for crazy schedules and making up for lost time

Wow. What a crazy-busy past few weeks this has been, and it isn't over yet. I feel like the worst blogger ever. Forgive me? It would make me feel oh so much better. :)

So, to make up for some lost time, my family had a lovely Christmas that we spent in Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and then finished up with a trip to visit some family in Florida. We then ushered in the new year with thoughts on the previous year and resolutions of eating better, having consistent quiet times and spending more time in the Bible, getting our priorities straight, and [atleast for me] trying not to get so caught up with the internet and social networking that are forever distracting me from what I really need to focus on. So far 2012 has been requiring my constant attention. School is more demanding than ever, with tests every week, trying to catch up on an entire semester of Latin in very little time (it's a long story), and pretty much endless studying. Then there're those random things that always seem to come up-- preparing for my driver's test, a trip to SC for an orthodontist appointment, a weekend trip to FL for a cousin's wedding, and the homeschool winter formal-- all within about a week. But, regardless, I can't help but be hopeful in the new year and what it may hold.

the Christmas photos:

A few instagrams:

studying with coffee// flower in my hair
new shoes// going on an adventure
hot chocolate on a cold day// moccasins

I'll do my best to post again soon. Love y'all!

P.S. Much thanks to my lovely friend MaryRachel for the new header. :)



the Christmas rush and some baking

Besides eating {a lot of} cookies, doing endless Physics as well as some government, and finishing up drivers ed (it turns out that I can get my license now! *dies of excitement*), Christmas break has been laid-back so far. It's been nice. And the dozens of cookies my mom has been baking? Yeah, definitely a factor. I wanted to be the helpful, baking-adept daughter, but I had to try and make some Physics headway instead. That, and I'm usually pretty incompetent/blundering in the kitchen. My mom once said that she prays I find a husband that can cook... She was joking, but not too far off. Ahh well. I love food, so I suppose I'll just have to force myself to be good at making it. :)

I have been confronted with the realization that, no, Christmas isn't still months away and, no, I don't have plenty of time to finish up all my Christmas gift shopping/creating/wrapping. I really and truly only have several more days left! Time flies by so much quicker than when we were little kids. Or is it just me?

So now, I only have one more day to finish all of my Christmas preparations. The day after tomorrow we're visiting my grandpa in Townsend, Tenessee (Never heard of it? Yeah, most people haven't), and on Christmas Eve we're heading down to Greenville to eat food/celebrate/go caroling my uncle, aunt, and some cousins. Then we're heading back to North Carolina to spend Christmas day and home, and then driving down to Florida to visit more family. 

Sometimes keeping up with this time of year is a struggle. There's so much to do and so many friends and family to see in so little time, so many traditions, so much commercialization, and so many people stressing and rushing--trying to simply "get through" the holidays. Sometimes I have to slow down, block out all of the noise and busy-ness, and remember what it's all about. But you know what? I love Christmas. :)

I hope your week is going spendidly!



it's the most wonderful time of the year

Yeah, it's been a while since I last posted anything. I blame it on school work's annoying tendency to fill every waking [and many a sleeping] hour with tests, studying, extensive reading assignments, papers, ect. But it's all good now, because Christmas break has arrived. Well, at least it has mostly arrived... I still have my Physics and Pre-cal classes this Monday, along with a midterm exam, but let's not focus on that. :)

I'm the biggest kid when it comes to Christmas. I'm one of those people whose whole year pretty much centers around Chrismas. I spend all of the Fall months [very] eagerly anticipating it, and once it's over my world feels crushed. Hot chocolate, snow, Christmas music, classic Christmas movies, and all that? My favorite. And then there're the many traditions. The present shopping and buying. The getting together with friends and family to eat all sorts of delicious things and exchange gifts. The Christmas caroling. The decorating of the Christmas tree. The hanging of the stockings. The stories of Santa Claus and the night before Christmas. And remembering the true story of Christmas. Of Bethleham, the star that guided the wisemen, the shepherds in the field, the manger in the lowly stable, and the little baby Jesus who was born into the world to save all who believe in him from sin. I never get tired of hearing that story.

