Sep 27, 2011

a cloudy day...

...brings the perfect lighting for a photographer.

with autumn's arrival, we have been experiencing a bit of cloudy weather as of late, which I haven't been minding at 'tall. just another step to a beautiful autumn season.

clouds bring rain and thunder. quilts and firesides. knitting and tea. movies and books. soups and muffins.
 so many lovely things to enjoy. but also wonderful lighting for photographs. hard to believe, but quite true...

what do cloudy days bring for you?

postscript :: be sure to check out my dear friend Johanna's "whispers of autumn"!

p.s.s "in focus photography" is my new watermark. 

Sep 23, 2011

hullo autumn

There is a season when the birds fly. the breeze is chilled. the leaves swirl. the world changes color. 
 the trees bend. the fires blaze. the ovens warm. the air is filled with celebration and thanksgiving. 
my heart longs for that season which I hold so dear to my heart. 
welcome autumn!  
hullo, leaves swirling around me.

hullo, clouds of grey.

hullo, walks in a park, brick paths filled with leaves.

hullo, autumn fashion. {lots more fashion posts coming soon}

hullo, scarves and fingerless gloves.

hullo basket filled with yarn.

hullo, crisp breezes and firesides.

hullo, knit sweaters and fuzzy socks.

hullo, brown uggs. I've been waiting for you.

hullo apple orchards and fresh apple cider.

hullo reenactments.

hullo orange, crimson, and gold.
goodbye summer. hullo, autumn! 

Sep 22, 2011

a picture perfect life

i sit here and type. this is how my story begins... 

i glance at the pines swaying in the breeze out my window to my right. the sun sinks low.  

click. click. click. goes the keys to my laptop. my fingers fly on the black keys which have become like dear friends to me. 

{{via}} is beautiful. perfect? as I said before :: absolutely not. there is beauty. there is laughter. there is love. there is rejoicing. and...
there are tears. 
unfortunately, not every day can be lovely. and to-day i had to face the reality that life isn't picture perfect


life isn't what I always dream it could be. Sitting in a cherry tree and staring at an orchard filled with blossoms, sure it's easy to call life beautiful. but what about when 100 things are hurled towards you, where at every turn you cannot help but sob and break down crying. will you call life beautiful then? 

i often wonder what goes on "behind the scenes" of our greatest bloggers. what truly happens in their - what we call "picture perfect" life. oh, how i wonder. at times i often find myself asking, "what would it be like to have  her life?" which in my eyes seems so picture perfect. but it isn't. we all have our bad days. some more than others. 

picture perfect? hardly so. beautiful still?...yes.   

{via pinterest}

if you asked me about a year ago, despite a few things here and there I would say I was living and breathing a perfect picture life. and then that moment ended. to-day I burst into tears. seems like I've been doing that more and more as of late. why? I can't tell you.

so this post is for you. to all who are facing those storm clouds and are wishing for a "picture perfect" life. sending my heart and love out to you. and I would appreciate all your prayers, dear readers. just to live and delight in our Savior. 

love always,
postscript :: thanking my dearest friend miss Camille for sending me a sweet letter to-day. really brightened my day. 

Sep 21, 2011

gardening 101 :: negative weeds.

{{proverbs 31:26}}

she openeth her mouth with wisdom; and her tongue is
 the law of kindness...

when I settle into my bed at night, the crickets softly chirping outside of window, my cat snuggled against my leg, my soft covers cloaking me - a wonder of how I cannot possibly keep from collapsing into a sweet slumber within minutes of settling down - my thoughts have a habit of unraveling during this quiet time, often keeping me awake for a while. sometimes I read a bit of Preparing to be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl {review coming next month} which has been such a wonderful book to read and perfect for a day's end. just last night I finished the 16th chapter, "The Power of Stinking Thinking." this particular chapter told the story of a woman who married the perfect spouse, but slowly her marriage began to unwind by the destruction of her negative thoughts and words. this really convicted my heart, and I began to reflect on my own life. oh, how it scared me! I thought, " just how many lives am I destroying by my bad attitude, my spiteful thoughts, my negative retorts, or hurtful words?" slowly, slowly I am ruining someone's life, with all these negative attacks. but you know who I hurt the most? Me. this thought echoed in my ear. 

