! Whoever gets them will love them.

Item 2 - A hand painted mug.

Item 3 - chalk board heart pins. I'll be putting magnets on the back of these so they can be placed on the fridge as well.

Item 4 - Valentine's Day Card

Item 5 - Coffee sleeve


Here are the lovely ladies who teamed up with me today. Be sure to stop by their blogs and tell them hello.

 Elicia from Life's a Journee

Elicia has a wonderful little blog about teaching  and exploring in South Korea. She also had a beautiful destination wedding - girl right after my own hear. 

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Robyn from Invincible Summer

Robyn is also a newlywed (May 2013). I love that she is currently part of a church plant. She writes some inspiring things about her Christian walk and she also made the coolest coffee table from a window.

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5 Must See Spots in Seattle

As I’ve reflected a bit on my blog I noticed that some of my most favorite places to visit I haven’t even written about. Today I’m going to share about one of those places and it so happens to be the lovely city of Seattle.
I love Seattle for so many reasons. About 5 or 6 years ago, my brother moved to Whidbey Island. Seattle was the city I would fly into and my brother was the one who initially showed me all around. A lot of times he couldn’t pick me up until evening and I’d spend the day exploring the city and at night we would eat sushi or at some fun eatery in Seattle. I've also taken friends to visit with me, I ran my first marathon there and I've had lots of family trips there. 

Seattle is pretty easy to get around. If you fly into the airport they now have a light rail from the airport that takes you right to downtown. It only costs about $3 and you get a 30-45 minute train ride of the Pacific NW and through the city before you get downtown.

*Each place listed in yellow is linked to the official website. That way if you need more info it's right there. 

5 Must See Spots in Seattle

Pike’s Market is a one of a kind, buzzing with energy, place. They are known for the flying fish market where the workers throw fish around. They also have boquets of flowers you can for $10, a lot of local art, seasonal produce from farmers and lots of little stores and restaurants.

Beecher’s Cheese is located across the street from Pike’s Market. It might even be considered part of Pike’s Market. You can watch cheese being made. It’s kind of gross and intriguing at the same time. Then you can buy some cheese. My favorite thing they sell is the Mac and cheese. If you buy one get a small because that mac and cheese is rich and delicious. Plus, your belly will need room for other food spots in the area.

I'll admit - this looks gross! But, trust me, the end result is delicious

Seriouslly! You can’t go to Seattle and not visit the 1st Starbucks. It’s nothing how I pictured it. It’s a small store, is always filled with people, and has standing room only. I think something I love about this place too is the amount of foreigners there. I love seeing all of the cultures come together for a cup of coffee.

This is a newer attraction to Seattle (2012). It’s right on Puget Bay. It is located right behind Pike's Market on Pier 57. A ride on the wheel takes you 175ft. up, extends 40 feet over the pier and gives you beautiful views of Elliot Bay, the Space Needle and downtown Seattle. It's a must see attraction if you are visiting the area! 

Make sure you go! It’s fabulous. You take a quick elevator ride up and get spectacular views. They also have a rotating restaurant that I highly recommend. If you go at lunch the prices are a better deal too.

So, now you have my little recap on Seattle. Have you visited Seattle? If so, what were your favorite sites? Are you planning a visit there? 

Also, Stay tuned because soon I'll be posting the 5 weirdest sights you must see in Seattle. Trust me, they are weird, and only in Seattle.

Linking up with Nicole for the awesome Treat Yo Self Thursday. Today she is also sharing a wonderful list of blog link ups where you can find blogs with similar interests. 


Now offering Sponsorships for SS2SI

Hello lovely readers. Today I'm here to tell you that I'm opening up sponsorships for Sunshine to the Square Inch and I'm so excited about it!  

For now I have kept advertisements to a total of 7 spots. Instead of having many sponsors I want to keep it small so I can really focus on growing community and promoting your blog.  

I also don't plan to keep all of the proceeds. As many of you know, one of my biggest passions in life is international missions as well as children in need. 50% of the profits from my ads will go to missions or kids around the world. 
50% of the profits will go directly back into my blog.

Currently the donated portion of the money will be given to Alton & Helen Smith who serve as missionaries in Brazil. They serve faithfully with the Brazilian people and recently someone broke into their church. They are needing money for steel bars to place over the windows as well as money to replace the stolen sound system. If you want more information about this please feel free to email me.

