Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Challenge: Thankfuls

Today's Blog Challenge is to list some things I am thankful for.
It is a little bit ironic because I've been thinking about my need to be content where I am, even if it is not where I would prefer to be.

My Thankfuls:
-Skype to talk to friends who are at a distance
-Being with my family for longer than a month, something I haven't had for about four years.
-Having fall start in September instead of November (Virginia trumps Columbia in that respect)
-Being able to see my extended family
-An opportunity to substitute teach, which allows me to connect with people I haven't seen in ages
-HobNobs from my grandmother
-Emily.  She dreams about England with me

A little practice for November : )

Homemade Caramel Apple Spice with a HobNob!

This afternoon I decided to celebrate Autumn and the cool, crisp air by making a homemade version of Starbucks' Caramel Apple Spice!  Thanks to this cool link, I was able to do it!  But, I made a few changes.  I don't have cinnamon syrup, so I just used cinnamon.  But, I used to much, so, maybe three shakes is good?  Oh, and I don't like whipped cream on my apple cider.  Ew.  Dairy and apples?  No thanks.

Last night my grandmother handed me a box of chocolate covered HobNobs.  So, those are joining my caramel apple spice!

Happy Autumn!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Family: Learning to Laugh; Grandma Humor

Blog Challenge:  My family.

If you know me or have read my blog, you know I love my family.

Family is a special group of people who, though we may not always see eye to eye or get along, are always there.  We can move, grow up, get married, but our family will always be there.  "Be there" doesn't mean constant contact.  "Be there" means we can pick up the phone, send an email, or get together, and just keep going, even if it has been a while.

I love my family.  I'm pretty close with everyone on both sides.  I don't see everyone a lot.  But, I love the times we spend getting together and laughing, sharing memories, and making new memories.  Are we a perfect family?  Well, actually, yes.  I'M KIDDING!  No.

When my great-grandmother on my mom's side died, we celebrated her life and had so much fun in the process!  She was 97 and had lived a FULL life.  Yes, we had our moments of tears, but sometimes the tears were from laughing at stories of Grandma.  Do you know one time she got stuck in the bathtub and the fire department had to come and get her out?  No, of course you don't.  But, you do now.  She would also say, "Don't ask me to go with you if you don't really want me, because my bags are already packed."

While everyone was in for her memorial services, we sat around my grandparents family room eating Andes Mints and Oatmeal Cream Pies (her favourites), wrote memories of Grandma for the box her ashes were put in, and just shared time.

Also, I really like to think she was a flapper.

Great-Grandchildren Christmas Card '93?  I had a fractured leg and Josh clearly was not thrilled.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Four Songs: From Taylor to Ingrid

Blog Challenge time, again!
I'm supposed to put my iPod on shuffle and write about the first five songs.
But, I don't use my iPod enough to keep it charged.
So, as I've been prone to do during this challenge, I am going to change the rules a little bit.

I'll be writing about the four songs I can recall having bought on iTunes (I know, keel over in shock) songs I enjoy.

Love Story by Taylor Swift
I bought this song after it became a fun memory song with friends.  We would sing (screech?) it at the top of our lungs in the car.  And, I like this song.  And enjoy picturing Romeo and Juliet (the play) in my mind (does that make me a nerd of some kind?).  Except, it has a happy ending.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Deep Blue Something
I just love this song.  I don't remember where I first heard it.  But, I love it.  I think I read that although the song is named after Breakfast at Tiffany's the song actually follows the storyline of Roman Holiday (both are Hepburn movies).

Scalliwag by Gaelic Storm
I first heard this song on Pandora last summer.  I loved it so much and decided I had to buy it.  So, I did.  Although I can't understand a lot of the words, they talk about wellies.  And, the music is so fun and upbeat.  It makes me want to scurry over the pond!

You and I by Ingrid Michaelson
They talk about the south of France.  And, the music is fun.  Ok, I don't have a lot of commentary, but it is a fun song.

Well, now you know.
Happy listening!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Letter from Youcef Nadarkhani

Do you remember when I wrote about Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani being released from prison?  If not, please read about it.  It is truly an incredible story of God's grace and faithfulness.

Today my mom sent me the link to a letter he wrote to thank all the people around the globe who prayed for him and fought for him to be free.  I am copying his letter below.  But, to read the article and the letter, go to this link.

After reading his letter, I felt like I have been a part of something bigger, like the Christians in the New Testament.  I joined with the body of believers around the globe praying for a fellow Christian to either be released or to stand strong and not recant his belief in Jesus Christ.  I am thankful for his freedom.  I am thankful for his testimony that has been seen around the world.  It makes me realize how easy it is to be a Christian in the USA.  Yes, there is persecution, and it can be difficult.  But, we can't be imprisoned for what we believe.

After you have read this letter, I would love to hear your thoughts.  What do you think and feel about the story of Pastor Nadarkhani?
Salaam! (Peace be upon you!)

I glorify and give grace to the Lord with all my heart. I am grateful for all the blessings that He gave me during my whole life. I am especially grateful for His goodness and divine protection that characterized the time of my detention.

I also want to express my gratitude towards those who, all around the world, have worked for my cause, or should I say the cause that I defend. I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported me, openly or in complete secrecy. You are all very dear to my heart. May the Lord bless you and give you His perfect and sovereign Grace.

