How To: Include Pictures in Your Blog via HTML

Aloha, friends!!

Carole @ Carole's Chatter Blog Tips recently posted about the benefits of right sizing your pictures.

Not only do photos with lots of mega pixels make your blog slow to load, it also counts towards your photo limit with Blogger (you can read more RIGHT HERE).

I learned a really easy way to post pictures without uploading directly to Blogger.  It involves a bit more steps than the usual way of inserting photos in a blog post but still very simple!

You'll need an account to a free photo hosting site.  I use Photobucket since that's the one I've been using since my college days and MySpace (anyone remember those slideshows?? LOL).

First-  Upload your photo to your hosting site of choice.

Second- Copy the HTML code.  You may have to click on the photo to get the image links.  The links are listed usually to the right side of the photo.  Once you click on the code it's automatically copied (see? EASY!)

Third- In your draft post, select HTML (versus Compose) and 

Fourth- Paste the HTML code wherever you want your picture to show.

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 Click back to "Compose" mode to confirm the correct placement.  If you need to move your picture, you'll have to select "HTML" (step 3) and "cut" the code (in step 4) and move it.  Or you could delete all the code and try again from the beginning.

I'm not sure if this matters, but I like to post my HTML code below the "<br/>"

I like to insert all my photos first on the "HTML" option and then switch back to "Compose" to type.  Otherwise the words I've written, the format, and spacing get all jumbled up with the HTML code and it makes things very confusing for me (See the image in step 4?  Yeah, that hurts my head).  

Also, I found it's easier for me to manipulate my photos if I'm in "Compose" mode since I'm not too HTML savvy.  In Compose mode I can select the photo and resize it or align it with my text.

Interested in learning how to edit your pictures and create collages (like the one above) for FREE?  

Stay tuned- I got some easy tricks for that as well!


That One Time: God Blessed Me with a Driver

One of my biggest struggles as a Christian is driving.

Yes, I have great driving skills.

My struggle?

Every other single driver on the road.

Improper use of turn signals gets me heated.

Switching lanes in the middle of an intersection will get you a drawn out BEEEEEEEEEP from me.

Even better?  Cutting me off in the middle of an intersection as I wait for the car ahead of me to clear some room so, you know, I don't block the intersection but end up blocking it anyway because some idiot decided to cut me off.

My ears are steaming just thinking about it.
Eh, so it's not the other drivers on the road but more so me and how I choose to react.  Every single time I get frustrated and angry on the road I pray to God to give me patience, joy, peace, compassion, and whatever else I need to make it home without cussing someone out.

Self control? I'm working on it.

Recently God has blessed me with something I thought I'd only have once I made my first million (doing what, I don't know.  But that's just a frivolous detail).

About 2 weeks ago, God has blessed me with my very own driver.

Yes, you read that right ladies and gents.

My very own driver.

My driver picks me up every morning.  Greets me with a smile and leaves me to my own thoughts on our way into town.  My driver drops me off, wishes me a great day, and is there to pick me up once my work day ends.

It's perfect.

I don't have to worry about driving, or people cutting me off, or not using their turn signals properly.  My driver handles all of that.

Who is this blessed servant of God you may ask?

The driver of the #54 bus.

See, one (out of 2) cars broke down a couple weeks ago.

It blew a head gasket (I thought that was just a figure of speech!) and is going to cost about $1600-$2000 to fix.

And we just don't have that kind of money.

Our solution for now is to share one car (Thank you Jesus that we are blessed with not one but two cars.  Lord I don't know what I'd do if we were down to zero!).

We wake up at 5am.  Carl gets ready for work and I wake up Phillip and get him ready to go to the sitter's.

At 5:30am they leave and Carl drops off Phillip then heads to work.

I get ready, walk about 1/4 mile to the bus stop and catch my ride into town.  After work, I catch the bus home just in time to finish up Phillip's dinner and start his bath time.

It's not perfect, but we're making it work.

I don't mind riding the bus- I think it's relaxing to now have time in the morning to get ready by myself and have some quiet time alone.  Don't get me wrong, I miss having my son around my ankles while I try to get dressed and dropping him off at the sitter, but this quiet break may be just what I needed.

And guess what?