Here is a picture of Alton & Helen during construction of the church in Bahia, Brazil

As a way to kick off sponsorships I'm currently offering 25% off all ads with the code SUNSHINE. To see all my advertising options please click here. Thanks in advance for being awesome and for supporting me on this little sponsorship journey!


Scripture Memory Part 1 - Five Reasons to Memorize Bible Verses

Have you ever written an e-mail or a blog post, saved it but ... it didn't save? Yeah, well this is what happened with this one. So, I'm back writing this post for the second time. A while back I posted that I was working on memorizing some Scripture. I had several people ask me how I go about that and I'm happy to share what I know. I think memorizing Scripture is a key to our walk with Christ.

I'm going to break this up into a two post blog series. One will be today and the other will be on January 27th next Monday. Today's topic will be why you should memorize Scripture. I think if we realize the value and importance of it we will be more apt to hide God's Word in our heart.

5 Reasons to Memorize Bible Verses

  1. It's Profitable 

II Timothy 3:16 - All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness. 

Lately, I've noticed a big trend of everyone focusing on "God is only love". By all means, yes that is true but when you look into The Word it isn't always going to be the 'warm fuzzy love feelings'. Notice in what ways the verse says Scripture is profitable: for doctrine (knowing the truth of the Bible, for reproof (conviction), for correction (don't we all love a big correction?), for instruction in righteousness. I don't know about you but those sound like difficult things. However, to live holy and in close fellowship with God we need those things. That's why it's profitable. 

      2. It's Delightful

Psalm 119:35 - Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight

       3. To Fight & Win

In Matthew 4 the temptations of Christ. Jesus was led into the wilderness where Satan tempted him. Guess what Jesus answered back with? "It is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God". He didn't use his powers to kill of Satan (although He could have) but He used the Word of God. If He used it how much more do we need to use it?

That isn't the only thing about chapter 4 that needs to be noticed. If you keep reading (and I highly recommend you read Matthew 4 for yourself) you will notice that in verse 6 someone else used The Bible, he even quoted it, hmmm ... that would be Satan. Isn't that kind of scary? Satan used Scripture to tempt Jesus? My husband recently told me of a sermon where it talked about how people use the Bible to condone and justify sin but he said we shouldn't be surprised because Satan has been doing that all along. If Satan is going to use the Bible against us we better get to studying and memorizing so we can rightfully discern it.

       4. To Stop From Sinning

Psalm 119:11 - They Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Bottom line - the Bible keeps us from sinning. I can remember arguing with my husband about a board game (yeah, we sometimes do that...) and I just had to prove my point. You know what I heard softly in my heart ... "Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath". It was the book of James I memorized last year and although my flesh did not want to hear that I'm so glad God told me to be quiet.

      5. To be Transformed

Romans 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

If you are looking to change something in your life spiritually it starts in your mind. If you get the Word of God in your mind it will eventually get into your heart and transform your life. That's why God tells us to think on 'whatsoever is true, lovely....". Your mind is a big battlefield and to win it you gotta put truth in it. 

 What about you? Do you memorize Scripture? Is there anything that could be added to this list? 


Photography Friday - Week 3 / Music

Happy Friday, Friends and welcome to week 3 of my photography challenge. Please feel free to give me some feedback on my pictures and please link up at the bottom of this page. This week's prompt was 'music'. My music pictures were taken at a coffee shop called Five80 Coffeehouse located in Enid, OK. Here is a little bit about their coffee house:

"Five80 is a coffee house that desires to be a place with AMAZING coffee, an inviting atmosphere, and entirely focused on telling and showing the love of Christ to ALL. There will be suggested prices only and a person is welcome to pay what he/she finds "fair". "

I asked the baristas how the coffee house was built and funded and told me that local churches helped build the coffee house. It is by far one of the prettiest coffee joints I have been to. They make some killer strong coffee by putting double espresso shots in their coffee. However, you can ask for just 1 shot.  

I think what I love most about the coffeehouse is that 90% of the profit gets donated to various organizations. They donate locally, they have donated to India and other various places. The coffeehouse has a board of members that picks the organization that will receive the donations. 

