“Counting It All Joy” During Finals, etc.

Hello everyone!  I’ve been wanting to blog for some time, but I’ve been so busy with finals.  Augh.  It’s super exhausting and sometimes it is so tempting to just have a big ol’ weepfest about the heavy workload.  However, I try to avoid those impulses, press on, and remain cheerful, keeping in mind that this is what God has for me to do right now, and that pretty soon it will all be over; I will get to enjoy a long vacation from studying, and will be able to have time to do enjoyable things again (oh happy day!).  This verse has kind of become my theme these days:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1:2-3

When God is putting me through hard times where I honestly have no idea WHERE I’m going to come up with a 5-page essay concerning the theme of suffering in Buddhism, finish all my assigned reading, or come up with something sufficient to say in my student interview (and on top of that, be deficient in sleep), he’s teaching me to “count it all joy”.  Each hard moment is an opportunity for me to grow in faith, trusting that He will provide all my needs, rather than freak out in despair.  Where I grow in faith, I grow in steadfastness (or some other translations say “perseverance”).  And perseverance leads to more faith, and then more perseverance, and so on.  It’s a vicious cycle in the best sense, essentially.  So God has definitely been using this season to teach me to look to him for everything.  That I am in no way self-sufficient; I am fully dependent on Him.  He will provide; He’s never failed me, and He never will.  So though it’s been hard, it’s been SO good.

Anyway, in my last post, I was looking forward to Thanksgiving break.  I’ll quick tell you how that went.  It went pretty well: I got to visit my family, hang with my sisters, take a good long break from studying, and celebrate Thanksgiving with some relatives.  Our dinner was the bomb, especially the cranberry sauce, the pumpkin custard and my mom’s cranberry apple sweet potatoes.

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After thanksgiving dinner, we had a white elephant gift exchange.  It was pretty fantastic.  The gifts I ended up with were actually pretty useful – two pairs of mittens (I could always use a backup pair of mittens), and a pair of snowman socks (YESSSS.  Haha).  :)

 

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Our class recently read through Homer’s The Odyssey.  It was interesting to learn about the Greek pantheon, and Homer’s worldview, shown through his poetry and storytelling.  Then I had to write a paper contrasting Penelope, the wife of the main character Odysseus, with Sarah of the Bible.  I concluded that each went through tough trials, but had different outlooks on life and responded in different ways to their circumstances, based on their worldviews (pagan vs. God-centered).  It was definitely interesting.

 

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A few days ago, a few of my girlfriends and I went ice skating.  I had never done it before, so I was very wobbly and I fell down a lot.  Haha.  But I think I started to get the hang of it to some degree.  It was pretty fun.

God has been constantly showing me his goodness these past few days, even in the smallest ways.  Last Sunday, after one of those “God, I’m so exhausted and bored that I don’t know what to do with myself” moments, one of my friends randomly stopped by (my roommates invited him, but I had no idea he was coming), and he, my roommates and I went to a coffeeshop to continue our studies.  It was so good to finally get out of the house and have a fun time.  It was cool because God knew that I needed a change of scenery, and he answered my prayer and provided it so unexpectedly and at the perfect time.  Then last night my small group got together, one last time before winter break, and we all shared what God has been doing in our lives so far this semester.  Sitting there, hearing everyone’s stories and being so encouraged, it just hit me how blessed I am to be a part of this school, along with all these lovely people who are like-minded in the gospel yet each have a unique story and calling.

 

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And as usual, class has been mind-blowingly AMAZING.  These days we have been going through the minor prophets of the Old Testament, and looking at all the foreshadowings of the Messiah that was to come.  They’re EVERYWHERE.  My goodness.  It’s SO COOL.  We went through the basic themes of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, and all the visions of “the latter days” – the end times.  We were also shown how there is this recurring theme throughout the Bible of water flowing out of the temple.  Let me mention first that the temple was where the presence of God was.  Eden (which can be a sort of temple figure, because the presence of God was there) had a river flowing through it.  The temples built in the Old Testament, I think, were built by streams or rivers (something concerning water that flows),  Jesus (the presence of God, in the flesh) had blood and water flow out of his side when he was pierced, and lastly, Christians flow living water out of their hearts (John 7:38) (and we are temples of the Holy Spirit).  And then, another observation is that in Revelation 7:17, it talks about how in the new heavens and earth, the Lamb will guide his people to springs of living water.  Well, that is where the presence of God will be.  Whoa.  Mind. Blown.