Indeed I have been put to the test, the test of faith which is, according to the Scriptures “more precious than perishable gold.” But I have never felt loneliness, I was all the time aware of the fact that it wasn’t a solitary battle, for I have felt all the energy and support of those who obeyed their conscience and fought for the promotion of the justice and the rights of all human beings. Thanks to these efforts, I have now the enormous joy to be by my wonderful wife and my children. I am grateful for these people through whom God has been working. All of this is very encouraging.

During that period, I had the opportunity to experience in a marvelous way the Scripture that says: “Indeed, as the sufferings of Christ abound for us, our encouragement abound through Christ.” He has comforted my family and has given them the means to face that difficult situation. In His Grace, He provided for their spiritual and material needs, taking away from me a heavy weight.

The Lord has wonderfully provided through the trial, allowing me to face the challenges that were in front of me. As the Scriptures says, “He will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength….”

Despite the fact that I have been found guilty of apostasy according to a certain reading of the Shar’ia, I am grateful that He gave the leaders of the country, the wisdom to break that judgment taking into account other facts of that same Shar’ia. It is obvious that the defenders of the Iranian right and the legal experts have made an important effort to enforce the law and the right. I want to thank those who have defended the right until the end.

I am happy to live in a time where we can take a critical and constructive look to the past. This has allowed the writing of universal texts aiming at the promotion of the rights of man. Today, we are debtors of these efforts provided by dear people who have worked for the respect of human dignity and have passed on to us these universal significant texts.

I am also debtor of those who have faithfully passed on the Word of God, that very Word who makes us heirs of God.

Before ending, I want to express a prayer for the establishment of an unending and universal peace, so that the will of the Father be done on earth as it is in heaven. Indeed, everything passes, but the Word of God, source of all peace, will last eternally.

May the grace and mercy of God be multiplied to you. Amen!

Youcef Nadarkhani
8 September 2012 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Blog Challenge: Five Things

I promise I will start blogging more.  These past few days have just been different.  And, today I've been sick...a stuffy nose makes it difficult to focus.

Anyway, my blog challenge for the day is to write about five things I lust after.  But, I don't really like that phraseology.  So, I am just going to write about five things I would like very very much.

1.  Christian Louboutin pumps.
2.  A fabulous leather carry on bag.
3.  Trips to all the places I want to visit in Europe.
4.  Pretty wellies (maybe even multiple pairs to go with the necessary events and outfits).
5.  A beautiful three piece luggage set (no, I don't know what it will look like).

I feel very materialistic after writing that list.  Only number five will be necessary eventually.  Ok, and number four.  Number two would be very nice.  And, number three will more than likely happen before number 1.  Well, at least parts of number three : )

For now, I bid you adieu.  

Birthday 2010.  Lovely wellies I was given!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Those Pesky, Little....

Blog Challenge.
My Fears.

I'm not scared of them.
I just hate seeing them on my feet.
On my bed (just happened).

EVERY time we think they are gone...
They come back.

So, fear like a snake fear?
Fear like a fear of spreading poison ivy on yourself?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

New Shabby Apple Line is Fabulous!

A few weeks ago I blogged about my new affiliation with Shabby Apple, and I posted some of my favourite things from their site.

I received an email a few days ago saying they are starting a new line called Highclere Castle.  I looked through the new collection, and there are some fabulous pieces!  Here is one that jumped out at me.
See it here!
And, as a special treat, they are offering a 10% discount SITE WIDE until 10/10/2012 (which happens to be the birthday of two of my friends).


Dresses from Shabby Apple

Don't forget to go to the site through the link on my sidebar!

Enjoy : )

Letters, Princess Di, A. Hepburn

Time to write today's blog challenge, since I did yesterday's earlier today.

I don't really like today's challenge.  I am supposed to write a letter to someone.  Why would I write a letter to someone and then post it for the world to see?  I don't know what you all put in your letters, but most of the time there is at least one thing I don't want the world to know.

Instead, I am going to share a few letter moments that pop in my head when I think about writing letters.

-When telling me about the importance of writing timely "Thank You" notes, Mama told me Princess Diana used to come in from an evening out, sit down, and immediately write her note to her host/hostess.  Princess Diana had something I don't...stamps always handy and a butler to post the note for her.

-I love the scene in Sabrina (with Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, and Humphrey Bogart) when Sabrina sits at her pretty desk in her quaint apartment above the garage and writes her suicide note to her father.  Of course, her attempt is thwarted by Humphrey, she goes to Paris, and well, I won't ruin the ending for you.

-My roommate went on a mission trip to China two summers ago, while I was in England.  When I returned to school after my time in Europe, she gave me a fountain pen and a bottle of ink.  Last summer, after finishing a new series by Brock and Bodie Thoene (go read their Great Depression and WWII series'.  Amazing historical fiction) I had some comments I wanted to send the authors.  So, I got out my pen and ink and wrote.  I had to do a second copy to make sure it looked nice and neat.  My hands were covered in ink, but it felt kind of nice and old fashioned.  Except, most people didn't get covered in ink...minor detail, minor detail.

-I think my favourite kind of letter is one that is from a dear friend that comes in a small envelope.  They are classic and look like they could be taken off a silver delivery tray (like in Little Women).  Of course, it is not necessary.  I love letters of any kind.

