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I am a Texan, a Patriot of the Extraordinary USA, I am very stubborn which at times is a blessing as much as at times it can be a curse haha (my hubby & family can attest to my stubbornness), but that Lethal combination I guess you can say is a large basis of a vocally strong individual.

I am a Strong Woman.

That is one thing I have never doubted about myself. I am surrounded by strong women; my momma, my sisters, grandmas & strong people in general, always have been. Young women leaders, friends & people at church who with or without their knowledge, their strength gave me strength. I seek out strength. Those physically & spiritually strong have always grabbed my attention. Whether I saw their strength at times of normalcy, or when they were broken but carried strength possibly unseen by themselves, it was seen by me. Strength is probably one of the most admirable qualities because as unfortunate as it is, it is very uncommon. The reason being is that Strength is not bought or sold, it is earned & often in our meekness given as a gift. The Beauty with strength is that it can be found in weakness & at times of  pure humbleness. At those times, strength comes in doses that build a foundation of strength that can pull you through anything. I say anything in that I, from recent experience have experienced things I never have before & some I have. I had to look at every aspect of my life even going back several years to gather up every bit of strength I could muster. When I thought it was impossible, I was Given added strength from a loving Heavenly Father & Savior. Its sometimes the hardest trips to our own Gethsemane that we are presented with that strength as an added gift & reminder of love from our supreme creators. I am fully aware & believe & more so Know that all that I have & hope to be in my individual life & as a patriot of this nation that I am privileged to call home, would not be possible without our supreme creators. My life, my country, & my family was & will be founded upon by strong, God fearing individuals. I have Big dreams & many many goals but I still at the ripe young age of 25 don’t know what the heck I want to do with my life. However, being eternally grateful for past & current examples in my life, I have Always known the Woman I want to be.

With recent trials I was reminded of & reflected on conversations I had with my pops throughout my life. I often wondered why I had to go through all I had & was going through at the time. But, being a father of three girls (which must have been terrifying for a man, & father) he always knew what to say. He is Not a strong woman but he is a Strong man, physically & spiritually & raised 4 strong children & 3 strong daughters who grew to be strong women. Below is a quote that sums up what he taught & my recorded reflections of those conversations.

If you ever wonder why bad things happen to good people.

It’s because God knows they’re capable of handling it.

My dad was a great example of this, anytime I was struggling or going through something my dad would come have a talk with me & explain that what I was going through was unique to me, & that as big & strong as he is, if he were faced with the same struggle he may not be strong enough to handle it as I am.

My dad is a big guy, (from one of my favorite stories of my moms) He has arms that could bend rail road tracks. Having several of these talks with my dad it always put in comparison & a little shock that someone so big & strong wouldn’t be able to handle what I was going through. But more than that, aside from the many things that those talks taught me, one in particular was a lesson in strength. Not so much of the physical aspect, but being spiritually strong.

If you know me & what I have gone through in my young life, strength is something I desperately needed on a daily basis & now being grown I still cherish those talks & when “bad things” happen, I just whip out my spiritual rail road track bending strength because I’m capable of handling whatever trials life has for me, just like my dad.

After all I am little sam.

MY FAITH

I’ll be what You want Me to Be

I have been putting off this post for a bit just waiting on when it felt right.

And I want to share what has been happening.

Where the Lord wants you to be is where you need to be.

He will provide the way

He knows the desires of your heart!

He knows the desires of our hearts better than we do most times, if not Always.

-Samantha Harris

Keep this in mind, throughout this post & just always. This post is a collection of thoughts, feelings, & journal accounts of these past few weeks.

These past couple weeks Chris & I were faced with the decision to move  to Austin & for Chris to “transfer” to the Austin location of his place of work. (He works for the same company, it’s just owned by a larger company, so its the same company but its not… if that makes sense?) He had an interview about a week ago & we looked at a couple homes. Driving in Austin I had a fear come over me, of the unknown, of scares, not knowing anything or how to get anywhere. Intimidation set in & I was nervous.

