November 30, 2008

big news

I have some big news for you all today. Yes, I do.

Don't you hate it when someone says that and then doesn't actually TELL you the news?

This drives my sister CRAZY, so I like to do it to her often. Instead of telling her the news, I'll tell her about my day.

For instance...

It's been raining here all day today. ALL day.

Now it's foggy and the big fog horn across the water is sounding every couple of minutes. I love that sound. I wish it was cloudy more often so I could hear more.

I've almost finished my big painting project. Now comes the fun part of moving every thing BACK into my room. I AM exciting about doing some purging of junk.

During my painting marathon, I watched all the current episodes of Prison Break season 4. I love that Sara is alive and she and Michael back together again.

Sang Till I See You this morning in church. That song gives me chills.

I'm watching my parent's dog this week. She decides to go crazy at 10pm every night, racing around the house and pouncing on me. This continues for about 10 minutes and then she falls asleep. Strange one, she is.

Are you still hanging in there?
Still wondering "when is she going to give us the BIG news?"

Go HERE (and here) to find out....

And then be sure to come back and tell me if you think it's big, wonderful news like I do!

November 29, 2008

disaster area

Blog central has been declared a disaster area today.
Everything IN my room is now sitting on the living room floor.
Did I mention I'm OCD and this type of thing chaos drive me insane?
The painting has begun.
My desk is sitting in the middle of the room with the computer still hooked up so I can watch Hulu and not go crazy.
Back to the yellow and white.

November 28, 2008

Totally Rad

I finally gave in a spent a huge chunk of change on the Totally Rad Actions. They were on sale today, which a very rare thing. I've been waiting for such a sale and saving all my pennies.

Gotta say, after playing for a while (hours) today, I'm in love with them. I can see how they are going to help me grow and learn as a photographer.

Here's a couple of examples (click on the photo to see bigger or go to Flickr).....

The Louvre in Paris 2005

The view from the towers of Notre Dame in Paris 2005

The bro from our trip to see a David Letterman taping

What do you think? Worth the $$$?

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I'm off to eat some yummy goodies, chat with friends, finish watching the parade and maybe see a movie later.

So much to be thankful for. So many blessings to remember.

Enjoy your happy day!

November 26, 2008

deep thoughts with cottage girl

****First of all, there are free Christmas songs on Oprah's website for the next 48 hours. Good ones! Gecha some!

On to other deep (read: random) thoughts...

Do you ever wonder what our lives would be like without an imagination?

I think about that often and especially lately. In the last week, I watched 2 movies (Harry Potter #5 and LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring) that always remind me of the beauty that is our imagination. How different would life be if we were only to experience what we could see and touch in this life at this moment? Nothing would be other than it is. No dreams at night. No thoughts of what may be in the future. No ideas of how your life would be different, if you made a different choice.

No Harry Potter, Anne Shirley, Admiral Adama, Frodo, Seth Cohen, Chuck Bartowski, Eric Taylor, Edward Cullen, Spike, Stargirl, Peter Pan, Ron Weasley, Luke Skywalker, Elizabeth Bennet, Jo March, Tom Sawyer.

No Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Avonlea, Narnia, Smallville, Sunnydale, Willy Wonka Factory, Neverland, that old house that I dream about often with a big attic and beautiful garden.

Would we even have the internet or telephones or fabulous recipies? Would we enjoy colors or textures or light?

When God created us in His image (Gen 1:27), He bestowed upon us one of His most grand attributes. The ability to create. We are able to paint and photograph and tell stories. Our creations are extensions of who we are and point back to THE Creator.

True, as the stories say, we can use this gift for good and for evil. Man, in his human, imperfect state, has ruined this wonder many times. He has abused it and degraded it and used it for personal gain. He has pointed to himself as the inventor.

But I like to think about it in a more magical way. I've always had an overactive imagination. I liked to play pretend (still do)more than anything else. I've always loved to read stories and imagine new worlds and characters. I've always loved TV and movies and the worlds they introduce me to. There is just something about the imagination that points me to God, my creator. His wisdom to grant us such an invaluable gift that, should it never exist, our lives would be much less full.

Movies/books, like Harry Potter and LOTR, let me escape my reality into a fantastical world that is full and colorful and different. I can't imagine a life without my imagination.


This is me and my sis reading a book in my parent's living room. I just noticed that it must have been after Christmas because of the decorations on the door and window. Plus, there is a pile of toys and random objects at our feet. And look at our little slippered feet. I wonder if my mom happened upon us reading together and ran to get her camera. This was either the year before my brother was born or just a week after his birth.

