Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Favorite Music Lately

      I like to say that I like pretty much every genre. Seriously. One minute I can be listening to Christian rap the next classical music and then on to country. It really depends on my mood. I have listened to the Christian songs I grew up on, hymns, folk, indie, rock (very little of that), and many other types of music. However, in these past few months as I've made more and more finds of absolutely favorite artists, the music I listen to falls into only a few genres. While I still like most genres, I don't listen to all of them anymore, only occasionally touching in on something like country.
     Lately the music I listen to falls into groups of people/ a genre. The group of people I listen to the most is Jenny and Tyler, The Vespers, and Lyric Everly (if you're not counting my obscure amount of hours racked up by listening to Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit soundtrack in the background of sleeping and school haha). In the category of Jenny and Tyler and The Vespers, I'm still trying to find artists I like. Other "categories" I listen to:
  • Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz, Christina Perri
  • The Piano Guys and 2Cellos
  • Lord of the Rings Soundtrack (far too much than is healthy haha), The Hobbit soundtrack, Enya
  • Classical music
  • Taylor Swift- I'm falling back in love with her music. :)
  • And of course I listen to Jenny and Tyler, The Vespers, and Lyric Everly- a lot.
  • Oh, and I discovered Steam Punk Giraffe, which is really good. I was bummed to miss their concert in Michigan.
     If you have any other suggestions for music you think I'd like, let me know! :D Maybe someday I'll share some of my favorite music in lists. Just recently picked up some fun list journals, but sh.. more about that this weekend. ;)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Living the Dreamy Life

     A year ago all I wanted was the awesome lifestyle of the artsy people. You know, the one where people listen to indie music, make some of their own, make art all day, and drink lots of coffee/tea. Maybe write some poetry, go to lots of concerts, and wear bohemian style clothes. Some things, like tea, I drank because I wanted that crazy eclectic lifestyle. Although, I must say tea was always in our house for when we were sick, but I have been drinking more often because I actually love some kinds of it. There's just something about drinking a cup of tea in the morning or when it's really cold that makes the day oh so much more romantic. So, drinking tea is something I actually like. As is indie music, but that's another story for another day.
     This past year has been a huge growing year of becoming myself and living a lifestyle that is amazing. I don't want to live a fun, eclectic lifestyle just to be different. I just want to be me without thinking of how others want me to be me, if that makes sense. I've noticed over the past few years that it isn't doing the things that makes life so dreamy. One can pass through life and not notice how amazing it is that we get to do things like drink tea while snuggled in a pile of blankets. ;) It's noticing those things and being thankful that brings the real joy. I've realized that though I've sought after all my life to live that dreamy life, I have one right here, right now!
     We just recently moved to a new house, and all those rooms I would dream of romantically are here in this house! We have a lovely cedar sunroom that is just a touch too cold right now, though I look forward to sitting in it lots come spring. As I wait for spring, I'm trying to use the sunroom as often as possible. I had devotions out there the other day when it wasn't quite that cold, and it was so quiet, set apart from the rest of the house. The sunroom is quite large (300sq ft!) with lots of light. :) It's exactly what I've dreamt of all my life.
     A fireplace room also adorns our house. It's so cozy down there, though the fireplace is gas so not much heat is given off. :( We could switch it to the original wood fireplace, if we wanted to, and my parents have talked about doing that. We also have a formal dining room. And I have my own room again! It's quite large, with a very big closet that stretches across an entire wall. The exciting thing is that I can have all my books in one room. All of them on display across one big wall. (sigh with happiness). So now I have the sunroom I always dreamed about doing devotions in while sipping tea, and a fireplace to read books by in the winter. Our piano is going to be tuned, and Christmas is coming up! :D
     A few months ago, I certainly felt like I was living the dreamy life, with the music I was listening to, and the art I was making. But I realize that even now I have so much to be thankful for! And I am indeed living a rather dreamy life. Homework has been going splendidly. Each night I get to curl up and read a bit more of the Inferno by Dante. I've been reading far more classics (says the girl that just took a few weeks break from them to read a bunch of YA romancs :P haha). In all honesty, I'm very excited for the coming months. My biggest focus is my school work, but I also just recently won NaNoWriMo (!!!!!!!!!!!), which I will talk about some other time. :) My job has been going splendidly. I'm slowly getting back into wearing dresses and skirts more often (I took a break from those as well, wearing jeans all the time :P).  I have been building new friendships, and spending more time with the ones that matter.
     I took a few short months break from everything I really love  (the music, thanking God for everything :(, wearing loads of skirts, doing lots of homework, reading good books, ect.), and became incredibly lazy just relaxed. It was nice, but now I'm ready to attack everything with far more vigor. It is much more exciting and enjoyable to be living with the mindset of thanking God for everything. Therefore, I will be continuing my forgotten list of One Thousand Gifts. I won't put them up here but do know that I am in the 800s, hence why I won't attempt catching up for the world (or my nonexistent readers haha).
     The biggest thing I've learned this year is that living a dreamy life isn't about doing all those things that are considered dreamy or romantic, but it's how we view life. We are so blessed, and if we only train our mind to look at life that way, then we would be rather happy. Of course, I slip up all the time and don't live according to how I know I will be happiest. Meaning I don't always live entirely for God, and as a result, when I'm not, I'm in a rather sour mood.

     So over all it isn't doing things differently, it's just the way you paint the picture, just the way you view it. :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

An Update on Life: Softball, First Day of Work, and Books

     Well, I obviously haven't written on this blog in a while, and last I did I was terribly behind in sharing my list of one thousand things I'm thankful for. So, I'm attacking this from a different way.
     Life's been pretty busy lately with work (finally begun!), school (terribly behind), softball (undefeated so far!), and life in general. Most days I wake up running and go to bed as soon as possible- which doesn't leave much time to write a blog post. Since I still want to share all the days I've written out the gifts God has given me, I will be posting them as often as I can. I often get spurts of inspiration to write up tons of post and post them in a day. Instead, I'll write up all those post and post one each day until the next inspiration hits. There will still be days where nothing goes up since I tend to have a sporadic schedule. I think for now I just need to focus on some other things before I can commit to a schedule with posting. I know I also need to give myself the freedom to post whatever I want to- even if I'm behind in sharing my list. In this way I hope to give you a bit more than a ton of posts one day and then none the next two weeks haha.
     As for a more thorough update on life: I just had my official first day of work a week ago and really enjoyed it! I love my boss! She's totally awesome and quite funny as she's a rule breaker. :o haha Plus, she likes Enya. Bonus points right there! :) Right now my room is quite a mess, as usual, but I'm trying to clean it up. Read: I need to do loads and loads of laundry. And I need to sort through papers- it's crazy how many I collect. As for school, I'm behind, but finishing things up. I hope to be done with two classes in a few weeks. I don't know how I'm going to finish lit class anytime soon. :P Another thing going on is that funding for my missions trip is rolling in. I'm so thankful to everyone that has sent money so far!!! And I ask that everyone keep praying that God continues to work in me. I've been slacking on devotions and need to pick that up pronto.
     Lately I've been missing my friend Jess W. and have felt the desperate need to get together with her to just chat. It's sad that she's in college group and I'm not. :( We definitely have to work harder on getting together to catch up. Thankfully, I have the opportunity to do so tomorrow for 8 hours. Yah! I want to catch up so bad that I'm going to miss the youth group event of going to Comedy for a Cause and instead go with her when we drop our siblings off and pick them up.
     Softball: we are undefeated still! Last Monday we had a practice and that finally got me back in the swing of things. I was feeling so off when batting up until that night when I finally got it again. Tonight I hit every hit real good. :) And I made it to first and beyond. I don't think I got out at all! Yahoo! So softball's going quite well, though I can feel that my running isn't as good as last year's since I'm more out of shape. :P
    I believe the last thing I would like to say is that I finally got my books for Battle of the Books, and I already finished one: Seabiscuit. It was quite good. The cool part was feeling the exhilaration of horse racing, which I know I could never do since I'm not anywhere near small enough to be a jockey- too tall. This book was one of the first to really make me identify with the quote that says something along the lines of readers can live a thousand lives. I feel as though I really lived the life of a jockey though I didn't. Perhaps the reason I identified with that quote only now was because I actually knew the quote. But I must say that the book by Laura Hillenbrand was worth the read despite the few shocking parts (all pretty much contained in one chapter that mentioned a building of prostitutes but thankfully didn't go into any sensual details).
    And since I don't want to end on that note I'll mention that the next book I have my eyes on is Grace for the Good Girl. I finished One Thousand Gifts, and I'm thinking about doing a book review. I'm also really excited about the A Beautiful Mess app, which I really want to get! One last "event" is that I finally picked my guitar back up after months of not playing. I was pleased to find I could play most chords, transition well enough, and could even play some chords that I had found difficult before. I also just looked up how to transpose, and I finally got it! Well, until next time! Ta ta for now!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yummy Fruit, A Car Full of Family, and Spending Time Reflecting on Life

