FYI: Posts will be sparse around here until I replace my laptop.... Coming back to work after Christmas break apparently was too hard and it quit on me!

30 December 2011

this past week...

was wonderful

It was filled with...

laughter / gifts / stories / smiles / presents / reading / late nights / games / memories / giggles / photography / faith / teasing / hugs / snow / playing with dolls / jokes / sleeping in / good books /delicious food / photo shoots / card games /  laughing / songs / 25 people in one giant house

This is what happens when my mom's family gets together. =)  We don't see each other often--they live 16-18 driving hours away--but have so much fun when we do. 

Entering in the beauty in design challenge // week 5.

Photo: taken by my wonderful and talented friend who agreed to come take family photos for us all.

Fonts: Perpetua, Sell Your Soul, and Cygnet Round

25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

- - - Luke 2 - - - 

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Jesus Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
The Boy Jesus at the Temple 41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

22 December 2011

a surplus of grace - a thankful thursday -

The other day I came across a post that really, really caught my attention. Why? Because it spoke straight to my heart--it was what I've been thinking and living, but in words.

I have thanked Him. For many things. 
I haven't thanked Him. For many things. 
He can change me. 
I ache to be thankful. 

Yes, yes, YES! my heart cried out as I read:

The surplus.
by noelle at seeing beauty.

What do you want?, He asked.

To be whole.
To be free from bitterness.
To see the good, true, and beautiful.
To live fully.
Ultimately, to give thanks.

Have you?

I have thanked Him. For many things.
For His grace, His kindness, His goodness and mercy.
I have given thanks for my few accomplishments.
I have thanked Him that I am so fortunate
And so blessed
And so full
And so able to get it all done.
(Silently, bitterly
Grieving the emptiness
Counting failure after failure.)

False gratitude.
Easy gratitude.
Like thanking my Savior for helping
(the same way I’d thank a small child for “helping”)
when in reality, I owe Him my life.

I haven’t thanked Him. For many things.
Consciously, unconsciously, I don’t really know.
But I know how bitter I remain
How it gnaws and aches in the silence
How I don’t understand
How I cling to “This shouldn’t have happened,” and “I never deserved this,”
How I wonder what I did wrong
And still think I could have prevented it.

I’ve conceded His goodness
Thanked Him for redemption,
for evidence of grace,
for sparing me from a harsher fate.
Thank Him in all? I’ve tried.
But thank Him for all?

How? Is that even required?

Can I force my soul to do the seemingly impossible,
To be thankful for that which reason does not permit us to appreciate as “good”
To be thankful not for the byproduct or some secondary effect, but for the very circumstance
To acknowledge as worthy that which pain deems unworthy of thanks
To call the deficit itself a surplus of grace?


But He can change me.

I ache to be thankful.
Not to tally my losses, because our God is not a glorified thief
Not to even the score, because our God is not a scorekeeper
Not to make it easy, because our God is an artist of broken pieces
But to live with unreasonable gratitude
And in so doing, to live fully
Beyond the threshold of joy.

So I thank Him. For many things. 
For a surplus of grace.

211: Thank You, Lord, for my Daddy's job six hours away. Thank you for the time with him on weekends made special by that circumstance. 
212: Thank You for the cold. The cold that makes me appreciate a warm house all the more. 
213: Thank You, Father, for human sinful nature causing strife and arguing resulting in separation. Thank you for the growth in my life that those circumstances caused.
214: Thank You that I sin. Thank you that I'm not perfect. Thank you that my failures cause me to fall on Your sinless, perfect, unfailing grace.
215: Thank You for a surplus of grace.

falling on Christ's grace,

20 December 2011

Tuesday's Tips - Lowerbar

For the longest time I wanted to add gadgets at the bottom of my blog, so that my sidebar wouldn't be so full, but I didn't want to have to switch templates. Here is a simple tutorial for how to add a three columns of gadgets at the bottom of your blog.
Feel free to customize the styling to your needs. (html basics for text, backgrounds, borders, padding & margins)

1) Find:
#sidebar-wrapper {

2) Underneath that section of code paste:
#lower-wrapper {
       padding: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
       width: 1100px;
#lowerbar-wrapper {
     border:1px solid #e6e6e6;
       float: left;
       margin: 0px 5px auto;
       padding-bottom: 0px;
       width: 32%;
       text-align: justify;
       line-height: 1.6em;
       word-wrap: break-word;
       overflow: hidden;
       .lowerbar {margin: 0; padding: 0;}
       .lowerbar .widget {margin: 0; padding: 10px 10px 0px 10px;}