That little blond-headed peanut in the picture is due to have her second baby any day now. Good gracious time does fly. Makes me thankful for another thing God gave us. Memories.

November 25, 2008

Christmas giving

Here's a couple of my humble suggestions for giving this Christmas. These are all organizations that I have already been involved with one way or another.

I think this such a cool idea. My Bible study did this 2 years ago as a Christmas gift...

World Vision's Gift Catalog

The way that they advertise the gifts you can give is brilliant. You can buy a goat for a family. You can give clothing to a child. You can give seeds and tools for farming to those who need them in Africa. You can give a bicycle to a girl in India so she can go to school.

Read about their mission statement here.

Back in youth group, we did the 30 hour famine a couple times. Another great idea to get people involved in caring for the starving around the world.

You can also sponsor a child.

I personally sponsor a child through Compassion. I love this organization and how dedicated they are to caring for children. Compassion lets you pick the child you want to sponsor and even keep in touch with them by writing letter and emails. Then you get letters and photos back from your sponsored child. It's amazing to watch them grow and learn and actually hear from them. I've been sponsoring my little Teresia from Indonesia for about 4 years now. It's so cool to hear how SHE prays for me, even as I pray for her.
If you can't afford to sponsor a child, you can give in other ways.
Love Compassion! Love them!

Living Hope International is an organization that I started giving towards this past year. A friend of mine (and her husband and 2 boys) is moving to China in 2009 to work in a Living Hope orphanage. I'm supporting them.
It's a really neat ministry. These little Chinese orphans that are forgotten and "unadoptable" are given hope and love. And all you readers know how China orphans tug at my heart. I'm so excited to have a direct link to donate towards my friend as she and her family love and care for these precious little ones. You can learn about how to give to LHI here. They also have an orphan sponsorship program.

And finally, an organization that is near and dear to my heart....Shaohannah's Hope. I have been sponsoring SH through the Stevey Joy Club for a couple years now. I get these post cards with stories and pictures of little ones that have been adopted and are now in God-honoring families. Shaohannah's Hope gives grants to Christian families who want to adopt but need help with the funds. You can read some of the amazing stories here. I love it cause it lets me help with the whole adoption process even though I can't personally adopt at this point in my life.
Shaohannah's Hope is also building Maria's Big House of Hope, which is for special needs orphans in China. I'm really, really excited about this for a couple reasons that I'll tell you more about later. You can donate towards Maria's Big House here.
Oh, and did I mention it was started by Steven and Marie Beth Chapman? You all know how I feel about them if you have read my blog in the last few months.
Check out this video to see what SH is all about.

Again, these are just suggestions. I know there are 1,000's of others that do amazing things. Don't forget to check with your church, too. Give to those who are in need this Christmas!

"The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself."
Proverbs 11:25

November 24, 2008

string the popcorn and hang the mistletoe

Since I celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday with my family (or the half of them that aren't pregnant and far away...), I decided it was okay to pull out the Christmas music. It's been HARD to wait until now, but I didn't want to be sick of it 2 weeks before Christmas was even here.

Now, I want to pull out the Christmas decorations and get the tree and wrap presents (I LOVE wrapping presents!). However, I will wait and be patient to decorate until my roommate is home from her trip to see her family. Hurry home, S! Our tree is waiting to be bought!

While I wait, I'll soak up all the delightful tunes I can and ponder some amazing gifts for those I love.

Here are my favorite Christmas albums at the moment....

a classic that makes me want to sit by a fireplace (i don't have) and drink hot cocoa.

Do I need to tell you why I like this one? My favorite song...All I Really Want for Christmas. Sure to bring tears to your eyes.

My parents and I are taking my brother to see them next month for his birthday. He's been wanting to go for years. I can't wait! Carol of the Bells is my fave.

Oh, Josh. Even though we were divided forever by that tragic concert experience, I do love hearing you sing Christmas songs.

My favorite, favorite, favorite. It stays on repeat for hours and hours each year. When I was at Sea World last year, they had a Polar Express ride and they played the soundtrack while we were in line. I annoyed my whole family by singing along to every song. I can't get enough of this album!

Ok, now I want to hear your favorite albums. I'm in the market to get a couple new ones this year and I need some suggestions. (fyi: I will NOT be buying the classic Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas though. Blech...)

November 23, 2008

random 7

Tag...I'm it.

