August 31, 2010

randomly inspired

Future of Forestry's album Twilight was the most played music on my Zune this summer. I listened it over and over and over. The Bro suggested it to me about a year ago, and I just got around to listening to it this year.

Anyway, as I was looking into getting some of their newer stuff (Twilight is from 2007), I found these EP's. The covers were just so pretty I had to share. Love the titles too.

I would totally put this one on my wall. Tall ships always capture me.

I ♥ finding inspiring things randomly throughout the day. Love, even more, remembering to save them so that I can use them later. Kinda like my Flickr faves that I have been going through again recently. So much inspiration and beauty.

Gotta try these and see if the music is a great as the artwork. Anyone else heard them?


Mockingjay = finished.


Let the discussions begin...

August 30, 2010

melted heart

My sweet little niece on our vacation 2 weeks ago. It feels like it was a year ago....

You have to read the stories on No Hands But Ours. I read two today (Addie's and Kooper and Kinley's) that just melted my heart and made me desperately want to get married and adopt 6 kids on the spot. Not that I already don't want to do that, but still...

I'm logging off to finish Mockingjay. Everyone around me has finished it and I'm terrified that I will find out what happens....

ps...I'm having issues with Flickr lately. Can't upload anything, which is so frustrating. Hence the reason this photo is so small.

August 29, 2010

drooling over vintage

I've been drooling over vintage dresses lately. I think I want to go with a vintage dress for a few of the weddings I'm attending this fall/spring.

Here's just a few I've found...

This one is my fave. Black isn't exactly wedding-eque though, is it?

(all dresses found at Red Velvet)

And if it were warm weather, you can bet I'd want one of these made from vintage fabrics. Oh, it's so pretty it hurts!

(dress by Sohomode on Etsy and first seen here)

August 28, 2010

Mockingjay on the front wall

The perfect way to spend my break at work. Not to mention the weather is absolutely perfect...

August 27, 2010

glued to my television set

It's Emmy weekend.

For this TV addicted girl (from a ridiculously young age...just ask my mom), that means I'll be glued to my television set from the entrances to the very last award given. Oooo-ing and ahhhh-ing over gowns and clips and speeches. Can't wait!!

All my votes are going to the underdogs.

Here's hopin' that Coach and Tammi finally get recognized for their smart and perfectly acted rolls on Friday Night Lights. It's one of those "perfect actor meets perfect roll = magic" things.

Also hoping that Jim Parson's takes home a statue as well for his equally perfect Sheldon.

And I'm hoping that Modern Family kicks Glee's butt.


August 26, 2010


It's been super busy around here once again. We have a huge group here which means lots of time washing dishes, wiping down tables, chopping vegetables, walking, walking, carrying, organizing. Busy...

I finally just got my photos off my camera(s) and onto my computer. And I promise (dear, sister) that I will share them soon. Got lots of fun Photoshop editing to do. Some of them are pretty fun too. Like this one....

In other news....
I think I'm going back to washing my hair with baking soda for a while. I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

Is anyone else getting excited for TV shows to start up again?! That's one big plus for Fall starting in my book.

August 25, 2010

craft with the seasons

My knitting needles are starting to ever so slightly whisper to me "come and play!" They never look inviting until the weather starts to turn cooler, which for some reason it has here lately.

But I'm holding off for a month or two and sticking to my art journal until I can't take the cool days any more. There are too many fun summer crafty things to finish before they get packed up for the season.

Does anyone else do that? Craft with the seasons/weather?

ps...I'm in love with this sweater. Need to commission my sister, who is the knitting genius in the family, to make it for me. Or at least help me figure out how to make it...

August 24, 2010

Books and yummies

THE book came out today. As soon as 5pm hit, my roomate and I jumped into the car and raced to B & N. We have to each by a copy. We've tried to buy one copy of books we both love and one person would read it and then share it. That didn't can you wait just knowing that your roomie is finding everything out? Two copies is just better.

Then we went and had dinner at the Lebanese cafe in our area because we were watching Anthony Bourdain's return trip to Beruit today. The food looked so yummy!

Now it's time to settle into a good book on this cool August evening. Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Cottage Girl

August 23, 2010

miss it and wonder all at the same time

Been feeling very contemplative lately. God and I have been having long, lengthy discussions. I've been battling myself, the toughest enemy of all.

Invading thoughts, constantly in the back of my mind. Clawing their way through my head as I try fix my attention on anything else. Begging God to remain my focus, be my everything, set my mind on Him.

It's a daily, almost moment by moment, choice to follow Christ. It lays me out flat some days. It makes me groan as I deny myself and my wants to follow His plan. But it is a choice that I delight in, even in the hard times. I delight in knowing that His plan and His ways are higher than mine. I have joy even in the middle of frustration. That's how I know it's Him. That's how I know its not my will, but His.

In other news...