There is nothing more magical as a child than sleeping next to the Christmas tree.

I hope you're having a blessed, magical December. :)



"What are you thankful for, Thomas?" "For the leaves!...because they're so fuzzy!"

Happy [very late] Thanksgiving, y'all!

Thanksgiving break was a whirlwind of friends, family, thankfulness, traveling, hiking, laughing, eating, and even a little reading. My family and I spent Thanksgiving day enjoying endless delicious food and sharing reasons for being thankful (and watching tv) with some very dear friends. Then on Friday morning, we headed up to Kentucky to have some Thanksgiving with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. We stuffed ourselves again with turkey, greenbeans, pies, and all of that goodness. And then once more the next day.

Besides eating, the most exciting thing was an intense hiking adventure up in the woods on my grandfather's property. My parents, siblings, an aunt, some cousins, and I made our way up the almost-completely-vertical mountain, using trees and branches to pull ourselves up. When we finally reached the top, we stopped for a while at "Chimney Rock," the tall rock formation that (you guessed it) looks kind of like a chimney from a distance. It was a pretty warm day, but my dad couldn't help but make a fire underneath the rock. Too bad we didn't have marshmallows...

But the journey back down was the real adventure. My dad took us down a different side of the mountain because he thought it was "easier"... which meant that we ended up sliding the whole steep, muddy, tree-less way down. And we landed in a creek in the valley at the bottom. The stuff of memories? Yeah, I'd say so.

{Here's where I get to ramble about thankfulness}
Thanksgiving came and went in a fleeting, happy moment-- just like it does every year. But I'm more determined than ever to keep a thankful attitude on the other 364 days a year, not just on the one day that we are expected to be thankful. In our fast-paced society, it's so easy to focus on all the things that seem wrong or imperfect with our lives, and take for granted all of our many, many blessings. I'm ashamed to say it, but I find myself way too often thinking "I'll thank God later. But right now, there are too many things I need to ask God to help, fix, and get for me." Maybe you hear this all the time, or maybe you need to be reminded of it, but every single thing that is good is a gift from God, and we need to thank him for it! 

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." -James 1:17

If you have a couple minutes, please watch this video. It's really amazing. 
(If you don't understand it the first time, you might need to watch it again)

Thanksgiving Chair from Shift Worship on Vimeo.

There is so, infinitely much to be thankful for.


P.S. I planned to take pictures of all the amazing, beautiful Thanksgiving food, but I was too busy eating it... Sorry. ;)


a pleasant week and another birthday

Hey there, friends!

This past week has been uneventful for the most part. Friday was honoring our Veterans and enjoying a fun movie night. Saturday was a day trip to visit my grandpa in Tennessee. Sunday was church and a relaxing afternoon with some dear friends. Monday was Physics, Pre-Cal, cramming to complete all my work for class the next day, the new Hunger Games trailer (Ahhh!), and getting only five hours of sleep because of studying for an American literature test. Yesterday was three cups of coffee, my government, literature, English, and composition classes, and my whole class's dressing up in our Sunday-best to eat at Chick-fil-A. 

And today, is my sweet baby brother's fourth birthday. I know this sounds like what a mom would say, but he's growing up so fast!

I just love that little guy so, so much. :) 



a sister and her birthday

For the first eight years of my life, I had only brothers. I dreamt of how wonderful it would be to have a little sister. I could do her hair, and dress her up in girly dresses, and play with her, and share secrets with her, and teach her everything I know. And then, exactly eight years ago today, my wish came true. I can still perfectly remember waking up one morning to find that both my parents were gone. In their place was a babysitter who announced that they had gone to the hospital in the middle of the night and that I now had a tiny, adorable baby sister. Words could not express my excitement!

I could not have asked for a sweeter, funnier, smarter, more creative, more talented, more loving, more beautiful sister to call mine. Not to mention that she has curly golden hair like no other. :) Every day I can see how God is working in her life and fashioning her into the strong, beautiful, Godly young lady he wants her to be. 

I love you so very much, dearest Chloe! 

"She is far more precious than jewels...
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."
~Proverbs 31:10b and 25-26

Many blessings!