7 random things about Cottage Girl:

1. I don't listen to music in my car. My CD player broke about a year ago and I'm not a radio person. I've gotten used to using my driving time for praying and thinking. Once in a while I take along my Zune, but usually it's blissfully quiet. Try it sometime!

2. I only watch Fellowship of the Rings (extended version) with the cast commentary ON.

3. The smell of alcohol (especially wine) make me nauseous. Oh, how I hate it!

4. I've been mining for precious gems. Found: amethyst, opal, ruby.

5. I took piano lessons for about 5 years when I was in jr/sr high. Haven't played in years.

6. I choose Spike over Angel every time. Some of you will know what that means...

7. I don't really like hot liquids of any type. I only drink tea once in a while and I always choose iced over hot if the option is available. I don't like soup. At all. No coffee either.

Anyone else want to play?

November 22, 2008

early winter snow (friday)

After a day of snow showers, God painted this sunset.

I was supposed to be picking up my car from the shop, but I couldn't resist getting this shot. I was laying on the wet grass clicking away. Kinda think it was worth it.

November 21, 2008

Friday Finds

Unhappy People Watch More TV: study. Thought provoking on many different levels.

Emily Chapman posted pictures of her beautiful wedding as well as heartfelt words about her absence from her blog. Prayers continue for the Chapman's.

Elsie had some big news this week. She also posted a link to Synecdoche, New York, which looks fascinating.

Jack Bauer returns on Sunday. Heck yeah! Crazy that the writers strike completely obliterated an entire season.

Twilight opens this weekend. I really just can't believe the hype over this. Did you see the Today show piece with the actors? I think I would be as creeped out by the fans as they seemed. Still on the fence about seeing it. I loved the book so much and continue to think I'm going to be really disappointed seeing it acted out. Movie Edward is nothing like "my" Edward.

Sand, it has never looked more amazing. I've already said this, but Mammoth Men (remember, rated PG-13!) was IT for me this week.

Must see list: Slumdog Millionaire. Been humming Hoppipola all week because of the trailer. Gotta love it when Sigur Ros is stuck in your head!

The new Star Trek trailer dropped this week. One ticket for May 8th please! I love me some Star Trek...

Bought some Thick & Quick this week for a fun new Christmas project. There are lots of pretty colors right now.

I'm headed home this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving a little early. My sis is due on Dec 1st, so the parental unit is driving to see her during the holidays. The bro and I are spending our first Thanksgiving at camp with our campy friends. But that's all next week's news.


November 20, 2008

short and sweet

I like:

vintage scarves
Nikon cameras
simple silver jewelry
short fingernails
no nail polish
tank tops
brown hair in buns
old pictures I find on my computer

November 19, 2008

nothing better than being carried away

"She laughed when there was no joke. She danced when there was no music.
She had no friends, yet she was the friendliest person in school.
In her answers in class, she often spoke of sea horses and stars, but she did not know what a football was.
She said there was no television in her house.
She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. "

"She was bendable light: she shone in around every corner of my day."

"'I think you're getting a little carried away.' I said.
'I certainly hope so,' she said. 'Nothing's more fun than being carried away.'"

Loved, loved, loved this little book. It was magic. You can't help but love Stargirl.

I've been on a roll with great books lately! Gone by Michael Grant is next on my list.

November 18, 2008

Oh, yeah

The Mammoth Men are back! (fyi: I'd rate the site PG-13. You've been forewarned!) Their shots are incredible. (read who the Mammoth Men are here) Just look at the light they find in their photos (love the last one with the 3 under the lights). I'm so jealous.
I've wanted to go to Monument Valley since I flew over it a couple years ago and couldn't get my face out of the airplane window while it was below me.
Again, found them because my favorite one of my favorite photographers from the image is found is on the trip. Photo goodness all week. Mmmmm.....

November 17, 2008

around the room

I wanted to take pictures, but it's dark, dark, dark outside. So that means you are stuck with these. And I don't feel like messing with them in Photoshop, so they are SOOC (straight out of the camera). Because I'm lazy. But also because I want to post a picture and not just leave you with my rambling words.

I have don't have much of an explanation of these shots. They are all taken with my little Kodak Easyshare in manual mode. Not too shabby. Other than that, it was me looking around my room saying..."what should I shoot tonight?"

How about my green sweater. I like this sweater. I'm also teaching myself the cable knit stitch that is visible in this photo (fyi: I still haven't quite gotten it right. It's tough!). No, I didn't make this sweater. I bought it at Old Navy on clearance for about $8. It's warm and a pretty shade of green. I love cardigans. I love this t-shirt too. It's old and thin and from the thrift store. But it's super soft in its old-ness.