3) Find:

4) Above that paste:
 /* -----   LOWER SECTION   ----- */
#lower {
       padding: 0px 0px 10px 0px;
       width: 100%;

.lowerbar h2 {
      margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
      padding: 3px 0px 3px 0px;
      text-align: center;
      font: 14px Century Gothic, Arial, Tahoma, Verdana;
      border-bottom:1px solid #e6e6e6;
.lowerbar ul {
      margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
      padding: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
      list-style-type: none;
.lowerbar li {
      margin: 0px 0px 2px 0px;
      padding: 0px 0px 1px 0px;
      border-bottom: 1px solid #e6e6e6;

5) Find:
<!-- end outer-wrapper -->

6) Above that paste:

<div id='lower'>
<div id='lower-wrapper'>
<div id='lowerbar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='lowerbar' id='lowerbar1' preferred='yes'>
<div id='lowerbar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='lowerbar' id='lowerbar2' preferred='yes'>
<div id='lowerbar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='lowerbar' id='lowerbar3' preferred='yes'>
<div style='clear: both;'/>
</div> </div>

Now when you go to add gadgets to your blog there will be three columns at the bottom for you to place them. =)

In Him,

18 December 2011

It is the Week Before Christmas & a Merry CHRISTmas to You!

- - - The Week Before Christmas - - -

'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the town,
Not a sign of Baby Jesus, was anywhere to be found.
The people were all busy with Christmas time chores,
Like decorating, and baking, and shopping in stores.

No one sang, "Away in a manger, no crib for a bed."
Instead, they sang of Santa, dressed up in bright red.
Mama watched Martha Stewart, Papa drank from a tap.
As hour upon hour the presents they'd wrap.

Then what from the TV did they suddenly hear?
An ad, which told of a big sale down at Sears.
So away to the mall they all flew like a flash,
Buying some things on credit, and others with cash!

And, as they made their way home from their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus? Oh, no, not at all.

Their lives were so busy with their Christmas time things,
They had no time to remember Christ Jesus, the King.
There were presents to wrap and cookies to bake.
How could they stop and remember the One who died for their sake?

To pray to the Savior, they had no time to stop.
Because they needed more time to "Shop till they drop!"
On Wal-mart! On K-mart! On Target! On Penney's!
On Hallmark! On Zales! A quick lunch at Denny's!
From the big stores downtown to the stores at the mall,
They would dash away, dash away, and visit them all!

And up on the roof, there arose such a clatter,
As grandpa hung icicle lights, using his brand new step ladder.
He hung lights that would flash. He hung lights that would twirl.
Yet, he never once prayed, to Jesus, the Light of the World.

Christ's eyes--how they twinkle!
Christ's Spirit--how merry!
Christ's love--how enormous!
All of our burdens--He'll carry!

So instead of being busy, overworked, and uptight.
Let's put Christ back in Christmas, and enjoy a good night.

As you celebrate this year, remember to put Christ back into Christmas, because it's okay to say Merry CHRISTmas! (do you remember this post from last year?)

Pass it on!

p.s. google 'let it snow' =D so fun! 

Rejoicing in Him,

17 December 2011

the life of Charlotte Melarn - a character sketch

A while back someone asked to read some of my writing from my history class. Here is a short character sketch that I wrote when we were studying the industrial revolution. (originally a ppt presentation with photos and works cited, but I didn't take the time to copy all that into the post...) 
The following is my own work--please don't copy. 

      The biting wind snapped at the passersby as they hurried down the street in the fading evening light. Charlotte Melarn shivered as she drew her shawl closer and walked closer to the looming brick buildings. Sighing she remembered former days of old when she didn’t have to walk the distance between the factory and her house. When the loom she operated wasn’t in the crowded and noisy factory but in her own little cottage. Reaching her door she smiled as she opened it, realizing how blessed her life had been these many years.

