Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Favorites + Highlights // Winter 2016-17

[Warning: long post]

I may or may not have started writing this blog post a half dozen times by now.

For what it's worth, Phaxatomicbomby Phil predicted another 6 weeks of winter, so I figured I didn't want to jump the gun and talk about winter in past tense just yet.

If my antics over the past few months interest you, they've mostly been divided fairly between very important, absolute priorities, on one side, and frivolous, time-wasting things that I just want to do because "it's way too beautiful of a day to spend the whole thing inside working", on the other. It's been a very mild winter. Like, two inches of snow total. [Insert sad face.] But very busy. I don't remember the last day when I actually didn't have something pressing needing my attention. Blogging probably should have taken a shot for the team, but in a way, I've found writing helps to keep me sane. So it stays. :)

This winter I've been...


God has taught me SO much lately!

My blog posts, 'Hijacking God's Spotlight' and '"Square One" and Why I'll Never be There Again', were just two of the things God's been working on my heart about recently.

The first week of January, Kristen and I were invited by a friend to attend a day of In the Gap's Leadership Academy, just down the road at the Eagle Springs Training Center, and I loved that day. I learned so much, was so encouraged by the edifying conversation, was so blessed to be included in an amazing small group for the day, and so enjoyed our game of speed volleyball after lunch (even if I totally wasn't dressed for such sports).

(Here is a picture of our small group. These girls are so amazing!)

And I have to share with you my favorite sermon from that day with the In the Gap people:

Christ Our Righteousness: Identity in Christ
Jamie Lash

Can everyone reading this please save this video on your YouTube account and promise me you'll watch it at some point? I know most people don't just randomly have an hour to stop and hear a sermon, but I really need to share this with you. It is life-changing!

This has completely changed the way I think, especially about myself. It's so important I view myself how God views me, and not how Satan wants me to view myself. We have to respect God enough to trust He knows what He's talking about- especially when it's about us!! I wish Bro. Lash used the KJV, but I nonetheless whole-heartedly recommend this to everyone.

(I'm hoping to watch the three sermons that follow this one in his series soon. I'll let you know...)


Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

Dream to Destiny, Livy Jarmusch (get it free here)

Yes, my Goodreads/book reviewing has fallen way off over the past few months- sorry!

Hoping to get reviews out of these abovementioned three very soon.

It's not that I haven't been reading much, as much is it's that I've kept a full editing schedule since Thanksgiving, and when I have time to "read", I usually end up editing rather than just pleasure reading. Don't worry, I'm still reading, and I still love books and all that, it's just that the books I'm reading aren't even published yet, so...

Here are a few articles/posts from around the internet I've appreciated recently:

'Things I Wish I'd Done Differently Before I Got Married'

'What Are You Going to do When You Grow Up?'

'On Daughters and Dating: How to Intimidate Suitors'

Listening To:

Winter has been so musical for me! I always feel musical, but it's really been even more pronounced these last two or three months.

Cleaning and laundry? Music.

Editing and blogging? Music.

Cleaning my room? Sewing? Knitting?


I can't believe I had never heard this before last month! I think of soldiers going off to war when I hear this. It just is really sad and beautiful at the same time.

*gets stuck in a black hole of amazing music for an hour*

*starts cleaning closet to said amazing playlist*

*finally remembers she's supposed to just be pulling YouTube links for a blog post*

This is so good for my soul.

'Por Ti Sere' by IL DIVO

(It's 'You Raise Me Up' in Spanish and it's so beautiful! I also heard an Italian version of the same song somewhere recently, but I like this one better.)

Cooking, Baking, Eating, and Drinking:

These were pretty good for low-sugar cookies, I thought, but I don't think my dad loved the super coconuttyness of them.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. If you are a chocolate/brownie person, these will change your life. (Not healthy. Like at all.)