Then we have my messy bedside shelf. Lamp from Ikea. Picture of my fam from my sister's wedding. Books and photos. Please ignore the trash can in the corner. And the basket full of random beauty supplies next to it.
Why am I showing you this picture?

Now this is silly, but has great meaning. Work is underway and just about completed on the additional heat in my room. Most nights, like last night when I was hidden away watching way too many episodes of The OC (help me. i can't stop. it's so addicting!), I am wrapped up like a burrito in blankets with gloves and slippers cause it's so freakin' cold (remember Di and G?!!). I sit at my desk and shiver.
But soon and maybe even tonight, I will have a nice warm room. Perfect timing too cause the temperature is going below freezing the next few nights. Blech. I love warmth. I hate cold. The end.

November 16, 2008


...from this weekend.

November 15, 2008

survey says...

These are supposed to be one word answers, but I'm terrible at one word anything. I guess you already know this if you read my blog though...

Where is your mobile phone? on my bedroom floor. i hate talking on the phone.

Where is your significant other? oh, how i wish i had an answer to that question...

Your hair? hasn't seen shampoo in 3 weeks. yes, i'm telling the truth.

Your mother? loves me

Your father? fixing my car tomorrow

Your favorite thing? *things* are becoming less and less important lately.

Your dream last night? Seth Cohen gave me a big hug. What a way to wake up...

Your dream goal? publish a photo

The room you're in? blog central aka my bedroom

Your church? is amazing. i love it. i'm so blessed to learn and worship there.

Your fear? someone i love dying.

Where do you want to be in 6 years? no idea. terrible at life goals. just terrible

Where were you last night? at the midnight madness sale at our horrible Goodwill. i've decided that i will not shop there anymore. the prices are absolutely ludicrous.

Something you're not? barefoot. the cottage floor has turned frigid and will stay this way for the next 5 months

One of your wish-list items? a month volunteering in a Chinese orphanage

Where you grew up? in a ballerina pink bedroom with grey carpet and posters and figurines.

The last thing you did? ate leftover candy corn from Halloween

What are you wearing? a local motion long sleeved t-shirt i got at the local motion store in honolulu. the real world: hawaii cast worked there. i wear the shirt when i'm missing hawaii, which i have been badly.

Your TV? sigh....I heart TV.

Your pets? i've been missing my childhood dog lately. she was THE BEST. I still have a picture of on my wall.

Your computer? was built from pieces and parts....with love by the bro. it's amazing.

Your mood? contemplative

Missing someone? always. college friends at the moment

Your car? my nemesis. big jerk that it is.

Something you're not wearing? gloves. at the moment it's relatively warm in my room. they'll be on soon though.

Favorite shop? library. i love free books

Your summer? my life. my love. my joy. the very word conjures up excitement and anticipation.

Love someone? so many some-ones.

Your favorite color? the colors of the sky at twilight

When is the last time you laughed? i laugh all the time at work. today B pushed me around on the dolly in the basement. that was a laugh. we have lots of fun.

When is the last time you cried? last night while watching Anthony Edwards' return to ER.

questions found here...

November 14, 2008

Friday Finds

I LOVED the Simplifying + Organizing for the Holidays post on Ali's blog this week. Great ideas for making the holidays more enjoyable. Although, I'm not a scrapbooker like she is, I get so many ideas for other things from her. Plus, I think her work/style is just beautiful.

Found some crafty blogs this week that are FULL of great ideas and inspiration....
Creature Comforts and doe-c-doe

Fabric covered knobs are such a sweet idea.

The PaperJournal07 group on Flickr is addicting. All those amazing drawings.

In celebration of National Adoption Day tomorrow, read this article on about a lady who has adopted 18 kids!

Did you see ER last night? Dr. Green was back and oh, so welcome. I remember sitting on my parents living room floor watching ER with the house all dark and quiet all those years ago (15!).

That's it for this week. Hope your weekend isn't as foggy/rainy/cold as mine is going to be.

November 13, 2008

when it's raining (like it is today)

I just want to listen to this song over and over.

November 12, 2008

little things

(paparazzi @ the Golden Gate in 06)

  • Spent the evening hanging out with the bro. (I love him. Really.)

  • Drove the boats for the last time this year. (I can't help but be happy on the water. I swear it's like a happy drug for me.)

  • 2 double stuffed Oreo chocolate cream cookies (Uhh...yum!)

Sometimes it's the little things that make you smile.