Part of me wanted to stay in San Antonio, closer to family & the temple. We love our ward & callings. But I keep remembering what Chris said when he came out of his interview when he got back in the car…I asked how it went & he replied “There was laughter! people were Happy…” Its broken my heart seeing how worn down, & physically exhausted he is week after week. His job in San Antonio was as mentioned previously, with the same company as here in Austin. Chris Loved the “Brand” so to speak but the workplace & management was extremely dishonest & their internal customer service was awful. Chris would come home worn down, exhausted, & grumpy. Honestly our days fell into Chris coming home falling asleep, dinner varied at 8 to sometimes 11 o’clock at night (horrible right!?) But I sometimes didn’t have the heart to wake him because I knew he was so exhausted. Other times I’d get frustrated & wished he wouldn’t sleep when he got home so we could spend time together. But then I would feel guilty or selfish for asking. Everything for us in San Antonio was great, except Chris’ job. When you think about it Men work A LOT. Its just not worth it not doing something you love or enjoy. Don’t get me wrong Chris Loves what he does, just San Antonio wasn’t cutting it & it was taking its last toll, at work & home.

So when the option of Austin came up, I knew feelings aside & seeing him after his interview…If anything, I wanted this for Him.

My fears were finances, cost of moving, cost of living in a new place, making friends, finding a place to live and… 3 out of 5 came true.

Back in San Antonio at one of our last Sundays in our ward (congregation), I read that quote above in my journal. After reading said quote I thought of hymn 270 “I’ll go where you want me to go”, I noticed a hymn book next to Chris & asked him to please pass it to me. I read the words, they softened my heart & soothed my fears. I then felt that I needed to attend the temple when I had a chance & ask Chris for a priesthood blessing. As I was sitting there in sacrament meeting, I happen to look up & saw hymn 270 was the intermediate hymn. Heavenly Father knew he’d get me to hear those words in one way or another if I didn’t look them up myself. A few minutes later we sang it. As we sang everything, every word, every note spoke to my heart as to what the Lord will have need of us by moving. But the third verse before the chorus pierced my spirit.

“…So trusting my all to thy tender care & knowing thou lovest me, I’ll do thy will with a heart sincere:

I’LL BE WHAT YOU WANT ME TO BE…”

I’ve been praying a lot lately to be who I want to be & my prayers soon changed to Heavenly Father please help me to be who thou wouldst have me be.

After those words pierced my spirit, I was overcome with the spirit & got up to wipe my tears in the bathroom. While in the bathroom, I saw a stack of papers on a shelf near the mirror that happen to have one of my favorite quotes on it,

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Bam.

Another thing I knew but needed to hear..er..read… in the women’s bathroom of all places haha! I hope whose ever handouts those were doesn’t mind I took a copy or two…alright three!

The things mentioned up to this point occurred on & before January 11th, 2015, The following happened after that date & up to Today.

On Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 my sister Allison came with me to Austin to decide on a home & we decided on one!! Come to find out there was an application on it, But the landlord was open to other offers since it had only been on the market 4 days. So I got started on all the paperwork. The next day was D-Day as in DEATH DAY. I came down with the sickness, I don’t know where it came from or why but it could not have come at a worse time!! I was dead sick with a death bomb or plague (pretty sure it was an extreme Flu), it lasted a Good almost two weeks. Fever, dizziness, weakness, nausea, cough, flem, & then I lost my voice for a good little over a week with some of that sickness in there as well. In the midst of this sickness a very important day was Tuesday, January 20th, 2015.

What. A. Day. We found out Chris got the Job Officially (were waiting on background checks & drug tests & such but he had it). We officially had the home in Austin, a bad thing was up until January 26th it was looking like we were going to be paying rent on two homes for the month of February. Our leasing company was impossible to get in touch with, & one person who was not very nice I might add was pretty much saying well tough you have to stay until march 1st. (um…no, no ,no, NO!) &…I found out…I’m Pregnant.