     This morning began wonderfully with my mother making French toast for me. I had to go to the library to shadow Meri and rushed down there with only ten minutes to get there. During my walk, my shoe came untied and begged me to retie it. So on the cracked and familiar sidewalk by the slow moving river I bent to tie the silly little shoe. While kneeling there, I heard, as though for the first time, the sounds of the birds: the duck quaking and the robin singing. I heard the water slowly passing on by. And it was beautiful. Sometimes when I get so caught up in life I forget to experience the beauty of God's creation. It's something I need to work on. Just listening.
      I also wanted to note on is the section that I wrote, "A car full of family". To that part I want to say that at that time I was not happy to be in a small car full of kids all talking and arguing about where to go out to eat (a special treat from Dad). I realized that this is family, and big families bicker and argue but we all love each other. The small arguments will pass over and calmness will prevail. Soon afterwards we all easily decided where to go to eat.
      This being written a few weeks after I don't remember where we went, but now I remember something Ann Voskamp said in her book. She said that the thanks always precedes the miracle. I suppose that happened in the car in a way. I became thankful for that car full of family rather than bitter about it, and suddenly we could easily and peacefully decide where to go to eat. Not particularly what I would call a miracle, but personally choosing not to argue brought a lot of peace.
       This day I also spent about an hour just reflecting on life and writing out my thoughts and emotions. It felt wonderful, and I plan on doing it more often.

April 23, 2013
292. The smell of French toast
293. Getting things done
294. Obedience. I'm thankful for that feeling when you choose to just obey.
295. Good weather for walking
296. Messenger bags, great for walking
297. Green melon (honey dew melon)
298. Really good strawberries, the ones that out taste all the rest :)
299. Hummus- so good!
300. Blackberries oh so yummy!
301. Reflecting on life. Just writing out my emotions and what I'm thinking.
302. Clouds reflecting in the sideview mirror
303. Another dentist appointment to tell me I have really good hygiene. I was just disappointed that this year wasn't so perfect as others. Apparently I really need to floss every day. My gums are starting to feel the effect of hardly any flossing in 17 years. (yikes!)
304. Sharing a good book title with a worker in the dentist office (she saw the book one thousand gifts and seemed interested in it!)
305. Having to stop to tie my shoe. It made me hear the beautiful nature sounds that I was missing as I rushed to the library. The beautiful sound of water and ducks and robins made me stop for a moment and praise God for His creation :) Sadly, I couldn't enjoy it long since I really did need to get to the library quickly!
306. A car full of family :)
307. Big, heavy raindrops on our roof

Monday, April 29, 2013

Memories of Disney, Burnt Pizza Bagel Bites, and Sisters Who Thankfully Don't Complain

     Well, this day went by without much happening. I didn't record a list of what I was thankful for throughout the day, or better worded I just didn't find much. The day wasn't a bad day, but rather it was just one of the many good days that fill in between the really good days and the bad days. I did reflect a lot on Disney since I found a post about character interaction. :) The only true event of the day was when I was babysitting my sisters and burnt dinner. I was just thankful they didn't complain about it. haha :)

April 22, 2013
287. Seeing a bird get a worm (the bird was a robin)
288. Memories of Disney :D Just remembered being in Epcot and seeing Jasmine and Aladdin leave their meet and greet to go on break. We were in the market center and the two ran and skipped through there holding hands. They climbed over the fountain and laughed and smiled and seemed totally in love. It transformed the whole minitown to seem like we were really in the movie. It's one of my sweetest memories. :)
289. More memories of Disney- holding Prince Erik's arm for a photo (he offered it to me hehe) :) and Flynn Rider winking at me as he passed in the parade! Yep, those two are the hottest princes. haha!
290. Burnt pizza bagels
291. Not complaining sisters

Warm Sunlight, Joyful Children, and Fun Times With Friends

     This Sunday began with really enjoying the morning sunlight as I ate breakfast. Amidst all the turmoil of getting the family ready for church, I stopped and closed my eyes, letting the sun warm my eyelids. It's a beautiful feeling that I can't help but be thankful for every time. The rest of the morning went by smoothly as we all got ready for church. Today during church time I was filling in for Mrs. Richardson in the toddler room. I love the little kids. :) They are so cute! Time in the toddler room went well. Jess H. and I were the only people in there. I enjoyed working with her, of course. ;)
    When we got home, we did something we rarely do: we watched TV. Shocker, right! My family sat down and watched some dirt bike racing. :) Right after that I watched bull riding. Oh my goodness I love it! One of my favorite memories was a visit to Murray, Kentucky where a number of our relatives live. While down there we went to the town rodeo. Lots of cowboys, cute guys, and plenty of excitement from the bull riding. I must add that it was rather scary that someone had to be taken to the hospital for a neck or back injury (he went flying up in the air before coming straight down, hard). Other than that moment, the night was spectacular, and I would love to go again!
      Besides watching some cowboys compete against the bulls, I also laid down to take a nap. However, I decided I could be doing something far more productive than nap (despite being extraordinarily tired). I think that is a great mentality to have all the time and hope to keep it in mind whenever I feel like being lazy. So up I got and did various things like school work and stuff for the missions trip meeting for that night.
      There were many fun memories made this night at the meeting, but I've written about them in my list of thanksgiving. Therefore, I'll let you read them there. :)

April 21, 2013
271. The sun glistening off the water
272. Warm sunlight on my eyelids
273. Frozen puddles in the backyard, sunlight sending thousands of glittering reflections of light
274. I don't have to dress up today since I'm in toddlers/nursery (thankful 'cause I haven't shaved!)
275. Little boy saying "Woo-hoo!" to the news his parents will be here soon
276. Little girls with long, beautiful blonde hair
277. Watching dirt bike racing with my family (on tv)
278. Bull riding- it's awesome
279. Cowboys haha oh yes
280. Chocolate chip cookies made by Kaity :)
281. Choosing to get up and do something rather than take a nap (Defeating laziness!)
282. The internet is funky sometimes and won't load instructional work out videos (because I'm still lazy haha)
283. Finding 52 Lists challenge. I'm 15 weeks behind, but these look really fun to do. :)
284. Jess H. and I got the highest scores for memorizing verses. Jay then said, "10 points for Gryffindor!" Jess and I replied in sync, "Ravenclaw!" It was so awesome!
285. Acting totally mature with Tori JK! We are so immature sometimes haha
286. Tori and I scattering each other's prayer cards so that we can get the spot we want for ourselves. And stealing the other person's. It was all very funny. We were so mature. lol NOT! But it was fun :)
      I notice I am incredibly behind, but I'm trying to catch up :) Funny story about looking back at this day as I wrote it in my journal. I numbered 284 as 214 and proceeded to write 215, 216,a nd so on until 330. Today I caught the mistake and renumbered them all. Number 300, or more correctly 370, is about reaching 300 things I'm thankful for. It's quite funny. But alas, I'm not quite there in sharing with you all. We'll get there sometime ;)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm a Ravenclaw!, Chatting With Sisters, and Cold, Beautiful Bike Rides

      Well, this was a day of me looking up a whole bunch of stuff dealing with Ravenclaws. Yep, the Harry Potter house for intellectuals, aka nerds. I pride myself in being a Ravenclaw. No, I'm not always the smartest person. Honestly, I'm more book smart than street smart though. The big reason that screams "Ravenclaw!" is that I love to learn. Seriously, I get thrills from it. Just talking about science makes my blood tingle. And my normal go to activities involve reading books, looking up literary techniques, and reading encyclopedias or dictionaries (yes I have done both, though not all the way through or very often). Occasionally I'll watch a TV series like Merlin or Sherlock. Ok, those are the only TV series I've seen. Yep. I do watch movies with my family, but I don't watch TV. Ever really. The previously mentioned TV series I borrowed DVDs or hunted them down on youtube when they were up (Merlin has since been taken down).
      I love history and English literature. I hate math, but to compensate for that downfall I should let you know that it is my goal to learn to enjoy math while I am homeschooled. So yes, I am a nerd. Even amongst the nerds of a school, I am a nerd. Before leaving the public school systems, everyone figured I would be their Val Victorian. At the time, that was the last thing I wanted because you have to make a speech. Since then, I have given my first speech... to four hundred people. Yah, crazy! I enjoyed it though and didn't get nervous at all. Funny.
      Anyways, the point is that though I may not have all the terms memorized of things or the biggest vocabulary (note the usage of the word things haha), I am a Ravenclaw. Or a Gryffindor. But that's a really long story with a lot of reasons behind it. Just know that if I wasn't placed in Ravenclaw, I'd be in Gryffindor. To give you an idea of a bit of me, my sister says I'm a mixture of Luna Lovegood and Hermione Granger. Not a part and part but whole and whole mixture.
      Besides my Ravenclaw obsession today, my sisters each ended up in my room at some point and one on one we talked about really random things. Then later in the evening, we all went to McDonalds for ice cream, despite it being freezing cold (we wore gloves and scarves!). The bike ride was beautiful, and I do believe the cold heightened the beauty of the outdoors. :)