November 11, 2008

Thank you, Veterans

(circa 1981)

A great big thank you to all the veteran's, who give their lives and protect our shores.

And an extra, special thanks to my favorite one,
My poppa.

ps...isn't my dad rockin' in those sweet late 70's glasses?!

repeat, repeat, repeat.....

I can't stop listening to Something Pretty over and over and over again. It's definitely my most played song in the last 2-3 months. I don't know why. I don't know what it is. There's just those songs that are so pretty and sink into your very being that you just can't hear them enough.

When I hit play and listen all the way through, I just have to listen to it again immediately. HAVE to. When I was in my day of writing on the beach during vacation, I listened to that song and Lack of Color for about an hour straight. It helped me write.

It doesn't hurt that the picture above is the one that pops up on my Zune when I listen to either song. Sometimes I wave at Seth Cohen and Ryan Atwood.

Wait, no I don't!
I didn't say that.
I don't do stupid things like that!
I'm a mature 31 year old.


November 10, 2008

holiday movie minute

I'm starting to geek out with excitement over this one. AUSTRALIA. (it deserves all caps) I've been anticipating it since I read about it months and months ago. You have to see the pictures on the website. They are so, so beautiful!

As I said before, I'm a huge Baz Lurhman fan. Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge. All amazing, imaginative, beautiful, sweeping films that are just stunning to look at, not to mention the stories. The colors and shots in his movies are inspiring.

Nope, I haven't seen this yet, but the movie was the subject on Oprah today and it made me so excited for opening day! It could be terrible and I'll have to eat crow, but I'm taking my chances.

What movies are you excited about this holiday season? Holiday movie season is one of the best parts of lazy holidays at home, aren't they?!

***ps...Twilight is on my "I'm not to sure if I want to see it cause I know it will disappoint me and I don't want my imaganation's creation of what Edward looks like to be destroyed forever by this actors' face" thing going on. I still can't decide if I will see it or not. Anyone else?

November 09, 2008

reading rainbow

I spent way too many hours hidden in the pages of The Hunger Games this weekend. I couldn't put it down until I finally finished, only to discover that it was book 1 and there is no book 2 yet. Curses. It's a fantastical, crazy and horribly disturbing story all under the guise of a "teen novel." Okay, maybe horribly disturbing is a little too harsh. But would you want to be chosen to compete in a game where 24 other kids are forced to fight each other to be the last one standing alive, literally? That and the fact they are "chosen" from a lottery of every child left in the United States, which doesn't really exist anymore. Are you confused, intrigued?? I was too after I read Stephen King's review of it a couple months ago in EW. And then Stephanie Meyer, of Twilight fame, recommended it too. I dove in and wasn't disappointed.

I also managed to finish French Milk in one sitting at Barnes and Noble the other night (you know, the black hole where time disappears...). Another great read. It's about a girl who spends a month in Paris (yes, please!) with her mom and writes a book/graphic novel about it. So entertaining. I first heard about it on Pop Candy. There are lots of great links and examples of the artwork in her little article about it. I really loved it.

I've also been plugging away at Jesus for President still. I have such a HARD time getting through non-fiction. I've had this book for almost 9 weeks now from the library and it's going to get returned without being finished. I just know it.

And I'm just about finished with Y #3.

A great weekend for reading. Lots of great stories and getting away from the real world. Although, I am quite happy to leave District 12 behind. Don't ever want to live there!

Anyone else reading something good right now?

November 08, 2008

Wayfarers, please

I was browsing around Boutwell Photography's Blog today drooling over Chenin's photos and Totally Rad Actions that I want so desperately. I came across this recent post that had shot of place that I have been wanting to research for while. I first saw it in this post almost a year ago. Can you figure out what place I'm talking about? Do you see that amazing little place?

Wayfarer's Chapel

Oh...the glass and the trees! I've always loved outdoor weddings, but the weather can be such a deterrent. But this place looks like you are surrounded by all those beautiful trees. And the view! Heavenly isn't it?

Then a few weeks ago, in the middle of my season 1 OC addiction, I screamed when I saw it on the season finale. And then again on season 2.

I went scouring Flickr (which always has shots of beautiful spots) and found this shot, which is exactly where Seth Cohen was sitting. This shot shows the outside and all those beautiful trees. And this one with the stairs. And this one shows the amazing inside.

Who wants to make a trip to Wayfarer's Chapel with me? Next flight to sunny California? Anyone, Anyone?