-I keep my letters.  I don't think I can recall throwing away a letter that is from a friend friend.  I will admit to tossing notes from 8th grade : )  When I visited Daddy in August, I had the most lovely surprise. He had my last Christmas card from Grandma waiting for me.  I had been thinking about it for a while and wishing I had my last cards from Grandma.  I don't know about my birthday card, but I do have my last Christmas card.  For that I am thankful.

Do any fun or special things come to mind when you think of writing letters?

Be a Fiction Character for a Day!

Again, I am posting yesterday's blog challenge today.  My day was rather full, and by they time I realized I needed to blog, I didn't have the brain power.

*Please take note, this is not a favourite challenge!*

The Challenge: A fiction character I would like to be

The Person:  Mandie from the Mandie Series by Lois Gladys Leppard

The Reason:  I first read the Mandie books when I was eight or nine.  Our church library in Michigan had them.  When we moved back to Virginia, I no longer had access.  Then, I bought the entire series!  I ate the books up.

Mandie was always having adventures and solving mysteries.  She went to boarding school, had a best friend, visited her Grandmother in a ginormous house, had relatives that were Cherokee Indian, went to Europe (with her best friend), found more mysteries there, met awesome people, celebrated holidays in lots of fun places with her family and closest friends, oh, and met the President and stayed at the White House.

I think it would be fun to jump into her stories for a little while.

A few other people I thought about being (and would love to, of course) are: Elizabeth Bennet, Jo March, Amy March, Pippi Longstocking, Anne Shirley, and a couple of characters from the Brock and Bodie Thoene collections.

Found here
Who would you like to be?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Friday's Letters: Pretty Much My Week

Regensburg, Germany

 Dear Friday, Are you here again already?

Dear BCHS, are you ready for me?  Regardless, I will be there tomorrow at 8AM to sub for Math (you may laugh).

Dear Week, you've been interesting.

Dear AMBEX, I am so excited about repping you guys to schools in VA!

Dear Undergrad Student Who May Be Reading This, do you want to study in Europe?  Email me!  I have a great recommendation!

Dear Germany, While making a slideshow, looking at all the pictures has made me miss you SO much!

Dear Regensburg, I miss you especially!

Dear Weekend, Please bring fall colors!

Dear Mailman, Please bring me my packages : )

Most Sincerely,



My Favourite Clothes!

Today's blog challenge is to write about my favourite article of clothing.

This topic has many sub-topics.  My favourite item because of nostalgia, beauty, frequent wearing, currently own, used to own, owned at some point in life?  You can see where I run into a problem.
I am just going to answer in several topics because, as I've said in the past, I don't like choosing!

*Disclaimer: "article of clothing" is being translated into shoes, too*

So, my favourite article of clothing for nostalgia's sake is a pair of black ballet flats I bought in 2007 from Aeropostale.  I finally HAD to throw them away.  They had lost all ability to hold their own shape.  But, I was loathe to toss them as they had traipsed all over Europe with me.  We had memories from the Alps to the streets of Italia.  Every other time I thought about throwing them away, the memories won out.  Last semester I finally put them in the rubbish.
Fall 2010; Photo Credit: Katharine Hormann
My favourite clothing for beauty's sake is my "Charger Dress."  I fell in love with this beautiful, tangerine dress when I was in 7th grade.  At the time it was a bit too large.  But, I was able to wear it for a pageant that year.  Two years later I wore it in another pageant (winning that time).  Then, for my Senior prom, after putting another dress on hold, I decided to wear it a third time.  It is just such a lovely dress.  The reason we called it the "Charger Dress" is because the local school, and where I graduated, had a Charger as their mascot.
Prom 2008 at The Homestead
My favourite item for frequent wearing is a navy skirt with while polka dots I bought from H&M while in NYC in May.  I saw it and loved it.  It reminds me of a navy skirt with white stars my grandma gave me when I was little.
See that cute lady with me?  She has the best boutique ever!  It's where I bought the Charger Dress!
So, there you have it, three of my favourite items to wear!

The Dirndl is from a thrift shop in Regensburg, Germany.
The "Charger Dress" is from Laura's Boutique Ltd. Hot Springs, VA!  Hit it up if you are ever up there!
The skirt, shirt, and belt I am wearing are from Forever 21, and the shoes are from H&M.

My Favourite Place

I forgot about my blog challenge until I was getting ready to go to bed.
I started it and then decided to just do it in the morning...and then forgot.
So, while it is still morning, here is yesterday's blog challenge: My Favourite Place

I don't like picking my favourite.

Well, if I have to pick,my favourite place is in England.  But, preferably with a friend.  And in the country.  Or at the coast.  Or in Wales.  In the Wye Valley.
New Romney, Kent, England Summer 2010
 But, I love Germany, too.
I think I need to be with a friend in Germany.
Actually, almost any place is better with a friend.  But, especially a place that I have mainly shared with other people.
Reichstag in Berlin, Germany, Fall 2010
Another favourite place is at the river at Kae Lacy's.
It is peaceful and relaxing.  I love being there by myself and with friends.
Photo by Abbie Slate, Summer 2012

So, I don't have one favourite place.  But, my favourite places are mostly because of the memories they hold.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy 175th Anniversary to Tiffany & Co

Hello Everyone!

Today I am celebrating Tiffany & Co.s  175th anniversary on my blog!

In a perfect world I would have a giveaway for something beautiful.
But, it's not, so I'm not.