January has been a whirlwind. I don’t think & know everything hasn’t sunk in at this point. 2015 does seem to  have BIG things in store & its a little overwhelming. But knowing the lord is guiding us in this new adventure is truly comforting. Aside from things that are to be done on our part. I’m trying to be better especially with these big changes in putting full trust in the Lord of that which I have no control over. The desires of our hearts are known. We just don’t always know how those desires will be fulfilled. They may be in ways we plan or expect like we now are experiencing, or in ways that may uproot our lives, take us to unfamiliar places, & a few other curve balls may be thrown your way. Another thing I’m learning is to Not be afraid

“Faith & Fear Cannot Coexist”

I think, I have these goals & desires for myself & my family, I know they are known, but if opportunities present themselves we need to have the faith to see that as hard as it may be to uproot or change…Our Father wants & knows whats best for us. I’ll put faith in the unknown any day vs missing out on the privilege of having the hand of the Lord in my life. As stressful & crazy & hard (Oh have things been hard) as things can be or get, spend time on your knees! As frustrated as you may be or get, cry, scream, let Heavenly Father know your worries & fears. Do all you are required to the best of your ability & Let go! No matter the circumstance good, bad, a relief or stressful NEVER put yourself in a place where you cannot feel the spirit or where you are unable to see that Heavenly Father is trying to push you to attain the desires of your heart & plus when do things go the way as planned??

With being sick & an unreachable leasing company we finally found out we could be out when planned on January 31st. Oh timing, Why yes I was left with a week to pack… fun huh? (Thank Goodness for my momma & my sister who helped me pack & clean my home.)

Timing isn’t always perfect, life doesn’t go as planned , trials will come, big & small & at times in pairs, BUT it becomes perfect. In its crazy, unplanned, stressful, chaotic way, life happens. Standing back looking at our lives, if we are doing our part… would you have it any other way?

Sunday, February 15th, 2015 – now looking at everything leading up to this point.

WHAT A YEAR!

We finally got everything packed up & a couple of Chris’ friends from work came & helped us pack up mostly everything on the 30th. We stayed the night at my sister Allison’s & drove up to Austin in the morning to get our Keys for our new home. We made it to our house without a hitch, we found our way & right up until we pulled the moving truck in front of our new home by literally inches, our moving truck decided to give a tree in our yard a kiss…unfortunately trees like hugs Not kisses & retaliated with a lovely hole in the corner of our moving truck…great. There’s another thing go wrong. But, my sister in laws sweet family we moved around the corner from, The Hancocks, came & helped us unload our truckload. Many hands do make light work. They were a huge blessing!

We BARELY didn’t have enough room in our truck for our stuff. So, Back to San Antonio!! On our way back to San Antonio, we stopped at good ol Buc-ees. I had to use the bathroom like no ones business. When in the bathroom I noticed something wrong. I was bleeding. We grabbed some grub & back on the road to San Antonio. When we got back into town my awesome sister fed us & her & her kiddos came & helped us load the rest of our things & clean the house. We stayed the night again which cost us another day in the moving truck. The next day we hung out with my sister & her kiddos, I was still bleeding & worried. I asked Chris for a blessing & he gave me one. Something was mentioned that caught my attention in regards to things, the Lords will, will be done. Along with some other things I needed to hear, one of which was to read the Book of Mormon. So right after, I thanked Chris & then popped open my scriptures & read the first Chapter of Nephi & this stood out to me

“…[But behold, I, Nephi,] will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

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That reminded me of a quote,

“Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously.

When those trials are Not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding & compassion, which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are, to where he wants you to be, requires a lot of stretching & that generally entails discomfort & pain….This life is an experience in profound trust-Trust in Jesus Christ.”

-Elder Richard G. Scott

We gathered our things & got ready to depart back to Austin. We made it to Austin & were getting ready to unload & some of our new neighbors who happen to be ward members as well, came over, introduced themselves & gave me a welcome packet into the ward. Chris had mentioned right before they had walked up the drive that he was starving & if you know Chris when he’s hungry he needs to eat… or he gets hangry haha! After introducing themselves & chatting a bit the Lutz’s invited us over to eat (Superbowl Sunday) they had invited their older children over but they didn’t end up coming & so they had food left over. We told them we wanted to unload the car off the trailer & a few things & we’d be right over. I guess we took too long because the husband came over to make sure we weren’t being shy, I was, Chris on the other hand was not (not when it comes to food). He waited for us as we closed & locked things up & we all walked over to their home. We ate, talked, caught the last quarter of the game & then Brother Lutz & his youngest son came & helped us unload the rest of our things. They too were a great blessing!