(If you’re wondering why on earth there is something about “ten toes” in my notes in the photo above, we were going through the book of Daniel that day, and in Daniel there are a lot of visions.  And in one of the visions, the number 10 occurred a couple times, which I found interesting. That’s what that’s all about. Haha)

I am so excited for winter break.  I’ll be able to do the things I never have time to do these days.  During that time I’m hoping to draw, write and blog way more, write a few letters, spend lots of time in the Word, and be with my family.

God bless,

Madeline

 

 

Music, Field Trips & Anticipation for Thanksgiving Break

These past couple weeks have been quite interesting.

I’ve been enjoying the snow so much.  Watching it fall while I sit in my warm house with a cup of tea (or in the library, as I try to tackle an essay on the interactions between Israel and Assyria in the Old Testament) is near perfection.  A couple of the people in my class had never seen snow in their lives up until now, so it was cool to see their reactions, to hear about what they thought when they first saw it, felt it, walked on it.

God has been teaching me a lot.  He’s been proving Himself faithful over and over, and teaching me to rest in Him; to bring any anxieties or stress (college, life, etc.) to Him, and He always takes care of it.  Matthew 11:28-29 is high on the list of my life verses (I don’t have just one…I can’t narrow down the whole Bible to just one verse; it’s all so good):  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Jesus is just seriously THE BEST.

Our class learned about Hinduism last Friday.  It was a very interesting day.  The lecturer that day was actually Indian; a Christian who was a former brahmin (the highest, most desired position in the caste system; so it’s amazing and so cool that he left that to follow Jesus).  Hinduism is strange – the ultimate goal is to become one with “Brahman” (their impersonal god of gods, I guess) and become impersonal.  Which makes sense now to me why yoga (which actually is a hindu practice) is all about emptying onesself.  Hmmm…  I really don’t know why anyone would desire to be impersonal.  After class, we took a field trip.  We had lunch at an Indian restaurant, and then toured a Hindu temple.  It was very interesting.  The tour guide showed us all the different shrines containing images of some of the Hindu gods and goddesses, and told us about their attributes, etc.  It made me thankful that the REAL God made Himself known to me, chose me to be one of his children, and opened my eyes to how awesome He is.  On the ride back, I and a few guys in my class were talking about this, and we were like, “Man, if God didn’t save me, I sadly would probably chosen Hinduism over any other religion!”  Yeah.  It made me super thankful.  :)

I’ve been noticing how less-effective studying in a group setting is.  It’s fun, but certainly NOT productive.  ;)

I’ve been listening to Christmas music, and it isn’t even thanksgiving yet!  A couple days ago, Rend Collective came out with their Christmas album, Campfire Christmas, Vol. 1, and I bought two of the songs (“Ding Dong Merrily On High” and “Merry Christmas Everyone” – the first is my favorite).  They are so FUN!  I really admire their style of music.  Anyway.  You should check it out.

Speaking of music, I’ve also been into these songs:

Looking forward to thanksgiving break!  :)

These Days – 08/31

So ever since I got back from Colorado, this is what has been going on in my life:

I purchased a very awesome but generic backpack.  It looks like this:

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I feel quite hipster owning it, to be honest.  ;)  The funny thing though, is that its brand is a complete knockoff of the Levi’s brand.  The logo is that familiar Levi’s shape, but instead of saying what you’d expect – Levi Strauss & Co – it says “AUGUR Strauss & Co”.  What on earth?!  Plagiarism!  Haha.  Thankfully that logo was on a tag on the inside, which was easily able to be seamripped off.