Instead of a giveaway, I am going to post a few pictures of my own Tiffany pictures and then a few things I like from the Tiffany & Co website.

I've always (since my teen years) wanted a ring from Tiffany & Co.  People have teased me and told me, "You'd better marry a rich man."

One day I went ring shopping with a friend and decided it didn't have to be from Tiffany.  But, I certainly wouldn't complain if it was.

My dream ring was their six prong Tiffany setting with white gold or platinum.
Image found here

It is still a lovely ring.  But, now I think I may have a new favourite!
The Lucida® with Diamond Band.
Please notice how the wedding band lies flush against the engagement ring.  It bothers me when there is a gap.
Found Image Here

This last ring is listed under their engagement rings (and it would be lovely for someone), however, I think it would be a great right-hand-for-fun-ring.
The Jean Schlumberger Rope Ring, ladies and gents.
Image found here.
That concludes my favourite Tiffany rings.
Next I am going to share a few Tiffany moments of my own.

Taken during my first day in Central London after moving over in Summer 2010
Pretty, isn't it!
So, I was going to post a picture of Tiffany & Co. from while I was in NYC...and I cannot believe it, but I didn't get one.  I am horrified.  And confused.

Anyway, later this evening I am going to celebrate by dressing up, wearing a diamond ring, putting on my tiara, drinking Pink Champagne, eating dark chocolate, and watching Breakfast at Tiffanys!

Happy Celebrating!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Dream Job


I'm back this evening to write my next blog challenge: my dream job.
Really?  I wish I knew.

Since I can't name my dream job, I will list some interests that I have and that I would like to have as aspects of my job.

-People interaction
-Maybe some photography
-Fast-paced environment
-Fun co-workers
-Located in Europe

Next I am going to list some perks that would be nice:

-Hob-nobbing with some celebrities
-Access to places the public doesn't...or at least before they do

And, who knows what else.
I have ideas of jobs that would be fabulous for me.

From what I've said above, do you have any ideas?
I would love to hear them!



P.S. It would be  amazing to be a part of Vogue...somehow.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beacher Hackney: Closure for Questions

Thankful and sad are the two emotions I feel regarding the confirmation that the body discovered in Bath County was Beacher Hackney, suspected murderer of two male employees at The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA.

Three and a half years ago I awoke on the first morning of Spring Break only to have Mama inform me of what had happened, and cautioned me as we went over the mountain for church.

A few weeks ago a body was found and suspected to be Hackney.

Today we know.

I am thankful the searching has been put to rest.  I am thankful there is closure for the families of the murdered and the murderer.  But, I am saddened at the death of a human who took revenge out on his superiors and then killed himself.  I am sad that the family of Hackney must know for the rest of their lives that their son, brother, uncle, cousin, etc. was a murderer and killed himself in the woods.

But, I am thankful for closure.

You can read more about it here:,0,5189011.story

Scone Recipe and Tea Party How To by Yours Truly

Today's blog challenge is hardly a challenge, except I have to find the recipes to write them out.

Rather than giving multiple recipes, I am going to give you a recipe to a splendid tea. From my favourite flavor to my favourite scone recipe, it will be a wonderful ensemble.

First, pull out your tea set (unpack it if necessary).  Set everything out, wash if needed, and prepare it to hold tea, milk, and sugar.  Go ahead an put the tea in the tea pot and the sugar in the sugar bowl.  Wait to put the milk in the pitcher so it will not become warm.

Now, check your scone recipe (that I am about to give you) and make sure you have all the ingredients.  I know from experience it is not fun to get to the middle and realize you are short or out of something.  Pull out all the tools you will need.  Wash your hands.  And, GO!

Move the baking rack to the middle in the oven and preheat it to 425 F.

My Mama's Scone Recipe (with a few of my own alterations with which she agrees)
*Bake on 425 F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes
-2 cups of self-rising flour
-3 tbs. sugar
-5 tbs. cold butter (cut in small cubes or shred)
-1 cup heavy whipping cream (chill in the back of the fridge.  If partially crystallized it will make fluffier scones)
-1/2 cup of chips--or more (chocolate, cinnamon, dried fruit, etc.) I recommend cinnamon chip

1.  Mix flour and sugar together evenly and thoroughly.
2.  Add butter, use hands or pastry blender, rub butter in till the mixture resembles peas.
3.  Add chocolate chips, etc. and mix evenly.
4.  Add cream.  Stir till dough clumps into a big ball.
5.  Lightly flour counter and place dough on flour.  If dough is sticky, sprinkle some flour on top.
6.  Knead dough by folding over and smooshing with hand 3-6 times.  No more than 15 seconds total.
7.  Flatter and shape dough into rectangle on a lightly floured surface that you can cut on.  The dough should be about half an inch or a bit more in height to allow for maximum fluffiness.
8.  Cut dough into rows.  Then turn the rows into triangles (small, medium, or large).
9.  Place on pan 1/2 inch apart.
10.  Lightly brush with milk or cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
I recommend Earl Grey Loose Leaf, if you are able to acquire it.  Delicious flavor!

While the scones are baking, set the table.
When the scones begin coming out, put the water on to boil, prepare the tea, and allow it to steep for 3-4 minutes.

While enjoying your tea party, whether it be with friends, with a book, with the rain, etc.  I recommend classical music, Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack, Christmas Music, Michael Buble, or a Jane Austen book turned movie.

