Saturday, December 15, 2012

'Tis the Season

It's been two busy weeks of Christmas season, and I'm loving every minute of it. I'm glad I planned for lots of time off of school, because so many things keep popping up! Like...
~A trip to see the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra perform, and then lunch at a nice restaurant. It was the most glorious performance I've ever seen!
~A day with a good friend yesterday, just catching up on life
~A "sledding" party today (actually, there's no snow... but we'll still have fun!)
~Christmas shopping - I've gotten pretty much all of my gifts set!
~Christmas with my Grandparents - they gave me the book "Joyfully at Home" by Jasmine Baucham and I am thrilled to read it.
~Setting up the Christmas tree and the various decorations around the house. Playing some Josh Groban Christmas music in the background and talking with my mom, decorating was very relaxing and fun this year.
~The monthly girls' Bible study and sleepover I've had the privilege of leading for the past four months
~Lots of chores, trying to keep up on the mess in the midst of the busyness!

Some things I'm wondering:
~When you put your back out, isn't there a way to fix it without spending $100 on chiropractic visits?
~When you are in a chiropractic appointment,why do they try to talk to you while your face is crammed in a little cubbyhole?
~Why is snow being so lazy about coming this year?
~Why does fudge require such a specific cooking time to keep it from turning into greasy crumbles?
~Is Santa Claus really my dad?

Hahaha :)

I hope you are all having a Merry Christmas season. Remember to ponder and give thanks for the incomprehensible gift that God gave us - the fullness of God dwelling in a tiny human baby, born in the lowest condition, born to die and be raised, born to SAVE. Meditate on the incarnation of Emmanuel!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I hear wedding bells!

Yes, you read that right! There is going to be a wedding in the family!! My oldest brother Erik is going to married to Patty, a lovely girl who lives just down the road from him in Kentucky. Over the past two years since Erik moved, they have become very good friends, and Erik has found her family to be a "second family" to him long before he pursued Patty. Her older brother is his best friend, and he has a close relationship with the whole family. For a long time, however, there were a lot of reasons why the two of them being together didn't seem like it could ever be a possibility. God, in his sovereignty, held off the relationship until they were ready, and now it has flourished into something beautiful. They truly have become best friends.
Erik Ryan and Patricia Machell
I knew he was planning on proposing and I've been waiting eagerly to write this post, but the proposal itself caught all of us off guard! He was planning something closer to Christmas, but then changed his mind as Thanksgiving approached, since we were having her whole family in our home for Thanksgiving. Our family likes to go around the table and say what we're thankful for after the dinner, and so he confided only in our mom and they "conspired" to have him sit with Patty in a little bench, last in the line-up giving thanks.

"Beloved, I must know: will you marry me??"
When his turn came, he told us that God has brought a lot of change to his life the past year and that he'd like to read a poem he wrote for this occasion. At this moment her sister and I looked at each other with wide eyes and jaws dropped! As he began the poem, he spoke of God's work in his life and other things, so we lost our suspicion. But then the poem changed direction and spoke of her. At the end he got down on one knee, lifted up the ring, and ended with the final line, "Beloved, I must know: will you marry me?"

These are courtship pictures - they courted for just five weeks before engagement!
Well, she said yes of course. And now we're all talking of weddings and such! Soon I will have a sister (in-law). How amazing! I am so thankful that God has given me such a brother and such a sister-to-be.

They can't seem to get enough of looking at each other!

And here are some pictures of just the bride-to-be.

And some cute faces!

Congratulations Erik and Patty! :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

54 hours

In about 54 hours my amazing friends the Neffs will be here! Yup, that means around 2:00 AM Thursday :) My grandparents will also be arriving later that day for the big dinner and an evening together, and I am totally psyched. Today we did a lot of preparation and cleaning that's been needing to be done anyway.

So here are some things making me smile today:
~A clean house
~Cute name tags I made today for each place at the Thanksgiving table
~The expectation of lots of cooking the next few days
~Our table extended by seven - yes, seven! - leaves
~Anticipating our big house being filled with fourteen people - instead of four, which has become the norm
~Warm, sunny weather - an uncommon surprise in late November
~A whole week off of school
~Hoping for a sister-in-law sometime.... soon? Hehehe :)
~New (but second-hand) clothes that are perfect - modest, pretty, and so me
~Friends coming home from college that I miss a lot
~Good music - played loud, with the windows open, or soft by candlelight.
~Chores, especially when mom and I do them together

Yes, life is a wonderful thing. Hope you all have a lovely thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


On September first I started keeping a new journal for "little things." You know, things that make up my everyday life but aren't the things I'd write about in my long, heart-pouring-out journal. I wanted to be able to record this stage in life for my own memory's sake and for the sake of my future children.

