Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spring 2017: Recap, Highlights, & Favorites

Hello everyone!! I'm so glad you are here. It makes me super happy to have this platform to write and share God's truths, what He's teaching me, and how He's blessing me! If you scratch life down to what it's meant to be, and if you let Christ live the Christian life through you, rather than striving in vain to achieve it yourself, life can and will be so beautifully joyous!

Spring has been a season of vibrant colors, flooded valleys, radiant sunsets, and tornado sirens. The temperatures have been so surprisingly mild/chilly! Even today as I write, my bedroom window is open, the 65-degree breeze wafting in. Speaking of breeze, it has also been extremely windy! A few days ago my mom asked me to go outside and move one of our garbage cans, because it had been blown down the driveway, and my dad was almost home from work, and the garbage can would be in his way driving in. I had just moved them and secured both of them (a grey one and a black one) a few hours before, so I was frustrated they had been blown loose again. When I picked up the wayward grey can and drug it back to its place, I didn't see the black one that should have been there, either. I walked all the way across the house only to find it in a rose bush! Yikes! Guess I need to work on my garbage-can-securing if I'm going to make it out a true Oklahoman.

March


March was a good, colorful month, dotted with much floral photography and many technical difficulties. I was trying to get to the point where I could actually teach my own English classes (online), but between my computer and internet connection, I was struggling.

I was practicing viola a lot in those days. You might remember my post where I mentioned my viola audition, and how I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it into the orchestra. (Re-read it here! ☺)

There was a photography contest I heard about and the theme they were asking for was 'Flower Power'. I didn't really know what they meant by that (a flower with a cape on??), but I submitted this, and won honorable mention:


My favorite thing I made/ate in March was definitely chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting—sugar free and low carb edition! I was so happy with it. Sugar-free cakes are so easy to mess up, but it actually turned out just as good as a full-sugar cake, IMO.

Recipe for the cake: here
Recipe for the frosting: here

During March I read 'Bruchko', which is probably my new favorite missionary biography/auto-biography of all time. I had never heard of Bruce Olsen before reading this book, but it was absolutely fantastic, five stars, and bears my highest recommendation for all.

April


In April I found out I made it into the orchestra (despite my nervous doubts)! I spent the month working on the three pieces I was to learn for that.

The week leading up to Easter, my family and I got to go down to Mississippi! I hadn't been in two years, and the rest of my family hadn't been in four years, so it was great to catch up with all of our family and close friends down there. My hometown will forever be apart of who I am, truly! It was so hot down there, though! Stifling. I hadn't forgotten how hot and humid it was, but just being thrust into it so suddenly, right in the middle of a young springtime, was pretty abrasive.

Here's a shot I snapped while we walked around the rose gardens at USM, where my dad went to college for his Bachelor's:


We went to the sunrise service on Easter with two pews full of family members at our old church, where my parents were married, before getting back on the road to head home so my dad could be at work Monday morning. It was really great!

I turned 20 years old. Which I don't know how I feel about that. I don't think 20 is really a high enough number to articulate how old I feel, especially compared to the maturity of most of the 20-year-olds I see around town. Don't get me wrong, I have tons of growing to do, and God has not completed His work in me, or anything like that, but I wish I could stop being stereo-typed by my age for once. Of all the things I can or should be stereo-typed by, let them be my choices or actions, not my age, which I have no control over.

For my birthday dinner, my parents told me I could pick wherever I wanted to go, and they'd take me, just the three of us. That was so super special to me, because I never get to do anything with just my parents! I picked The Cheesecake Factory and we stopped by the Tulsa rose gardens on the way into town for dinner. It was in the low 40's that night—so cold! I can never remember a birthday before that when I was actually shivering walking around outside on my birthday! Haha!

The week after my birthday, we went down to Texas for the annual Big Sandy Family Conference! If you know me, you know Conference is definitely one of the highlights of my year! The theme this year was 'Trust in the Lord', and it was so timely. I loved hearing sermons from especially S.M. Davis and Dr. Jerry Benjamin. I also loved catching up with old friends and making new ones! (Y'all know who you are! Shout out to you!)

It was the busiest year of Conference for me, yet, though! I worked as a teacher in Children's Institute (ages 4-7), and played in the orchestra!

My days went something like...

6AM - morning alarm
7:15 - morning devotion and meeting with all CI teachers
8:15 - kids start checking into CI for the day
12 - lunch break
12:45 - orchestra and choir practice in the Auditorium
1:45 - sprint back to my CI group in the Chapel
5 - parents check their kids out of CI
5:15 - CI teacher meeting
5:30 - dinner
6:30 - General Sessions in the Convention Center
9:30 - last sermon finishes up; fellowshipping time
...stay awake as long as you can and repeat the next day!