If you know me, you may or not know these things about me… I, I am Stubborn. I like doing things myself, lifting, moving, packing, building things, everything. I Think I can do it all. I like being self reliant & that with my stubbornness makes for someone who does Not ask for help & thinks she can do all things on her own, including handling all the stress that comes will any situation. I keep things such as this inside. I figure if someone needs help why not let that help go to someone who is in more need than I.  I don’t recognize when I’m the one who needs help. I assume I always have to be strong. I do have breakdowns but then I suck it up & get back to work.

Monday February 2nd, 2015

We returned our moving truck, & Chris had an orientation meeting. I dropped him off & went home for a bit & made some call in regards to our new place like connecting our water…(we kind of forgot about that)… I then left to pick up Chris & on our way home we went to turn in our paper work to get our water turned on. Upon leaving & coming to the intersection on the main street from home, our car transmission was taking its last breaths. We luckily made it in the drive way & dead it went. Add Transmission to the list. We laughed at this point, I don’t think we had any more appropriate reactions left…switched cars & went lunch.

Tuesday February 3rd, 2015

I thought I had stopped bleeding, Sunday I had talked to a sweet friend who is an obgyn who offered some comforting advice & things to be aware of. Well Tuesday it got worse again. I was so worrisome. I had made calls to see a local obgyn & it was going to be a pretty penny since we are in a waiting period for health insurance… so at this time No insurance. Add that to the list. By the time Chris came home from work I had made a few calls & against my want to do so…We Left for the ER. We got in about 8:30, waited on an ultrasound machine, watched some A Team reruns while in the room. 10:30 we were done & heading out… Empty. We miscarried. The people in the ER were so kind, I think I was the only one there. They were upbeat & this one guy was awesome he helped in ways he probably didn’t even know with his personality & humor.

“If you ever wonder why bad things happen to good people. It’s because God knows they’re capable of handling it.”

Today

Honestly until I wrote that last paragraph I thought I was doing better & I am… I mourned, I cried… a lot, (I will share more details in a following post soon to come) I had been feeling fine & okay, lately I had been laughing & getting things done again. It just hurts, when I think about it. The day after the ER visit I heard a knock at the door… I didn’t answer because I was scary looking from unpacking all day & being a grunge worm. But when Chris came home he had some flowers. I was about to say “Oh Thank you sweetheart!” but beat me by saying these aren’t from me. Not a minute after he said that I got a sweet text from our new neighbors (Sister Lutz) saying she’s the one who left the flowers at the door & just wanted me to know she was thinking about me.

Now tell me Heavenly Father is Not aware of us. As simple as that was for her to do that, she has no idea how much I needed that. This year so far has been way hard. I think I have hit just about every emotion on the emotion scale & its been tough. Our first actual Sunday we were here (February 8th) I did something I told myself I’d Never to do. I skipped Church…on purpose. I just knew, the way Heavenly Father works & knows me, that there would be things I needed to hear that day. I just couldn’t bring myself to go. I couldn’t handle the thought of balling my eyes out at church & have people asking me whats wrong. I just wasn’t ready for that, I felt that I knew that I couldn’t handle that. I knew that Heavenly Father knew of my desire to go… but that for that day I couldn’t. I think I remained in bed that whole day. But Heavenly Father got his “revenge” so to speak the following Sunday (February 15th) the songs, sacrament, Sunday school, & relief society all had lessons & messages about things I needed to hear. I just remember thinking you sneaky Heavenly Father you were gonna get me some how & just smiled at the though of a loving Father in Heaven who is aware of me & knows what I need to hear. Then this past Sunday even more I needed to hear. I just absorbed it all & mostly the spirit that I have needed so badly lately & again heard hymn 270 as another little reminder that he was aware… of me.

I don’t mean for this post to be all doom & gloom, its mostly a record for myself of this time in our lives where we are going through trials but also to look back & see how we handled them & how blessed we really were even though at times it has seemed more cursed than blessed haha! But to look back & to one day see how these things we now are experiencing will have effect on us in the future.