One thing I started doing was writing five things I'm thankful for every day, and trying not to repeat myself. (I definitely have accidentally repeated a few things, but that's okay =]) Then one of my friends on facebook suggested each of us posting something we're thankful for every day on facebook, and it has been so amazing to see all of my blessings and other people's, too. Today I couldn't write just one thing though - so I decided it would be a good blog post instead. :)

Today I'm thankful for...

Being homeschooled, and all that I'm studying this year.

I love my books!
My cozy couch, with the wood stove nearby and my dog sleeping next to me - perfect place to peacefully do school.

My brothers and all my friends who are soon coming home for Thanksgiving, and for texting that allows me to keep connected with them regularly.

This was 5 years ago! I miss those days!
Morning and evening devotions - a chance to start and end my day by setting my mind straight.

Our yard at sunrise
My birthstone ring dad got me four years ago

The most beautiful ring ever, I think :)
The holidays that are coming soon - Thanksgiving and then soon Christmas!!

The biggest Christmas tree we've ever gotten :)
I am blessed, and I am grateful :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Babysitting 101

Babysitting - a word commonly understood to mean a girl coming over to watch children while their parents are away for a time. If you're anything like me, you love this word, because it means an opportunity to play with kids and make money at the same time. :) I have babysat various kids since I was 14, and as I've gained experience, I've learned a few things that make a big difference in how well these adventures go. So, my fellow babysitting friends, I hope these tips help you!

1) Know the family. It really makes a difference if you know how the parents interact with the kids. What does mom do when there's a minor crisis? You know, the kid where someone bumps their head, scrapes their knee, calls their sibling a name, or drops their ice cream. Do they get a big "Awww, poor you, you sweet little suffering angel," or do they get a big, "You're fine, get over it"? Wat "fixes" it in the child's mind? A kiss for the boo-boo or a band-aid? What is typical restitution for conflict - an apology, time-out, no dessert? (By the way, spanking is NEVER a good idea unless the parents have specifically instructed you to do so.) Knowing how momma deals with these things will help you know what works best in these situations. Also, what's a big deal and what isn't? You may have your own views on parenting, but you're NOT the parent here. You do want to have a good influence when possible, but don't try to enforce your ideas. If it's not a big deal to the parent, don't make it a big deal to you.

2) Be the authority. It comes a surprise - especially to young babysitters - to find out that they are the authority in this situation. If the child misbehaves, you don't have to beg, plead, and coerce them to stop. You tell them to stop. Now, authority doesn't mean evil dictator - you don't get angry, raise your voice, show your power, or even count to three. You simply let them know their behavior is not okay and tell them to stop. If they don't, use small and peaceable means of enforcing it (like I said, know what mom does and it will help!).

3) Take time to NOT play with them. This sounds like a weird idea, I know. But the kids need to know that you aren't at their disposal 100% of the time. You may enjoy playing with them nonstop for a couple of hours, but if you ever have to babysit for a long time, it will be too much for you. So bring along a book, a craft/project, a journal, or something of that sort. At an appropriate time, let them know that you are going to go do ______ now, so they can play on their own/with each other until you're done. Even if it's just 15 minutes, it's good for them and good for you.

4) Be the leader. Often it helps if you decide what to do, instead of asking what they want to do. You don't always have to do this, but if they are fretful, indecisive, or you have several kids that all want to do something different, just cheerfully say, "We're going to do _______ now!" And lead them in it. More often than not, they'll jump right in and enjoy it.

5) Do something special. This is a great way to be a fun, favorite babysitter. Whether you're the babysitter who brings the crafts (that's me!) or bakes with them, or brings a treat, a movie, a book, play a certain game, or something different every time, it's super fun to be, well, fun! You'll love the way they look forward to you babysitting. :)

Happy babysitting! And happy Saturday :)

Monday, November 5, 2012


And now, finally, a post about CODY! With the other two brothers it was hard to find pictures of them, but with Cody it's hard to decide which picture of him to use!

A couple of awesome photos of Cody in the rain, in a cowboy outfit :)
Yes, that's my brother, not a movie star :)
Cody is 19 years old and is right above me in birth order. This past April he moved to Kentucky, to rent a room in my brother Erik's house while he works in the warehouse for the Creation Museum. It started as a seasonal job, but soon a full-time position opened up, so he moved there for good.

Cody and his good friend Verde (whose real name is Daniel but Cody never calls him that!)
Cody is very outgoing and friendly, and has the kind of charismatic personality that really draws people to him. He also has a great sense of humor and keeps people laughing with his anecdotes and witty lines.