*Revision: take showers whenever you have twenty minutes in a row with nothing to do

There are only so many days in a row it works, though, honestly! Haha! By Friday night I really thought there was no way I'd be able to walk all the way down to the gym (from the campground) for volleyball. But I did. I just didn't play any volleyball when I got there. I just sat there and watched (I wouldn't have been worth anything, even if I had put on the right kind of shoes!). And I got a ride back up the hill. 😉

Here's a picture of the Children's Institute teachers—such a blessing to work with so many servant-hearted people!


And here's a picture of the orchestra. Fact one: making a joyful noise with other musicians will forever be a happy occasion for me! Fact two: that stage + those spotlights + no A/C = so. much. sweating. So much. Pity on those preachers who stand up there for hours.


By the end of April, my tech difficulties were being fixed one by one (thank you, Lord!), and I was team-teaching English classes and finishing training.

Also in April I finished reading 'David Copperfield', which I did really enjoy, but mark as possibly the longest book I've ever read. Let's just say it's not for the faint of heart, but worth it. ☺

May


And we're here! We've made it. Good reading, you guys!

This month has been pretty weird. At one point, my family was split up in four places (between two states), taking shelter from three different tornados at the same time. I much prefer taking cover with all of my family together.

I went to this certain thrift/antique store for the first time with my mom and I found a vintage, king size, handmade quilt for $30! And a quilt rack for it for $10. Yes, I splurged and got both. I'm still excited about it, though, because that was really a fantastic price and I love quilts, especially vintage ones. In ways of buying things, I had a gift card to use up before expiration, so I also bought 9 books on ThriftBooks.com for $30. Most of which I need to work on to complete my goal of 20 specific books I want to read this year (You can re-read that post here. ☺)

I officially began teaching English with my very own students two weeks ago! So thrilled about that! It's so great! I love it. I already have three classes to teach every day Tuesday-Friday mornings. God is so good to us!

I've been tinkering around with some hymn arrangements by Jeff Stice.

I made these mocha almonds (recipe here) the other day and think I need to make another batch again very soon.

I'm currently reading 'Shadow of the Almighty' by Elisabeth Elliot and 'Mansfield Park' by Jane Austen.

To close out, I saved a few links over the past few months of just things some of you might enjoy looking at/things that have made me happy:



The National Bible Bee Game Show (web-broadcasted TV show)


What did you do this spring? :)

6 comments:

  1. Sheesh, you did a lot! All I did was hangout at my local library and work on a writing workshop I am teaching this summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah... and you know what?! I was sifting through my journal last night realizing how many things I neglected to mention in this post! We also went to Missouri the last part of March! And we went to a baseball game the day after we got back from Texas in April. And, and, and! Whew. Kind of makes me tired just thinking about it. Ha.

      Local libraries are super awesome, though! And writing workshops!! Sounds like spring might have just been your calm before the storm? Best wishes!

      Delete
  2. Loved reading this, K!! I didn't know you won an honorable mention in the photography contest?? So cool! And you totally deserved that and more...the flower picture was absolutely beautiful. :) I love David Copperfield!! <3 Thanks for yet another super fun post! :) <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thanks, M!! (I feel like a super cool spy using our code letters, but then I realize they aren't exactly very ambiguous. hahahaha.)

      I shared it on Facebook when they announced the winners, but I wasn't thinking too much about it because, in the terminology of my authentic redneck family, "if ya ain't first, yer last." XD I'll send you the link so you can see who I was competing against. You're always so sweet about my pictures! :)

      David Copperfield was good! But I kind of sighed in relief when it was over. It just took me SO long! Five stars, though, definitely.

      You're so welcome! Wish I had the energy to do these every month like you! ;) <3

      Delete
  3. It sounds like you've been busy! :) I can't believe how fast the months have whizzed by..and I'm supposed to be graduating in four days (scary! ;) Wow. Time flies. It was great to read this post and hear a little of what you you've been up to. I'm very excited for you to read Mansfield Park! Let us know what you think of it! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been busy! But good busy. Productive busy. :)

      Happy Graduation! Excited for you as you begin this new chapter of your life; I hope you can take it one decision and day at a time and not be TOO overwhelmed. Haha! Do you have any plans for the special weekend, then?

      I'll try to mark down my thoughts on Mansfield Park somewhere... either here or Goodreads. :)

      Blessings, Jenny!

      Delete

I love comments almost as much as I love dark chocolate (and that's a lot!), so be sure to leave your thoughts for me!!

All comments are moderated, so if you don't see your comment right away, don't worry, just give it a couple of hours to be published.

Thanks so very much for reading!

01 09 10 01 09 10