I recently got myself an Olloclip.  It’s so cool!  If you don’t know what that is, it’s a 4-in-1 lens clip set for the iPhone.  The lenses are 10x macro, 15x macro, wide angle and fisheye.  I’ve been experiencing with the macro lenses, and I just love them!  It brings my photography potential to a whole new level.  :)

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About a week ago was the start of a new season of life for me.  A season that at times can be hard and exhausting, yet so awesome, beautiful and oh SO worth it.  I started attending a really amazing Bible college.  I’m learning so much – every day God just blows my mind with new things to know about His power; His might, His glory.  I’m growing in knowledge of the supremacy and beauty of Christ.  I’m establishing so many wonderful new relationships that mean the world to me – when you get a good number of my classmates together, that’s when the fun and awesome fellowship happens.  (A couple nights ago several of us went to a park at night to play ultimate frisbee, then went for a walk through the city to find a Starbucks.  Sadly, it was closed when we got there, but I don’t regret the walk.)  :)

Yesterday I went to my very first urban farmer’s market.  Until now I’d only been to little ones held in a small town.  I decided to go all experimental and buy things I either never have had before, or have not had in a long time.  So I bought myself some purple green beans, elderberries, and a honeycomb.  I also bought a few things I was familiar with, too, like rainbow chard, a cucumber and some chamomile blend tea.

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Current songs on repeat:

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong United

To Leave It All Behind – Moriah Peters

I’ll Wait For You – Moriah Peters (anything by Moriah, really)

Build Your Kingdom Here – Rend Collective

When The Crazy Kicks In – Francesca Battistelli

Fix My Eyes – for King & Country

It’s Not Over Yet – for King & Country

Love Take Me Over – Steven Curtis Chapman

 

Have a good, restful sunday!

God bless,

Madeline

 

Things I Fancy – 05/31

Happy last day of May, everyone!  These days it has been really, really hot, and the house in which I reside does not have proper A/C.  But with a couple of fans, one can get by.  Anyway, here’s a list of things I have been liking these days.

The Book Thief.  This movie is seriously one of my new favorites.  If you have not seen it yet, GO SEE IT.  It inspired me to learn a bit of German. :)

Love + Toast’s honey coconut perfume.  It smells like sugar cookies baking, and I have detected notes of something that resembles vanilla.  It’s amazing.  And it’s gluten free!

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EOS lip balm.  I have the “Honeysuckle Honeydew” and “Summer Fruit” flavors.  They’re mostly natural, and also gluten free. They would have to be, or I wouldn’t be using them.  :)

As far as music goes, I haven’t been listening to anything new.  Mostly Hillsong Young & Free and Rend Collective.  Looking forward to seeing Rend Collective in concert soon, along with Moriah Peters, God willing. :)

Drawing.  The last two I drew today.

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Writing.  I’ve been dabbling a bit in poetry, and making little short stories.  Words are fun to play with.  :)  I started a new tumblr account just as a showcase for my photos, art and literature.  You can check it out if you like.

http://roseandranunculus.tumblr.com/

Reading.  Not much of a reader, other than the Bible.  But once in a while I like to pick up the good old classics, and by that I mean things like Pride & Prejudice, The Wind in the Willows, and almost anything by Louisa May Alcott.  Right now I started her book An Old-Fashioned Girl, and am in the middle of Jack and Jill.

Photography.  Oh, do I love photography.  It just takes my breath away.  I can get lost on Pinterest and Tumblr, it’s kind of sad.  Anyway, I like photos of objects, scenes, and non-posed moments.  Here are a few favorites grabbed from pinterest:

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What have you been fancying these days?

 

These Days – 05/17

Hello everybody!  It’s been a long time since I’ve last posted.  I haven’t found much to write about these days.  But a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks.  So here’s an update on my life.

During the past few weeks, I have learned so much about our amazing and great God.

I spent a few days out in the country, and got to enjoy the open space and fresh air.  Also I enjoyed being able to see the entire sky without obstructions (like buildings, etc.)!  You can’t do that in the city.  I saw some of the most amazing clouds.

I saw Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart series.  Now, I think Hallmark’s shows are super cheesy.  However, despite the cheese and unrealistic plot, I rather enjoyed it.  Does anyone else think that Jack sort of looked like Bear Grylls?  Haha :)

I took a few pictures.  Check my VSCO Grid or Instagram.