Cody has become known as "Cody the turtle farmer" because of his hilarious facebook videos of him with turtles he has found...  he saves them from being run over in the road - haha :)
Another snapshot from one of his turtle videos - do you think that turtle looks real??
Along with his humor, he has a lot of seriousness and a heat that is burdened for reaching the lost and reviving the church. Over the past few years God has really developed his understanding and fervor for the things of God like never before.
Having devotions on the shed roof before he moved away.
 God has given him a real eye for art and an ear for music. He uses both these gifts to glorify God and bless other people, by writing songs for the Lord and giving very artistic, heartfelt gifts. If you'd like to check out his music, visit his facebook page here.

Down by the Ohio river (a couple blocks away from their house) playing music.
He loves kids, and his vision for his future is to become a husband and a father, living a simple, honest life as the hardworking leader of his home.

This past March at our Wednesday night prayer group, with all the kids flocking around him!
I'm so thankful for Cody and the influence he's had on my life, which continues to grow. I miss him a lot but it's exciting to see God directing his life as he grows into a godly man!

Brother-sister date on his last visit home in August.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Yes, you knew it was coming,and here it is - the next post in my brother-post trilogy!

Enjoying the beautiful fall weather last year. And I just love that shirt, don't you?
Zach is my second oldest brother. He's 21 years old and lives at home, and he worked a job at a potato farm this summer. He threw rocks off of a conveyer belt of potatoes for 11 or 12 hours a day - in the burning sun, cold wind, sometimes even in rain or sleet. Coming home every day he was soo tired!I don't know how he managed to do it.
In front of my dad's 350 Z sports car - so cool! :)
Zach is generally introverted and keeps to himself. But he does enjoy getting together with one of his closer friends, or meeting with the men of the church to pray and encourage each other in the Word.

In the plane, headed to Florida this past April
He aspires to be a writer someday, and his written a book (not published) and some blog articles. He has strong beliefs about a lot of topics and enjoys writing about them.

Where you can usually find him - on his laptop in his room.
Science and facts interest him. He loves anything that gives him information about life, the world, how things work, and how things can be improved. In fact, he's often suggesting ways we can be more effective and efficient just in how we manage things at home.

Gigantic rock in front of our church's gymnasium - it's a great place to sit. :)
Since he's not outspoken, many people think Zach doesn't have much to say. But if you get to know him, you'll find out he is witty, passionate, talkative, hardworking, and full of a desire to be godly. So to anyone reading this who knows our family personally, take the time to get to know him! :)

From our family pictures at Christmas 2010

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


So I was just realizing that my most popular posts are about my brothers, (except Cody's didn't make it on there... weird! I promise it's definitely NOT because he's not interesting! lol. It's because many of the people who read my blog already know him well and wanted to know Erik and Zach) but those posts are very old! Looking back at them, I realize that my brothers have changed a LOT since I wrote those posts, so I decided to write new ones. Hope you enjoy them!

Let's start with Erik.
Headed to church during a visit home to NY in May. And if you're thinking, "He looks like a move character, but I can't figure out who," the answer is Mr. Tumnus from Narnia :)
Erik is my oldest brother, who just turned 23 on September 26. He moved to Kentucky just over two years ago, where he works full time at the Creation Museum as a web editor. He edits the grammar on all sorts of things, as well as writing and designing things. He's even been published in a book - he wrote 2 chapters in a book by Answers in Genesis about supposed Bible contradictions. He also write many of the devotionals that AIG puts online. So if you "like" Answers in Genesis on facebook, keep an eye out for devotionals by him! :) (And if you aren't familiar with Answers in Genesis - GASP! Get familiar right away!! It will seriously help your apologetics and your faith.) It's so neat that he is contributing to such an important ministry.

And the two of us together :)
How would I describe Erik? A lot of words come to mind. Mature. Weird. Country. Smart. Wise. Silly. Deep. Intuitive. Over all, he is a person who has a lot of depth and ideals, but is also very, well, weird. :)

Erik and Cody at a staff meeting at AIG... I can tell they were really paying attention ;)
He is very "guy" and he loves guns, woods, hunting, and all that. He also is somewhat of a cowboy, except that he lives in a small town and doesn't have much interaction with horses. But his dream is to live on a family farm someday.