Cottage Girl

November 07, 2008

Friday Finds

I have been glued to Compassion's Dominican Blog all week. The stories will break your heart and encourage you at the same time. It solidified my love for Compassion, too, and the work they do. A few of my favorite posts were: A Tale of Two Houses, God's Hidden Gifts, Ordinary Superheroes. If you still are considering sponsoring a child, you can start here.

A couple other things, but mostly it was the Dominican blog all week....

Tara Whitney and Emily Falconbridge, two of my favorite bloggers/artists, got back from their trip to Thailand this week. Tara posted some beautiful (as always) pictures here and here.

Oh, 30 Rock. How you entertain me. I think I need to watch last night's episode about 10 more times to get all of the wonderful funniness that was crammed into it. My favorite part was "Will you please welcome, LIZ LEMMMOOONN!"

Mammoth Men trip number 3 begins in just a few days. The craziness it will contain can only be imagined.

The Dollhouse trailer is here. Oooo, I can't wait till January.

A truly beautiful house full of so much color and uniqueness.

This pretty photo from Elsie.

Dr. Green is back next week on ER. Now, he did die, as I recall, but as much as I love him I will take him any form the writers wish. Flashback, ghost, another life. I'm already mourning the loss of ER at the end of this, its last season.

And finally.....
Wish I was here today.

Happy Friday, everyone. We are finally enjoying a day of sunshine! The first in about a week. It's like the world is alive again!

November 06, 2008

Adventures with Cottage Girl

Okay, so maybe this isn't so much an adventure as a "here's what I did for an hour tonight." I had grand ideas today of taking photos when I got off work. I missed taking photos. I missed having a million pictures to edit and play with. I missed it.

Then 5:00 rolled around and it was DARK*DARK*DARK. Did I mention that I hate this whole getting dark early thing? Because I do. I really, really do.

But I decided to use the dark as a challenge. I grabbed my little Z740. I put it in manual and set it up on various surfaces to keep it still during the long shutter time. Here's the results. No flash. ISO 400. 2.8 I was impressed.

This reminds me of the kid that gets stuck in the pit and the black oil gets him. You know, from the first X Files movie. I like sci fi. It's so much more interesting than any romantic comedy. Speaking of sci fi, I'm currently reading Y: The Last Man Vol. #3 and The Hunger Games (after a long wait on the library hold list). Reading is fun.

Notice the yellow arrow. Notice what it is pointing too. Isn't that nice to see after I spent 100's of $$ fixing my car recently. The annoying this is that it's nothing really wrong (I think). It comes on and off all the time. But right now it won't go off. And I need it to. Because I have to go get the lovely emissions test done on it. It won't pass if the "check engine" light is on. Therefore, I hate the check engine light.
Also note that it is 5:30 pm and DARK. And my car has a LOT of miles on it. But it still gets me around. Thankfully, I don't drive to work (or anywhere far away) very often. It works just fine for trips to the library or the grocery store.

Haven't you always wanted to sneak your camera into the library. I don't know if it's *legal* to use your camera, but I can't see why it would be bad. Unless you are using the flash like crazy and making lots of noise. I'm sure that's not proper library etiquette. It's like having your cell phone ring in there. Our librarians will hunt you down, no kidding, and ask you politely to "get out with all that racket."

I love the quietness of the library. I love the big isles with tall shelves full of books. Our libary doesn't actually have very tall shelves, but I like the ones that do. This one is tiny, teeny-tiny. But it does a good enough job. I like getting lost in the biography section. I couldn't even step into that isle tonight 'cause I was in a some-what hurry. That's not an easy feat for me. Library=hurry isn't really in my vocabulary.

When searching for a proper book on knitting or crocheting, you can't just pick one off the shelf. You have to look inside the covers for proper pictures and diagrams. You have to look for colors and patterns. Then you pick out about 6 good ones.....

.... pick up your book that is *on hold* and skip to the counter with your arms full of free books for 3 weeks. I figure that it's one area that I spend my tax dollars wisely. I won't argue with tax dollars for libraries. Why couldn't that have been on the election ticket? More $$ for libraries. I'm okay with that. Better than national health care.

But I don't want to dwell on the election. I'm glad its all over. No matter how one feels about the outcome, thank goodness it's over.
Instead of the election, let's think about the Fall leaves. They are pretty, even in the street lights. They kinda glow.

And then there are some trees like this little guy on the left that have nothing left. Don't you almost feel bad for him next to the brilliant yelllow one? He looks like he's leaning toward to yellow coat with a sigh. Hhhhh, wish I could have pretty leaves like you do. I feel so naked, he says. I like to think that trees have feelings sometimes. I even wrote a story about it when I was in high school. Over-active imagination, that's me.