No more road rage =)

Also- since we don't have the $$ to fix it, we're thinking of just selling it.  Granted we won't get as much for it but we'll be saving on insurance, registration and other fees, and gas.

It may not be what I had in mind when I prayed to God for peace and patience.  Or for Him to help us with our financial burdens.  But it's exactly what we needed and we're making it work.

Just goes to show that our thoughts and ways differ from the Lord's and once we release them and give it all to Him, we're right where we need to be.

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Luke 12:31

Today I'm doubling down again with my girl Jenn from Jenn's Adventures for Speechless Sundays and Morgan at "quite" the blog for Saturday Morning Blog Hop (Yes, it's Sunday... i know...)

Speechless Sundays are for those things that leave us inspired, encouraged, and yes- speechless.  While the post itself may be speechless, it is not a requirement =)

Jenn's Adventures

I would like to shed some light on what my family and I have been going through and why I chose to go on a social media fast.

(confession: I did not fast.  I browsed blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest the entire time.  However, my time was significantly less than normal and my participation through comments and tweets was minimal.  At least in my opinion. -whoops!).

A lot of times I feel obligated to participate in social media.  I feel like if I don't, I'll be left behind and won't ever be able to catch up with everyone on current events, celeb happenings, trends, etc...  

Once I gave myself permission to be an observer and not a participant, I felt relieved and eventually renewed.

As a Christian, fasting for me means to sacrifice something I enjoy so that the void could be filled with God.  When the fast involves food, it usually means I rely on God and prayer to overcome discomfort and cravings.  

The purpose of this fast was to spend less time on social media and more time in prayer and Bible readings with my family.

My son has been sick for the past 6 months. Since July he has had 7 ear infections.


As soon as we'd finish his round of antibiotics, he'd be good for about a week to 10 days.  

Then BAM.  More cold symptoms and overnight- an ear infection.

As a mom I often pray I could take on my son's suffering.  I am willing to take on his ear infections so that he won't have to suffer.

I prayed to God to bring healing to Phillip so that he may know what it's like to just be healthy and thrive.  

That is when God asked me to fast from blogging.  And social media.  

Over the past 2 weeks, I learned how to focus my time more on God and my family.  

While I didn't accomplish all I wanted to with the fast (social media is so darn tempting) I realized that it's not as great of a necessity as I thought it was.  

I also learned that I try to do to much and that I needed to slow down and focus on what's really important to me. 

For that reason, Carl and I decided to scrap all our New Year's resolutions (shocking, right?) and focus instead of building our relationship with Christ.

Our 2013 goals are still to join a ministry and a small group, as well as complete our devotions.  But all the other goals have been released.  

We know that by focusing on our relationship with Christ and each other, everything else will fall into place.  

Instead of focusing on our budget and fitness goals, we will be sure to spend our money wisely and to treat our bodies with respect.  

We won't get wrapped up in how many pounds we lose or how much money we save.  Yes, those things are important to us, but not top priority right now.

Our top priority is to strengthen our walk with Christ.

Ironically, since we've made that decision, we've been tested like no other.  One of our cars broke down, we've been confrontational with others, and our bills are piling up.  

Not the best way to start us off, huh?

But I know that as long as we stay focused on our #1 priority, the details in everything else will disappear.  
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Prayer and Fasting

I had a really long detailed post trying to explain this but I can't find the right words.

And maybe that's OK.

I won't be around much in January for personal reasons.

I do plan, however, to continue to journal my thoughts and later compose them into posts but for now, I have to step back.

To be honest, I'm really disappointed since I've just gotten back into the swing of things with this blog.  But I feel this is something that God has really pressed on my heart.

As always, like all my other hiatuses, I'll be available via email.

Twitter and Facebook will be awfully quiet, though.

 I also won't be able to read and catch up with all your lovely blogs during this time.

This is a time of reflection and prayer for me and my family.

If you are the praying type, please say one or two for us.

Thank you for your patience with me during this time.  It's frustrating for me to have to do this but it's for the best and it's just for now, not forever.



Do It Myself: Family Photoshoot

Being a mom is busy busy busy!

This year, I haven't had time to set up an appointment with a professional photographer to have our Christmas picture taken.

I meant to, but it just slipped my mind (among a billion other things).

So what's a mama to do?

Do it myself, that's what!