I LOVE this picture! So handsome :)
He's not shy (as in, afraid to step out and meet people) but he's not a loud, outgoing personality, so it takes a while to get to know him. Once you do, you'll find out he has a lot of love for people and is a great listener, always helping people bear their burdens. He enjoys talking and having quality conversations with people, not just making small talk. You'll also find that he does the weirdest, most random things sometimes! And he's very intelligent. He has a thirst for knowledge and a capability to understand things that definitely surpasses mine.
Celebrating his 23rd birthday with his "second family" in Kentucky. They live down the road. Patty (left) is 17, Autumn (right) is 12, and they also have Gwen who is 16 and Otto (Erik's best friend) who is 19. Candy (center) is their momma and their dad is pastor of Erik's church. They are such a wonderful family!!
The "2" was falling down and his face is PRICELESS! Hahaha love it!
But, you don't have to get to know Him at all to see that he has a love and passion for Jesus Christ. He has a lot of understanding and wisdom about scripture and doctrine, but what's more, he knows the Lord personally and walks with Him. He is an amazing brother and sets an amazing example to me!

I love this guy! :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Veggies out my ears!

Hello again, everyone. Yes, I know, I've been away for almost a month. But I tell you the truth, I have been really busy! I have missed blogging, and I mean to start up more faithfully again.

So what's up in my life? Well, school is still going well, but I won't bore you with the details. But what I love is that I only have to do school four days a week and even for those four days I'm done by early afternoon.

Something that's been keeping me really busy lately is VEGETABLES! Yup, that's right. :) Our family purchased a food share with a local organic farm this summer, where we get to pick up a big load of vegetables and fruit every Thursday. We have learned so much about selecting the best produce, and cooking, storing, and preserving all of it. I feel like I'm so much more prepared to feed my future husband and children someday. :) So anyway. We've been getting a lot of veggies each week all summer, but lately we've been getting a TON because we get unlimited pick-your-own on some things, plus the final motherload of the harvest in everything else. It takes my mom and I all Friday and even into Saturday just to process it all!

Here is everything we got this week:
7 enormous head of cauliflower (I mean, this is a SCARY amount of cauliflower!)
5 ears of popcorn (really cool!)
15 kale leaves (which are pretty big!)
7 squash (or is it squashes?)
8 watermelons (thankfully they aren't too big!)
4 quarts of apple (so awesome! I'm thinking applesauce)
10 green bell peppers (I ate a whole one today just for a snack!)
2 Banana peppers (which are actually quite boring raw... I expected them to be sour.)
8 Sweet Italian peppers (They taste pretty much like normal peppers)
4 yellow bell peppers (I have nothing to say about these but I don't want them to be left out...)
3 jalapeno peppers (I can make delicious Mexican recipes!)
6 collard greens (which I'd never had before this year)
1 colossal head of cabbage (I hate cabbage...)
A bunch of potatoes, I don't know how many (We love potatoes... they're so versatile)
2 heads of garlic (We've been getting two a week all summer - that's a LOT!)
1 quart of onions (I love the flavor that onions add to pretty much anything!)
A couple of pounds of carrots (They're pretty bitter, but that's okay)
1 heaping quart of sweet potatoes (Yummy!)
Fresh dill (Good for potato salad!)
Fresh parsley (Nothing like fresh herbs!)
Cutting celery (It's like regular celery, but thinner, stronger flavored, and more herb-like)
1 bunch of green onions (A nice, mild flavor)
1 bunch of radishes (Mexicans eat them as a side to most any meal, and I like the habit =])

YIKES! Isn't that a scary amount of vegetable? To add to it all, we had a ton of tomatoes leftover from last week that just finished ripening, and some kale and peppers, too. So today we got done all of the kale, tomatoes, cauliflower, and leftover peppers. In addition to having delicious healthy food all summer, we now have a freezer full of healthy food to last us through the winter. I'm so blessed by this abundance!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The romance of life

It has been a busy and glorious fall! My education this year, as I said previously, has been exceptional because I get to study God's word as a large part of it. I've been busy with a million other things besides school though. And I thought fall would mean the start of life being more quiet and settled - ha! Somehow life has managed to fill itself up with friends, events, appointments, etc. We visited my brothers in Kentucky a couple of weeks ago, and it was delightful. Most of our time was also spent with the Neffs, our friends who live a couple of blocks away from Erik and Cody. They have a son and three daughters and our families have a BLAST together! We only stayed for a weekend but we crammed in lots of talking, laughing, taking walks, playing games, and a variety of other wonderful things, just enjoying each others' company. I miss everyone and can't wait to see them again. :)

As of yesterday, there are 8 weeks until the week of Thanksgiving. That should mean 8 weeks of peacefully spending my days studying and learning, sorting the closets full of clutter that have crept up on us, and attempting to get enough rest and rhythm to life to regain my sanity. I've brainstormed up yet another new schedule for my daily life (yes, I'm quite the planner) and though this is only day 2, it seems to be working very smoothly and hopefully will continue to do so for the next 8 weeks. I love it when life follows the peaceful cadence of happy home life.