April 20, 2013
240. Snow on the ground and all water frozen
241. French toast and Greek yogurt flavored with honey and strawberry
242. Laundry
243. After most snow has melted, the grass lays green as ever, robins hop around in the backyard, and glistening white snow hugs the tree bases and fence sides.
244. Eating cinnamon tortillas with my family
245. Knowing I'm a Ravenclaw, but if I had to be placed somewhere else it would be Gryffindor.
246. My scores for each house are as follows:
             Ravenclaw- 92
             Gryffindor- 85
             Hufflepuff- 74
             Slytherin- 57
247. Being an extrovert and introvert
248. Harry Potter's influence on culture (the positive influences)
249. I enjoy history :)
250. Routine homework assignments: classes I always know what is expected of me
251. Science textbooks to cuddle up with and study for upcoming tests :) (and yes, this has been a very long ongoing joy of mine. I like to say it's the biggest proof of being a Ravenclaw)
252. Chores like doing the dishes and laundry
253. A sister that wants to help me with chores (Carris)
254. My younger sister, Carris, wearing a pretty, white, and flowy blouse
255. Kaitlyn coming to give me a hug
256. Kaity lying on my bed, chatting with me
257. Spinning the globe to see where we would live (Kaity and me)
258. Question game with Kaity in what we want to do in the future
259. The biggest $1 ice cream cone. It was easily 6 inches! My sister, my quirky little sister, Carris, ordered this at McDonalds. haha
260. Outdoor smell of leaves burning in the cold air
261. Frequent snow drifting in the air
262. Living in a world with alien-like beauty
263. Wearing my USA scarf
264. Church bells ringing
265. Cold, cold bike rides
266. Rosy red cheeks
267. The bright white moon high in the air against a brilliant blue sky
268. The colorful sunset: a bright orange and dark purple
269. Carris wanting to borrow my cassette tape iPod touch case. She is so hipster! haha
270. Finding part two of Urban Renewal in the newspaper (it's a series about what Fenton used to be and how it was destroyed and what it will be)
      I seem to have forgotten to include something in this list. During our bike ride, I was riding along and bang a few feet to my right a rabbit began hopping away. It nearly gave me a heart attack suddenly seeing a flash of fur. Carris and I laughed long and hard about it. :) It's a great memory now, but I guess it won't be in my little journal. :( Maybe I'll add it later as forgotten thanksgivings, the ones I didn't write down but meant to (there are a lot more, though not as cool as this one).

Recognizing What I Have, Living Healthy, and One Great Big Happy Family

      The day before this was awful, but this day was wonderfully light and happy. I wrote basically all I would write here in the list. I'll let the list talk for what happened in the day and an update on how making a list of a thousand gifts is impacting me. :)

April 19, 2013
223. Delicious, full breakfast :) (eggs, bacon, and pear)
224. Running the whole distance. True, it was just one street, but there were many times I felt like quitting and didn't. It's just the first day of working out/ running.
225. Healthy, delicious lunch
226. Wearing a new, pretty dress I haven't worn before
227. True Star health- a really good, free program!
228. Clean shaven legs rubbing together
229. Searching all over the kitchen for the little popcorn bowls (which were hidden across three different areas!) :)
230. Singing Mary Poppins songs with Kaity
231. Laughing at the scare I had walking into my room to find Dad in there talking on his phone (I might have screamed haha)
232. Berry smoothies
233. Hugging Carris and her hugging me :)
234. Comfy clothes
235. Soft hugs (with Mama)
236. Cracking ice as it hits cold water
237. Memories of when I was a little girl and Dad and I would compete with who loves who more. It always began with "I love you to the moon and back" and then "the sun and back" "the stars and back" and "this much!" (with my arms held out wide as could be. My dad would then put his hands back to back and say it was infinity. "I love you more than infinity." My brother and I both would participate in this. Oh how I love my dad! and childhood memories :)
238. Realizing through this journal that life is so full of happy little memories. All the things I dream of having: a quaint lifestyle, quirky and fun things I do- I have that, it's just a matter of seeing it and embracing it as my life. It's the bike rides to McDonalds for ice cream, the walks to the park, the shrieking of laughter on the tire swing with one of my best friends. It's singing songs with my siblings, hugs, purposefully working on building good relationships. Oh, yes, I have indeed acquired that life I dream of when I think of a good book and a cup of tea. I have only to find joy in each moment by being thankful. I will (and have) have my mess ups, but all the other moments in between are wonderful. (even if I don't drink as much tea as I would like to ;)
239. Stealing m&ms to eat with popcorn during a movie (we watched Mirror Mirror as a family)

Oh Weather, More Groceries, and Dinner Out (Oh, and One Tiny Weensy Major Mess Up)

      The most exciting moment of today was taking a bike ride, and right when we got home, the hard winds started blowing. Seconds after I got up the stairs into my room the storm hit. Great gusts of wind sending the rain in crazy directions, whirling around in spirals all over the place. It was beautiful to view from my window, but I'm so glad we missed it in our bike ride, though rather narrowly! The rest of the day went well. My mom went grocery shopping and brought home all sorts of yummy, healthy foods.
       I also had a break through with my reluctance to help Kaity. Almost every time I'm asked to help Kaity I dread it a bit. Most of the time I never think of helping when not asked, but I have in the past a few times. Then there are times where I know someone needs to step in, and I don't want to be that person. Only thing is, sometimes I'm the only person that can step into the middle of a fight and start helping Kaity. It's hard, really, really hard, to get involved when I don't want to, when a fight is happening. Most of the times I ignore it, but this morning God kept saying "You are the only one that can help this right now, so get up and go do it. Building relationships is more important than an extra half hour of sleep." So what could I do but get up.
       I didn't want to. Oh no. I wanted to ignore it all and sleep. You see, I had no idea how in the world I would handle Kaity when she's screaming and mad and grumpy at everyone. I totally had to trust God that he would help me respond in a Christ-like manner. In the end, all smoothed over, though I did mess up a few times by yelling at my mom (I was upset that she was yelling, though that's no excuse. I felt awful about it after).
       Later that day, when the kids got home, things went downhill fast! My mom was at conferences, which meant we were in charge of Kaity. The quick version of the story is that Kaity didn't want to do her homework and no amount of coaxing or promises could get her to leave the TV. I quickly became frustrated and angry. I let it out, it all out. Oh it was so awful! I wondered where was that patience I had had earlier in the morning! I couldn't hold myself in. And then after I gave up on her, more correctly properly removed myself from the situation, I heard Carris back talk Mom (later when Mom had gotten home). All those times she's done it have upset me, and I let them build up and that day let it loose when Mom left. Arg, it was bad.
         When Mom came home she left the house with Kaity to have the girl work on her homework away from everyone else. After apologizing to Carris (I apologized to Kaity too), Dad took the four of us to dinner. That whole evening I just felt like killing whoever talked to me (yah, it was bad). Eventually I calmed down and enjoyed dinner a bit. :) Especially the display of my incredibly dorky dad. I think the part I was most upset about the day was that I couldn't control a situation, but I think I've learned to let go and let God control it. I can't do anymore than respond in a Christ-like way. I can't blow up like I did. I need to have patience and wait for the other person to calm down, and I need to just keep responding in love even when someone else is blowing up or seriously ticking me off. So today I learned there are times to get involved and times to stay out of it.