“I never met a strong person with an easy past.”

This year has been a crazy one. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about what tomorrow has in store, but we’re just taking it one day at a time, doing our best to do all that is required of us. With everything that has happened, I have already gained & Learned so so much! The spirit has taught me things that I have been wanting to learn & confirming other things. As much as things have truly to the grit Sucked! There have been some of the greatest experiences of my life, learning opportunities & growth  from all of this. I have been pushed to my lowest of low where I truly & honestly wanted to give up. I was in my own Gethsemane & That…at my weakest, is where I received my strength. I had to be pushed to my lowest to get the strength & learn & get on the path that I needed to be on, that I now am on. This is going on Now. This is the true grit of life at this moment & looking back on that low, it hurt, it was hard, it was scary, but at this second I’d do it again. Why the heck would I want to feel some of the worst feelings I have ever experienced? Because…It was at my ultimate lowest that I received the warmest love & embrace from a Loving Father & Savior who told me I was not alone through this. They knew. They were always there. I had to feel alone to feel the love that was waiting to embrace me in a coat of strength that I now have from all of that. It is mine. It is one of the greatest gifts I didn’t know that I wanted or needed or thought I had but didn’t.

“I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength”

This post is not meant for pity or a brag post but to share my story. There is no end to it because I am living it, as are you. I am a believer in

“Sharing your story…”

Don’t think because things aren’t great right now, that there isn’t something greater waiting. You just have to get out of the Now.

-Samantha Harris

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are”

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The Floral Lumberjack, What does she Collect?

So…I may have a slight problem….

I LOVE Journals.

I collect them (If you can’t tell)

What can I say I fill em up fast!

Beauty & the Beast Used to be my favorite movie & it still holds a place in my heart all for the same reason. I. Wanted. That. Library. I mean who didn’t?! I used to dream about that library. Psshh bring it on Beast just be sure to lock me up in said Library. As long as my “want list” is for books I want, I had a beautiful thought of what if that library was filled with things that I wrote?

I know what your thinking who the heck would want to read a library full of stories about yourself & to that I reply…WHO WOULDN’T?! Haha Kidding (to an extent)

One of my many goals for this year is to Document more, I believe Journal writing is SO Important.

There are so many reasons to Journal, One of which is one of the many reasons I chose to blog.

Right this second or years, even decades down the road

Your Story is key that can unlock someone else’s prison…

I am a believer in that. There are so many times someone has said something or shared something that someone else has said that they have written down & shared & it was exactly what I needed to hear, & that has happened to me way more times than I can even count.

Something that I write in most if not all of my hard copy Journals is this

Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need, spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. That Practice enhances the likelihood of you receiving further light.

-Elder Richard G. Scott

This right here, I have practiced & put into practice the exact things it says to do, to record, keep it in a place that is important to me where i have access to it all the time & Yes as I write & record things, whether I have a journal out at church, at general conference, at a funeral, at home, while reading scriptures, or preparing a lesson. By practicing writing things down as they come to me or at the time I feel as if the words of someone else are speaking to my very heart I record it. & as promised any other time I whip it out, which most of the time I flip it open wherever I am & hold a pen in my hand. Something, even if a simple phrase or sentence or a long quote or even talk, will touch my heart & I go to writing. Even more so I will have it out with pen in hand & something will come to mind & my hand starts writing & sometimes it has nothing to do with what is being said, it is just something the spirit needed teach me that day. That on numerous occasions I am able to refer back to & it impacts me in the same way it did when my pen first touched the paper.

Here are some other quotes that have inspired me

Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events into motion that affect someones life for eternity

– President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Never Delay a Prompting. By becoming the answer to someones Prayer, we often find the answers to our own

-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

 

BE STRONG. You never know who You are Inspiring

There are several Journals I keep & So Do You!!

Most people don’t even know they are journaling

Thanks Social Media!!

Yep Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, Yes Even Youtube, it counts!!

We frequently document milestones, funny & sad moments, Goals, Travels, loves of all kinds, interests, & life experiences. Well Dang we are already off to a great start!!