I set up the background using extra wrapping paper, threw an old sheet on the ground, grabbed a couple of presents to use as props, set the timer on my camera, and got it done!


It took a few (10+) tries, but we got a shot we could work with.  

I gotta admit, the out-takes were pretty good, too!


Here is what our 2012 photo actually looked like:


I liked this idea so much, that I decided to do something similar for Little Man's birthday.




The best part of all this was the experience.  We had fun setting it up and all of his birthday pictures came out really festive =)

I think this would be really nice for parties, too! I've seen weddings and other big events with photo backdrops set up, but it's also really fun to have in your home with a few close friends! I'm sure it would make for some really great memories.

If you decided to try this out, let me know! I'd love to see the results!


Dumbing Down

A few weeks ago I did something most would think of as blasphemous.

How heinous could it be?

Welp, I gave up my smartphone- my Android.

I've had that thing for over 2 years.

We had some great memories, me and that phone.

It was there for me when I started running.  So I could take wonderful pictures and share with you all.  All while listening to my music at the same time.

It was there to help me take photos on the spot to share via Twitter and to post here on my blog for all my lovely readers.

It was there when we found out we were having our first baby.  It documented our journey of the growing belly.

And it was there for my son's first year of life.  Capturing all the joy and cuteness one smartphone can handle.





But the time had come for us to go our separate ways.

I don't remember when, sometime early in 2012 I believe, the sensor in the middle of my screen stopped working.  So I could scroll through screens using the right or left side.  But the middle? Nope, not a chance.

The worst part?  I couldn't hang up my phone! The END "button" is in the middle of the screen! I would have to turn off my phone in order to hang it up.  CRAZY.

But I loved that phone.

Maybe a little too much.

I found myself aimlessly scrolling through FB, Pinterest, Twitter, email, and whatever else I could find at any spare moment- in the car (dangerous, I know!), on the couch, at work, in restaurants.

There came a time when I knew it was getting out of hand.  I made a conscious effort to put down my phone while in the company of loved ones.  I began to find it annoying when others didn't do the same.  Not to me, but I would seen entire families at restaurants all staring at their screens.

So I decided enough was enough.  I was getting rid of it.  We have a computer at home where I can access all my social media platforms.  While I do love you all, I don't need to be connected all day every day to family and friends so far away.

What I need to do is be connected to those who are with me, at that moment.

And another perk?  We're saving money (hello financial resolution)!

Not as much as we'd like, since we got our unlimited data plan over 2 years ago, and prices/packages have changed since then.  But still, a dollar saved is a dollar saved.  Or something like that.

Either way, it's a good thing.  A win-win.

I'm less distracted and more focused on living in the now.  And I saved some cash.

Now please excuse me while I figure out how to use the buttons on my dumb basic phone (apparently phone reps don't like it when you call their phones dumb).


Speechless Sundays

I'm doubling down today and linking up with two great women!

Morgan @ Quite the Blog for Saturday Morning Blog Hop (yes, I know it's Sunday, but it's still open so I thought, why not?)

AND I'm also linking up with my BFF, Jenn @ Jenn's Advetures, for Speechless Sundays.

Obviously this post isn't exactly speechless, but that's OK.

Speechless Sundays are for those things that leave us inspired and encouraged- and sometimes speechless.

And this week I'm sharing my take on it.

As part of our 2013 goals, the husband and I are going to complete are devotions more often and consistently.

A personal goal of mine is to complete my devotions 3 times a week, and share with my husband at least weekly.

What are devotions, you might ask?

Well, devotions are readings from Scripture on which we take time to reflect.  This can include conversation with one another or journaling.  Our pastor encourages journaling first, and then sharing thoughts with the family, if you chose to do so.

However since the husband and I are only recently starting to be more consistent with our devotions, we read the scripture together and discuss afterwards (we're working on getting the journal routine down).

One of our discussions this week centered around the story of Abram and his wife, Sarai.

Abram was promised by God a huge amount of blessings.  

“I will make you into a great nation,

    and I will bless you;

I will make your name great,

    and you will be a blessing.[a]

I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.

Gen 12: 2-3

Abram traveled to Canaan and set up his tent there, but because of famine, moved south towards Egypt.

Before entering Egypt, he told his wife to lie and say she was his sister.