April 18, 2013
208. Just catching the warm, breezy weather before a storm, a really big storm
209. Went for a bike ride in nice weather. I realized I better soak up all the good weather now before its blistering hot and over 100 degrees
210. The sound of crazy strong wind blowing in a storm
211. Being focused on homework
212. Getting over the hatred of doing something and doing it because I know I need to. Once I do that I can attack the situation with the right attitude. It works miracles, seriously. Lately I have been slowly getting myself to help with Kaity even when I don't want to or more, when I'm not asked. This morning she and Mom were fighting about her getting ready. All I wanted to do was stay out of it, despite knowing I could be of assistance. When I did get my butt out of bed and help, everything instantly smoothed over and proceeded to finish up quickly. How is it that I'm good at something I hate doing? Lately, I've been learning to come with the right attitude and to come. The rest I leave up to God, and honestly, I need His help with the attitude too. haha I'm just so thankful to be doing/ behaving right in at least one relationship in my life all because I've taken to heart what God wants of me.
213. Seeing the change (a positive one) in my relationship with Kaity.
214. Celery with peanut butter
215. Mom coming home with all sorts of yummy food (she got hummus and almonds and chai tea!)
216. Really quick storms. One minute dark and strong winds, pounding rain, rolling thunder, and lightening: five (or ten) minutes later and there are bright skies, soaring birds, and light clouds, and no rain. so cool.
217. Flickering lights due to storm (probably wires shaking)
218. Cute pictures drawn by Carris
219. Dinner at Pizza Hut with Dad, Kagen, and Carris
220. Pizza Hut breadsticks in marinara sauce
221. An embarrassingly dorky dad (haha)
222. Diet Pepsi

Pleasant School Days

     A pleasant school day can just be a normal one with the window open and a walk. Seriously, that's all it takes to turn a normal day into a pleasant day. :) I love to hear the sounds of outdoors even more than music sometimes (though I do need me some classical music). Today wasn't much other than homework, a walk, and church. Yet, today was lovely. My mom and I went for a quick walk that left my muscles burning. I say it was quick because we walked fast to get all around town and back before having to pick Kaity up. It was crazy. haha. Funny quote by my mom, "Speed walk without looking like your speed walking." Oh it was great to get outside. It was a very windy, chilly day, but it was perfect. We also had youth group. It went well, as usual. During small groups we all split off in groups of 2-3 to pray, and I really liked that. :)

April 17, 2013
199. The sound of water rushing out of a gutter
200. Bedroom windows cracked open to let in a small breeze
201. Itchy sweaters
202. Getting homework assignments back with 100% correct :)
203. Muscles burning during a work out
204. Kaity's hair flopping in the wind
205. Little moles scattered on my arms
206. The smell of strawberry-banana yogurt
207. Praying in small groups of 2 or 3

Family Walks to the Park and Shelving Books- Two Wonderful Things

     I love when the weather is perfect for a family walk. :) This day I didn't get a whole lot of homework done, but I did make it down to the library to shadow Meri for a few hours. I do believe I will love this job! I enjoyed putting the books back and checking them in. Someday I'll have the whole library memorized, but for now I've been running through a mental map of the library. It's pretty small so the biggest concern is where different types of books go. I've learned so much more about the library in one day than I found out in ten years! I can't wait to know where everything goes. :)
      The rest of the day consisted of a family walk to our wooden park. I got to watch the sunset (or at least the beginning of it) through the woods surrounding the park. It was absolutely beautiful! We played tag, went on the muddy tire swing, and I wrote down many small things I was thankful for. Bonus points for remembering to bring my journal! The only downside of the whole trip is that we didn't get to go on the boardwalk. I was really looking forward to the sound of the river rushing over rocks and trees. So before we left I ran down to the river and stood there for a second just listening to the beautiful sounds of nature. I'm sure if people were watching they would have thought me crazy to just stand there with a smile on my face listening.  I had to run back in order to catch my family before they left!
      It was wonderful to have those few moments of just being alone with nature. I smile even now thinking about it (and it's been a week!). One thing I really need to do is just stop and listen every now and then. I forget how much it rejuvenates me. The only other thing I wanted to mention is that my relationship with Kaity has been budding lately. It's so great to feel a difference. The only change is me, and it's been wonderful seeing the results. :)

April 16, 2013
177. Shown around the library by Meri
178. Beautiful green grass and blue skies
179. Working with Kaity on her homework
180. Sitting on the couch with Kagen and Kaitlyn. Three siblings all cozy together. :)
181. Running out to meet Dad at his car
182. "Storming" Dad's car. Kaity made a real good "attack" by jumping in the car and closing all the doors. ;)
183. Walking home from the library all alone, just like it'll be with work
184. Feeling a difference on my side of a sibling relationship as I try to respond better. It's going well. So far. :)
185. Birds on a wire
186. Three sisters on a tire swing, one brother pushing
187. Tag with the whole family
188. The sunset through a thickly wooded area, all the trees yet to grow their leaves
189. A sister full of energy- Carris
190. A daughter calling for her father to push her on the tire swing and he gladly comes and does it. (Kaity and Dad)
191. A mother watching as her kids grow up to be 'too old' to play on the playscape
192. Pink skies
193. Window reflections of a family of six taking a walk
194. A little sister really wanting to do safety patrol- Kaity
195. Running to the river to hear its beautiful sounds before we had to leave the park
196. Walking with my arm around my mom because she's cold :)
197. Linking arms with Carris and Mom.
198. The first flowers to bloom, dainty little purple flowers scattered in our front yard :)
       Yes I realize I am a whole week behind! It is my goal to at least play catch up only every other day or three not seven. However, since this blog is mostly for my own use right now I will be posting all last seven days individually as planned. So sorry for inconvenience.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Perfect Spring Weather and Trips Around Town

     Today was wonderfully warm, though a bit windy. I managed to get out twice! My mom and I went for a long walk around town to stretch our legs, and later I went for a bike ride with my youngest sister and my dad. I also found out today my official start day for work. :) All in all it was a wonderful day, though I wish I could have gotten more schoolwork done. I really enjoyed this evening as I helped Kaity get all her homework done quickly before we went for a bike ride to McDonalds for ice cream. :) The weather was nearly perfect for such a cool dessert. The only down side of this evening was the spotting of the first mosquitos (the worst part of Michigan). :( We raced home and happily went to bed (there was only one little spout before bedtime). Other than that not much happened. I do, however, resolve to get a lot of schoolwork done tomorrow!

April 15, 2013
161. Finally finding out when I start work! It's coming up so soon!
162. Walks on warm days
163. A nice, strong breeze that's not quite cold but tugs at my hair. It feels good :)
164. Clearing out my email box (yikes!)
165. Bike rides on warm evenings in the spring
166. Quick trips to McDonalds for ice cream
167. Ice cream with my chatty sister, Kaity
168. Kaitlyn finishing her homework with smiles all around
169. Going to bed in shorts, finally!
170. Seeing five cranes fly across the stormy sky while eating our ice cream as the first drops of rain drizzle down
171. Passing messages with my sister via sticky notes on doors
172. Seeing my sisters embrace lovingly (and dramatically) before they go to bed :)
173. Really messy buns ;)
174. A nearly clean room due to doing laundry
175. A drying rack that we finally acquired, and I used it for the first time today :)
176. A father that is strict and reminds me of his authority and my place to obey and honor him. He genuinely cares that I am doing the right thing. All of this I am reminded of when he came to me firmly saying that he might ground me if I can't be more responsible with my homework and that I need to send my letters out. At first I was upset. This was because I knew I was in the wrong and should be doing what he's commanding I do. Once he left I realized I should be thankful, no, I am genuinely thankful to have a dad like him, especially when he cracks down on me about responsibility. Tomorrow I will get lots of homework done!