The weather here is simply indescribable. New York is definitely at it's best in September, in my opinion. It's getting very cold, but the sunshine is so bright and strong that every afternoon it's perfect for taking a brisk walk. The sky is a deep blue that isn't seen the rest of the year, and the evening sun casts a lovely autumn gold over all of the greens, reds, oranges, yellows, browns, and purples of our country homestead. It's the kind of weather that inspires songs, poems, and prayers.

It's little things like these - weather, home, friendships, family, work, school, and everything we do and have - that make life romantic. And you know what? I think I'll go enjoy the romance of life right now!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Every good and perfect gift

There are many times in life when God gives us things we don't want because they are better for us than what we do want. In fact, I think we all recognize that this happens multiple times every day, and sometimes seems to be continual for seasons of times. But every now and then He gives us a ton of little, wonderful blessings and makes lie just what we want. These interludes are rare, but that's why they are so incredible. I want to praise and thank my Lord and Lover for giving me all of the little things I have been desiring lately! Like...
~My bedroom. It's so pretty! I have a pretty quilt and lots of nice decorations, and it feels so relaxing and refreshing to walk into my little haven! Of course, it's not all that great really, (I never got around to redoing my room this year - the quilt is one I had when I was a little girl, the decorations are mostly garage sale trinkets) but it's still beautiful and I'm so thankful.
~Good food. We purchased "Fruit and Vegetable Share" with a local organic farm this year, and each week we get TONS of fruit and veggies - so delicious and healthy, and mom and I get to spend lots of time in the kitchen together preserving them.
~School. This year I get to spend most of my time reading theology, scripture, Christian books, and listening to incredible sermons! How cool is that?!
~The weather. As I have said, (probably too many times!) I LOVE autumn weather. The sky is intensely blue with brilliant white clouds doused in bright sunlight. The leaves are still richly green, interspersed with hues of red, orange, and yellow. Each morning the soft grass is covered in sparkling frost that melts into dew. When it rains, it pours torrents of cool drops to refresh the earth. The air is cold and crisp. Ahh I could go on... but I won't.
~Recreation. I've been able to do a lot of the things I love to do lately - bake, cook, clean, (I know that doesn't sound like recreation to some!) watch good movies, read books, journal, talk on the phone, visit friends, and so many other nice things.

Most of all, though, what delights my soul is that the holy, terrifying, worthy, perfect God of all creation has become my intimate friend and lover, and sees me as perfect through the righteousness of His Son. He answers my prayers and speaks to me through His word. He is so good, I can't fathom it!

I know that as life goes on, God will mercifully give me seasons of discomfort and not getting my own way, to sanctify me. I know I will not always be in sweet closeness with God, I'll stumble and fall and have to be picked up again. But I'm not sad to know that life won't always be this perfect. I'm just amazed that He would see fit to give me even a short time so sweet as this. <3 p="p">

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


School at last! I'm usually pretty excited to start a new school year, even though summer is delightful and I never entirely want it to end. I started my SENIOR YEAR (How exciting!) yesterday and so far it's going very well. It's been a bit of a challenge to give up sleeping in, having a lot of leisure time, and not having to think to hard unless I chose to, but it's all excellent for my character and I enjoy it, too.

So here is a little look at a day in the life of me right now:
It's 6:55. A catchy ringtone alarm on my cell phone startles me awake, and I sneak downstairs in an attempt to not wake up my brother. After grabbing a snack and a glass of water, and donning some work-out clothing, I excercise for half an hour, then of course shower and gorge on whatever looks good try to have a healthy breakfast (since it is better breakfast month!). If I didn't dawdle around, I should have about an hour to spend with the Lord, reading my Daily Bible, a passage from Philippians, and a few pages of Stepping Heavenward, and some prayer time. At 9:00 I either spend the morning doing chores or working on preserving vegetables with my mom, or else start school and do chores in the afternoon.

At any rate, I do some of those chores and some school, somewhere amidst the day. Since it is my last year, I don't have many real classes left, so I have the privilege of reading a systematic theology book (it is so huge - I don't know if I'll ever finish it!) and studying to obtain my certification as a biblical counselor with NANC. (Soon I'll have to start writing essays... ohh that's the scary part.) Also, I am still learning Spanish and piano, which are lots of fun. In a couple of weeks I will be starting my history class and physics. But over all, I don't have too much school to do and I have time for homemaking, journaling, drawing, phone calls, friends, and other misc. blessings.

I am just SO excited about this school year!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Happy Holidays... in September!