The end.

November 05, 2008

Last night

I made 2 new recipes last night. That is saying A LOT, let me tell you. I do not enjoy cooking. I am not gifted in that area.

However, I found 2 recipes that seemed easy enough to try. After using both last night, I'm happy to report that I added 2 new, EASY and delicious items to my recipe box!

First, from What a find of a site! So many easy recipes! I made Penne Pasta with Spinach and Bacon. I added mushrooms, didn't use the olive oil and added feta and mozzarella to the top. Yum, yum, yum. So good and EASY! Plus there are lots of other ways to change it up. It took me a little longer to make than it said because I cooked a whole package of bacon (didn't use all of it).

Then I made Pioneer Woman's Decadent Chocolate Milk. Now, I do love a good chocolate milk, so this was right up my alley. Delish. A lovely evening treat.

What else did I do?

  • Watched the newest Gossip Girl with The Bro. I can't get enough this season. Terrible, yes, I know. Darn show is so addictive.

  • Watched the election results come in. Stayed up to see the final results at 11pm.

  • Worked on a fantastic new gift for a friend. I'm so excited about this one! Can't share yet though... It's another great excuse to watch some of The OC while I'm not editing pictures.

  • Laundry.

  • I'm sure there are other things, but it gets dark at 5:00pm and I swear it makes me forget stuff. Anyone else hate the SHORT days right now? I feel like I'm either in mourning or hibernating. It's so depressing!

i heart Flickr

While I was hunting around Flickr today looking for paint colors and decorating ideas (a new project in the works!), I found lots of new fave's. Yum, yum. So many pretty colors and textures.

See them bigger here, as well as the photographers and descriptions.

November 04, 2008

the day is finally here

I cast my ballot.

Did you?!!

Why Indonesia is dear to my heart

This face. Searching through the sea of children on Compassion's website 6 years ago, this was the one that captured my heart. That and she said she loved to play "group games," which was my job at camp at the time. Her little smile did me in, and I checked the box and asked to be her sponsor. This is Teresia.

She lives in Indonesia. She has a mom and dad. I originally wanted an orphan 'cause, well, you all know how I have a soft spot in my heart for orphans. But this little one was meant for me. Jesus spoke her name in my heart.

A few year ago, I got this picture of her family. See how she's grown?!

I still study this picture for every detail I can get. Her dad in his socks. Her mom in probably her best outfit. Her little brother in sandals and a scared look in his eyes. And her hand protectively over his shoulder. I think, since this was taken, her mother had another baby, or at least that's what it her letters implied.

This is my most recent photo of her. She's now 14 years old. Doesn't that face just melt your heart?!
In her last letter, she said that she is praying for me (which she always says) and it makes me choke back the tears each time. This girl, who has a life I could never imagine, prays for ME?! I'm humbled each time I read that. She also went on a fun trip with her church. She asks about my nephew (which I told her about in a letter). Oh, my gosh, these letters are just the most amazing thing.

Compassion is incredible. I'm so glad that the Lord impressed upon my heart and let me "meet" Teresia. She brings such joy to my life and puts a face on the poverty of this world. Her story is one that is still being written. And HOPEFULLY, Jesus will shine a little brighter in Indonesia because she was introduced to Him through Compassion.

Here's a link to children from Indonesia that need sponsors. (or from other countries) I warn you, those little faces will make you weep. They are little pictures of Jesus asking us to "do unto the least of these." I wish I could sponsor all of them...

If you sponsor a child, I'd love to hear about them!

November 03, 2008

concert re-cap

I've been trying to think of proper words that describe my experience at the concert the other night. Truthfully, it's taken me a few days to process my thoughts and try to clearly verbalize what my heart was saying. This my best attempt.....

It was very different from any other SCC concert I've ever been too (and I've been to....aghum...quite a few). It was, of course, different because he was co-touring with MWS. I've seen both in concert by themselves before, but together was really fun. They sang together quite a few times. They sang each others "big hits." They laughed and joked and seemed to genuinely enjoy being on stage together (but then again,why would you tour with someone you didn't really enjoy being with?).


I have to say that I didn't leave this concert as I do from most of his. Loving life and seeing God in every good and perfect moment. I didn't smile through the whole concert. Part of that could have been from the terrible migraine that had been building since the drive to the venue. Nice. No, that wasn't the reason at all.