Now why would Abram, future father of Israel, soon to be named Abraham, promised ginormous blessings from God, LIE????

He led Pharaoh to believe that Sarai was indeed his sister because he was afraid that if the Egyptians found out that she was his wife, they would kill him and take her for their own.

Seems like a pretty reasonable fear, right?  I mean, it happens.  People get jealous because others have beautiful spouses all the time.

But let's back it up here.  

Abram and God had a good thing here.  God was going to bless Abram abundantly.  Wouldn't Abram think that God would keep him safe and sound?  Wouldn't he think that God would protect him?  

Why LIE?

I'll tell you why.

Because Abram is human.  

And that's what we humans do. 

We lie.  

We get scared.  We freak out.  We doubt ourselves.  

We doubt God.

Even though He has promised to never forsake us, we don't believe Him.

Even though we are His children, whom He loves dearly, we don't put our trust in Him.

I've doubted God many many times in my life.  And not just doubt, but completely decided to handle my mess on my own and fix it myself because there was no way that if I did it God's way that I'd come out safe and unscathed.

Boy was I wrong.  

Despite the many blessings God has given me and the promises He's made, I still doubt Him and His love for me. But just because I make some of the biggest mistakes in life, God doesn't abandon me.  Like Abram, I freak out and try to control the situation on my own and end up with an even bigger mess.  But if out of a lie, God can make Abram the father of Israel and countless descendants and also a great nation, I know that He can still do great things through me.  

(The complete Devotion for this day included Genesis 12-14 and Luke 5)


OMG More Resolutions? YUPPERS!

It's that time of year when lots of folks are making their resolutions for the New Year.

Or if you're like other people I know, you are instead refusing to set yourself up for failure and throwing all resolutions to the wind.

I love setting goals and challenges for myself.

But I'm also a planner. 

I don't just grab a goal and stick it on my fridge because it sounds nice.  I need to have a plan.

This year I've decided to focus on four parts of my life- spiritual, physical, mental, and financial.

My husband and I sat down and decided on a total of 12 resolutions to fit these categories.

Now, 12 might seem like a lot, but it's broken down by 8 individual (4 each) and 4 family goals.


For myself, I will complete my devotions at least 3X a week.  Devotions are daily Bible readings that also include reflection and journaling. 

As a family, we will share our devotions 1X a week and attend church weekly.

In the past we haven't kept up with our devotions and have gone months without attending a service.  It really took an emotional toll on us so we'd like to avoid that this year.


I will lose 20% of my current weight by the end of the year.  This is on average 3.5 pounds a month.  I'm a member of SparkPeople and will use that program and resources to meet my goal. 

I've used SparkPeople in the past and lost almost 30lbs.  I'm hoping to have the same success this time around.

As a family, we're going to take a weekly walk, either around the neighborhood, at the beach, or at a park.  Once a week we'll do something active as a family.


I will read 6 non-fiction books by the end of the year.  I've already got my list set up with our local library!

As a family, we will visit the library once a month.  Our son is too young to really enjoy the library but we'd like him to be exposed to the environment so that in a few years he'll be a pro =)


I will stick to our family's spending budget.  Since I'm the one who usually sets the budget, I also tend to give myself leeway when it comes to spending.  No more- I'm going to save any extra spending for true emergencies after consulting with my husband, first.

As a family, the husband and I will meet at least monthly to plan our budget.  


If you set resolutions for the New Year, I encourage you to take the time to really plan out your action steps.  

A goal without a plan is simply a wish.

Don't wish for your life to be better, plan for it.

I believe in you!


Happy Birthday to My Little Man

At the end of 2012 my baby boy, Phillip, turned one!

This has been an incredible year for us.  

Being a mom is such an amazing blessing.  Phillip has taught me how to be a more patient and loving person.  

He is so full of life and joy.  He loves to dance and "sing" and would play all day if we let him.  Bath time is one of his favorite parts of the day, among snack and meal times, of course!

Phillip has filled a part of my heart that I never knew was missing, a void I never knew existed.

I can't imagine my life without him.  When I reminisce of my life before becoming a mom, I don't remember what it feels like to live without my son.  The memories are there, but the feelings are different.  

Happy Birthday, my baby.  I love you very much!

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