Have a lovely time!

Cousins tea party (cell phone picture, I apologize for the blurriness)

Early Morning Royal Wedding Tea Party (probably 3:55AM EST)

Making scones for The Pilgrim's Protest debate

Aim to be Harrods, not Bloomys

See here
 The Duchess Catherine has one of the most incredible wardrobes I have ever seen.  She constantly amazes me with her gorgeous ensembles, which is why I am appalled at the response on Facebook to Vogue's 10 Best Dressed today.  Of the ten outfits showcased, there were two classes.  The Duchess.  Everyone else.

While her gown is not my favourite of what she has worn, it is nonetheless gorgeous.

She is Harrods.  Everyone else is Bloomingdales.

The neckline and bodice of her gown remind me of something out of a BBC rendition of Shakespeare.  Flattering, elegant, and suitable for a state dinner.

Vote Here

Who would you choose?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tilt It Like Sinatra, Please

Today's blog challenge is to write about 5 ways to win my heart.

That seems a little personal, plus, why do I want to give it away ; )

So, instead I am going to write a few things that have become a joke among my friends in regard to whomever I marry.
*=Grain of truth but mostly a joke

 1.  Own and wear a fedora.  It is a non-essential essential (the nice way to say, I will marry you even if you don't have one, but it would be nice).  And, he needs to tilt it like Frank Sinatra (and now, Neal Caffrey).

2.   Be able to chop wood.  If I can split wood (with a splitter) and stack it, he should be able to do all of that and more.

3.  Needs to look good in a tuxedo.  Not all guys can pull it off naturally.

4.  Being able to cook well would be a plus, especially considering the family from which I come.

5.  *Have a private jet.  I need to be able to fly my friends to our yearly reunion location (duh!).

Now you have had a taste of what my friends like to tease me about.

And, if you ever want to discuss diamond rings with me, just say the word.  I have serious opinions about a circular stone in a four-prong setting.

Found Here

Thoughts on Origination

I love pondering the existence of everything.  It is incredible that it all started with God and continues because He allows it.

I was reading a few pages of Augustine's Confessions this morning, and they fell into the theme of God creating and sustaining all.

"In you are the first causes of all things not eternal, the unchangeable origins of all things that suffer change, the everlasting reason of all things that are subject to the passage of time and have no reason in themselves."  Book I, Section vi

Photo Credit: Kirsten Richardson

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In Whom Do You Believe?

Today's Blog Challenge topic is to write about God.

I kind of cringed when I first read the topic because I am tired and this is such a very large subject.

To begin, please read the following as it states succinctly what I believe:
 The Nicene Creed
WE BELIEVE in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.


I've mentioned The Confessions of Augustine in the past.  I wrote my Medieval Philosophy paper on Augustine's view of the Heaven of Heaven's versus heaven.  As a result of that assignment, I realized everything exists because God sustains it.  There is no force that can out-do God.  He is the maker of all; He is before all time began.  Simply put, He is.

When I think of God sustaining His creation, I am reminded of God's might and power, of His glory and honor.  He is worthy of all I am.  My life should be completely devoted to what His call is for me.

However, time and time again I fail.  I cannot work my way into His good graces.  I am a sinner not worthy of God, salvation, Heaven, or anything good.

But, Jesus came to earth and became God incarnate.  He lived a life free from sin, though He was tempted.  He was lied about, beaten, and killed.  But, on the third day (Easter), He rose from the dead and lives eternally with God the Father.

Because of Jesus' death on the cross I am saved.  By His grace alone does He accept me.  Because HE is counted worthy I am counted worthy.

God does not need me, but He created me for His pleasure and to glorify him.

A book in the Bible that is always encouraging and convicting is Hebrews.  I highly suggest sitting and reading it.  But, before I end, I leave you with two verses:

Hebrews 9:27-28
27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Hebrews 12:2
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Someone I Miss

Today's Blog Challenge:  Someone or Something I miss.

I'm going with a someone.
There are lots of "someones" from which I can choose.

I pick....JOSH!

My cousin Josh is awesome.
I miss him living seven minutes away.
I miss having long, deep conversations.
I miss joking and laughing.
I miss hearing him really laugh...when he laughs hard I lose it.
I miss hanging out.
I miss playing games.
I miss having someone my age around.
I just plain out miss him.

It was great to be able to see him for the day when he drove to Orlando to visit (before driving to Mississippi).  He went out of his way to see me.  I appreciate that so much.

He is one of the funniest people I know.
He is very caring.
He loves his family.

I'm privileged to have him as my cousin.

(To other people, I tell them we are almost twins...only seven months apart, and very similar!)

The only picture I have in my easily accessible files, at the moment : (

P.S. I made him sound dead.  He just moved to Florida.

Note of a Friend

Just a little personal note:

I keep tabs of countries viewing my blog.
It is exhilarating when a new country pops up!

The last few weeks France has been showing up more than usual.
I thought, I wonder if that is Kristy.

Turns out, it is!

I wrote (captions under pictures) a little bit about Kristy and her upcoming move to France earlier in August.
Well, she is now there, settling it nicely.

We were able to Skype earlier in the week, which was AWESOME!

Anyway, it is a nice feeling knowing when I see France it is her : )


Friday's Letters: It's Here!

Dear Friday,
I appreciate you again this week.  Substitute teaching brings out the "HOORAY, it's FRIDAY," in me.