Happy September everyone! It is official fall in my book. :) So, did you know that (according to a website I found) September is:
  • Classical Music Month
  • Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Fall Hat Month
  • International Square Dancing Month
  • National Blueberry Popsicle Month
  • National Courtesy Month
  • National Piano Month
  • Chicken Month
  • Baby Safety Month
  • Little League Month
  • Honey Month
  • Self Improvement Month
  • Better Breakfast Month 
So here is what I'm hoping to do this month:
~ Listen to some of the collection of classical music CD's I own
~ Write letters to my wonderful Hispanic friends in Arizona
~ Wear some cute, cozy hats (I do so like hats!!)
~ Re-read a lovely little book I have about etiquette, courtesy, and manners
~ Play piano, as always!! :) And listen to piano music - I have a couple of CD's of just piano music, too
~ Eat chicken! We have some in the fridge right now :)
~ Have honey in my tea (whenever I drink it, which isn't often) instead of sugar
~ Re-listen to all the Paul Washer sermons on my iPod, so as to grow spiritually, which is the best way to improve oneself
~ Eat healthy breakfasts more often

Yes, there are a few of those I'm skipping because I don't know how to celebrate them.

The neat thing is that I have been wanting to do some of these things anyway! It is going to be a good month, I can tell already. And, each day there are special days to celebrate. You can look at them on this website. I love any opportunity there is to celebrate and have fun!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Pain has purpose

"Man has a claim on God, a divine claim for any pain, want, disappointment, or misery that will help to make him what he ought to be. He has a claim to be punished, and to be spared not one pang that may urge him toward repentance; yea, he has a claim to be compelled to repent; to be hedged in on every side, to have one after another of the strong, sharp-toothed sheep dogs of the Great Shepherd sent after him, to thwart him in any desire, foil him in any plan, frustrate him in any hope, until he comes to see at length that nothing will ease his pain, nothing make life a thing worth having, but the presence of the living God within him; that nothing that nothing is good but the will of God; nothing noble enough for the desire of the heart of man but oneness with the eternal. For this God must make him yield his entire being, that He himself may enter in and dwell with Him."
~George MacDonald

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Ahh it has been an amazing summer. And a VERY busy one, too! I've been so busy that I basically dropped out of the blogging world without any warning - and I am sorry for that. I missed it a lot! But now, after a month in Arizona, a week at Teen Leadership Conference, a week with my brothers home, and who knows what else making life crazy in between each of those, life is beginning to wind down.

Having had such a full summer, I couldn't even hope to tell you everything that has happened. But I will tell you that it was amazing. I learned a lot, and changed dramatically. I never knew one summer could change a person so much! And, I'm left with hundreds of pictures and memories to cherish.

But now - moving onward, looking forward! My favorite season is approaching! Just the mention of the words "fall," "autumn," and "September" give me such excitement! So here are some things I've noticed (and like) about this end-of-summer sort of time.
~The school year is about to begin.
~The adventures of summer are becoming fond memories.
~There pace of life slows down.
~Homeschool families are lesson-planning, buying curriculum, and getting energized for the new year.
~The leaves are changing.
~The weather, the changes, and the "ending, but beginning" feeling make me more thoughtful.
~The weather's getting cooler.
~The color scheme of the wildflowers has switched to deep purples, oranges, and golds.
~I can wear jeans, long skirts, hoodies and sweaters again.
~The harvest inspires delicious baking.
~I can't wait to get back to the books.
~I get to enjoy keeping the home, cooking, baking, etc.

Oh, I can just feel it in the air! And it feels good :)  Happy autumn, everyone!

Sunset near our house - taken by Cody Lutz

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hey from Arizona!

Hello from Arizona! I could make this post really long, but I don't have the time or the brains to right now. I'll tell some highlights.

I'm working with Minor League baseball players from the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians most weekdays, teaching them English. Most of them are from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Taiwan. It's fun and sometimes kind of crazy, and I've gotten a chance to witness to the Taiwanese translator! PLEASE pray for him - he and his wife have heard the whole gospel, are seeking to read the Bible, and need the Holy Spirit to regenerate them and enlighten the eyes of their heart. I have also gotten close with the Marquez family, and I will miss them a lot when I leave! It is hot here, and I'm not used to city life. At all. I did not realize what I country girl I was until I came here! I miss my green, scenic, peaceful home and life, and friends and church. But I love the people here, too! My Spanish is improving and I have made friends in the church.

It is time for me to go now, so adios!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A day in my life

I've had a wonderful day so far. This morning Mom, Dad, Zach, and I went to a favorite restaurant in town  for breakfast out as a family, which we haven't done in many years. It ate so much I didn't eat lunch, and still haven't at 3:27 PM! After two enormous chocolate chip pancakes smothered with peanut butter and drenched in real maple syrup, accompanied by four satisfying sausage links and a glass of milk, who wants lunch anyway?