      Born into a comfortable weaving family in 1772, Charlotte grew up learning the skills of a weaver. As the oldest of seven children, she grew up with many responsibilities. In 1790, Charlotte married Edward Melarn who was also a weaver. They led a comfortable life those first few years as it was the middle of the ‘golden years’ for their trade. (Radcliffe) The average wage in the mid 1790’s was £1 10s a week. (Peacock) In 1792, their first child, Samuel, was born. He was to be the oldest of their five children. The family was able to have a small garden alongside their cottage as well as a cow. (Radcliffe) These were indeed the ‘golden years.’

      By 1803 the business was slowing down due to the increase in usage of the power looms. The power loom was invented in 1785 by Rev. Edmund Cartwright. (Peacock) In 1808 the Weavers’ Minimum Wage Bill was rejected. By now wages were down to 8s for an eighty-four hour week. (Peacock) The family was still doing well and managed through the financial difficulties. One by one, all of the children married and moved to their own homes.

     In 1832, Charlotte and Edward finally gave up their business. They could not keep going at only 5-7s a week even thought they were working over fifteen hours a day. (Peacock) They moved to the nearby city and found work at the factory operating power looms. The work was not as pleasant as it had been in their little cottage, but it was work.

     The door opened and closed, waking Charlotte from her musings. Edward was home and it was time to put supper on the table. As she brought the food to the table she remembered that they had always managed just fine and she was sure they would continue to do so, whatever might happen.

15 December 2011

all is grace - a thankful thursday -

162: encouraging songs to assist in the morning attitude adjustment necessary to have a good day--full of love, joy, and laughter.
All is Grace
shaun groves

all is grace
all is grace and grace enough

184: Yahweh - I Am that I Am

185:: birthday wishes --joyous, loud & laughing

186: balloons reflecting the snowscape out the window and the sweet little sister who thought them up


187: siblings with servant hearts - a day without chores as a gift of love to me

188: family traditions bringing back many memories of old

190: Daddy who comes home cheerful and makes us all laugh

191: clean rooms just vacuumed

192: Adonai - my Great Lord

198: Titus phrases that make us all laugh loud "eliminate the house!"

13 December 2011

Tuesday's Tip - For starters... (a guide to help you start designing)

I've had a couple questions recently about suggestions for starting designers. So I came up with a short list of what one would need to start designing their own blog. =)

a test blog

This is vital. Create a test blog that only you have access to. Try out your creative ideas without wrecking your current design. Blogger doesn't have a limit on how many blogs you can make so use it.

an image manipulation program

This is important. Create beautiful images with programs such as photoshop or gimp. (plus, gimp is free!)

a file host

Extremely important. Upload images and script files for your designs. I suggest imgur for photos and bravehost for files. They both offer free services.


Fonts are one way to make your text unique and stand out. I suggest free font sites such as dafontfontsykevin&amanda, or you can always google for a specific font. A suggestion: keep the main font something simple and easy to read. ;)

digital scrapbook kits

Now these aren't absolutely necessary, but do help in creating an attractive design. Some sites I recommend for free kits:
.summertime designs
.shabby princess
.computer scrapbooking

(go here to enter in a giveaway for a digital scrapbooking kit! open from now until the 26th of December)

multiple browsers/computers

Websites look different depending on the browser and computer one uses. Check your design in several different major browsers to make sure there are no problems! I use:
.internet explorer


You can have all the resources at hand but without creativity, your designs will never be beautiful. So let your imaginations soar!

Any questions or suggestions? --let me know!

12 December 2011

a miscellany monday

I just successfully removed the glass sliver that has been in my finger since I put up our Christmas lights--the day after Thanksgiving!

The name of God for our advent calendar today is Jehovah Rohi -- the Lord is my shepherd. (Psalm 23)

My history/math extra credit problem for the week:
      A US military cook is preparing beans for troops in Vietnam (I know I’m stretching it but I’m running out of math problems, so just go with it).  A pot contains 75 white beans and 150 black ones. Next to the pot is a large pile of black beans.
      The somewhat demented cook removes the beans from the pot, one at a time, according to the following strange rule: He removes two beans from the pot at random. If at least one of the beans is black, he places it on the bean-pile and drops the other bean, no matter what color, back in the pot. If both beans are white, on the other hand, he discards both of them and removes one black bean from the pile and drops it in the pot.
      At each turn of this procedure, the pot has one less bean in it. Eventually, just one bean is left in the pot. What color is it? (since you could get this right by a 50/50 guess, 1 pt for right answer, 2 points if you can explain it)

Oh the hilariousness of it all. =P

I've been walking in a winter wonderland since Thursday morning (including the below freezing temperatures--daddy will you please fix my window so that my fingers no longer freeze during school?!)