Five80 Coffehouse can be found on Facebook HERE

ISO 800     f/4.5      SS 1/ 250     Lens: 50MM 1.4

ISO 800     f/4.5      SS 1/ 250     Lens: 50MM 1.4

Next week's photography Friday will be 'something red'. To see all of the weekly challenges please click HERE


Meet Robyn from Our Invincible Summer

Today I'm glad to have Robyn on my blog. Robyn is a sweet blogger and writes over at Our Invincible Summer. Robyn did a fantastic job at telling us more about herself and all about her blog. I hope you'll hop over to her page and get to know her some more. 

Tell Us About Yourself: 
first and foremost, I'm a follower of Christ. I'm a newlywed with a wedding date of May 17, 2013. I am both left brained and right brained. Meaning, that I am both logical and creative. I work full time as an accountant during the day and in my free time I love crafting!

Describe your blog to us: 
My blog is a reflection of me! Most of the times I stay in my routine (I normally blog about crafts DIY, faith, marriage, recipes, house & home, and life through pictures) and sometimes I can be super random (everything in between). I process my life through pictures and writing so my blog is about my life - what I'm doing, what I'm learning, what I'm making, etc. 

What made you start blogging? 
Originally I started this blog (in January 2013) as a way to process my thoughts on marriage, as I was engaged at that point. I have a few posts from early on in 2013, and then they pick back up in August. I started blogging regularly around October of 2013. I love blogging because I have always loved journaling - I love having a record of my life to look back on (which is also why I take a million pictures of my life and have a whole post each week dedicated to my life through pictures) and see what God has done in and through my life. I also love the way bloggers and form this community of encouragement and friendship.

What was your favorite memory of 2013? 
I got married in May of 2013 so that is by far my best memory! Not necessarily my wedding, although it was amazing and everything I wanted it to be, but my favorite memory is just starting life together with my best friend. Having a week away from everything and everyone we knew to stumble into this thing called marriage. We've learned a lot along the way and have had many laughs! 

What do you hope to accomplish or are looking forward to in 2014? 
I chose balance as my word to live by for 2014 and that's the thing I hope to accomplish this year! Balance in every area of my life - we will see if it is achievable! I am looking forward to the church plant my husband and I are apart of in our city and celebrating our first year of marriage in May! 

What are your 3 favorite blog posts that you have written? 
Oh wow. This was hard! You'd think it'd be easy to pick your favorite blog posts since, ya know, you wrote them....but it really isn't! Alas, here's what I came up with:

For a new reader what are some posts that would help them get to know you better? 
My about me page is a little more in depth about who I am and why I blog!
My love story page goes through all the posts that tell the story of my husband and I.
My 30x30 post because it shows things that are important to me and that I hope to accomplish before I turn 30!
My liebster award post because I answer questions about myself and tell random facts with fun pictures!
Any of my instaweek posts that show my life in instagram photos! 

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Runners Tell All - A Monthly Awesome Running Linkup

Hello all my friends that run!  Today I'm beyond excited to share with you about an awesome new running linkup that Amanda and I are hosting called 'Runners Tell All'.

Before I tell you all about it I just gotta say that, although I've been a runner for a while, this is the first time in about 2 years that I have motivation and desire to run. Through these past two years I have kept running off and on and even managed to do a few half marathons but my heart wasn't in it. And let me tell you, if your heart isn't in it, then I swear, your joints and body hurt 100x more. =) I think this running linkup is going to be a great help in my training this year and I hope it will be for you too. 

Amanda and I have worked hard (like really really hard) in brainstorming and creating this awesome linkup and we are looking forward to seeing you join in. We are hoping to build a community of runners where we can encourage each other, have fun, and get to know each other better. I don't know about you but when I read good running stories I'm a bit more inspired to get out there and run. Also, I am biased, but I think the running community is one of a kind. I mean, what other sport can you do where you frantically hope the next 'pooper potty' is soon and your running partner thinks it normal? =)