70th Birthdays, A Great Church Family, and Beautiful Nights

     I have a really great church family. I know I've remarked how thankful I am to have a youth group focused on following God, but truly I must note that my whole church is really focused on Him. Speaking of my church, our senior pastor, Pastor Jack, just had his 70th birthday. And yes, we made a fairly big deal out of it. Everyone sang Happy Birthday, and they brought in a cake with candles on it. :) After church we all had chocolate cake, and let me tell you, that frosting was amazing! I might have had two pieces of cake. haha! We ended up standing around talking until well after 1pm: church ended at 12. When we finally left, my dad, Kagen, and I went to a Chinese buffet. That was possibly not so cool since I didn't feel like eating a lot. Even now my stomach twinges at the idea of so much food. Upon returning home I promptly went to my bed and napped for three or four hours. I got up and had dinner, and the night proceeded on.
      As night fell, I noticed quite unexpectedly the chirping of birds. Off I went to explore our backyard for the source of the sound. (I have been known to go in our backyard and just stand there smiling as I take in God's beautiful creation.) This particular night all was beautiful, albeit a bit chilly. The robins made all sorts of beautiful song as they chattered away. In the distance was the rumbling of a train on the railways and over the cold air came the loud, clear horn. Yes, it was a beautiful night, even without seeing the moon. I came in all smiles and read the newspaper, both sides up while lounging in a big comfy chair. I felt quite cool. All I was missing was a pipe. ;) Once I finally got to bed, I realized I hadn't written anything down I had been thankful for and quickly turned on my reading lamp in order to scratch down the pleasant list. Here it is: :)

April 14, 2013
151. A church that is really focused on God and following Him
152. Being old enough to be invited to Ladies Events at church. I'm quite looking forward to an upcoming one :)
153. Really good frosting
154. Naps :)
155. All the different notes a robin sings in his song in the evening. It was beautiful to step into the backyard into a world of song. I couldn't help but be drawn out there when I heard a few birds singing. Despite the cold and wind (bringing in a storm likely), the birds gave a wonderful concert that left me smiling
156. Cold, windy nights bringing in a storm (likely)
157. The distant sound of a train rattling on the railways as it makes its way to some far away place, blowing its horn loud and clear across the small town
158. Reading the newspaper. Holding both sides up while sitting in a big, comfy chair is quite fun
159. Pictures of old downtowns and town gatherings
160. Clean, soft hair

Constant Changing Weather and Waiting Out the Storm Inside Others To See the Rainbow at the End

     Saturday had every kind of weather one can imagine. One minute it was chilly but nice, the next snowing (in April!), then it was warm and sunny with white fluffy clouds, and finally it turned dark and rain began again. Yah, that's Michigan for you. No two hours were the same when I looked outside. My mother even remarked that every time she and my sister, Kaity, came outside of a store, the weather was different. They were shopping all day at tons of stores: that's a lot of weather changes. Nonetheless, the events inside were fairly peaceful. We lounged around for the most part, watched a movie or two, snacked, and watched my brother and Dad play StarCraft. My dad's mom from Kentucky called, and let me tell you that Grandma Carol can talk for forever. :) It was nice hearing her voice again, though, and we chatted about numerous things. Other than that, the day was fairly boring. We did end the day with Oreos, and Oreos always make a day better. ;) They are especially wonderful when sharing them with one's youngest sister over fun little conversations. The moment was furthered rendered special since she had moments before been telling me to leave. I waited out her anger and what do you know, but she lightened up a bit and soon we were laughing and smiling. :)
      One of the biggest things I kept thinking about while writing this list of things I find to be thankful for each day is that I was hardly ever (read never) thankful when things were stirring in the Griffith household. In fact, I hated it when a fire started raging. My youngest sister is know to be a bit crabby sometimes and Saturday was no exception when she came back from shopping all day long. I kept searching for something to be thankful for so I wouldn't get really mad at her. I found that in between her grumps she was incredibly joyful, all smiles, and it was so sweet that I was able to focus on that. :) As for all the other things I found, here's the list for Saturday:

April 13, 2013
129. Long conversations with distant grandmothers
130. Snow drifting and dancing in the air
131. Bright blue patches of sky between dark rain clouds (or snow clouds, I guess)
132. A world finally getting some color in it after days of dreary, rainy days. The colors: a fairly bright green of the recently watered grass, red of the robins searching for food, white of the snow, bright blue of the sky, dark grey of the snow clouds, and brown of the woods.
133. The beautiful oddity of green grass of the Spring with bright white of dancing snowflakes.
134. I suppose now I'm thankful for the week of rain God sent us; it livened everything up, bringing life. I just hope it doesn't rain as much anymore
135. Bright outdoors
136. Swooping birds
137. Drifting clouds
138. Strong winds that shake trees
139. Beautiful poetry
140. Quotes. Just came across this one:
             "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
by Mary Oliver          
141. White puffy clouds against bright blue skies :)
142. Writing with a pen. No, it's better called recording life with a pen. I'm recording my in the small things, in the events, in the people, in the feelings, in the everyday life through giving thanks and recording it in this journal. I'm thankful for writing with a pen. :)
143. Seeing Kaity's happy little moments in between her grumpy ones. Even on evenings where she's being incredibly grumpy, verging on unbearable, she has moments of happiness.
144. Fun, little conversations with Kaity over Oreos and milk
145. Carris' creature concoction with a bunny slipper, flowers, and who knows what else. (it was cute)
146. Kaitlyn's pink rosy cheeks, just like a baby doll's.
147. Mom combing my hair
148. For clear commandments in the Bible that relate to issues like homosexuality and abortion. Both are wrong according to the Bible and I will stand by God's Word.
149. Penguin PJs ;)
150. Cluttered desks

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Fun Day of Shopping, Pizza, and Movies

     Well, Friday was a wonderful Friday. I must admit waking up close to noon was not so pleasant, but the rest of the day was exactly what Fridays should be. :) After returning library books in Fenton (Linden Library isn't open on Fridays!), my mom and I hit a few stores. We visited FARR (I think that's what it's called) where everything is pretty cheap, and they have some pretty nifty stuff. Next we stopped by Goodwill where I found a drying rack. Finally! We have been in need of one too long! Upon returning home, I immediately wrote my mission trip letter for funding, which I still haven't finished. Later that day, my sisters left for an all-nighter and my parents went on a really long date. Yah! That meant Kagen and I had a pretty quiet house to ourselves. Read: relaxation! With permission and funding from our parents, we ordered pizza and sat down to watch not one, but two movies. We went to bed pretty late, but it was a great evening. I must admit I wrote my list of things I am thankful for after the day finished, but I still like every single thing on there. :)

April 12, 2013
118. No pain when I wore and took off my retainer after not wearing it for months
119. Laughter with my sister, Kaitlyn, for she wore two socks on one foot so she could have an extra one, just in case. haha!
120. Deep dish, pineapple-bacon pizza. yum!
121. Finishing things, more correctly, actually getting around to doing them, just doing them
122. Coffee house music
123. 50c books (or was it a quarter)
124. Days so long, I can hardly remember the beginning
125. Dinner and 2 movies with my brother. Had the house to ourselves: sisters at all night and parents on long date. We ordered pizza (which he failed to speak up that he doesn't like deep dish and he wouldn't say what he prefers over pineapple-bacon, just that he does prefer something else. The pizza we ordered was deep dish pineapple bacon. My brother loves me too much, wouldn't let me get anything other than what I liked.) We watched The Incredible Hulk and then Inception
126. Listening to my iPod with my mom in the car and singing along with the songs
127. High heels ;)
128. Perfect purses, staple purses, in really good condition at Goodwill
      This list does not follow my day chronologically at all. I do prefer when I write things down as the day goes, but all the same yesterday went tremendously well. Off I go now to enjoy the rest of today. :)

There's Only So Long One Can Stray From the Path Before They Lose It All Together

     When I do my devotions daily, I tend to live more fully for God. Makes sense: constant reminders and direction tend to keep us on the right path. Sometimes though, I drift away from my devotions for a few days. Then those few days become a week or so. And time keeps lengthening. In the first few days I'll feel a bit of guilt, always meaning to get around to them. Then the guilt is slowly forgotten, but there's still a miserable feeling that I usually shrug off as having to do with something else. Deep down, though, I know that miserable feeling is because I'm not actively seeking God but rather drifting away.
     Likewise, once I slow down on giving thanks and being content, I become discontent and miserable. Giving thanks brings joy, as does living for God. Thursday was a day that God brought me back, thankfully. I had been writing off my miserableness as being from the rain (which is indeed very miserable), but there was another reason I was miserable: I hadn't done devotions in almost a week. Awful, right! In the past I wouldn't have thought much about it, but this time, I wasn't going down without a fight. Due to an upcoming missions trip, we have to do devotions everyday. After a few weeks, it really makes a difference to take even one day off.
     I've learned that there are times where we have to choose what we want or what God wants for us. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we always want what God wants for us, but often we let ourselves follow different directions. Doing devotions daily, responding in love to my siblings every time, honoring and obeying my parents. Those are all things that I struggle with daily. It's hard to make the right choice every time, but it really makes a difference to be trying or not trying.
     This day I reflected on a lot of things. Funny enough, I wrote for number 109, "Reflections, they're beautiful". At the time I was talking about reflections on water, but life reflections are beautiful too. Often times the results of them are far more beautiful if you let them change you.