We tried Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies, and I think we'd make them again. I, personally, liked them fresh better than day-old. And the uncooked batter was amazing, if raw eggs don't bother you...

Spicy Thai Noodles. Yum, yum, give me some. (I used one TBSP of the pepper flakes, and didn't strain them out, and the spiciness was perfect for us.)

Cottage Berry Whip- but I don't love it straight out of the food processor; I recommend sticking it in the freezer for 15 minutes, and it starts to resemble a frozen yogurt. Lesson learned the hard way: do not, repeat, do not, leave in freezer overnight.

Oolong tea with lemon juice and organic honey.


Volleyball! We got a net for our backyard for Christmas!

Cribbage. I got a three-track board for Christmas, so I've been learning and practicing, when not busy with all this other stuff. :)


Silver Dollar City at Thanksgiving

I pretty much love everything to do with the Ozarks, anyways, but I learned during our Thanksgiving trip that I should really start taking my camera to SDC more often. Usually, I think I'd rather not have the extra bag to carry, and we've been there five thousand times anyways, so why do I need the pictures, BUT I changed my mind at Thanksgiving. I totally loved capturing those laughs and memories, and believe we could always do with more happiness in print.

Silver Dollar City at Thanksgiving

Everyone else's eye-pain is the photographer's chorus of hallelujahs. Try and convince me that's not a gorgeous sunset! (And, yes, while SDC is very crowded during the week of Thanksgiving, most of the people in this picture are my family members.)

My backyard, around Christmastime

I am absolutely and unashamedly one of those people who loves skies and clouds and sunsets and sunrises and stars and will stop what she's doing at any instance and run outside for a picture of God's amazing, ever-changing masterpiece of Creation! I edited the photo to actually tone down the brightness, and it's still a bit much, isn't it? Well, it's just too bad you weren't all here to see it in person with me!!

My backyard again, around the first week of January

It had been icing all night, and I woke up to everything glimmering. But dully. Like when you throw glitter on something but it doesn't shine that much because it's only reflecting the light of a kerosene lamp.

I bundled up and waited for it to stop actively raining/icing, because I'm very protective of my camera, but only about 5 minutes after going out, it started up again. I must have been quite the sight crunching around the yard, almost falling every five feet, sheltering my camera in the crook of my arm, and snapping it out when I found a good angle. It wasn't even cold, but I may or may not have been pretending I was on a National Geographic mission in Antarctica. Ha! Don't judge me! It was fun!

Laughing About:

Mykaela got her wisdom teeth taken out around the first of December, and her dad caught the post-anesthesia hilarity on camera!! Ahahaha!! So, I make a phone appearance (24.50 through 27.28). I guess I'm now publicly infamous for not answering my phone and laughing at my friends when they can't help it. Argh. I'm such a horrible person. But it's still funny.

Watch the video, here:

Mykaela and I ALSO came up with a new line of memes...

Wait for it...


You know you needed to see that.

You're welcome.

Also, here are a couple YouTube videos I'm finding hilarious:

"Socialized = Girlfriends"

"John Boy's Finest Hour [The Walton's Parody]"


The arrangement of 'Sunlight in My Soul' by Tracy Ann Collins for viola, downloaded from this site.

Solfeggietto, C.P.E. Bach

(Yes, I know this is considered elementary classical, but I like it. And classical never really has been my focus, anyways...)

It is Well With My Soul, Arr. Shelly Hamilton

(I've played this one for several years, but have re-discovered it, if you will, over the past month or so.)

Lead Me to Calvary, Arr. Shelly Hamilton

(When I first played this through, I actually didn't like it, but it's grown on me. It was so easy to learn, too!)

Jesus Loves Me / O, How He Loves You and Me, Arr. Shelly Hamilton

(This is one of those arrangements that doesn't look that bad upon first appraisal, but you realize has some tricky parts when you get to smoothing it out. So beautiful and meditative, though!)