Here is the run down of how it will work:
  • 21st - The linkup will be on the 21st of each month. The great part about this? You don't have to remember if it's the third or forth Thursday of the month. It happens every 21st! Easy, right? 
  • Monthly Topics - The posts for each month are listed for you at the bottom of this post. We wanted you to know in advance; giving you time to prepare and write. 
  • Giveaway - We will be hosting a monthly giveaway featuring a running product. Even if you don't have a blog you are welcome to enter the giveaway. There will be a variety of ways to enter. 
  • Sponsors - We are offering two, runner tell all, sponsor options each month. These spots will run from the 21st of one month until the 21st of the next month. You will get your blog button on both of our sidebars and you will co-host the giveaway for that month. You can pick a $10 option with 2 entries into the Rafflecopter or a $15 option with 3 entries into the Rafflecopter giveaway.  If you are interested in being a sponsor please e-mail me at sunshine2thesquareinch@gmail.com. I will create a paypal invoice for you and get all the needed information. These will be sold each month, on a first come first serve basis. 
  • Community - Please visit the blog who linked up before you. Encourage them, get to know them and show them some running support. 
  • Button - Please grab the button or link back to us in your posts. The more the merrier. 
  • What's Not Required - Personally, I don't like linkups where you HAVE to follow the hosts and co-hosts. This is about building community not adding numbers numbers to our followers. 
Monthly Running Topics

February 21 - how and/or why you started running in 250 words
March 21 - favorite running gear and/or product
April 21 - A bad race or training and what you learned from it
May 21 - a favorite running picture
June 21 - Favorite and/or proudest running moment
July 21 - Nutrition - Your go to nutrition to optimize training or what you eat to get you through races
August 21 - favorite person to train with or your favorite training plan
September 21 - your race bucket list
October 21 - most memorable running experience
November 21 - biggest running fan / running hero
December 21 - running reflections from 2014 and your 2015 running goals
If you have any questions, please e-mail me at sunshine2thesquareinch@gmail.com Also, if you aren't a runner but want to be go check out Amanda's blog. She has a 7 post series called How to Start Running

I'm looking forward to hearing you stories! 

Sunshine to the Square Inch


Photography Friday - Week 1 & 2

Happy Friday friends and welcome to the first week of Photography Friday. 

In case you missed it last week here is how Photography Friday will work.
  • Each Friday I'll have a blog post with my 'theme picture' for the week. I'll have a link-up and you can add yours too! 
  • If you don't link up feel free to give me feedback on my picture. I appreciate advice and tips.
  • Your link-up does not have to be solely a photography post. You can write whatever you want but your photograph in the post does need to be related to the weekly theme. Some of my posts on Friday won't be solely related to photography either. 
  • Not a pro? Me either! I'm new to this photography business. You can use your iPhone, a point and shoot camera an Instagram picture, etc. This is all about learning, creativity and enjoying photography. 
  • Don't have a blog? No problemo! Each Friday, I'll have the Photography Friday Post on SS2SI FB Page. You can add a picture in a comment or you can just post on my wall with your photo. 
  • Feedback - I'd LOVE some feedback on my pictures and I know others would too. Visit at least 2 other blogs and give them some feedback on their pictures. That way we are all learning and growing. 
  • Share - Feel free to share on Twitter, FB, etc. I'll do my very best to retweet and promote your photography posts too! 
  • I have created a button and I'd love it if you added it to your post or link it back to my blog so more people can get involved. However, if you don't that's perfectly fine too. =)

Today's Photography Friday is : something you are thankful for and eating out or anything food related.

Something I'm thankful for : I'm thankful for outdoor walks especially in winter when the weather is nice enough to go outside. When Dave and I travel he often likes to go to a park and hike or run. I personally don't want to go running in the morning because that means I'm sweaty and feel nasty all day. So, instead of running I walk. I enjoy these walks because they are peaceful, a slower pace, and I often pray during these walks.

I do wish there were more green on the trees. What do you think of this picture? What would you have done differently when capturing this picture?
ISO 1600    f/7.1    SS 640      Lens:  50mm f1.4 Lens

I honestly didn't have eating out pictures for this week because we at home. However, Dave and I did go to a place called Pops over the weekend. It's a historical place in OKC on Route 66. They have over 300 different varieties of pops. I even managed to get some Brazilian Guarana while there. They had so many bottles lined up. It was fun to take lots of pictures of them. 
 ISO 6400   f/3.2    SS 1/200  Lens: 50mm f/1.4


Next week's photo theme will be 'music'. If you want to see the prompt for each week please click here 

Sunshine to the Square Inch