December 28, 2013

And I've Never Been to Boston in the Fall

It's true!  In all my trips out East, I've not yet flown into the Boston Logan Airport when it was fall.  My rights to sing the song of The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything remain intact.

As we are all aware, it is Christmastime! And Christmastime means a trip to visit my Knight.  It snuck up on me, but in the last few days it's started to sink in that I'm going to see him again very soon and I am so excited!  We are hosting an annual family Christmas party at our house tomorrow then I'm off bright and early Monday morning, so my bags are packed and waiting in my room.  (And not just waiting to depart for the airport, but waiting evilly to trip anyone who dares walk through our room at night.  No matter where I stick it, someone falls.)

As far as packing goes - I am curious.  When you pack, do you pack an extra outfit (or two, or three)?  If so, what's your reasoning?  Dating back to... whenever the first time I packed my own clothing for a trip, I have always packed an extra outfit just in case I fell into a river, a lake, pond or some other body of water.  I never have (at least, not yet), but I know that if I don't than I will.  You can never be too careful!

December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

The great thing about being Catholic (though I would assume there must be some Protestant denominations that do this?) is that I can write up a Merry Christmas post today and not be late.  Because as we all know - Christmas is just getting started!

If you are wondering whether or not Christmas began to feel like Christmas after my last post... yes, it did.  Not as much as what could be hoped for, but it did enough.  We had a wonderful time with family on both sides and while the absence of my grandfather was keenly felt, we had plenty of laughter to get us through the day.

Christmas really is my favorite holiday.  It's so festive and beautiful, and as a gift-giver in both my receiving and giving love languages, there is no better time of the year!  I did get some great gifts, including the last photo that was taken of my grandma and grandpa that you can see up above.

So please tell me! What is your favorite part of Christmas?  Did you get any particularly awesome gifts this year?  I'd love to hear about it!

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2013

'Twas the Night Before the Night Before Christmas

Or, Christmas Eve Eve, as my siblings and I like to refer to it.

The cookies are baked, the gifts are wrapped, our tree is brightly lit. Christmas is just around the corner.  I'm putting the finishing touches on a secret Christmas project for family members who shall not be named (but of which you will hear about later because I'm really quite proud of it).

And yet in spite of all of that, I'm feeling like the first few verses and refrains of the song "Where are you Christmas?"  Christmas just isn't Christmas this year.  At least not yet... I'm holding out hope that things will change and tomorrow night when we get together with my grandparents and I sing for Midnight Mass, everything will feel more joyful and alive. There's supposed to be such a thing as miracles, right?

Christmas must be here somewhere.  I guess I just haven't found it yet.

December 13, 2013

Photo a Day Challenge December: Family

Today's challenge is "Family" and tonight my family was all at home for the evening!  With everyone growing older, going our separate ways and our increasingly busy schedules, getting together doesn't happen as much anymore.

But tonight we are all home and enjoying a movie, Arthur Christmas, in fact.  It's an absolutely delightful tale, and if you are searching for a film to add to your list, consider checking it out!

December 12, 2013

Photo a Day Challenge December: Green and A Beautiful Sight

I ended up skipping on Tuesday, because it was wrapping paper and there was no wrapping paper.  And then I cheated a little and ended up taking (unintentionally) yesterday's photo today and today's photo yesterday.  Let's start with "Green"

Last night I got together with a college friend that I'd somehow managed not to see since last Christmas.  We met up at the local Starbucks and had a lovely time catching up and chatting over a white hot chocolate (hers) and a caramel brulee latte (mine).  There was a sad lack of anything green during my day yesterday, but luckily for me that's the color of the Starbuck's logo!  (I ended up taking this photo this morning because no, I hadn't gotten around to throwing out the cup yet.)

Today was "A Beautiful Sight".  I always love pulling into my driveway, no matter what the season.  I suppose I'm biased, but I think I have a really pretty home.  There is the line of trees, and when you pull around to the back there is a small pond in our neighbor's back yard.  We got a fresh layer of snow that morning and with it being so cold my siblings hadn't gone out to play in it much, and it was all smooth and perfect.

December 9, 2013

Photo a Day Challenge December: Ornaments and Something You're Reading

I was too lazy yesterday to upload my photo and post to this blog, so I'm combining and doing a two for one post today.

Yesterday's challenge... Ornament(s)!

I thought at first that this would be a challenge, as my family doesn't set up our Christmas tree until the Saturday before Christmas.  As luck would have it however, yesterday was the Santa's Breakfast at church, and following Mass my sister #4 and I talked the rest of the family into attending.  The ornaments you see were the lovely centerpieces on the table.

Today's challenge looked to be another challenge... I took "Something You're Reading" to mean a book, and I am not currently reading anything.  My sister #2 pointed out that it could mean anything that I'm reading, such as a webpage or a street sign, but sister #4 again came to the rescue and asked if I would take her to the library today, which I did, where I found these:

Two books titled The Baker Street Translation and The Brother's of Baker Street, the second and third books in a series about two brothers who move into 221 Baker Street and find themselves receiving mail addressed to none other than Sherlock Holmes.  They look intriguing and as far as I can tell it doesn't seem to be imperative that I read the first book first, so I grabbed them up eagerly!