Started tweeting a lot.  Don’t worry, it’s for a good purpose.  :)  I started actually using my Twitter account for my other blog, Girls Who Glow (a blog for Christian girls), and I have been using it to encourage other girls, and have gotten encouragement myself.  Social networking is awesome!

Moriah Peters did a drawing for her painted boom box used in her video, and I entered to win it.  I don’t think I won, though.  The drawing ended yesterday, and I heard nothing.  Oh well.  ;)  Her new album is coming out on the 20th!  So excited!!!!

Remember when I had a very small (and sadly unsuccessful) design shop called Sparkel Works?  It’s long gone, but I think I might start it up again soon, God willing.

And last but not least, I am SO pumped and excited for this summer.

What’s going on with you these days?

 

A Week in the Woods

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Hey everybody!  I just got back from a week out at a cabin in the woods.  That meant a whole week without running water, indoor restrooms and internet.  During my stay, I got to take lots of pictures (you can see some of them on my VSCO grid), enjoy the pretty views and focus on my writing a bit more than usual, resulting in the birth of new novella in the works.  Maybe I’ll post an excerpt soon.  As enjoyable as the week was, I’m glad to be back at home, with all its familiarity and conveniences.  :)

Happy weekend!

These Days – 03/01

Happy first day of March!  I’m hoping that the temperatures will rise and that spring will come quite soon.  Last year it snowed until May!  I’m very excited to start enjoying warm weather and not having to bundle up before going out.  You guys, I’ve got the spring fever.  And summer fever.  I’m excited to start wearing short sleeved shirts, shorts and flip flops; to be able to go outside more often; to have more things to take pictures of; to enjoy lemonade, cool summer evenings, jet ski rides, making flower crowns… I can’t wait.

I spent a good portion of this morning making bouquets and taking pictures of flowers.  Here are two of the results.

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About a week ago I discovered the awesomeness of VSCO Grid, and made a profile for myself to showcase some of my favorite photos.  You can check it out if you so desire.  ;)   http://thefloralberry.vsco.co/

I’ve been teaching myself piano again.  So far I know the first part of “All Day” by Cody Simpson (hahaha I know, right), and the first part of the Man of Steel theme, along with some others.

Did you know that if you google the word “tilt” (or “askew”), the webpage will tilt?  Try it.

Happy weekend!

These Days – 01/31

Hello, everyone!  Wow, this month flew by quickly, didn’t it?

Over the course of these past couple weeks…

I finished my entire Rosetta Stone Polish course.  Wow.  However, I’ve been reviewing bits of it, because I’ve forgotten much of what I’ve learned. :)

I’ve been experimenting with photography and flowers a bit.

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I’m enjoying the occasional sunny days, and looking forward to sunnier, warmer weather.

I was spending time in the Psalms last night, and wow… God is so good – powerful, but merciful to those who love Him.  He is amazing.

Anticipating the release of Moriah Peter’s new album.  All I know is that the release date is sometime this spring.  Can’t wait!

Bought about half of Jamie Grace’s new album, and that’s basically all I’ve been listening to.  “Do Life Big” is one of my new favorites of hers:

O T H E R  M U S I C  R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S :

I Know  –  Meaghan Smith

Little Ol’ Me  –  Jamie Grace

My First Love  –  Jamie Grace

Run  –  Charmaine

 

Happy February tomorrow!

Thoughts on Jamie Grace’s “Ready to Fly”

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So I was on Facebook, scrolling through feed, when I saw a post by Jamie Grace (a 22-year-old Christian pop artist of whom I am a fan), announcing that her new album was available to stream (6 days before the release date, January 28) via Air1.  Okay, I was overjoyed.  I have been awaiting this album for about a year and a half.  So I excitedly checked it out, listened through the whole thing, and …wow.  I was amazed.  It was so much more than what I expected.  In her album, she sings of Jesus (haha, obviously), experiences, waiting for love, etc., and there are appearances of her sister, Morgan Harper Nichols, and Manwell Reyes from Group1Crew, in a couple songs.  Her sweet personality and love for God totally shine through her music.  I guarantee you will find yourself humming along, jamming, whatever you do when you listen to the best song ever (and no, I’m not referring to that One Direction song). :)  So please, check it out (HERE)!!!