Praying For:

(just the really big ones on my heart)

Thank you to everyone who's been praying for my grandpa on his cancer journey! I don't have much in the area of updates, but please don't stop praying!

I know so many people sick with cancer. I won't list them all by name, but I'd thank you to remember my second cousin, Dawn.

The Huber twins, born premature at 24 weeks, on January 23rd. Their tiny, fragile lives are such rollercoasters, and I pray for them continuously.

Thankful For:

Answered prayers.

Unexpected opportunities.

Friends who lift you up in prayer and direct you closer to the Lord.

My blog readers! And everybody who has ever shared a post from here! Fun fact: halfway through February (you know, the shortest month of the year) and my old record for most views in a month was beaten! Meaning, I got almost double views just in February than I ever had in any other full month! You guys are so awesome; thank you so, so much for your support!

Looking Forward To:

I've been going through the training to become a tutor with English Friend, and I am so excited (and maybe a little nervous) to be starting with my own students very soon!

We reserved our cabins and tent spot for the Big Sandy Family Conference!! Eeek!! ALERT is one of my favorite places in the world, so of course I'm just super excited about going, but I'm especially looking forward to hearing some great preaching, and I might be signing up to help teach a class!!

Here is the "promo" video for the 2017 Conferences:

~ ~ ~

That's pretty comprehensive, yes?

Since I only do these quarterly, I want them to be thick and worthwhile. :)

What have you been up to?


  1. I LOVE these types of blog posts. Not only are they super entertaining and interesting but I feel like I get to know the writer better when I read these. Yay! I'll be reading those articles soon.

    1. I agree! I love writing them, too, and I notice that I more purposefully appreciate the special things when I note down that I should include them in my next favorites post. And I love reading them from others, too, so you should do one!!

      Definitely do! And watch that Jamie Lash sermon!! <3

  2. Our meeeemmmes!!!! :'D And my wisdom teeth video!! I'm honored. XD And you are NOT a terrible person, for the last time! I would have laughed so so hard at you if the situation was reversed. ;P I loved this post when I got it in my email, and just remembered that I wanted to comment. :)

  3. I can't believe I still haven't replied to this post! I keep checking your blog to see if you've written any new posts,and I forget that there are some I haven't commented on yet! :) This one was pretty long,and I wanted to wait until I had time to comment fully,and then forgot all about it...but anyway! I'm so sorry you've had "a very mild winter"...we certainly haven't had that problem in Washington! It's spring here,but there's still a good two feet of snow everywhere. I'm not sure how much snow exactly we got in Stehekin throughout the winter, but it was quite a bit. :)

    I look forward to reading your reviews of the books you mentioned! I haven't been able to figure out Goodreads,or I would be on it more. :) I'm glad you liked my sister's guest blog! It was very convicting for me, especially the part about not reading fiction! :O

    Yes,yes,yes. Music! I stayed with my grandma for two weeks after my grandpa passed away, and the thing I missed the most was music.(My family ran a close second! ;) I didn't realize how constantly I listen to music throughout the day until I didn't have that option! I love that song "Still,My Soul Be Still".. My brother gave me the CD Before You Now by the Petits,and I listen to it every morning if I can. :)

    Those cookies sound great! Especially the low sugar coconut ones..do you have any other low sugar dessert recipes? We have a Bible study with a lady who can't eat much sugar. To make it worse, her husband is allergic to chocolate! :(

    Your pictures are lovely! I love big,open fields and starlit skies. Unfortunately we don't get to see the stars or the sunsets here -there are too many trees! There is a big field by the Buckner Orchard that I love to visit! :)

    Haha...Mykaela's wisdom teeth aftermath video was hilarious! (But it was a little gross too!;) My sister introduced me to Broken Lens Productions, and I really enjoy their videos. I love the homeschooling ones,and "Hearts Are Gross" especially. I didn't care for the Waltons parody as much,because John Boy wasn't that squeamish about killing things! But still,it's pretty funny. :)

    There,I finally commented on the post! And I made up for most time by an extra long comment. ;)

  4. Jenny! Happy Spring!! Well, happy Oklahoman Spring, anyways. ;)

    Goodreads is fun! It's like a book list (so I don't have to keep a scrap of paper by my bed for the purpose anymore) and book reviewing site. I'm not on there too very often, mostly just right when I finish a book (so I can mark that I finished reading it) and sometimes if I'm searching out something new to read.