December 7, 2013

Love is an Open Door

Spoiler Free!
Let me start out by saying - see!  I can do blog posts other than just photos with a few lines of text!

After that, I will start off again by saying that you know I loved a movie when I walked out of the theater and said "I think Belle just got demoted from the position of my favorite Disney Princess."  And if you know me, you know that I think thought that Belle was by far the best Disney Princess ever.  My love for Belle has gotten a case of cold feet however (hahaha - see, that was supposed to be funny.) because Elsa and Anna are quite simply, the best princesses Disney has ever created.

Frozen is loosely based off of the fairytale The Snow Queen by Hans Christen Andersen, and ended up being far different than what I was expecting.  (Don't bother watching the trailer or reading the movie theater synopsis).  Critics of Disney films who say that Disney gives you unrealistic expectations of men - yes, this one does too, but not how it usually happens.

I went to go see Frozen with my siblings, and that was the perfect company to go see it with.  Rather than focusing on a romance or running away from the evil queen, this tale centered around two sisters who loved each other very much.  The plot was strong, the characters were all very well developed and each stood firmly on their own.  The music was amazing, with a beautiful (what I'm assuming was some sort of Icelandic) chant at the start of the film, violin and pipes in the score and vocal songs ranging in various musical styles from your typical Disney musical, to quirky upbeat, to absolutely breathtaking and - dare I say - chilling ballad.  We laughed quite a bit and were on the edge our seats more than once.

Else and Anna really were pretty much perfect in every way.  They felt very real, and very relatable.  Elsa and I definitely had that eldest siblings bond going on, and while she received a little less screen time then Anna did she was still a well rounded character and you got a strong grasp of her fear, anxiety and struggle to just be normal.  She was elegant and strong

And Anna.  Oh Anna.  Has any Disney Princess ever felt more down to earth and just awesome?  She's awkward (That line in "For the First Time in Forever" - "Don't know if I'm elated or gassy But I'm somewhere in that zone") and so innocent and hopeful.

And together, they are just the best.  (Oh, this scene!)

If you go into see Frozen wanting the standard Disney Princess plot of damsel (most of the time) in distress meets handsome and charming prince/guy and after they go through some adventures and danger realize that they are in true love, you won't find it.

*Side note - hilarious bit in there between two characters (guy and a girl) about the girl wanting to marry a different guy right after she met him, and this guy thinks it's just stupid*

What you will find is a story about family, about trust, about the power of the love between sisters.  So go and see it.  In the mean time I will be listening to the soundtrack on repeat that I bought immediately after leaving the theater and planning out a music video for when/if it ever finally snows around here.


Photo-a-Day December Challenge: Bright

Credit where credit is due, I have my sister to thank for today's photo idea.

Today's challenge was "Bright" and what could be brighter at this time of year than the beautiful light of an Advent candle?

December 6, 2013

Photo a Day December Challenge: Shopping

Well, I didn't end up doing any Christmas shopping today.  I do most of my stuff on Amazon, and it wouldn't work out too well to take a photo of my shopping cart.  Luckily for today's challenge however, my sister and I had to stop by Wal-Mart on our way home today...

I picked up some craft supplies for some DIY Christmas gifts and a pie for tonight's dessert.  We forgot to take a photo while were in the store, so this happened instead.

December 4, 2013

Photo-a-Day December Challenge: Joyous

The theme of today's photo is Joyous.  While I know that the sight soon to come before your eyes in anything but joyous for many people, I decided to go with it none the less:

Yes, this is my little cubicle at my internship.  Right now, working in an office is all new and exciting to me.  I'm only there two days a week, and it makes me so happy to walk in, smile hello to people (who are all so nice, and the office is really a cozy and warm place) and sit down at my own little space.  As an introvert, it's perfect.  I get my tasks for the day, and then I'm left on my own to work on them.  I don't run out of things to do, I have my coffee or tea, I listen to music on Pandora or simply sit in the silence.  For me, it is joyous.

December 3, 2013

Photo-A-Day December Challenge: Red

Today's challenge is something that is red.  I'm at school all day today, and there isn't a whole lot that is red... my first shot was of a red tube of lipstick I had in my purse, but then I saw that I still had this:

The tag I took from the Giving Tree at my church, with a sweet little drawing of the Nativity from one of the children at the Kindergarten.  I've always loved the Giving Tree, who wouldn't want to help bring a little joy to those in need right in your own community?  My family has always picked a tag each year, and now that I can afford to do so, I'm joining in by picking out my own tag.

December 2, 2013

What I'm Into (November 2013)

I'm trying out a new link up y'all.  If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you'll probably have figured out that I am NOT a dedicated link-er-upper.  I've pretty much given up on weekly link ups, other than the occasional here and there when I feel inspired, and the monthly link ups haven't gone the greatest either because I forget they are coming up and then I see them in my newsfeed and think "Oh! I should do that" and never get around to it.  So there is no guarantee you will see this one more than a few times, but I thought it looked cool and wanted to give it a shot.  Without further ado...

What I'm Reading
Oh, what have I been reading?  About a month ago I was reading anything I could get my hands on, but this month life has seemed to be conspiring against me with the result that my reading has been sadly minimal.  I've been working my way through Nicholas Sparks new novel, "The Longest Ride"... which had to go back to the library today, so now I don't have anything to read.  Guess I'll have to make a trip to my bookshelves and pick out a re-read!