What Happened Over Christmas

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Over Christmas, my family got together to hang out, go caroling, eat some really good food, open presents, and celebrate Christ’s birth.
In a nutshell, here are the highlights of the weekend:

(23rd, “Christmas Adam”)
In the evening we all met at some relatives’ house for soup and hors d’oeuvres, then went caroling at several houses.
We do this every year, and it’s pretty fun. We all sound pretty good together. :) Anyway, our family is so large in number that in the past, we would have to take a few cars and basically caravan to every place. That was pretty complicated, and took a while for everyone to get out of and back in the cars, etc. So my Grandpa for the past couple times rented a school bus so we could all ride together. It was pretty awesome.
It was super freezing though; possibly about -12 degrees.

(Christmas Eve)
We had a really good breakfast that consisted of muffins, egg bake, bacon and fruit, and then hung out. The uncles played Settlers of Catan, the kids played piano, Super Mario on the Wii, and whatever else kids like to do, and the women conversed often with one another. I took a few pictures and hung out with my sisters and female cousins. We watched a cheesy Hallmark Christmas special (those are the worst, acting-wise, but it’s fun to enjoy the cheese) and Sound of Music Live (what did you think of it? I personally did not like it. You can’t beat the good ol’ original one, in my opinion).

We had lunch, had our annual Christmas talent show (yeah, our family is pretty awesome that way), and sang a few Christmas carols. We had our Christmas dinner of tacos. During this, one of my uncles rigged up a virtual fireplace clip to the projector screen in the room (which was right above the real gas fireplace). It was pretty hilarious. We had birthday cake for Jesus, cleaned up from supper, and opened presents.
I got an iTunes gift card and a journal from Rifle Paper Co. I love it.

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(Christmas Day)
Some of the family left, but the remaining relatives had lunch at my great-grandma’s house. There was smoked turkey, which I was excited about, along with other things. After that, we opened presents in her basement.
Then we had dessert and went home. And that was the end of the Christmas festivities.

That evening, my immediate family and a couple relatives had supper at my grandparents’, and watched Man of Steel. It was my first time seeing it, and I really liked it.

(26th)
We had breakfast and went home.

It was a pretty awesome time.
How was yours?

Christmas

Wow, can you believe that Christmas is just a few days away?  I am so ready.  We’ve gotten a pretty good amount of snow these days, which I am thankful for.  We set up a little tree in our attic a few weeks ago. It’s the cutest thing.  It has the snazziest retro tinsel star on the top. :)

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I’m loving all the frost on the windows. (And here is my cue to start singing “frosted windowpanes…”)

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I’m also loving the tastes and smells of cinnamon, maple syrup, fresh-baked pumpkin custard, oranges and peppermint tea.

I’m enjoying listening to Christmas music.  My favorite albums/songs are:

Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy  –  Jason Gray

Soultown Christmas – The Soultown Guys?  (This is an album that a relative found a while back, and it’s kind of a hit in our family.)  :)

Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – a Norah Jones single

Britt Nicole’s version of “Jingle Bell Rock”.

This unreleased song by Moriah Peters.  I hope she records this one someday. I love it.  (If you want, you can skip until about 0:53; it’s a clip of a radio interview, so there’s some dialogue between her and the broadcaster  guy before she starts introducing her song.)

…besides that, I also like anything else classic – Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, whatever. :)

I’m looking forward to spending time with the family, caroling, playing games, opening presents, laughing, eating our Christmas taco dinner, and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. What grace that God would send His only Son to be born of a young virgin into this corrupt, sinful world, to die in our place, for our sins, so that we can be reconciled to Him; and that Jesus would be raised to life again, conquering death and evil, and setting us free. Thanks to Jesus, our sins are covered by His blood, if we believe and follow Him. It’s amazing. I wish I could make everyone understand that this is actually true, and that Jesus brings true freedom to us. He brings such joy to my life. This, my readers, my friends, is what Christmas is really about.

Have a good Christmas, everybody!

Things I Fancy – 11/24

1.  BOOK by FiftyThree & Moleskine

This is pretty cool.  I love Paper; it’s such an awesome, clean sketchbook app.  But the ability to have your Paper sketchbooks printed into moleskine books?  That’s really awesome.