    Your sister is a great writer! Like you! Talented family... :)

    Mykaela introduced me to both the Petits (way back) AND Broken Lens Production!! She has pretty great taste!! The Russel family (from BLP) actually lives pretty close to us, and we were talking about maybe getting to see their family play music in a couple of months at one of their shows.

    I do have a whole lot of low sugar recipes! Would you like me to send them to you in email or on Pinterest? My dad is type 2 diabetic, and I am actually prone to diabetes myself just based on genetics, so we have a lot of low sugar and low carb things around here. :)

    Thank you so much! I've been working on some scenery shots. There are noooo trees in Oklahoma! It's kind of funny. I was born and grew up in the "pinebelt" of Mississippi, which means there are more pine trees there than almost any other place I've been! No sunset views! But the prairie, unlike what most people assume, is very picturesque.

    I actually haven't seen much of the Waltons TV show, but the character in that parody reminds me so much of John Jr. from the early seasons of Little House on the Prairie. Did you ever watch that? John Jr.'s pa was being clobbered by a big bear, John had a gun in his hand, his pa almost died, but he refused to shoot the bear. That's what the BLP parody reminded me of. The homeschooler videos are SO relatable, though!! The one where he eats ice is just hilarious because we've actually had a family joke about that exact thing for something like ten years, now!

    I'm glad you commented! And I've been sooo busy, but I *am* working on some new posts, so hold tight! :)

  5. It's starting to look like spring here as well. (That is to say it's raining ;)

    I'm not sure why I don't like Goodreads..I guess I'd like it more if it liked me! I have no idea how,but my account seems to have erased you as my friend. (We were friends,right? I'm not going crazy..am I? I wonder sometimes! :) (This was especially sad since you were my only friend! ;) Anyway,I have a hard time figuring out how to use any kind of social media at all. And if I took the time to find and review every single book I've read even in the past three months it would take me quite awhile. I like the idea,it's just been hard for me to get into. I need a book on "Goodreads for Dummies"!

    Mykaela didn't know about Broken Lens Productions until my sister and I introduced her to them! Katie found them first - that video spoof of The Waltons - and then we mentioned their videos so frequently in group emails with her that Mykaela had to watch them! :) I didn't know their family played music..that sounds neat!

    I'd prefer getting recipes through email if that works. I love getting emails! :) I'm so happy I asked now..we've never been much of a low-sugar family,and all our dessert recipes are crazily full of sugar. (They're quite tasty though! ;) And I like finding recipes on Pinterest but I'd rather get them from someone who I know actually uses and enjoys the recipes.

    I'm sorry you have no trees. :) I love flat,open prairies with their even beauty and gorgeous sunsets, but I also love my trees. After living in orchards and wooded mountainous areas all my life I've grown used to the security of having such things around me. I have a feeling you and your camera would love Stehekin!

    My older sister loved The Walton's,and when she babysat we kids when we were younger she turned tyrannical about watching them. So they're a big part of my childhood. :) I've just recently started watching them again with my younger sisters! We watched quite a few Little House on the Prairie episodes too,but I don't remember John Jr.'s character. I not only have short term memory loss,I have long term and middle term memory loss as well! :P Yes...I saw the one with the ice but I couldn't really relate. We have never (to my knowledge) gone on any sort of diets as a family. (We like to eat! ;)

    I was so happy to find your latest posts in my inbox! Thanks for taking the time to put them together!


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