What I'm Watching
On Netflix - Pysch, How I Met Your Mother and one of these days I'm going to get around to finishing catching up with Castle.
In Cinema - (Not yet, but hopefully soon!) Frozen, Thor 2 and Catching Fire

What I've Been Up To Lately
  • A weekend trip down to St. Louis for the Bears vs Rams game with the cousins.  Alas, the Bears lost.
  • Seeing four of my siblings perform in a version of "A Christmas Carol" titled "The Conversion of Scrooge".  It was an incredible performance and I wish I could have seen it more than once!
  • I started an internship as a part of the Meetings Team with a medical association, which is AWESOME.  I am loving working there and having my own little cubicle to decorate and call my own.  As I have been explaining to people (or attempting to), there are Meeting and Event Planning Companies who are hired by corporations or associations to do all the planning for them; many smaller groups will go this route.  Other associations or corporations, like the one I am working for, have a team as a permanent part of their staff.  
  • Attending the bridal shower of my very dear friend Elenatintil.  As it turns out, her fiance originally lived very close to me before moving out by her and this past weekend her mother-in-law through a beautiful Downton Abbey themed shower for her.

  • For the month of December, I'm participating in a Photo-a-Day challenge and plan on sharing each day's photo on my Pinterest board as well as here in a blog post, along with a little blurb about why I photographed what I did.  Starting off with yesterday's photo:

This photo was taken last night after we'd gotten home from a long day of two performances.  I was sitting there and realizing that I'd forgotten to take a picture earlier in the day, so I picked up my camera and took a photo of MY VIEW - which happened to be the four siblings who were in the play.
  • Today's photo is Your Favorite Holiday Film

What movie other than "It's a Wonderful Life"?  I've loved this movie since the first time I saw it years ago, and for a good many years it has been my families New Year's Eve tradition (admittedly one that has been somewhat forcefully implemented by myself.)

What I'm Following (Blogs and Interesting Links Around the Web)
  • My Knight's new blog A Study in Moxie.  I suppose I may be biased, but he really is a good writer and I've always enjoyed reading his thoughtful posts over the years on past blogs.
  • Leigh Kramer: I found her through... A Modern Mrs Darcy, I believe.  When I first found her, I spend a good hour browsing through past posts and I liked what I found.  She has some very thought provoking things to say, and she did a "This is How We Met" series a ways back - which I LOVED.  You should go find it and read all the stories.
  • Because of THIS POST, and yes the caps were intentional, I think I am adding It Just Gets Stranger to my reading list as well. Because seriously, THAT POST was awesome and oh so true.
What I'm Looking Forward To
  • CHRISTMAS!!!!  Need I say more?
  • Visiting my Knight after Christmas.  I can't wait!
  • Christmas shopping... my new internship is located just down the road from not one but TWO malls (one indoor and one outdoor) and on my drive I pass up Michaels and Target and Home Goods and Hobby Lobby and - well, for a country girl who is used to driving past corn and bean fields, having so many places to shop scattered oh so conveniently along my route is incredible.  The highlight is a big, beautiful Barnes and Noble very close to my office building....
  • Christmas music.  I held off until the day after Thanksgiving, and now all stations and CDs are fair game!  Hurray!
  • Sherlock is coming baaaaaaaack!!!!!!!! It's only been TWO STINKEN' YEARS.
  • The Hobbit part 2 is coming out oh so very soon!
And that is all that I have been into!  Want to share what you've been into?  Stop by Leigh's blog and share!

November 29, 2013

Be Thankful for ALL The Things!

I know today is the day after Thanksgiving, but that's okay.  I hadn't decided to write a blog post yesterday, and I even if I had I wouldn't have had time to write it up anyhow.  So therefore, it is coming today.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.  I have a wonderful, wonderful boyfriend who is there for me through thick and thin and does so much for me.  It's hard to believe that it will be two and a half years together in January already.  How the time flies!

He doesn't like it when I try to tickle him ;-)

I have a great family - a bunch of great siblings that get a long pretty well (for the most part ;-) ) and awesome parents who are supportive of everything I do.

I have been blessed with many friends, both ones that I have grown up with, and ones that I have met along the way.

I am a member of a parish that I feel a part of, and not one that I just attend for Mass.  There is a great community there, and some pretty incredible people... the first of whom is Jesus ;-) 

And last, but not least, I am very thankful for the gift I have been given of my extended family.  I am lucky to have some pretty awesome cousins, aunts, uncles and the blessing of being given the gift of spending 21 years with all four of my grandparents.  It's a gift that I know not everyone has, and the fact that I had that long and that we all live so close is something I am very grateful for.

This wasn't meant to be a comprehensive list (I could turn that into a book!) so I'll close by saying that there are so many people and things in my life that I am thankful for, and I am truly blessed for each and every one of them.  Happy Thanksgiving!

November 15, 2013

On Blogging and Being Me

I've been toying with the thought of this post for a while, and by happenstance, tonight seems the appropriate night to write it.

As it turns out, I entered the blogging world exactly six years ago today.  It's one of those moments where I can remember it perfectly.  I'd wanted a blog for a few weeks, had finally convinced my parents to let me, and after a frustrating few hours of trying to figure blogger out and calling up the dear friend of mine who had inspired me to blog in the first place, my first blog was live.