Dear Everyone,
I had my very first guest post on From Freya With Love yesterday!  You should go check it and her blog out.  Turns out, we have some of the same stuff in us: pink champagne lovers, Cary Grant lovers, tennis lovers, dual citizens of the same counties, etc. etc. etc.

Dear Fleas,
Thank you for FINALLY leaving our house.  They could have been worse, but it has not been fun.

Dear Mama,
Thank you for spraying flea spray and not making me do it.

Dear Friday Night,
I will be attending my first Bath County football game in nearly four years.

Dear England,
Still missing you.  Nothing new. Storyofmylife.

Dear Saturday,
Tomorrow is Bradley's third BIRTHDAY PARTY!  Whoop!  I cannot express how excited I am to FINALLY be around for one of my cousin's children's birthdays.  One of the cons to having been at college five and a half hours away.

Dear Sunday,
At this point, we have no plans. Maybe a hike?  Maybe friends?  Maybe a lazy day?  SPONTANEOUS PLANNING needs to happen!

Have a fabulous weekend!

P.S.  Dear Almost Bedroom, we need a date.  You need to become mine.  And showcase all my lovely books.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

ILL and WC: Try to Guess These Acronyms

Blog Challenge Day 4:  Favourite Shows

Probably the first two things that pop into mind:

-I Love Lucy
-White Collar

I Love Lucy is hilarious.

White Collar is witty, intellectual, hilarious, and attention grabbing (there is a word I can't think of).

My favourite I Love Lucy episodes are when they are in California and when they move to the country.  I love the backdrop, the setting, the relaxed mode, and the change of pace from NYC.

One of my favourite episodes is when Talula Bankhead moves into their neighborhood in Connecticut.

You know how some people reference the office for everything?
I reference I Love Lucy.
It goes like this, "Oh, that is like in I Love Lucy when..." <---fill in the dot dot dot with current topic.

My favourite White Collar...I have to think about that.  One of them is from the current season, when Mozzie thinks there is a conspiracy group still around from the 1700's.  Hilarious.  So Mozzie.  And everyone is fooled.

Fedora donning, skinny tie wearing, tailored suit flaunting Neal Caffrey is a huge factor.

Peter and Elle.  I love them.

It is just the most fabulous show (and, I am proud to say, I have hooked many a person...well, at least a few).

P.S. A scene in White Collar was filmed in the foyer of the building where I lived in NYC!
When I saw that, I kind of freaked out, took a screen shot, and put it on FB.

The inside

The outside...

Guest Post From a Dualie Like me!

Hello Lovelies,

A few weeks ago I asked a fellow blogger to guest post for me.
She said yes!

I am introducing to you, Freya from With Love from Freya.
It turns out, we have a lot in common!

Without further ado, here she is (and when you are done, head to her blog)!


Hey, guys! My name is Freya and I am pretty much beyond excited to be here
today! This is my first sponsorship post and, so far, I’m liking the way it feels!

I’ve never been really that good at just coming right out and talking about
myself, so I’ll start at the beginning, with my blog name: From Freya, With Love.
I decided on this name because with everything I send out into the world, my
love goes with it. I’m a firm believer that what you put into the world is what you
get back…so…what you read is from me, with love!
 I started my blog because I was posting way too much on Facebook to an
audience that, let’s be honest, didn’t really care! While I originally started with
the idea that I was going to be a recipe posting, adorable outfit wearing, witty
This is my amazing family on my sister's wedding day August 2011
comment slinging, DIY-ing fiend, I suddenly came to the realization that my
blog is my own and the things I post are deeply rooted in my history.
I, like Kirsten, am a duel citizen of the United States and England. My parents,
one Welsh and one British, moved to the States in the 1980’s, sprouted some
roots and popped out some kids (just two, myself and my older sister, Chelsey).
I am proud to say that I am an Oregonian, through and through! West Coast is
the Best Coast!
I started my life in ballet. I loved the discipline, the beauty, the strength and the
performing! When I hit high school, I decided to ditch the pointe shoes and try
my hand at acting. While that lasted a solid 6 years, it wasn’t until half way
through college that I realized that my lifelong love of writing would take
control. I finished college with a Bachelor of Science in Communication, a focus
on Journalism and a minor Media Studies. Long story short, I speak fluent social
media (and reporter in training!)
I don't know what I'd do without him. (Jake and I)
At this point, I’m 24 years old and still trying to figure out who I am. I’ve spent
the past year and a bit living 3,000 miles away from my friends, family and
anything familiar. Somewhere in there, a transformation is happening. I decided
to spend 3 years moving with my boyfriend as he develops his career. We move
once a year for three years and are currently one our second move. We reside in
Toronto and I love being immersed in a different culture as an Ex-Pat.
 But it’s hard starting over all the time and making new friends. You really get in
My favorite beverage:
Bloody Marys! I even write about them every Saturday!
touch with who you are as a person. And this is where my blog comes into play.
I needed a place to express myself, talk about my thoughts and feelings as well
as share the things I love with a community that cares.

I seriously love the blogging world. Everyone here is so supportive and positive!
While I may have a hard time making new friends in Toronto, I know there are
people out there who would lend me some advise and some positive thoughts.

Eventually I’ll make it back to a familiar place, or maybe I’ll turn the unfamiliar
into the familiar! But for now, I have my blog and the wonderful community that
encompasses it.