I am old fashioned when it comes to things like books, Journals, talking to people, movies, etc… I like hard copies of things, or doing things in person or by hand, i know technology is great but there is something about hard copies of things that makes it nostalgic if that make sense. But that is me personally, But I mean if you’re a Techie By all means that is Fantastic!! I may get there someday but for now I’m kickin it old school.

Some hard copy Journals I keep & some ideas if you in need of some inspiration are

  • Priesthood Blessing Journal- when given a blessing practice listening to the words spoken & if anything or all of it sticks out go record it, it will help you then & maybe in the future get through what was difficult then
  • Blessing Journal- Count your blessings is a great practice, it is so easy to get down in the dumps but this helps you to remember life isn’t so bad
  • Missionary Experiences- I love this one, I have some good ones & there are times I didn’t write some down & i can’t remember them well, but these are great to learn from, to share, & one day when your kids are learning to share they can see that yeah even mom & dad were scared to go up to someone & talk to them or share the gospel, its just an all around lovely thing & to remember how you felt doing it.
  • Fast & Testimony- Got to share your Testimony this fast sunday? or not? or are you super afraid of getting up in front of people? write down what you said or take time today to write down your testimony or if you are fasting write what you are fasting about and why. This is great to see how your testimony blossoms or if it goes in the other direction you can refer back to a time when you were stronger & maybe even a time when you fasted for the strength to strengthen a testimony
  • Bucket List- Oh yeah this is a fun one!! As simple or crazy as those bucket lists may be make one!! make a ton!! Then whether its traveling the globe or eating at a yummy restaurant a few counties over write what you experienced & how it feels to scratch that off your bucket list
  • Travels- Similar to the Bucket List but can also be a bit of a travel log/scrapbook. Include a picture or few & write how much fun you had or even how much fun you did not have, any flat tires or hilarious over flirtatious locals write it down. It will serve as something to reminisce or to make a goal to return or never go back again.
  • Spiritual/Insights- This is one I have the most of, as touched on previously, these are the ones i write down promptings of the spirit in, quotes, sayings, etc..
  • Quotes- I know you love pinterest, or have seen a quote someone posts on facebook, Keep inspiring quotes & quotes you love in one place!!
  • Goals- simple enough, write down goals & then record when you achieve them how it felt to achieve it
  • Dreams-Have dreams of starting a business or going to school or a mission etc.. write in here & you can keep quotes or phone numbers of contacts or anything that will help you achieve said dream
  • Journal for Each Child- I have not started these yet because well I don’t have any kids yet, but i love the idea of writing while pregnant or while each kids grows write things to them that you are proud of or heck even times they drove you up the wall so one day they can read & see how much you had to put up with (Ha!) But also to see how proud of them you truly are. You could also do this as a wedding gift for a fiance or keep one for your husband.
  • Trial Journal- This is a great one to keep. to look back & see how you overcame/overcome trials, date trials & update. Go back to each trial & record how you are dealing with said trial or how you overcame that trial & things learned.
    • This journal is NOT meant to drown in sorrows but to remember & focus on our strengths we receive from trials & heaven forbid we experience a trial more than one we can see what helped us overcome it & gain strength from advice we experienced ourselves.
    • This also can be beneficial to your children in them knowing they are not the only one going through trials, You too may have been through it as well, we know as stubborn as kids are they think “You have no idea what I am going through” But as much as they maybe won’t listen to you as an adult they may be more receptive to you as your younger self recorded & read in your journal by your child one day
    • When keeping a Journal like this remember not to Dwell in the past but learn to talk about your blessings more that you talk about your burdens

I could go on this topic for a while But I mostly wanted to share something about my self that I collect & that I am passionate about. I have a grandmother who always journals & I guess that is where I get it maybe.

If you do take anything away from this no matter word for word or almost to nothing remember to WRITE IT DOWN.

Do you keep a Journal?

Do you have one or many?

What kinds of Journals do you keep & why?

How do you Journal (writing or typing)?

When I look for journals I look for ones that will last, No flimsy ones, I like all sizes because some fit easily in my purse & I can keep with me at all times & others are larger & i can fit more in. Most if Not all of mine have come from Barnes & Noble, Home Goods & Marshall’s.

Here are some of my favorites I have found recently,

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