My first blog was entitled, "Lady of the Rose", after a poem I liked which I have since forgotten, but in the poem, the rose was the symbol of the Infant Christ.  A few years later I decided that I needed a title change, and became A Rose in Bloom - named after a book by Louisa May Alcott which I very much enjoyed.  I had that blog for four years, at which point I went away to school and the blogging bug faded away for a year.  When it came back, I decided I needed something new.  I'd changed a lot, and my old blog, as dear as it was to me, just didn't fit any more.  Rather than entirely revamping my old blog with a new name, new look and new layout, I started this blog instead.

I think it is the introvert in me that has always enjoyed blogging so.  I tend to be quiet in a crowd, I am not the best communicator, I don't share my deeper and more thoughtful thoughts well.  In the setting of a blog, however, I am safe.  I can talk and share and feel free.  I can take as long as I need to to formulate and edit what it is I am trying to say.

As much as I love blogging, there is one thing that I have struggled with for all the six years I have been blogging and that is being content with being myself.

You see, I am a people pleaser.  I want people to like me.  I want lots of people to like me.  I don't talk all that much, so when I do talk I want people to listen to me.  I have dreams of having hundreds of followers who comment on the majority of my blog posts and have discussions with me.  Dreams which have never been fulfilled.

And I've struggled with that.  I've struggled with that a lot.  I've looked at other blogs out there that are popular and that everyone visits and reads and I have thought "Why? What am I doing wrong?  What can I do to make people like my blog just as much?  How can I imitate all these other blogs?"  College played a role in my blogging hiatus, but the other big factor was burn out from trying to become the ideal blogger, the blogger with a vast following.

Then, not all that long ago (okay wow, over a year ago), I read a blog post by Kelly from "This Ain't The Lyceum", where she talked about blogging and why she kept at it... and let me just quote what she said.

I registered a domain and designed a site despite not being entirely certain what I would write about on a regular basis. Would people really want to keep reading about how much I suck at homeschooling and all my ramblings about the ugly, vintage items scattered in my house? How many photos of a stranger’s children dressed in mismatched clothes can people look at? But yet, I kept going. I wrote stuff so I wouldn’t forget it and I wrote stuff because reading it made me laugh(and maybe snort/ geese honk laugh.) I poured my heart into a few posts when I needed to, and people responded with prayers and words of encouragement. I even finally got around to organizing all my history notes and posting them online for others to download and use.
I’m still a small fish in a large pond, but unless I’ve got one or two really persistent stalkers, I racked up a nice amount of page views. I keep telling my husband I’m writing because I like it, not for approval or to make money, but certainly, knowing other people are reading and enjoying my work is satisfying. 
*emphasis mine

"Yes," I thought, "that is why I am blogging.  I am blogging because I like it.  I have to blog because I want to, not because I want everyone else to want me to."

Once I decided that, blogging became fun again.  I love getting comments and I break out in a huge smile each time I get a new follower but those are bonuses to blogging now, not the purpose behind my posts.  I am blogging because I am me, and me likes to write. Me likes to write about the things I enjoy, and the things that make me want to write - Me doesn't blog about topics that might get other bloggers finger's moving.  Because that isn't me.

I've wondered on a few occasions if I should try and have a more unified theme for this blog, if I should start writing more reviews and things, or Catholic living, or something.  But no, that's not me, at least not right now.  Right now I am a girl who loves to write, and wants to write about the randomness of life.  There is no theme, there is no unity, there is just me.

And I'm okay with that.  Here's to at least six more years of blogging!

November 14, 2013

Come Stalk my Shelves

I don't know about you, but I love looking through the books on other people's bookshelves when I go to visit.  If not openly, then through covert glances as I oh so casually walk by.  And apparently, a lot of other people like to do the same thing, based on the awesome link-up over at Modern Mrs Darcy

Above, you can see the little bookshelf that is exclusively mine.  Not all of my books fit on it, but I bought it when I was living on campus so that I could bring my favorites with.  Now that I am home, it resides on my desk and houses the books that do not fit on the other bookshelf in my room.  Well, in my closet.  But we aren't there yet.

I think you should be able to click for a larger image

Lets start with the front row... we have the first three Temeraire books, a Nicholas Sparks, some Dorothy Sayers that I've never read because I have yet to come across the book that comes before them at the library and when I ordered it it never came in.

With the front row removed for easier viewing, we have all the Jane Austen books in one volume - an awesome 16th birthday gift from my uncle! The Hunger Games, more Nicholas Sparks.... erm.. a lot of books about dating and relationships.  I have six, only 5 are on the shelf at the moment, and not sure where the 6th one is at. On the ends since you can't see all that well we have the Anne of Green Gables Companion, and the Big Book of Doctor Who, or something along those lines.  The exact title escapes me.

Now we move into the closet.  Yes, the closet.  I share a room with my four sisters, and this used to be in the middle of the room forming an island with two dressers, but when we moved the island to give us more space the bookshelf ended up in the closet.  Which is a logical place, I think.  Most of these are mine, save for the books on Chamberlain, Narnia, Pirates of the Caribbean.  Can you tell I like horses?