Well, that’s me in a small nutshell! Please feel free to come by anytime! And
thank you to Kirsten for sharing me today!

My puppy, Chasey, and I. She now lives with my mom while I become a world traveler.

When Boys Burp at the Table

I felt oh so smart-alecky and wise today; kind of like that hippie, fun, stylish teacher who has witty comments in response to her student's antics.

On my second lunch duty (6th and 7th grade), I had a table of four boys.  Suddenly, I heard a loud belch followed by eight eyes looking at me.
I ignored it.
It happened again.
Still ignoring (with maybe a "teacher face" sent their direction).
A third time.
Nonchalantly, I bide my time, stand, walk around my table, pause to speak to some girls, and continue to where the culprits were sitting.

I stood at the end of their tabel, paused dramatically, and then stated my "teacherly/worldly/smarty-pants" line (that I had rehearsed), "There are countries in the world," , "where it is customary to burp to show a meal was satisfactory.  But this is not one of them.  Please refrain from burping, but if you do, please say excuse me."


Ha!  I felt awesome.  And so grown up.

I rather enjoy being on this side of the table.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Seasonal Challenge

Today's blog challenge expects me to write about my favourite season.
Whenever I have to name a favourite of anything I clam up and worry because I can't pick one.

I love the changing of seasons.  I love anticipating what is coming, even if I dread summer leaving.

Currently my favourite season is Autumn (I used the right name, Grampaw). 
I love the transition to cooler weather, the smell in the air, the air change, the leaves turning, and wearing light layers.

I am back in Virginia, which means Autumn is arriving.
This time last year I was in Columbia, probably boiling hot.

I am looking forward to the Fall Foliage Festival, Harvest Festivals, pumpkins, corn, hay bales, boots, browns, sweaters, jeans, cider, bon fires in the cool of the evening, and cool walks at dusk.

At this moment, I am able to say, Autumn is my favourite season (but, winter, snow, hot chocolate, and Christmas are niggling in the back of my mind).

The Fall Colors in the NC Mountains

Relaxing, watching the sun set

Fall Coloring the CIU Campus

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not Exactly My Favourite

Keeping with my 27 Day Blog Challenge, today's theme is: 10 Dislikes.

I can easily come up with 10 dislikes, but I am also hesitant to write them all.  When I was young I had to say lots of "thankfuls" when I complained.  So, I am not going to write complaints, but will write dislikes.

1.  I don't like licorice.  At all.  It is an awful flavor to put in my mouth.

2.  Losing.  This doesn't need an explanation.

3.  Mushrooms.  Raw they look pretty but icky.  Cooked they are squishy.  I can tolerate them cooked, but that is all.

4.  Rap music.  It is not my favourite.

5.  Poorly made movies, of any kind.

6.  Uncomfortable shoes.  But, if you read my first post in the blog challenge, you know what shoes I like.

7.  Boring books.  Writing description can be fun and make me feel creative, but reading it?  Oy.  I need dialogue.

8.  Legalism.

9.  Dogs licking my face.  It is wet and sticky and gross.

10.  When schedules get behind (I know, I do this too).

History: Murray is in the Books

Yesterday was the best.
I felt a jittery excitement until almost nine o'clock last night.
The feeling returned this morning, slightly curbed.

Unless you know me well or are a tennis enthusiast, you may be asking yourself why?

Four o'clock yesterday afternoon, Andy Murray of Great Britain (by way of Scotland) and Novak Djokovic of Serbia walked into Arthur Ashe Stadium to battle each other in the U.S. Open Men's Final.  Unbeknownst to the millions of viewers and listeners around the world, the match would become the longest in U.S. Open history and Andy Murray would win his first Grand Slam and become the first British male to win a Grand Slam since 1936.

It was an excruciating match that had my blood pressure much higher than normal.  My cousin Jess was awake in England listening to the match as she and I chatted back and forth on Facebook, at times rejoicing and others commiserating.

I was anticipating tears of joy and excitement when he won.  However, no tears came.  Just pure excitement, and wondering whether or not the Queen stayed up to watch the match.

Murray's initial response to winning was a refreshing change from the typical falling on the ground done by many winners.  He internalized and tried to wrap his mind around it.  He played excellently, and made me proud to be partially British!

Today I am still happy, excited, and looking forward to Wimbledon next year!

Found here

I love the joy on his mom's and GF's faces!

So proud!

This is a sweet picture!

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Close-to-Obsession

I am elated.
I'm already planning next years Wimbledon excursion with my lovely cousin, Jess (and perhaps my father).

But, for more immediate excitement, the U.S. Open Men's Final is THIS afternoon!
I will be glued to my television cheering madly for Andy Murray as he battles Djokovic for his first Grand Slam win.

Found here

Like, Like, Like


Last night I told you all about my 27 day blog challenge.
Today's challenge is to write about 10 likes.
A little vague, but I can work with that.

1.  Cary Grant.  I like Cary Grant.  He is (was) handsome, daper, English (from Bristol), funny, suave, versatile in his roles, and one of the best actors the screen has ever known.  I will forever be a fan (and will live in denial over any skeletons he may have had).

2.  Christian Louboutin red-soled shoes.  It's a dream of mine to own a pair.  They are gorgeous, comfy (so I've heard), and classy (the pumps).  The red-soles add spice to walking down the street.