I love gardens dearly. vegetable gardens, rose gardens, herb gardens, flower gardens - I nurture a small fondness for them in my heart. tending gardens are also quite a passion for me, and the results, if tended properly, are beyond satisfying. that is why this year I was ecstatic when I heard that daddy was to build me some raised beds to plant a vegetable garden.daddy and I put in a lot of time and effort preparing the soil this past spring, running to and from the store for fertilizer, plants, bug repellent, etc. and now we are enjoying the bountiful fruits that have been harvested out of my garden because of our hardwork. {just this afternoon I savored a yummy avocado sandwich with basil from the garden :)}. 

a healthy garden thrives with water, sunshine, occasional weeding, fertilizing, and a sprinkling of love. of course, when an occasional weed does start to grow in a garden, it must be plucked. why? because if left untended the weed will choke the life out of the good plants. so goes our minds as well. if we let the seed of contempt enter our mind watering it with bitterness and negative fertilizer soon our thriving garden will be filled with weeds...       

criticizing another's garden doesn't keep the weeds out of your own . . . ~author unknown

   It is human nature to climb on somebody's back if you are drowning. People, especially girls who are frustrated with their lives, have a tendency to want to bring others down. They rationalize to themselves that they are just telling what happened, just being honest, and so forth. This need to bring others down will follow you into your marriage, job, and life, for there will always be those whom you will decide need "telling on." It is a death trap of Satan's. Not their death trap; yours. 

Only when a girl learns to control her need to tear down, when she lets people go unmolested by her "truthful" information, will she begin to grow as a person. Every argument, every misunderstanding, every hurt feeling - every black depression stems from someone "supposing" another meant evil toward them, used them, thought offensively toward them, or whatever else the mind contrives. Imagine being free from all these misapprehensions!  
You can be free.
~ from chapter 16 {pg. 201} of Preparing to be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl 

it's like alcohol. thinking ill or badly of someone who has done you wrong perhaps will make you feel a little bit better but for a short while. then depression and bitterness settles in as it destroys you little by little even if you are unaware of this. but we don't have to fall into this trap. 

{{psalms 30:11}}

thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.

 so will you choose to mope around all day, and thrive on seeing others just as miserable as you or glorify Him who loves you and uplift others through the power of positive thinking? 

{{proverbs 16:3}}

commit thy works unto the Lord, 
and thy thoughts shall be established.

your sister in Christ, 
*disclaimer :: images via pinterest

Sep 16, 2011

be still.

life is filled with busyness. friday at last! to-day, I have been frantically trying to finish all my homework assignments thinking of the blissful thought of the weekend that has been driving me forward this whole week. oh, what shall I accomplish on my agenda? 

knitting. lettering writing. baking. blogging. card making. birthday present brain-storming. etsy browsing. pinterest pinning. photograph editing. skyping? tutorial hunting.  spanish speaking. french translating. e-mail writing {more like apology writing :)}. inspiration board making. facebook updating. more knitting.     

but then it hit me when I had a chance to catch my breath {in the shower of course :)}.

be still. there is a healer whose love is deeper than the sea
be still. 
just be still? but, but - 

for you see, I was too busy being - well busy - to take a moment of my time and just to BE STILL and acknowledge that the Lord I serve is GOD

He is mighty, holy, awesome, wonderful, and is worthy to be praised. 
so take a little time, even a few minutes, to acknowledge that the Lord whom we serve is God. 

as a dear friend says, "keep looking up because He's looking down." :) {{love you, bethany! :)}}
love in Him,
*disclaimer. images are via pinterest

product reviews

I've been blessed, by so many people. people I don't even know! people from across the states, and half way around the globe.

their simple kindness warms my heart. 

words cannot express how thankful I am to those who have generously sent me a little something from their etsy shop either through a giveaway or through a product review.

yesterday, I received this beautiful wristlet from Sweet Pea Totes ::

it was such a blessing to work with Mary, the etsy shop owner! she sweetly sponsored my garden last month, but also said she would like to send me a wristlet or clutch from her shop.

the shipping was incredibly fast. I only had to wait about two days! so if you want a well-crafted gift with fast shipping, I highly suggest that you order from Sweet Pea Totes. Mary sells beautiful, high-quality products that are both well-made and very stylish. Daddy commented that they could be sold at Macy's. :)

not only did Mary send me this beautiful wristlet, but she also included a lovely, vintage handkerchief...

lovely, no? it really touched my heart that she specially sent me this just because she knew I collected them!

it now hangs from my bookshelf as I type!
special, special heart-felt thanks to Mary for sweetly sending me both the beautiful wristlet and vintage handkerchief. may the Lord immensely bless you and your shop.