My beloved Lord of the Rings!  And Sherlock Holmes... my, looking through these photos I'm seeing so many books that I need to reread.  I kind of forget about them, tucked away in the closet behind my clothes.  Some of these belong to sisters, but most are mine.

Aaannnd.... with the exception of The Girl in Blue, these are all my books as well!  More Tolkien, Jeff Shaara's Civil and Revolutionary War series and another Dorothy Sayers.

Moving to the second bookshelf in the closet (that's right, we have two bookshelves in that one closet), we have the Phantom Stallion series, Catholic Reluctantly and The Fairy Tale Novels series + David Copperfield and a book of Civil War stories

I don't think any of the books on this shelf are actually mine - believe it or not, my sisters do own some of the books!  There's Princess Diaries, Inkheart and Inkspell, THE KINGS THIEF WHICH IS AN AWESOME SERIES

And last, but not least, the Redwall shelf + a book of Grimm's fairytales.  

This has been a helpful post for me as well, when people ask what types of books I like to read I am usually at a loss.  Now, however, I can safely tell them that I enjoy pretty much anything British (as evidenced by Tolkien, Sayers, Austen, Jacques and Sherlock Holmes), fairytale related works and books about horses.

Now I have shown you MY bookshelves - go on over to Modern Mrs Darcy and let us know what is on YOURS!  (and feel free to drop off your link in my comments if you decide to join, I'd love to stalk your shelves!)

November 13, 2013

The Gift of Family

When I was young, I thought everyone had a family like mine.  I thought families where the aunts and uncles and cousins and sometimes grandparents lived out of state or far away were the oddity.  For your birthday you got to celebrate twice.  One time was your actual birthday, the second was your family party.  If you were unlucky then your birthday fell on a weekend and the two were combined, so you only got one celebration that year.

Everyone got together with both sides of their family for Thanksgiving, for Easter, for Christmas.  You'd do breakfast/Christmas Eve with one side, then for dinner/Christmas Day you'd celebrate with the other side.  You all went to each other's football games, plays, performances, special events.  Everyone lived no more than a 45 minute drive from each other, and you saw everyone in your family a lot.  Most of your second cousins and so on lived in the area too, so you'd usually see them all at least once or twice a year for other things such as First Communion or Christmas Parties.  That's what everyone did, and that's the way I thought the world was.

Then I grew older and began to realize that it was my family that was the oddity, and not the norm.  Most of the people I knew didn't have sixteen grandkids on just one side of the family.  Quite a few of them didn't have grandparents the lived close by, and almost none of them had all four grandparents living still.  For birthdays and holidays, they didn't get together with all the extended relatives.  Either they lived out of state from the rest of the family, or most of their family lived scattered around the country.  Their families were not like my family.

As I have come to realize this, I have come to see how truly blessed I am to have the family that I do.  Of course we have our differences and our disagreements and things come up that strain relationships from time to time.  But we have still all stayed close and stayed family.  When we get together there is a lot of laughter, and a lot of fun.

When my grandpa went into the hospital suddenly last month, because we all lived close we were able to be there.  We all camped out in the hallway outside of critical care (the hospital staff was awesome enough not to make us go sit in the waiting room) and where there for each other as we watched and waited for those two days before my grandpa died.  During the week that followed, we had the blessing of being together, and being close, and being able to be there for each other and I looked around at my siblings, and my cousins and aunts and uncles and the boyfriends and girlfriends -  who truly are a part of our clan and not just the significant 'others' - and everyone's extended relatives who came and where there for us, and I thanked God for giving me such a big, wonderful and loving family.

With my family, I've been given a wonderful blessing.  They are the greatest people that I know, and I am proud to be one of them.

November 6, 2013

Oh for the love of Coffee

It's been a rainy, dull, dreary week here in the great Midwet.  I mean, Midwest.  When I'm not grumbling about the utter lack of sunshine, I am deciding that this is good cozy blanket and blogging weather and after long pondering (ie. simply no ideas), I have decided on what to write a post about.  I opened up our jar of coffee beans, was greeted by the wonderful scent and was inspired.  After all, I would not be a true blogger did I not mention Coffee at least once!

I am a late coffee drinker; I was your stereotypical get-to-college-and-realize-you-can't-live-without it convert.  I started out with what many (ie. my father) would not term real coffee: a frappe.  Oh what joyous sugary mug of calories.  Best part - it smelled like coffee but didn't have the bitter coffee taste.  Before all you devoted coffee drinkers faint in horror, never fear. From there I worked my way down to only a bit of cream and sugar.  On some days.  Most days there's two spoonfuls of sugar.

Coffee is a marvelous thing.  I know that some drink it for the caffeine jolt, but honestly it's never done a whole lot to wake me up in the mornings.  Unless I drink it on an empty stomach.  Then it gets my heart going like a rabbit's and my eyes shoot wide and I feel like I'm about to go into a seizure.  At night - I can get away with drinking caffeinated coffee at night, provided I have it no less than an hour before I go to bed.  Studies have shown that when I drink coffee after 7pm, it loosens some wiring in my jaw or something and I have the potential to talk your ear off.  As a normally quiet and reserved person, this has shocked some people.