3.  My cats.  Rillian and Caspian are cuddly and precious.  They are so sweet when they cuddle together.

4.  Fall in the Virginia mountains.  Fall arrived yesterday.  I'm elated.  The trees have changed shades of green, causing me to believe they are preparing to become hued with red, yellow, and orange.

5.  Diamonds.  I just really really like them.  I don't care if they come in a tiara, a ring, a necklace, a bracelet, or earrings.  I love when Matthew McConaughey says, "Frost yourself."  Yes please.

6.  Laughing.  Forget like, I love to laugh. Till my stomach hurts and tears role down my face.  Or till I hyperventilate (which has happened...and can be a little scary).

7.  England.  Germany.  France (never been, but still).  Europe.  Like the chocolate, countryside, and cities.  I am anticipating moving there.  Oh, that will be a beautiful day.

8.  Earl Grey Tea.  Mmmm, smells scrumptious, tastes amazing, chic.  I am ready for tea with the Queen (just waiting for my invitation).

9.  Chocolate.  The dark stuff.

10.  Pink champagne.  Mmmm.  Classy, chic, and DELICIOUS!

Well, there you go, my ten likes.
Tune in tomorrow for #2 blog challenge.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

In Other News

Dear Bloggy World,

I am going to be doing a 27 day blog challenge, during which time I will write about 27 different topics.  I may alter ideas depending on their applicability to my life.  But, I am very excited to write about specific things instead of whatever happened during the day or suits my fancy.

Rather than giving the topics ahead of time, you will just have to be surprised!

And, some other fun news, I'll be having another guest blogger this week!
I will also be featured on her blog.
But, as these happen I will post to inform you.

Tomorrow I am going to be finger printed and have a TB test for substitute teaching.

Later in the day I will be glued to the television to watch the U.S. Open Men's Finals.
Murray vs. Djokovic
I am cheering Murray all the way!

Have a wonderful week!



P.S.  If you like reading my blog (and statistically I know you do), please take the time to follow!  Thanks!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Freedom in Christ; Freedom from Imprisonment

Almost a year ago I wrote about an Iranian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, held captive for refusal to recant his Christian beliefs.  I began praying for his release and ability to stand strong.  I asked you all to pray for him.  Nadarkhani's case became known throughout the world as organizations and countries entreated Iran to free him.

Nadarkhani has a family; a wife and two sons.  His wife was imprisoned for a time and then released.  No one knew whether Nadarkhani would see freedom again.  Last October (I think) rumors began to circulate that he had been executed, martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ.  Thankfully it was not true.

Today I saw an article posted on Facebook saying Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is a free man.  His sentence was changed, thus causing his sentence to be set at three years.  The three years have been fulfilled, and he is home.

I rejoice at prayers answered, the Gospel being shared because of this man's imprisonment, and the glory that God has received.  I am thankful Pastor Youcef did not recant.  He stood strong and honored God.  I believe God gave him the strength to withstand the persecution, strength that Christians who live in hostile nations ask people to pray they will have.  They do not ask for persecution to cease, only that they will be true to Christ and not bow to the governmental powers' demands that they deny Jesus Christ.

We may never know the extent of the impact this man's testimony will have on the world.  But, God does, and He is using it for His glory.

To God Be the Glory!

Augustine and Anne: Separated by Reality and Centuries

I've begun re-reading Augustine's Confessions.

I read part of them for a class my Freshman year of college (I was supposed to read them all).
Then, last year in Medieval Philosophy, I read most of them again (except for part of book XII and all of book XIII).

During in-class discussions my sight was broadened.  I began to see the bigger picture and themes of the book.  I'm thankful for that, because when reading something deep and new, it can be difficult for me to see the overlying themes.

Thanks to Augustine, I realized my whole life I had unconsciously assumed Heaven was eternal (I know, I know, the old Heaven and Earth will pass away).  But, by reading Augustine I realized, Heaven, as does everything else, exists because God sustains it.

I was flipping through the pages the other night and an excerpt underlined in blue ink jumped out to me.  It said,
"For though they cling together, no friends are true friends unless you, my God, bind them fast to one another through that love which is sown in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us." (Book IV, section iv)
While reading it a particular friendship came to mind, but after pondering it a while longer, many friendships came to mind.  Anne Shirley would call them a kindred spirit.  I have different levels of friendships with people.  However, I am truly thankful for a handful of friendships that will continue (I hope and pray) despite distance, time, age, decisions, spouses, children, etc.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Death of a Saint

So much has happened in the past week.
A dear gentleman I know died and is now in Heaven.
More than just a dear man, he is the father of a lady who is like a second mother to me.

Seeing her, her family, and all his children and grandchildren in grief and pain was, and still is, awful.
I am going to miss him.  He always had a hug and a kiss on the cheek for me.
He always asked how my mom and brother were.
He would say, "How is your Mama and brother?" (or something almost to that)

His dear sweet wife is still with us.  Her response to his death was beautiful and reassuring.
She told me, "It was his time, and he is no longer in pain." (again, the quote may not be perfect)
While I know she misses him, and I cannot imagine losing a spouse, she knows where he is.
She will see him again.

Hebrews 12:1 has come to mind numerous times.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (NIV)

He is a witness to the greatness of God. 

I am privileged and thankful to have known Mr. Rene for nine years.
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