Jana from shattered princess sent me a beautiful lavender sachet which also graces my desk...
 {{note :: not my photograph}}

Christina from the olive tree boutique also sent me a beautiful hair clip...

and Romi from willows and whispers all the way from australia sent me five whimsical prints from her shop which now hang in the corner of my room...

so many lovely things, so many lovely people! this post is dedicated to all of you who have sponsored my blog and sent me a giveaway prize! thank you so much! you are amazing, generous, sweet, awesome people. :) 

I am not paid to do these reviews. writings are all my own thoughts.

Sep 15, 2011

your questions, my answers {{part i}}

finally, I have been able to sit down and answer your wonderful questions ::

Bekah said... 
~Have you ever read a book that has changed your life? What book was it?

~ Do you ever dream about being rich and famous?

{I'm not sure if you've answered these for me before, but if you have, I forget ;)}

dear, miss bekah ::
  as of yet, no I have not stumbled upon a book that has completely changed my life. yes, there is indeed the Bible but a novel, no. when/if I do though, I will be sure to let you know immediately. :)

yes, I have dreamed of being rich and famous {mostly rich, but haven't we all? :)}. I dream of having a handsome house{s} and taking sewing, ballet, harp, and language art classes, hosting Regency balls and inviting all of my lovely blogging friends {for if I were very rich I could fly all of you to my house, and I would have billions of rooms to have you stay in}. the house would have gardens filled with roses and herbs and little nooks and crannies to be discovered. a fanciful thought, yes, but a girl can dream right? :)

Miss Rachel Lauren said... 
My question is: Do you plan on being a homemaker and stay at home mother, instead of going to college and getting a job? My plan is to me a mother and wife someday, but I would also like to follow God's plan for me!

dear miss rachel ::

      you don't know how much I have been asked this question. now in my sophomore year of highschool, the topic and thought of going to college have been brought up more than once. 
yes, I do feel a certain calling to go to college, although I could never imagine leaving my dear parents. do you want to know a secret? there is a certain college of which my current homeschooling curriculum {A Beka} is based called Pensecola Christian Academy where I want to attend but is based in Florida. well, the rates they give for a full four years of education is just too good to pass, and my parents are thinking of while I'm attending the college they will rent a condo for two months at a time so I will not be so homesick. this is all just a thought, not a plan, though. :) But it's all in God's hands.  
concerning a job, I feel that the highest calling for a Christian woman is to be a homemaker and wife to her husband and family. doesn't mean that I disagree about having a job before marriage, I just do not see it possible anymore that a woman can raise her children while balancing a job {then of course there are certain situations that might lead her to have to take up a job}. 

Eden McKoy said... 
On your "about me" page you said you have always wanted to travel to Europe. What about Europe makes you want to travel there?? And if you did get the chance to go what would be the one thing you would want to do?

dear miss eden :: 

well, I have always been quite fascinated about history and the ways of eras long gone by. I read a lot about France, Italy, Germany, and England and I would love to experience the historic ruins there, walk down cobble streets of Italy, explore castles in Germany and Austria, walk down the Hall of Mirrors in King Louis' XIV Palace of Versailles. 

Acacia said... 
Here are my questions! ::
What is you favorite and least favorite subject in school?
Do you have a favorite piece of music?
dear miss acacia :: 

my favorite subject in school thus far is Spanish 1 and World History. my least favorite? english, just because of my video teacher...just because she's not really appealing to me and biology. 

my favorite piece of classical music {that I can play} is Concerto for Two Violins by Bach :: 

I shall answer the last three soon. 