April 11, 2013
105. A flooded back yard
106. Rings forming on the water with every drop of water off the trees into the massive puddle (aka a mini pond) in our backyard
107. Big, black birds hunting for worms in the backyard. Suddenly, the light catches their feathers around their necks and a beautiful blue appears before my eyes
108. A great, big strawberry. The first bite always reminds me of summer
109. Reflections, they're beautiful
110. A father that reprimands me and points out my flaws and points me towards God's Word
111. A mother that keeps trudging, even when she feels like quitting because it's so hard
112. For the awful feeling when I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing, when I've ignored God too long, or when I'm slipping back into my old way of life or haven't been actively seeking God. That awful, sick feeling brings me back to seeking God because there is only ever one things to do: read the Bible. Life has so much more meaning when I seek God's will and to live a life in obedience and honor of Him, sometimes I forget, I wander down a path of not doing my devotions and then not caring and getting depressed. Getting back in God's Word is always what I know I need to do. It's nice coming back, and I have to thank God for the Holy Spirit which provides that awful, guilty feeling when I start to stray.
113. The Holy Spirit
114. Reminder that this journal is keeping track of what I first offer thanks to God. I pray I keep that the focus and keep giving God the thanks (for everything)
115. My mom's modest whisper, "Oops, scuse me. That might smell." after her quiet, airy fart
116. Laughter with my mom (see above incident)
117. I have put my life in the hands of a beautiful God. His power and the awe I have in the face of his creation. I serve a mighty God.

Where Does The Focus Lay?

     Wednesday was yet another rainy, dreary day for the most part. As days continue to be so miserable, it becomes harder and harder to find things to give thanks for. Despite waking up early, there were only a few things I took note of this day. Most occurred before lunch, after lunch I was tired and unfocused. However, the day was a fairly pleasant day, just not one that is described well. There weren't many specifics to the day, it just went by normally. It wasn't really a bad day at all, quite pleasant really. This day was hard to focus on being thankful and joyful in everything, but the end of the day was great. Youth group went really well. Okay, it went the same as usual, but today it was really obvious that we are all growing. As a whole, our youth group really wants to follow God. It's pretty amazing. That night kind of brought my focus back. Thankful for that. :) As for the whole day, here's the small list of things I could pinpoint to be thankful for.

April 10, 2013
100. Watching the sky turn from dark to light in the morning. :)
101. Watching hail bounce off the deck into the air two feet high!
102. Noticing the grass is getting greener, must be all the rain ;)
103. Knowing exactly what to eat for lunch, it's a great feeling and leads to a great lunch :)
104. A youth group that is striving to be more Godly, to follow the Spirit, and dig in deep in the Bible
       I'm apparently not very good at doing daily posts. I would still like to write about each day separately though and will try my best to keep up.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Day So Empty and Yet So Full!

     Tuesday not much happened. It started raining halfway through the day and rained all through the night (on and off of course). I finally came to terms that it's going to rain all week long. My window has more raindrops on it than I can count. Despite nothing happening yesterday, I found the day was quite full of little things that I truly am thankful for. :)

April 9, 2013
73. Pools of water reflecting the trees, the many trees of the small wood
74. Showers to wake me up and feel clean
75. Open windows that bring in a bit of light
76. Black and white pictures
77. Ability to make things with my hands that express something about me
78. Eraser whales ;)
79. My go to comfy zip up jacket
80. Basic PB&Js (J being jam not jelly)
81. Renew button for when I don't feel like going out to return a book since it's raining
82. Raindrops on the window
83. A dull, nearly colorless world outside. Grey skies, forlorn trees with leaves yet to grow, a single evergreen tree and one red robin are the only color in the pictures. Dead grass, a white house, leftover foliage decaying from last fall. Winter is slowly leaving, but spring has not yet come forth in her full glory. One day, the rose bush below my window will have little buds that will blossom into beautiful roses, but right now all is sleeping. The rain is bringing new life to the picture outside my window, and so I will let it rain and let the days be miserable. For soon May will bring flowers. For now I will be content with the morning song of the chirping birds and the afternoon music of rain, constant rain though always changing its pattern. One moment fast and heavy, the next light and barely noticeable. It will rain all week, my mother said. I have now come to accept that. In a way this lonely, dreary world is beautiful, despite the rain.
84. Dreaming and making plans for my blog
85. Improper table manners, oh my we are a funny family
86. Watercolor skies with all shades of blue, white, and grey
87. The "nice jacket" joke with my dad (we both have the same fuzzy guy jacket. It was too cheap and too comfy for me to pass it up)
88. Spartan cheese sticks. So good! Like mini blocks of cheese or long cheese cubes.
89. Chocolate chips :)
90. The sounds of many different kinds of birds chirping
91. Mist, shrouding the bare trees far off
92. Quick walks (a little past the driveway and back) due to sudden downpours of rain
93. A breath of fresh air, of air right after it rains. The smell of wet earth and life.
94. Learning to let little kids do it their war, especially when writing a story with very little time to do it. (I'm tutoring my sister, Kaitlyn, and it's very hard not to point out a better way to phrase something)
95. Lightening and mighty thunder, it's much more exciting than constant rain and drizzle ;)
96. Being wanted, no, needed to keep the peace. So thankful for my ability to work with Kaity on her schoolwork, despite the strain it puts on my patience.
97. Finally understanding the need to pace. A burning itch swells up, pushing you to move in order to pass time and so one paces back and forth as they wait, wait for someone to be done or wait for an idea to come. For some time I paced, until my dad said it was affecting the atmosphere of the room. Kaity could feel my impatience, and so I needed to calm down. Nonetheless, I learned what it was like to need to pace. It was always something I wondered at in books and movies. haha ;)
98. The sound of rain, it's really quite pleasant. :)
99. Getting paid to "tutor" (help) Kaity with her homework. Everyone knows all I have to do is sit there and occasionally encourage her to keep going. Of course, it usually becomes a grueling two or three hour event. Got $20 for it. Now this is something I can do (certainly over babysitting her)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rainy, Dreary Days aka Reasons to Wear PJs All Day!

     If anyone knows me, they know I don't like rainy days very much. They make me feel so tired and dreary and nothing ever gets done. How am I suppose to find things to be thankful for on days like that? It was cloudy and glum all day long. The only good thing, is that my mom totally understands the need to wear PJs all day long. :) Yes being a homeschooler, that is an option everyday, but typically I get up a dressed and ready for the day (helps make the day more productive). On days like yesterday though, absolutely nothing gets done. Not even a good book could interest me, trust me I tried. Not having any interest in reading is a bad sign you guys.
     So what did I do all day? Well, the day began by waking up at 12 in the afternoon. Yah, seriously. I usually wake with natural daylight if I forget to set my alarm, but no, there was no daylight Monday. Thus the reasoning for a late awakening. The day then proceeded with only breakfast, no lunch, and lots of movies and YouTube. Like I said, nothing every gets done on dreary days. I ended up lying down for an hour because I wasn't feeling good. And then, I went to bed early after drinking some hot cocoa. Yah, real productive... not! I did have a small portion of dinner with my family, but other than that the day was slow and lonely and dreary, much like the weather! Thunderstorms are better than dreary, rainy days. My goodness! Well, despite all that, I found a few things to be thankful for.

April 8, 2013
68. Having the right to feel tires and wear P.J.s all day due to the weather being rainy and dreary
69. Watching movies
70. Hot chocolate
71. My really big, super cozy wool blanket
72. Going to bed early so I can dream for longer before I drift to sleep
      Yep, lazy day. But finally I am caught up on sharing my lists of what I'm thankful for! Hopefully I can stay caught up! I also have plans for random posts other than these.

Some Days are Harder to Find Things to Be Thankful For

    It would seem Sunday is a day easy to be thankful for things, but when I don't focus on seeing the little things, life gets a little empty. I didn't write things down until the end of the day, and I suppose that makes all the difference. The day began by waking up late and rushing to get ready for church. The only people that ended up going were my dad, Kagen, and I. Church went by as church does. I wore a dress, which was fun. I spent most of the day watching Sherlock since one of my friends had let me borrow Season 1 and 2. Part of the day I wondered whether I should look more into possible careers in science. I love science, but I don't think I'm smart enough to go into a career of it. I suppose I'll probably stick with English literature since I enjoy that as well. The rest of the day consisted of quickly reading the chapter of a book we are reading to discuss in our mission trip meetings for Dominican Republic, then the meeting itself, and hanging out afterwards helping Mrs. H with picture boards and eating a little bit of the college group's snacks. I found a few things that I wrote down as being thankful for, so here's the list.