When we got home, mom and I had a nice talk in her bedroom, with no other distractions and no multitasking. Just... talking. I cherished it, knowing that we won't have another like it for a month. Soon she had to go off with my dad to get a vehicle checked, so I steeled on the couch with Anne of Green Gables (which I have been devouring for the past week or so), intending to read three chapters and leave the last four for tomorrow. But when you're only four chapters away from the end of such an enchanting book, it's awfully hard to put it down! I finished the whole book. The beginning of it is sweet, and it makes you laugh, but the end is truly beautiful. I cried, of course - I always do at those sort of things!

Finishing the book, I went outside to wander around and think and pray. I decided to pick some daisies and make a chain for my hair, and the closest place where the daisies are growing is in the ditch by the road. So, I stepped into the deep ditch beside our dirt road and started picking the nicest looking ones, and stringing them into a crown. As I did, though, I noticed some tiny, wild strawberries growing! Oh, there is nothing quite like wild strawberries. Cultivated ones are alright, but the wild ones are so much sweeter. And they look so much prettier, springing up here and there amid daisies and buttercups, instead of in unimaginative rows.

So I traversed the rocky ditch up and down, wearing a heavy denim skirt and a too-big t-shirt since all my other clothing is packed and a tiara of daisies which looks much less romantic than it sounds. But I didn't care if someone did drive by and think I looked silly, because it felt delightful. That's the nice thing about where we live though - people rarely do drive by! Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of deerflies, and two of them discovered my presence and would not leave me alone. When I had eaten all of the berries I could find, I came in here to write this post, and so I sit, filled with a delightful peace about life. To think that in 48 hours I will be boarding an airplane by myself and heading off across the nation... wow! It's thrilling.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm back

Hello, folks.

These past few days I have sort of freaked out and have gone back and forth as to whether or not I want to continue blogging. I delted my blog, then un-deleted it... twice. In the end I have finally decided that I will keep it and continue, because I do love blogging. But I also created a new, private blog to share my personal thoughts with my close friends. Good solution, I think.

As an update of what's been going on in my life the past few days: I have been very sick but God is helping me to get well incredibly quickly - just in time for my trip to AZ. I leave next Monday, so I have been packing and preparing as much as possible, along with going nuts because I want to be completely packed, but it is not practical or sensible for me to be yet. :P Tonight I am going to slice 3 quarts of strawberries and then read as much of Anne of Green Gables as I have time for. Oh, it is such a fabulous book!

So, that's everything I've been doing. Hope you all have had a lovely weekend! And by the way, during my freaking out time, I stopped following most of your blogs. So if you have a blog and I was following it (or I wasn't but you'd like me to check it out) would you drop me a comment and say so? Thanks!

Friday, June 8, 2012


 Okay, so, I just accidentally deleted the last two posts I wrote. Ugh! Sorry about that if you were trying/wanting to read them!

By the way, I was just thinking. What is the purpose of my blogging? For one thing, why am I sharing my life with the whole internet world? That's kind of freaking me out. And for another, is there anyone who is even reading this and wanting me to continue? If you are reading this, could you just drop me a comment so I know who you are and that you stopped by today? I would love that. And if you have any answers about why I should blog, or why it is not ludicrous to tell the whole world about my life, please enlighten me.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

This "Modesty" Thing.

Modesty. It's a word we all know. But there are so many different opinions about what it means and what exactly we have to do to be modest.

What do you think of when you hear the word modesty? The first thing that comes to my mind is wearing clothing that covers you appropriately. But that, in fact, is not the true meaning of the word.

By modern definition, modesty means:


  1. The quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one's abilities.
  2. The quality of being relatively moderate, limited, or small in amount, rate, or level.
Basically then, it means not being proud and conceited. Also, it means using moderation in what you do.

I also really love the Webster's 1828 definition:

MOD'ESTY, n. [L. modestia.] That lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one's own worth and importance. This temper when natural, springs in some measure from timidity, and in young and inexperienced persons, is allied to bashfulness and diffidence. In persons who have seen the world, and lost their natural timidity, modesty springs no less from principle than from feeling, and is manifested by retiring, unobtrusive manners, assuming less to itself than others are willing to yield, and conceding to others all due honor and respect, or even more than they expect or require.
2. Modesty, as an act or series of acts, consists in humble, unobtrusive deportment, as opposed to extreme boldness, forwardness, arrogance, presumption, audacity or impudence. Thus we say, the petitioner urged his claims with modesty; the speaker addressed the audience with modesty.
3. Moderation; decency.
4. In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.