In all honesty, I drink coffee for the smell.  Even when I couldn't stand the taste, I adored the scent of coffee.  I could walk into a coffee shop and sit there for hours and hours on end.  If there was a super cute coffee shop near by (Dunkin Donuts does not anywhere near count... and I haven't been able to justify working for Starbucks. They all are drive ins around here anyhow), I would be begging them to hire me and forget this whole meeting and event planning degree.  So yes, the smell and sometimes there's nothing like a good strong cup of joe.

Also, the mugs.  Somewhere I developed a love for coffee mugs and I've started up a collection.  Not just any old mug can make it in - it either has to be different than your average mug/pretty/meaning attached.  I don't know why, I just love coffee mugs.

My beautiful mugs! Left to Right, Front to Back: Christmas mug from a friend; Mt Washington mug from my Knight; Actually a Tea Cup from a friend; Owl from a baby shower; Bible Verse from a friend; $1 from Michaels; Sesquecential Mug from NCC; NCC mug; TARDIS mug from my Knight
Coffee is wonderful.  Coffee is pretty much the greatest beverage out there.  Oh Coffee, what would we mere mortals do without thine aide and blessing?

And that, my dear readers, is my ode to coffee.  My mission complete and my duty fulfilled, I return now to my glass of Oktoberfest.

November 1, 2013

Strange Things Happen OR A Short Story in Honor of Halloween

 by myself
(not in any way, at all, based on the school I go to. not at all.)

 The heavy door of the women's bathroom swung shut behind the girl. Her wedge heels made soft thuds across the tile, the sound echoing in the empty room. Brushing back a long brown hair from her face, she ducked into one of the stalls to grab some toilet paper to blow her nose, balancing her laptop and textbooks in one arm. Stupid allergies. Of course she hadn't brought any Kleenex with in her purse today. She'd ended up fighting a runny nose all through her speech class.
She paused mid sneeze, thinking she heard a sound. Nothing. Shrugging, she finished and tossed the toilet paper into the garbage can. Her movement activated the water faucet in the sink nearest to her and she started. Gosh, she needed to stop being so skittish! She worked at a haunted house for crying out loud, she should be used to noises and - wait, what did her job have to do the water in the bathroom. What was up with her? All day she'd been jumping at noises and sights out of the corner of her eyes.
Rolling up the sleeves of her purple sweater, the girl stepped up to the sink to wash her hands and double checked her reflection in the mirror. Assured that her eyeliner was intact, she reached for the paper towel dispenser and froze. The water faucet at the opposite end of the row of sinks was on. How on earth.... she was the only one in here, wasn't she?
The girl licked her lips nervously as she dried her hands. She watched the water streaming into the sink, and started backing towards the door. The water turned off. Then it turned back on again and so did the next one closest to her. Then the next one, and the next, each one getting closer and closer. She panicked and whirled to the door. It wouldn't open.
Her heart pounding now and the sound of water faucets turning on getting closer she pulled as hard as she could. The door gave way and opened, and as she darted out of the bathroom she could hear the water shut off.

The boy pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and checked the screen.
Hey sweetie! Want 2 meet me in parking lot at T?
Sure. B rt there. He texted back, shoving his heavy pre-med textbooks into his backpack. The sun had more or less set all the way, but he decided to walk around to the parking lot outside rather than cutting through the buildings. He stood up from the table in the cafeteria, stretching out before shouldering his backpack. The cell phone went back into the pocket of his faded cargo pants and he headed out into the evening.
The night air was still mild and a gentle breeze brushed across his dark skin. In the distance he could hear the last of the summer's crickets chirping and a frog croaking down in the pond. He followed the brick lined path through the set up of tables and chairs and along the small grove of trees in the center of campus.
He stopped in the path, across from the small white school house that sat in the middle of the grove. His head tilted as he listened, brow furrowing in puzzlement. There it was again. It sounded like...
Yes, that was definitely giggling that he heard. He looked around to see if there was couple sitting out at one of the picnic tables or a couple of girls walking down the path. No, no one there. But he could have sworn her heard the sound of laughter. Wait, there it was again! It was – child's laughter?
His mouth suddenly dry, the boy turned and looked again at the old wooden school house. There were no lights, no sign of movement anywhere, but he was certain that the laughter had come from that direction. And there it was again. A little louder this time, and unmistakably the sound of a child laughing. Of children laughing.
There were no children around.
He took a deep breath, scratching the stubble of a beard on his chin while he steadied himself and then quickly began walking away, willing himself not to run. There was the sound of laughter again behind him, and he bolted off into the night.