April 7, 2013
61. Discovering new tv shows due to friends. Most recent was Sherlock on BBC
62. Getting ready for church really fast :)
63. Finding out I am on the schedule to work at the library
64. Time with Mrs. H by helping put the pictures on board for display of youth group
65. Having so many college friends ;)
66. Yummy desserts by my friends, Jess W.
67. Coming home to a big breakfast lunch of waffles :)
       So Sunday wasn't a very full day, and it's late being put up. Slowly, slowly I'm catching up! :)

Saturdays, Days Where the Whole Family Is There and I Never Quite Get a Lot Done or Know What Happens

     I don't quite remember Saturday very much, it sort of blurred by, as they usually do. Often Saturdays are days where I work quietly in my room while everyone else fights a little with each other at some point in the day. Sometimes they fight over school work or wanting Mom (if Mom is gone shopping) or with other siblings over toys. Nonetheless, Saturdays are fairly bright days without much happening. This Saturday was no exception. The only event of the day carried on all day: my youngest sister had not yet completed all her make up work and spring break was going to end Monday. She was quite distraught over it and didn't want to do any of it. My oh my yes a prolonged event. I had plenty of happy moments in the day though and below is a list of what I noticed and was thankful for throughout the day.

April 6, 2013
50. Small touches to an outfit, like a pearl (fake) bracelet, that make me feel so pretty
51. Letting go of anxiety of the last two days: a shopping trip that felt like a fail and had me high strung and yesterday when I kept worrying my mom didn't actually want me  out all day and into the night (plans kept prolonging my day with friends). Turns out I'm really happy with what I got on my shopping trip Thursday and my mom seemed fine with my really long, really fun day with Ruth and Jess W.
52. My youngest sister embracing me with all her sad, sad, heart and letting out all her tears
53. Robins sitting on the next door house's roof with the wind ruffling their feathers
54. Laughing with my dad when he joked around. :) I love him and might possibly have the best dad in the world! ;) (I'm sure of it) He's so funny and loves us so much! xoxo
55. The color light blue
56. Crisp, fresh apples
57. Sweet potatoes, really sweet, sweet potatoes. yum :)
58. A spunky, crazy sister- Carris. She cracks me up.
59. Blistery breezes
60. Having shakes with my dad at McDonalds
      Saturday was a pleasant day. I'm glad I kept track of what I was thankful for throughout the day and didn't just catalog it at the end of the day. Yes this is another late post, but hopefully I will be all caught up by the end of today :)

Sudden Adventures

     This last Friday began with a fairly early morning and plans to have coffee with my friends. A place called Gatsby Grind had just reopened under new ownership, and one of my friends, Ruth, was working that day. Jess W. and I planned to go visit for an hour or so after she got out of work. After a few time changes, it was finally decided we would meet at one. Due to my brother's social life, aka my mom needed to pick up his friend sooner than one, I was left in the parking lot of a strip of small stores. There was a very particular one I wanted to go to: Reboot Resale, which had also just reopened under new ownership. I was there for one thing only, okay perhaps two or three. Point is, I needed shorts. Good news is, I walked out of there with a pair! (Finding shorts for me is so crazy hard, especially since I'm looking for knee length shorts for a tall girl!) So, a successful trip I'd say, not to mention the one practical shirt, one pretty shirt, one pair of capris, and one super cute skirt I picked up as well. Haha, but my mom liked it all, or at least didn't express disapproval, so it was all good.
     Another plus from going to that thrift store before meeting my friends is that I got a coupon for a dollar off a drink at Gatsby Grind. :) Perfect. Upon arriving at the coffee shop, I chatted with the owner, and she made me up a wonderful mocha, with promises to make me a new one if it was too much coffee (she was so nice). The medium drink I ordered for $2.50 was delivered in a massive glass jar! And it was absolutely delicious!
     My friends and I chatted for a while and plans began flying around the room like crazy. Soon we had plans that would delay me from getting home until after 6 pm! Already my two hour meet up was turning into an all day adventure. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful! Off we went to waste time in the nearby thrift stores until we needed to go to the movies. Soon 3 o'clock was upon us and we were off to see The Host, which was quite good except the large amount of making out. From there, our adventure took us wandering to the house of nearby friends, the Hutchs, who live by the theater and almost always have an open house. We ended up staying until 9:30. Wow, the day had been filled with one great big adventure with my friends, Ruth and Jess W. All day I was left to worrying if my mom was truly okay with it (texting doesn't always portray emotions properly). By the time I got home it was after 10 pm, but my parents seemed perfectly fine with it. After all, I had been with Jess all day, and they trusted her like a second mother. In the end I had so much to be thankful for. Here follows the list, which sadly I did not write in the moment but rather after the day's adventures.

April 5, 2013
34. A mother that adjusts her plans when mine are changed dramatically
35. Finding basic items in thrift stores- easily
36. Time to shop on my own
37. Really nice café owner, namely the owner of Gatsby Grind, that offered to make me another mocha if I didn't like that one because she knows (from a few minutes of talking) that I don't like coffee very much.
38. Really good mochas in really big cups at the Gatsby Grind
39. Unexpected coupons- saving money is always good
40. On the spot planning to turn a two hour visit into a day of adventure- how I love my friends!
41. A mom that lets me take off with my amazing college friends who have licenses
42. Movies that make me cry and melt a little thinking about romance. (went to see The Host today)
43. Unexpected visits to the Hutch's (always fun)
44. Cheering up a friend that's sick
45. Making plans and laughing with my bestest and sweetest of friends: Tori, Jess W., Jess H., and Ruth.
46. Having friends that want to plan a girls' day of wedding magazines, soppy romance movies, and lots and lots of talking (involving random topics and lots of laughter)
47. Knowing the Hutch's place is a safe, fun environment to drop in on. :)
48. Hugs with the sweetest of people, cheek to cheek embraces of true care and love perhaps with unexpected people so the hug suddenly opens the door to an amazing friendship with someone I truly do think is the sweetest of people, Ruth.
49. Parents that let me come in late since I was with trustworthy friends. :)
       Yes, this is another really late post. Do forgive me. One other note is that this is a really long post. I'm certain it's because I wrote the list of things I'm thankful for after the day was done. Hm... I really did enjoy this day a lot. And I definitely recommend the Gatsby Grind! I'm sure to go again! :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rushing, Upset, and Turn Arounds

     Today began horribly. I awoke to the information that I needed to be completely ready in 25 minutes. I also needed to use all the water I would use for the day in that time since people were coming to put in a new water system. How chaotic of a morning! At first I was upset, and perhaps rightly so, however after I was ready with the basics of the morning being dressed, brushed, and ironing done, I found myself pleasantly awake with time to spare. My anger had turned into thanksgiving for God having the water guys come earlier than expected. I realized I never would have worked as fast if the morning hadn't gone as it had. I would have slept in horribly late, felt miserable and potentially grumpy all day, and not get as much done as I did since I had to get up earlier. As it turned out I got some homework done before we left to go shopping.
     We went to Morgan's Boutique in Holly, Mi. The place was fairly good. Everything was roughly $8-15 from shirts to dresses. Therefore, the dresses were a great price, and the shirts sometimes not. The whole time we were shopping I felt disgruntled and unhappy, like we weren't being productive or I should have been alone or something. I couldn't quite place a finger on. The day got better though, and I ended up enjoying the day quite a bit. Here are the things that I found reason to be thankful for. Even now, they brighten my day. :)

April 4, 2013

I got these super cute leather boots while
shopping for just $10! They were one of
 those things I've always wanted
 and now have. 
27. Awkenings to find out the hot water guy will be here earlier than expected, in fact in 25 minutes, and we have to use all the water we're going to use for the day in that time. At first I was upset and frazzled, but I realized my quick awakening got me up earlier and ready faster. :)
28. Leftover taco soup being used as tomato soup for our grilled cheese. This meant I actually ate the soup left after dipping my sandwich in it. Loved it! Practically two meals in one: taco soup and grilled cheese.
29. Shadows and fun stories with them, like the narwhale (a bowl with a spoon in it) killing and eating my water bottle. My sister, Carris, is so crazy. :)
30. Sisters to sing songs with in the car
31. Shopping for pretty dresses
32. Ice cream with Mom and Kagen
33. Great deals, finding treasures, and checking off things I've always wanted (and now have)!
       I also really enjoyed a walk to the library and then a walk to Subway with Kagen. And of course my BLT foot long was delicious. ;) This is another post written and put up late. Do forgive me :)

Remembering the Joy Found in Parts of Life

     I almost titled this post as Suddenly I Heard or something similar since the most memorable time of today was when I went on a boardwalk with the friend I had over. We were just talking leaning on some rails watching the river float on by. After some time, my ears opened to the sound of the river, its laughter as it danced over a large rock in the middle of the river and around and over some big trees lying in its cool waters (I imagine they were quite cool since the day was frightfully frigid). The sounds were so beautiful it instantly brought a smile to my face. I tried and failed to express my feeling of complete and utter joy in hearing the beautiful sounds of God's creation. I was filled with thankfulness that God had brought those sounds to my ears. Unfortunately, I didn't have my journal with me to record my feelings with proper descriptiveness (there's nothing like writing down something the moment I think of it). It was at that moment that I realized I need to carry that little notebook everywhere if I'm going to properly log 1,000 gifts I'm thankful God has given me.
      The title of this post is 'Remembering the Joy Found in Parts of Life' because today I Facebook chatted after not doing so in months, if not years, and found I thoroughly enjoyed it. Another part of life I remembered the joy in is my friends, whom I hadn't spent quality time with in a long, long time: too long. Other parts of today I found joy in again were walks, tire swings, and cookie dough. Yes, Wednesday was a gorgeous day spent with one of my bestest friends, Jess W. So below follows my day in terms of the thanksgiving I offered to God for the beautiful images and feelings I experienced today.