The moment SCC walked on stage, I started tearing up and pretty much stayed that way the entire time he was there. This dear, sweet man who has lived a horrible 5 months in grief and sorrow. His family that still suffers and grieves. I simply couldn't get those thoughts out of my head. And HOW IN THE WORLD did he get up on stage and perform? I think I would still be hermited away at home crying.
He didn't hide from his pain. He openly shared it with the whole audience and actually made it a part of his performance. He cried/choked up a couple times right in front of us as if to say, "see, I'm just like you. Life hurts sometimes." He sang songs that I seriously don't know if I could believe again after having gone through such an unbelievable tragedy. Song like God is God, which is one of my favorites of his. (side note: He wrote this a few YEARS ago before he even adopted Maria). And he still sings Cinderella and My Redeemer is Faithful and True. The words in these songs take on a whole new meaning, he said. They have deeper meaning now, after this tragedy than they ever have before. They are also just as true as they were before. The God of these songs is the same God.

As I sat in the audience, wiping the tears that kept streaming down my cheeks, I was blown away by how God's love is so far beyond what we will ever understand. His plans for us are beyond our comprehension. The picture He is painting of our lives is so much more detailed than we will ever be able to see. And when moments that try our faith in His goodness arise, we can choose to continue to follow Him or we can choose to turn our backs. I've had friends who have chosen the latter, and it's heart breaking to watch. But to see someone cling even tighter to their faith and their belief that God LOVES us, truly loves us even in the midst of the darkest moments we could ever imagine, well it's inspiring is what it is.

I don't think the Chapman's are perfect. I don't think they walk on water. I do believe that they
believe with all their hearts what they say. I believe that the words that SCC sings aren't just words to him. They are the core of his being. How could he sing "it's all Yours God" and then say "even our children" and get choked up in front of 1,000's of people if you don't truly believe God is perfect and holy and loves us?

To try and put in a one quick sentence, I have told people who have asked that is was "sad and amazing." Sad, but not hopeless. Amazing and FULL of hope. Joy is on the horizon. Heaven is more real and dear. God's name was lifted high and praised. And I think everyone left that auditorium a little more amazed at how God loves us. I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

A few quick facts...

SCC's son, Caleb, was in the band touring with his dad again.
MWS's son, Tyler, was in the band too.
They were 2 very proud papas that introduced their sons!

His explaination of how he sang Cinderella for the first time after Maria's God was in that moment in a big way.

Hearing him sing the new verse of Yours, which is on the radio now, oh my goodness. There wasn't a dry eye in the whole place. Here are the words...

I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

I went by to the concert by myself and loved it!

November 02, 2008

Compassion everywhere

I opened up Pioneer Woman today to see this post. Can I just say that I was giddy with excitement for the week to come on her blog?!

I think you all know that I love Compassion. I've had a link to it on my blog since I started it 3 years ago. (Today, I added a fun widget to make it a little more visible) I've been supporting a little girl through Compassion for 6 years this month. (wow, it's been that long?!) Later this week, I'll introduce you all to Teresia. I'm quite smitten with how adorable she is.

I also visited Compassion's headquarters when I visited CO a few years ago with a group of friends. Evidence ....

Two of my friends worked there for a time and had nothing but amazing things to say about it.

Then at THE concert the other night (more details to come, I promise.).....
MWS is a HUGE advocate for Compassion. His story is actually the first time I heard about Compassion way back when I was in high school. At the concert, he was talking about Compassion (and SCC about Shaohannah's Hope, again more on that later) and how the little girl he supported asked him to come and be a surrogate father and hand her her high school diploma since she doesn't have any parents of her own. Also, her grandmother and aunts and uncles and cousins have come to know Jesus because of HER being sponsored. "Compassion changes not just a child, but families," he said. I, of course, was teary eyed and thinking of my little girl in Indonesia. I pray that her family gets to hear of Jesus' love through her.

Then SCC said that one of the reasons that his family even adopted was because his oldest daughter, Emily, went on a Compassion trip to Hati back when she was about 11 years old. She came back "changed" and from then on begged her parents to adopt and they eventually did (3 times!) several years later.

So, all this has been rolling around in my head the last few days. That and I just got a letter from Teresia last week. Yes, you get letter from your sponsored child. And it's one of the coolest things in the world. I LOVE those letters!

I'm excited that Compassion will be accessible to the 1,000's of people who read PW. Maybe many, many children will come to know Jesus because of it. I'll be reading this week. I hope you will too!

***I added a convienent link on the right at the top of the sidebar for the Compassion Bloggers Trip.