Ah, the night before Halloween – it never failed to be crisp and calm and suspenseful, as if it was holding it's breath in anticipation of the mischief and ghosts of the day to come. Her cheerfully grinning jack 'o' lantern earrings bobbed up and down as the young woman walked briskly out of the school and into the night. In her mind she was going over again all the elements of her costume for the next day.
Bat wings, check. Ears, check. Black pants and top, check. Oh, she couldn't wait to see everyone's costumes!
She pulled her keys from the pocket of her teal plaid coat, clicking the button to unlock her car. The headlights blinked on and off in a welcoming response. Sliding her faux leather laptop bag off her shoulder and juggling it with her waterbottle and lunchbag, she opened the back door of her little Chevy and plopped her things in the seat. As she straightened up, she found herself looking at a what looked like a (rather short) person, staring at her a few parking spaces over. She blinked and looked again – and saw no one. Slowly closing the door to her car, she looked around again, the hairs on the back of her neck prickling. There was no one in sight.
Shrugging it off, the young woman slipped into her car, automatically pressing the lock button as she shut the door. She inserted her car key into the ignition and gave it a turn. There was no response. Puzzled, she turned her key again and the car sputtered, than died. “Come on baby, what's wrong?” she murmured, starting to feel frustrated. None of her lights had been on, there was no way the car battery could be dead.
All of a sudden her headlights flashed on and the car engine started up with a roar. She jumped, gasping and placing a hand over her pounding heart. What on earth was up with her car? And hadn't... she looked down and stared at her key. It was in the off position.
The car died again. Heart now pounding wildly, she took a shaking breath and turned the key in the ignition one more time. The car started normally. Okay, this was really weird. “Come on,” she chuckled nervously, “you love spooky stuff like this.”
Yeah, not in real life.
“You're just on edge because it's the night before Halloween,” she talked out loud to herself. “If this was any other night of the year, you wouldn't care.” Talking out loud didn't keep the feeling that someone was watching her grow stronger. She backed out of her parking space, glancing around as she did for a sign of anyone. No one was around. Then why did it feel like...
No, there wasn't anyone watching her. She shifted into drive and drove through the parking lot a little faster than might have been approved. This was ridiculous. No one was watching her. No one was in the back seat of her car.
The back seat of her car? Why had she thought someone could be in her back seat? Her imagination was running away with her, she was the only one in the car. The only one, no one else was here.
She peeled out of the parking lot, barely pausing at the stop signs as panic mode started to take in. What the heck was going on with her tonight? She sped up the private road out of the college, unable to shake the feeling that eyes were boring into the back of her neck. A red light greeted her at the entrance to the main road, forcing her to stop and wait to turn left. Nervously, she glanced into her rearview mirror at her back seat. There was nothing there. Nothing at all.... how on earth had her waterbottle gotten into the passenger seat? She knew she had put it into the back.
The light turned green and just as she moved her foot to the gas pedal, the back door of her car flew open and slammed shut. Her hand flew up to cover a scream and she flew forward, leaving behind the school and whatever it was that had opened her car door and taken the sensation of being watched with it.

October 29, 2013

Embracing Your Place in Life

Ah - that age old challenge.  Knowing where you are and comparing it to where you had been before and where you had thought you were going to be.  Looking at where everyone else is (at least, where it looks like they are at from your viewpoint), and comparing it to your own reality that just can't measure up.  And somehow, you are supposed to be happy with that.  We are told time and time again that no one's life is as perfect as it looks so stop comparing.  You won't always be where you want to be but you can be where you should be, so stop wishing you were somewhere else.  Embrace your life and be happy about it.

It's a lot harder to do than it is to say, and much harder to tell yourself than to tell it to someone else.

Embracing doesn't have to mean you are happy with where you are at though, at least, you don't have to be happy with it all the time.  That's an impossible goal and does more harm than good to shoot for.  Yes, I am saying it.  You won't always be happy with where you are in life and will in all reality probably be unhappy with it more often than not.

You should, however, try to find some level of peace and contentment.  At the very least, come to an acceptance of the fact that this is where your life is at and it probably isn't as bad as you might think.  Are you happy every time you give someone a hug, no matter how much you love that person?  Anyone who has been told by their parents to "say your sorry and give your sibling a hug!" knows that happiness rarely accompanies that embrace.  You didn't have to be happy when you gave that hug, you just had to do it.

A few years ago, I was at a private college, on my way to a four year degree, exploring a new life and enjoying every minute of it.  I loved the school, I loved the people, I loved everything about that.  Then it all fell apart and while I could see that God was the one tearing up the papers I'd started to write my life's story on, to this day I still have no idea why.  I ended up with a different life that I hadn't planned on, and God was like my parents saying "okay, now you have to give it a hug".

I didn't want to, believe me, I did. not. want. to.  I dragged my heels and glared and pouted and refused to embrace the direction my life was taking.  I sat in a corner of my mind for a long time, with no desire to explore different options, no interests, no plans, no goals.  I got a part time job and said "That's it.  I don't want to do anything else and you can't make me."  God let me do that, with the occasional reminder that "Hey, you aren't off the hook - you still are going to have to embrace your life."

This past year I slowly began to realize that I couldn't stay in my corner pouting anymore.  I began to slowly uncross my arms from across my chest and look at what had been going on around me.  I was finally able to drive up to visit my friends at school without crying on the way too and from, and I knew that I could move on.  I didn't know where I was going to go, but I was able to finally make the first tentative move to embrace my life.

Now I am enrolled in my community college, working towards an associates in a field I am excited about.  I am finally embracing my place in life.  I wasn't completely happy about it when I did, and there are still days when I look at what other people are doing, when I think about the fact that I would have been a graduating senior this year and I think "do I really have to be giving this hug?"  But I do, because it doesn't matter if I'm happy about it all the time.  What matters is that I give the embrace anyhow, that I realize that this is my life and if I don't embrace it no one else will.  There are other areas in my life that need embracing too, and it's a struggle at times.

But the good thing is, when you give in and embrace your life, God will come up behind you with a smile and embrace with you, whispering "See, isn't this so much better?"