April 3, 2013
17. Warm, cozy blankets to fall back asleep in when outside of them is cold
18. A pond of honey reflecting white light
19. Cold milk in old jars we use as glasses, jars that once held strawberry preserves or dandelion jelly.
20. Gurgling brooks, laughing as they make their way over rocks and trees and stones
21. Expectation of a bakery, tea room, and café in town in a pretty pink house downtown with scallop decorations (siding) and lace curtains
22. A friend to come over and make cookies with, eating lots of cookie dough ;)
23. Spinning on a tire swing, laughing like little kids with one of my dearest friends, Jess W.
24. Friends that dress crazy and cute and crazy cute that just bring a smile to my face, like Jess H.
25. Instant messaging on fb to talk about random things with some of my bestest friends and to be there for them when times get tough and let them know I care and love them and pray for them.
26. Friends! People to breath and laugh and talk with. Those that know me better than myself and treasure even the silliest of words and stories I say. I love my friends so much, and I'm so thankful for them. :)
     1) Wednesday I wish I had taken lots of pictures but unfortunately, did not. I need to do so more.
     2)Yes I realize I am incredibly behind schedule with posting daily as this is being posted on Saturday, not Wednesday. With three days of crazy, busy social life, I seemed to have been unable to find time to write this. I will try desperately hard not to do so again. Today, Saturday that is, I will be posting Wednesday's, Thursday's, and Friday's lists of things to be thankful for and potentially post today's as well. Do forgive me and thank you for understanding. I am new to blogging after all.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dancing When No One is Looking, Ice Cream, and Beautiful Mornings

     There are quite a number of things on my list to be thankful for today. Perhaps there won't be that many all the time, but today was a very happy day with beauty in every moment. No dark cloud could rain on my parade today. Oh no! I was as happy as can be due to a pleasant awakening and lots of sunshine this morning. Not to mention I accomplished quite a bit: all my laundry done (quite a hefty task if you ask me), room clean, history, reading, and more. Tomorrow I'm having a friend over, and Thursday I'm going to a thrift store I haven't been to before. I am so excited for this week. :D As for now, here are some Instagram pictures from today and the small things I was (am) thankful for:

4. Birds chirping outside my window, heralding in the new spring.
5. Clean rooms and clean houses
6. Time to dance like a fool when no one is watching
7. Seeing my siblings play joyfully outside
8. Cookies and Cream ice cream cones
9. Waking up in the morning with sunlight flooding the house and mom smiling as she makes coffe
10. Getting up in time to wave goodbye to Dad like a little three year old as he leaves for work :)
11. Wearing dresses, tights, scarves, and random jewelry and "dressing up" to feel like a girl scout all day (hehe)
12. For little girls with blonde locks smiling up at me to say that their favorite princesses are "Cinderella" and "Thumbelina". (in toddler room on Easter Sunday, March 30, 2013 during church)
13. Bright blue skies and floating, white puffy clouds
14. The sight of a lone bird soaring overhead, its wings spread out wide. It looked quite like the pretty tattoos of sparrow, though I don't know if it was actually a sparrow.
15. The happy moment when I realized I can listen to Pandora again on my iPod since it's a new month and the hours per month has started over again. :)
16. The sweet taste of bagels
(Post with the first three points on my list of one thousand gifts is here

Pure Joy in Giving Thanks Everyday

     For some months this blog has been left without any posts. I suppose I adored the name, but didn't quite know where I to take it. Every time I thought of a blog, A Beautiful Mess popped into my head. However, I knew I wasn't ready for that level of commitment considering I still have loads of school work to get through. Not to mention I most recently got a job! (I'll talk more about that later.) I've fiddled with ideas concerning fashion, crafts, book reviews, and thousands more (perhaps not that many! read ten or so more). Most of them were things I'd like to do but don't really do often, like art. I needed something that pertained to my life now and wouldn't involve crazy levels of commitment.
     It's obviously taken a while, but I believe I have found what I want to do with this blog. You see when I think of a good book and a cup of tea I think of pure bliss. Sunshine wafts down to a worn, wood table while I sit there quietly sipping my tea and marveling in God's creation. I see the beauty of the morning as the sun rises majestically over the forest behind our backyard. The vision usually has me wearing a cozy sweater on a chilly day, but that's not what I've come to realize is the part that makes this dream so wonderful. It is the quiet time with God and just listening and seeing and being in complete and total awe of the beauty of his creation.
     For about a year now I have held the small things in life in high regard. I believe it is that part of life which makes us who we are. For me it is the way I have always loved to listen to the birds singing outside my window. How I marvel at God's creation: the sky, clouds, trees, the moon, stars, snow, fall leaves, the first flower to bloom in spring outside our front door, and water trickling along in a river. Yes, it is the small things I love: cloud watching on a summer day, making dandelion wishes, driving down the dirt roads with the windows rolled down to let the wind toss and pull my hair.
     Always those little things in life have made me smile. I have loved praising God for his creation, but I never thought to give thanks for each of those small things: the cookies baking in the oven, the sweet taste of bagels, sunlight shining bright in the morning. Lately I have been reading one thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp, and it has taught me so much in these past few days. Giving thanks for those small things in life that often go unnoticed brings such fulfillment. It slows down time, makes me live in the moment (something I'm awful at), and brings joy and contentment. When I give thanks for the small things in the day, they mean so much more for now they are a way to glorify and honor God. The following verse says to give God thanks. I put two different versions because I liked the wording of one and the other helped me better understand the verse, especially concerning the second line.
Psalm 50:23
ESV "The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me:
to one who order his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!"
NIV "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me,
and prepares the way
so that I may show him the salvation of God."
      I have resolved to make my own list of one thousand gifts God has given me in a day to day lifestyle of giving thanks. I will post them each day or at least the next morning in hopes that you too will learn to live a full life of thanksgiving, though truly I suppose I do this for myself. I am keeping a notebook of it, but I hope that this holds a bit more reliability. I suppose I think, no, I know that this blog is perfect for the small insights of my days at the small things which I can be thankful for.
      Perhaps occasionally I will have other posts on top of my daily thanksgiving of the small things, but the basis of this blog, for now, will be little lists of what I noticed during the day and gave thanks for. Other posts that may show up on this blog: what I'm doing, latest events in my life, my attempts (and hopefully successes) at cooking, crafts and art projects that I happen to make, things God is teaching me, book reviews, studies on Jane Austen girls and/or guys, and other small inconsistent things. The one consistent part of this blog will be thankfulness. I hope you'll jump on to watch this crazy life and be encouraged yourself or just to get to know me. :) Below follow the first three things I am thankful for that I wrote before beginning this journey but was dying to include on the list.

       February 2, 2013 (some time ago right! but that night was so amazing!) Here follows word for word what I wrote down that day, grammatical errors, stupid word choices, and all!
Things I am thankful for:
1. I can see the moon, the beautiful orange moon resting on the horizon nestled between the scarce tree branches on this cold, winter day.
2. There is still snow to walk on, though it hugs the fence and the bases of trees, it is there: cold and crunchy, there to hold my footprints. All the yard is bare, a mudfield, save that snow God saved for me while I paced in the backyard with the cold nipping at my nose, praising God and reveling in His creation, in Nature.
3. I am God's daughter, and I can live for Him. I am able to inherit all the graces of a loving, Christian woman. He is my rock and my salvation and His Word is the spring I go to each day for life.
(Today's list will probably appear tomorrow morning or late tonight, for the day is nowhere near done!)