Toothpaste works wonders on jewelry. My purity ring is now just as shiny and sparkling as my new matching necklace. =) It had gotten rather dingy after a year of constant wear...especially a summer spent working in a barn...but the toothpaste trick cleaned it up like new! I need to take photos of it with my necklace sometime...

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters
<< linking up with Carissa

Happy Monday, friends!

In Christ,

11 December 2011

Jesus & a Merry Christmas

His name is Wonderful: this takes care of the dullness of life. We no longer need to live on the cheap substitutes of the world in order to have excitement and enjoyment. Jesus Christ makes everything wonderful.
His name is Counselor: this takes care of the decisions of life. We no longer will be baffled by the problems of life, wondering what step to take next. With Jesus Christ as our Counselor, we will have the wisdom that we need to make the right decision.
His name is The Mighty God: this takes care of the demands of life. And life is demanding! Sometimes we feel like giving up; but through Jesus Christ we can have the strength that we need to continue--and to conquer.
his name is The Everlasting Father: this takes care of the dimensions of life. We can become a part of eternity! A whole new dimension of living can be ours through Jesus Christ, when the government of our life on His shoulders.
His name is The Prince of Peace: this takes care of the disturbances of life. How we long for lasting peace within! What we would not give for the secret of poise and confidence in a threatening world! The answer is--Jesus Christ. he is the Prince of Peace, and when He controls the government of your life, He gives you peace. (Warren Wiersbe, His Name Is Wonderful, Tyndale House, 1976, page 17)

The Mighty God!
The Everlasting Father!
The Prince of Peace!

I hope you have made Him 
your Counselor, 
your Mighty God, 
your Everlasting Father, 
your Prince of Peace.  
Because then you can truly have a merry Christmas!

(this is what I am reciting at a Seniors' Luncheon at our local Bible conference--my siblings are all playing piano/violin but as I haven't touched the piano in a long while I'm reciting this. thought I would share with you because it has such truth in it.) 

Love in Christ,

08 December 2011

the life I have been given - a thankful thursday -

168: dishwater to make hands warm
171: warm fires to chase away chill-bumps
172: encouraging song today: Sun & Moon by Phil Wickham
Sun & Moon
-phil wickham--

if You are the sun
then I wanna be the moon
I wanna reflect the light that shines from You

173: the life I have been given & another year to live--today is my birthday ;)
179: newly made beds to slip under heavy covers - a weight of warmth
180: Christmas lights warm and cheery =)


181: El Shaddai - Almighty God
182: fresh snow to make world newly beautiful

entering in iLove winter wonderland

Have a wonderful evening, friends!

Love in Christ,

01 December 2011

the Beauty in Design ...a challenge

Hannah of Beauty Design Studios and I have come up with a design challenge for her designers' community. Head over there for more information. =D (she is also the one who design my current blog design)

My entry for this week's challenge:

click to view the full image--my post area is not as wide as the specified size


(I used this stock photo for the images.) 
What do you think? Head on over there to view more entries. =)

In Christ,

the only thing - a thankful thursday -

86: sitting on the roof to catch the last of the sun's warm rays
before they dip behind the mountain dark

87: encouraging worship music that speaks to the heart
(the only thing by ronnie freeman)

92: vanilla caramel candles + tea + Christmas music + drawing

100: the joy and peace that comes with being in God's word
and obeying His will

105: tears washing down newness

112: hands open wide -- in praise


129: sleep - refreshing, restoring, & rejuvenating

141: glorious light to capture with my lens


157: a houseful of friends, laughter, and good food - hospitality

The Only Thing
--ronnie freeman--

I heard someone say
The other day
They'd seen in me
True love displayed
Blessed by something
I had done for them
No sooner
Did they speak those words
I found myself
Somehow disturbed
Uneasy as I took their compliment
Because I know
The heart inside this man
And I know the truth of who I am

The only thing that's good in me
I know me well enough to know
No matter what this life may show
The only thing that's good in me
Is Jesus
It's You
It's You
It's You
Only You

In Christ,