October 26, 2013

Teatime with Clare

Every Saturday the lovely Clare hosts a teatime.  This week she made a video to post, and so I decided to make one of my own, and then use it as a blog post on here as well. I'll say no more, and let my video do the rest of the talking!

October 15, 2013

Asking for some prayers

Hello dear followers. I know most of you in real life, so you probably know this already, but for anyone that I have not had the pleasure to meet in person... I just wanted to ask for some prayers this week.

My grandpa passed away after a sudden illness this past Sunday.  It's one of those things that came out of no where, so we are all still trying to deal with the shock and reality of it all.  I probably won't be blogging for a little while as we get ready for the wake and funeral and try to come to terms with this.

Please keep us all in your prayers as we try and deal with this difficult time.  Thank you.

October 11, 2013

The "E" Word

I am referring to, of course, that words that strikes guilt into hearts, that causes grief and sighs to be heaved from the depths of our souls.  I mean the word "exercise" (and the fact that this word may also inspire feelings of accomplishment or enthusiasm has been disregarded for dramatic purposes.)

Yes, exercise.  Getting in shape, staying fit, working out.  It's all become increasingly popular in recent times as people become more aware of the obesity problem in America and the benefits that exercising can have for your health and general well being.  In light of this, I thought that I might as well throw out a blog post of my own on the subject.

I've never been one for sports or other strenuous physical activity.  The first time I started to exercise on a regular basis was back in the winter of 2011.  My dad had decided to get in shape, so my mom and my sisters and I reluctantly agreed to give it a try.  We started out with the Supreme 90 work out video series and might have gotten all the way through. Maybe.  I actually don't think we did.  Supreme 90 is a good set of videos, but not the best for beginners. 

Then summer came, and we stopped.  By the following winter, my dad had obtained the P90X series and as a New Year resolution we decided to do it.  We actually stuck with it that time and against my will, I found myself actually enjoying it all.  Getting to see the muscles developing in your arms and feel yourself becoming stronger is a great motivator. 

You would think that once we completed the full P90X that we could continue.  After all, we were starting to see results in the strength and endurance department.  Well, my mom did continue a bit and my one sister is in dance so that counts.  I quit though, for a few reasons.  One, it was getting to be warm out again and for whatever reason I have 0 motivation to exercise in the summer.

The biggest reason though was the weight loss, or lack there of.  Losing the freshman 15 was the main reason I agreed to exercise in the first place, and it just wasn't happening.  It is so frustrating and demotivating to exercise regularly, try to eat clean and count your calories and have absolutely no change in the scale.  In fact, I gained a few pounds.  I'm told it was muscle building up and that you gain weight before you lose it, but the scale wasn't going back down.  So I said forget this.

I'm back in it this fall though, due in part to the fact that my dad is a physical fitness trainer now (read, sort of a guilt trip).  The other part is due to a small group of friends who have also decided to be more dedicated with eating right and exercising.  Together we formed a small community to share work out tips and motivate each other (read, even larger guilt trip).

Mostly though, I've decided to exercise again because I've finally come to the decision that I don't care how much I weigh.  I miss feeling strong, I missed how it felt to just feel good about yourself.   It's a strange phenomena that there are quite a few women out there who don't lose weight while exercising and counting calories, but as soon as the stop paying attention to counting (eating in moderation - yes.  Worrying about it or counting - no) the pounds started to drop. 

So if I lose weight, great.  If I don't, I'm okay with that too.  After reading some very inspirational blog posts and facebook statuses I've decided that what the scale tells me doesn't matter.  What matters is that I feel good about myself.  That I'm fit, and strong and that I am happy with who I am. 

October 9, 2013

Five Favorites - Yay YouTube!

Who doesn't love a good YouTube video?  (What qualifies as a 'good YouTube video' is entirely relevant...)  Here for your viewing pleasure, are five of them!
Note: Links will all open in a different window so you won't have to leave my charming blog!


First off we have a video of a Hog Calling Contest.  I had no idea there even was such a thing as a certain way to call hogs. Nor did I know that they had contests for it.  Now I'm curious... does this actually work, or do people just like to scream at hogs?  Video courtesy of my Knight!


This video.  Oh my word, this video.  If you love the themes for Game of Thrones, the Dark Knight or the Hobbit (any or all of them really), then you must watch this video!  (See, I've linked to it twice. It's important that you watch it now!)


For somthing equally entertaining, but much more annoying and likely to drive you insane, I present to you this brilliant commercial from Australia. You'll have to watch to the end to find out what it is actually for!


Behold, the trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. In Lego.  Because we all know that everything is better in Lego.


Finally, I give you a very helpful and informative video on how to speak Christianese.  I am not completely fluent myself, but I did already know a fair amount!  Hmm... does that mean I'm not as authentic of a Christian as I thought I was?

Check out more lovely Five Favorites at!

October 8, 2013

When the Son shines

But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow.  Even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when it does... the sun will shine out all the clearer
~ Samwise Gamgee, The Two Towers

Back in Brown Again aka Refashioning Part 2

Remember those weird elasticy gathered sleeves that I cut off the dress?  I tossed the scraps, but then today I saw that my youngest sister - typical to her creative ways - had seen the scraps and decided that they were too good to throw away.

 So she did this:

Ta-da!  A top and vest for Julie!