Sep 14, 2011

| life is beautiful

...but not always perfect

Life is beautiful indeed but perfect? 
there's always something that makes it seemingly less so. 
a beautiful morning turned into a clouded, rainy afternoon.
an amazing idea turns out to be more difficult than it first appeares.
a beautiful thought but words will not come.
a craft that is dying to be made but the sewing machine needs a cleaning.   
friendships so wonderful yet may just be for a season.
a dress that is perfect but not the right size.

yes, indeed life is not perfect. but that's what makes it beautiful. the imperfections. like sea glass on a beach. a piece of broken glass smoothed to perfection by the endless waves and sand that beat upon it, turning a jagged piece into a jewel, so goes life.

blue sea glass. a bow strumming a violin. flowers in your hair. the breeze combing through curly locks. a quilt under a tree. a bit of ribbon. lace tying my braid. a homemade bunting strewn through the trees...

the quiet moments, the simple pleasures, the "ah-ha" or "wow" inspired moments - that is all the joy of this simply crazy but short life. life isn't perfect. we all have our good days and bad. crazy and lazy. sunny and rainy.
because life is beautiful.

life is indeed beautiful but we embrace it because God created a beautiful day. 

Psalms 147:1
 Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

*disclaimer all photographs above are from pinterest.

Sep 13, 2011

| monthly book reviews :: a heart most worthy

A Heart Most Worthy 
by Siri Mitchell 

Rating :: 4 ½ stars 

Source :: Local Library

Cover Summary ::  
In 1918 Boston,
three seamstresses dare to dream 
of a better life. 

Fiery Julietta 
pursues love recklessly. 

SHY Annamaria 
falls for the wrong man. 

SECRETIVE Lucianna’s 
past endangers them all. 

Drawn together amid the opulence of Madame Fortier’s dress shop, will each find the fairy-tale ending she seeks? 

Excerpt :: 
On May 2, 1918, a short article appeared in the Boston Globe. It was only three sentences long; not an article really. Just a mention. It appeared on page twenty-four on the outside column, where most people hold on to a newspaper. I’m sure you wouldn’t be very surprised to  know that few people noticed it as they read the paper that morning and several people smeared jam on it as they turned the page. Only a very few read it.

Heiress Disappears

On the night of April 12, the Count of Roma was assassinated by an anarchist’s bomb at his house in that eternal city. His mother, the contessa, and his daughter were not harmed in the blast, but were later found to have disappeared. The new count suggests sinister persons may be involved.

Rare was the person who consulted the Globe those days for any news other than the war. There were no tears in America to spare for luckless Italian counts their vanished daughters; there were still too many left to shed for lost sons and wounded fathers. For the scoreds - the hundreds, the thousands - being killed on the battlefields of Europe every day. So it could be expected that a small article about an insignificant foreign incident, buried in the depths of the newspapers, garnered little attention.

Except that actions committed on one side of the world have a way of impacting the other. And people previously unknown to one another happen to meet all the time. In the Italian-speaking North End that day, copies of the Globe were used to wrap fish and line cupboards, while up on Beacon Hill, the newspaper was read from page to page, top to bottom. And in one particular house, the lady of that mansion sniffed as she sipped her tea and thought how it was just like an Italian to be blown up by one of his own kind. 

Two of the people mentioned in the article had access to the paper that day, but the hapless heiress couldn't read English, and the sinister persons were too busy hatching evil plans to bother with a propaganda tool of the capitalists' machinations. And so the fact that there had been an assassination registered to no one in particular. And life went on just the way it usually does. 

But fate has a way of laughing at human ignorance and God spins mysterious plans, and by August that Italian count's death would start to matter very much to quite a few people who had never known him at all. 

~ from A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell Chapter 1, pages 11 & 12  

Synopsis ::  In 1918 Boston, we meet three Italian immigrants searching for dreams in the New World. Three young ladies dreaming of love. Julietta dreams of falling passionately in love and pursues her fanciful romances recklessly, while Annamaria dreams of having a husband and family of her own but resigns herself to the orders and commands of her family. But one holds a secret that could risk her life and the safety of those she comes to love the most and dreams of romance are the last things on her mind, for you see Luciana is - was - the Countess of Roma. 

Three young ladies’ love stories woven and sewn together in Madame Fontier’s dress shop while the war rages around them. Will each of them find what their hearts seek? 