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2.  Tayasui Sketches

Another awesome sketch app; pretty similar to Paper.  However, Paper is only available for the iPad, and I have an iPod Touch.  So when I found this app, I was excited.  The only problem is that the eraser is not the same color as the “paper”.  This isn’t much of a problem though, if you just undo your mistakes.

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3.  Bonlook

Bonlook is an awesome website that sells really cute, retro and hipster glasses and sunglasses.  It’s about time I got new glasses, so I think my next ones will be from Bonlook.  These are a few of my favorites:

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I just love this last pair! :)

What things take your fancy these days?

These Days – 11/5

Hello, everyone. I trust you all are doing well, and are enjoying the beautiful fall weather. I certainly have been. A couple days ago I took home a whole bunch of the most beautiful red leaves that I had ever found.

I had my first hot apple cider of the season last Friday.

We still have been doing a lot of painting. Thankfully, we’re almost done.

God has been teaching me so much, and has answered so many prayers. He is amazing.

I bought some delicious-smelling perfume recently. It smells awesome.

Excited for thanksgiving. I’m really thankful for being able to live in a relatively free country. I might do a “Thankful” post soon.

Deer Season is in a few days! More about that later.

Current favorite music:
“The Rest of Me” by Lauryn Taylor Bach (seriously, this girl has the voice I wish I had!)
“Making Me New” by Royal Tailor
“Remain” by Royal Tailor (I’ve recently kind of become a fan of Royal Tailor, as you may have noticed.)
“Overcomer” by Mandisa
“Run” by Charmaine

Also, I just saw that Jamie Grace announced the release date of her new album, “Ready to Fly” – January 28!

If you have any good (clean) music recommendations, please let me know! I’m always looking for good music.

Happy beginning of November!
M

These Days – 10/12

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It is officially starting to feel like fall.
More trees are turning red, yellow and orange. The weather is getting colder, windier and rainier. I saw my breath a few days ago for the first time in a while. Sweaters are being worn quite often. Flip flops have been traded for my faux-fur-lined moccasins, which soon will be traded for thick wool socks and sorel boots. Pumpkin custard, tea and squash have been enjoyed often. Deer season is a month away, which I am excited for. Fall is such a cozy season. I love it.

I have been painting a lot of walls and doors in our house. I’d have to say I don’t enjoy the process as much as I do the results.

I have been writing more often, and have rediscovered how fun it actually really is.

I am reading through “Wordsmithy” by Douglas Wilson. I highly recommend it to all you writers out there.

I’ve been finding holes in a couple of my dresses. The quality of clothes theses days is ridiculous.

I’ve been loving the smell of my Love+Toast Sugar Grapefruit Handcreme.
I have been enjoying iOS 7. I love flat design, and this iOS takes my fancy more than the previous iOSes.

IZZEs are delicious. My favorite flavors are grapefruit and clementine.

Current Favorite Songs:
“Ready Set Go” by Royal Tailor
“While We’re Young” by 1 Girl Nation
“All the Way” by Capital Kings
“All the Pennies” by Mindy Gledhill
“What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction (though I am not at all a directioner, I do like this song.)

Happy weekend!

Fall & Winter Excitements

Now that I have enjoyed a good summer, I’m really excited for fall and winter.  They’re quite cozy seasons, really.  I love fall and all it’s color.  The air gets colder and has this amazing smell to it, wearing flannel shirts, jeans, thick socks and hoodies are worn all the time, football season happens (I’m not really interested in football in itself, but football brings family together, and being with relatives is fun), things like pumpkin custard, hot cider, spicy baked goods and squash are made and enjoyed, the apples start tasting better, deer hunting season happens eventually (oh yeah), and then thanksgiving.  I am quite excited, let me tell you.  And then winter… snow (at last I am no longer tired of it; I’ll be excited when it happens), mittens, tea (I am such a tea drinker – peppermint & raspberry are my favorite kinds so far), cozy blankets, fireplaces, towns and houses decked out in christmas lights, Christmas, New Year, etc.  Oh yes.