Wow, there's a lot there! From this definition we discover that modesty traditionally has meant (to sum up) humility and moderation. If that is the meaning, it applies to all of life - not just what we wear. We should be modest in our demeanor, and in the way we speak. Modesty is part of being a servant.

So how does this apply to our clothing? Well, if we have truly modest spirits, we will wear clothing that does not draw attention to us or our bodies. We will not wear a myriad of gaudy accessories, or flaunt of bodies with revealing clothing. We won't wear clothing that causes people to stop and stare. And, as the 1828 definition says, modesty also means chastity and purity of a woman. A modest woman won't wear - or do, or say, etc. - anything that is not chaste and pure, or that would compromise the purity of anyone else.

So now, what are some practical suggestions for how to do this? First of all, pray. Pray for God's help, pray that the Holy Spirit will teach you all things. (John 14:26) Only by Him is it possible to find out how we should live. (Eph. 5:9-10) Then, be willing to do what is best for others, not just what you (as a female who does not naturally know anything about the needs of men) think is right. If you have godly men in your family, ask them how you can dress in a way that would not cause men to stumble. Obey your parents. And if you don't have godly men to turn to, praise the Lord for the internet! =) We have some great online resources for finding out what is modest to men. Here is a link to a survey about modesty from over 1,600 Christian guys!

I hope this is helpful to you. Keep seeking God, and striving to serve Him and others in every way - including clothing!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Slump.

Okay, before I write this post I thought I'd let y'all know that I have been trying to accustom myself to more spicy food and hot sauce since I am going to work with Mexicans this summer, so right now my mouth is on fire. AHH!! More water, please!

Anyway, back to seriousness. Have you ever been in a slump? You know, one of those times when everything feels hard and hopeless. first you just feel bad, then it starts to show up in your actions. It's seen on your face. It's visible in your posture and heard in your tone of voice. It carries into how you go about your normal life, and it can even affect your health. This past weekend I was in one of those slumps, and it was no fun.

And you know what I found out? It can be overcome very easily and quickly. The number one reason for these slumps is doubt. Our thoughts cause our actions and our feelings. The feelings didn't just pop out of no where, they came because I was thinking wrongly. The solution to the problem isn't to magically change my feelings, it is to consciously change my thoughts. I must recognize that I am believing lies about God's character - I am believing that He's not really good, not really sovereign.

So here's the simple solution: Think right. Do right. Feel right. Repent of believing lies and not serving God with joy like we're commanded to, and cry out to God to help you do what's right. Then when you think something that's not aligned with scripture, replace it with truth found it God's word. Then act on it! And then, guess what - the feelings will follow!

Now this solution was simple, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It takes a while for the feelings to catch up with the thoughts. You have to start thinking and doing right before you feel like it. But I promise you, there is joy when you do!

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" 2 Cor. 10:4-5

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Part Three - Silver Springs

 Part three! This was my FAVORITE day of the vacation. We went to an animal park called Silver Springs which had lots of different animals in natural settings. the park was very well kept and extremely nice.

The front entrance :) The whole park was very pretty and the weather was absolutely perfect
Being eaten by an alligator? Oh yes :)
Pretty bird! He was mean though - he kept trying to bite me!
They had several animals shows where they brought animals out and had them perform for you. This bird could say all sorts of phrases and made us all laugh a lot!

Turtles sunning themselves on a log :) Cute, aren't they?
WE GOT TO HOLD A BABY ALLIGATOR!! He felt pretty cool. Don't worry, his mouth was fastened shut! My mom was really loving it, can you tell?
They gave tours in glass bottom boats. There were two routes and we got to go on both of them. Our captain on the first ride was very fun and informative, and the second had beautiful, clear water! Very cool :)
They also gave a jeep tour through another animal section with bears, llamas, emus, and other neat critters. We go to see emu eggs! And a zebra striped jeep? I think yes! :D
Isn't this the coolest carousel ever? I was bummer that i didn't get to ride it, but I did get lots of pictures :)
There were a TON of alligators!! They had literally hundreds. This was the biggest, and whoa, he was HUGE! I love how he's smiling for the picture.
White alligators are so cool. I had never seen one before. He looks like he's just a plastic model floating in the water, but they assured me that he was indeed real :)
Ahh, the beautiful palms and lovely, well-kept grounds. I loved being able to enjoy greenery and blue skies in April! NY is not very pretty in spring. God allowed us to go at the prefect time.
I got a souvenir - a soft, plush white tiger! He is so snuggly. I named him Libre, which is Spanish for free, because he is a free spirit. Haha!
Oh, I had so much fun that day. if I lived down there I would definitely get a membership so I could go more often. God's creation is so glorious and I am always refreshed when I get to spend a day enjoying the outdoors.