My Thoughts :: It was a lovely story and I read it within a day. I am quite fond of anything that has to do with seamstresses and dressmakers, Italy, and the Victorian era, so this was the perfect novel for me. Siri Mitchell has a way with words that made the readers, not only read the story, but stir the emotions that the characters felt. I nearly cried when Annamaria was treated to poorly by her family or, when Luciana was comforted by her friend.  

Pros ~ Wonderfully written! Sprinkled with the right about of romance and intrigue.  

Cons ~ Since Julietta {one of the main characters} pursued love in ways inappropriate, there were a few parts I would not suggest for younger readers. The word, “whore” was mentioned twice and there were a few kissing “scenes” between the characters before marriage.

Some of the story was difficult to read, for when the author wrote about a character it was from their point of view, quickly changing from one to the next so the reader had to pay special attention. 

Paragraphs {{or chapters}} of note :: 
She was filthy, dirty, and shiftless. She was scum. 
But Billy didn't know any of that. And he would never have imagined those words in conjunction with her. He only knew that she was distressed. So he violated every rule known to polite society. In both his world and hers. He stepped around the table and took her into his armes.

Bent on maintaining control, she clenched her hands against the emotions that raged inside of her. But it was useless. She burst into tears anyway. And then she lifted her arms and clasped them about his waist. 

"It's alright." He murmured the words into her hair and then pulled her closer. "Everything will be alright." As he spoke the words, he discovered that they were a promise.

She knew it wouldn't. Nothing would ever be right again.

~ from A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell Chapter 30, page 239  

{this paragraph almost made me cry...I love it when books are so good, they make you do that sometimes}.

Recommendations :: Readers who are avid readers of historical fiction {as I am} sprinkled with a bit of Victorian romance and suspense will love this book, although with the little romance that is throughout the book I would recommend it only for young ladies 15 years and older.

About my rating system and recommendations :: I concentrate on the plot, characters, morals, and especially the writing style. I am not paid to do these reviews, and all thoughts and writings are my own. The purpose for these reviews are to give young ladies book recommendations that are SAFE to read, as such books are rare these days.   

Although, I am 14 {turning 15 next month}, if the book contains a little graphic romance, I usually recommend the books to a higher age level than myself, so that younger ladies will not stumble upon something within a book that they or their parents may disapprove. 

{{Have a book or movie you would like to be reviewed? Leave a comment!}} 


Sep 12, 2011

dreaming of autumn...

as the days become shorter, the nights longer, the air thinner, the wind cooler - life takes a turn in routine. time is shorter, as sweet summer whispers goodbye and autumn cloaks the world with her colors...

my mind is swirling with the charms of autumn - vivid colors of crimson, auburn, burnt oranges, crisp yellows, cinnamon browns - hands full of smooth needles and woolly yarn, kitchen filled with warmth from the oven, scents lingering throughout the house, open windows letting in cool breezes, and I cannot wait until October's arrival.

so many happy events are to take place in October including plenty of birthdays to celebrate, one of our community's annual reenactments, my niece is coming to stay for a week, and autumn's official homecoming. summer is loverly and one of my favorite seasons, but I am looking forward to fall.

fuzzy uggs, knitted socks, fresh apple cider, the pungent scent of pumpkins, hayrides, afternoons sitting under the falling leaves, comfy blankets, fingerless gloves - what do you love about autumn?

Postscript :: can any of you {the ones who do not know} guess my birthday? :) hint :: two digits, and this year lands on a Tuesday 

Sep 11, 2011

| a few thoughts on friendships

I have been thinking a lot about friendships as of late and thought I would write a small post about it {{although not half as good as the lovely post Miss Moriah had written last month}}.

friendship :: a relationship between friends, a relationship between two or more people who are friends
{{from my Word Processor dictionary}}

 friendship are a delightful relationships and a blessing from the Lord. good, strong friendships are a true gift and rarely found these days.

from my observation, I think the word, "best friend" is taken lightly these days. not in wholesome Christian circles, but from the snippets and glimpses of public school I have experienced, "best friends" are quite rare.

Miss M. wrapped her arm around my shoulder and smiled sweetly. "And we are going to be best friends forever," she cried out. I smiled slightly thinking how interesting it was that she would say that, for we had only been acquainted for a week...

and I haven't heard a word from her to this day. all summer. friendships -er- acquaintances come and go. a young girl who I had met through a reenactment last fall and e-mailed a few times, recently told me that she and her very good friend fought again and decided to "separate" to see how well it went. unfortunately, you see this cycle very often these days.

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

true friendships survive it all. they will love each other through difficulty and hardships and sometimes WILL annoy each other. :) they will comfort each other in hard times and will be supportive of one another with their decisions {even sometimes if they don't agree with it}. a true friend will show himself friendly and stick closer than a brother. 

and that is a wonderful, beautiful gift from God indeed. 


I think we take the word "remember" very lightly these days. We often use the word saying, "Remember to bring your books, remember to call so-and-so, remember this specific date." But when "remember" is used as a serious word, even a horrible event, we try so hard to forget it. I sometimes think that if we try to forget it for too long, we will pretend that it never happened to avoid the pain. Some events and dates are not always a happy celebration, though that does not mean we should ever forget them.  

Three numbers 9/11 changed America forever. We have been watching a few documentaries about the attack  and I was in tears. I still am in tears when I remember that day. I was only five years old. But even though I was across the States from New York, untouched by the dust and debris that spread across city, untouched by the lost of a love one in the buildings, I lived history. And I will never forget.

So many lives were lost, so many families separated, so many brave men and women to be honored. 

We must NEVER forget 9/11 no matter how terrible how painful the memories are. 

 This post is dedicated to all the brave men and women who sacrifice their lives everyday and to them who sacrificed their life or for our country's safety. 

Sep 4, 2011

my little trip to san diego {{part i}}

{the view from our window @ Embassy Suites}

Since I was a little girl, my parents have taken me to San Diego, but it was not until this year I was able to "re-awaken" the memories that had been made there so long ago. 

Unfortunately, I have not yet become comfortable taking my camera everywhere, therefore the first two days I did not capture any pictures, so I will write a brief synopsis instead :: 

first three...Padre's baseball game. 

After being stuck in four hour traffic from Calabassas, LA {we stopped to rest the night} to San Diego the next day, it was good to be finally settled in. On Sunday, we attended a Padre's baseball game one of the highlights of the trip. My mom had purchased the tickets months in advance and was excited to find out we would be attending the game that was hosting the retirement service for one of the team's famous pitchers :: Trevor Hoffman. It was a fun game, with the exception of boring parts in the middle :P {can you tell I'm not much of a baseball fan?}, and whilst mom and I purchased lunch, we {of course} missed a home run. Yes, I know. 

| day two...Sea World 

Last time I went to Sea World, I was blessed by the opportunity to join a program where one is able to interact with the dolphins. Now, I look back and that was nearly two - three years ago. My family and I had such a fun time watching the shows and riding on Atlantis. :)

| day three...Balboa Park

On day three, we explored the gardens and museums at Balboa Park. It was perfect weather and my favorite part was walking through the- well, I don't know quite frankly what the building's actual name is. :) "House of Plants" I suppose you could call it. 

We visited the photo arts museum, and stopped by the gift shop where I squealed when I spotted this mini vintage camera charm. I knew I just had to have it...

It's now on my camera case... *smile*

After we came back from the hotel, Mama declared that we should try a cute little cupcake shop that she had looked up on the internet {which was said to serve "heavenly cupcakes.} Mama and I have a little interest for baking cupcakes and needed inspiration, so we walked a few blocks and checked this place out. 

Turned out it was a "cupcake lounge." Beautiful cupcakes lined in perfect rows where displayed in perfectly polished glass cases. I was beginning to wonder if they were edible or art...

After a little conversation with the sweet woman who worked at the counter, she gave us her recommendations, and we settled down with our cupcakes. The frosting was oh-so-creamy, and the cake itself so moist. Definitely heavenly. :) 

day four...Old Town

On Wednesday, our last day in San Diego, Mama planned a trip for us to visit Old Town, a place where the old west meets Mexican culture. 

The sweetest part of our excursion was visiting the little, old-fashion candy store.  

Old fashion, red and white peppermint!  

:: to be continued :: 

thanks for reading! hope everyone is having a blessed Labor Day weekend!