I can not get Choosing to See and The Book Thief out of my head. The Book Thief haunts my thoughts. The Chapman's challenge me through their story of pain. You need to read both. Oh, and I read the last 50 pages of Catching Fire tonight just to be extra ready for Mockingjay tomorrow!! My roommate and I already have our trip to the book store planned.

I am finally sleeping through the night. A huge accomplishment 4 months in the making. I needed a vacation to cure the sleeplessness I guess. Stress and sleep don't go together well. Who would have thought....

Camp feels like it was 10 years ago. Like it was a distant memory of something that may have happened. I miss it and wonder if it actually happened all at the same time.

I feel very full of words lately with no subject to direct them towards.

William Fitzsimmons
is a great soundtrack to end the day.

Night, all,

Cottage Girl

August 22, 2010

one you can't miss

One of the coolest things I got to do this year was the Sundance Film Festival back in January. And by cool, I mean "over the top, amazingly, awesome and I want to go back in 2011." I'm already budgeting my plane ticket and condo. Since I have an "in" at Sundance and I will do just about anything to spend time with The Bro, I just have to go back.

Anyway....on September 24th, one of my favorite movies out of the few that I was able to see at the festival is coming to theaters. I was able to see the premiere. Bill Gates was there. Robert Redford was there. The director, Davis Guggenheim, was there. Also, Geoffrey Canada, whom I had heard on This American Life.

Waiting for Superman is a documentary about the public school system in America. And it's a discussion starter. I was in line at the movie with a public school teacher and a charter school teacher. Discussions for an hour even before the movie started. Then the question and answer session after we watched the

This is one you can't miss.

August 21, 2010

The facts....

  1. I did not want to leave the beach today. Not one little bit.
  2. The bed at our beach house was about 1,000% more comfortable than mine at home.
  3. Coming home from the ocean is the only time my river doesn't have that magic sparkle that it does every other time I come home.
  4. I finished The Book Thief last night at 1am.
  5. I can't stop thinking about the end of The Book Thief. It will be stuck in my brain for years. Super glad I bought this one cause it will be re-read many times.
  6. My niece calls my nephew "Wuukie." I think it sounds like "Wookie" which makes me ecstatic because my sister hates Star Wars and I adore it.
  7. I read the entirety (except for the last 20 pages which I have since finished) of Choosing to SEE on the ride home today. I feel emotionally drained. It was beautiful and hope-filled.
  8. Mockingjay comes out in 3 days and I'm in between books. It's a quick re-read of Catching Fire for me!
  9. Vacations should last longer than one week. They just should.
  10. I didn't wear make-up on vacation. (take back: 2 times at night for dinner out)
  11. I have a tan. This never happens. Thank you 8 weeks of beach duty during camp...
  12. I spent a lot of time day dreaming on vacation.
  13. I played games A LOT on this vacation. Not only that, but I actually wanted to and loved it. This is quite a big deal for this girl who usually HATES games. (Games played: Banangrams, Rummykub (a family vacation tradition from way back) Dominos Mexican Train style.) My family loves games.
  14. Topsail, NC is spectacular.

August 20, 2010

waves and a thief

A fine choice.

You should read The Book Thief. It's just that good. It's just that addicting. I can't put it down.

In other news, the weather is weird causing us to sit on the deck, watch the waves and read. Drat....just awful. The sound of the ocean while I read. Horrible isn't it?

Smoothie update

3 months.

I know. I can't believe it either.

I took the smoothie challenge and haven't been able to stop.

90 days.

Now, I will admit that it's not every single of those 90 days. I usually don't drink one on Sundays as I'm dashing out to church. And I may have missed one or two days in the midst of camp, but that's about it.

And can I has been life changing for me. I did not get sick one time during camp. That may seem like no big deal to you, but we had plagues sweeping though our staff all summer (including my own roommate). Pink eye, sinus infections, fevers, colds, more fevers, coughs. You name it. I didn't get anything! I think my fruits and veggies and Chia seeds had something to do with that.

Not to mention that I had more energy than I have ever had in a summer. I was tired. That's pretty much in-escapable, but I wasn't exhausted beyond belief, like I usually am.

I think it also helped me stayed hydrated on those long stretches of 100+ degree days. And I didn't feel like I was ravenous for veggies or fruits like I usually am at the end of a summer eating camp food.

I have noticed that if I eat a small amount of starch (biscuit, dry cereal, bagel) with my smoothie, it helps my body. I also freeze the spinach now, which makes it taste a little sweeter.

I'm so addicted to smoothies that I have taken my fruit, spinach and Chia with me on vaca. I couldn't fathom a week without it!

You should try it. Even for 7 days. I bet you would notice a difference. I know I have found something that works wonders for me!

August 19, 2010

camper adorables

This kid was a favorite for so many of us on staff. He is from China. He speaks adorable broken English. And he's the sweetest, funniest kid. His dad was in the US on business and so he came to spend a few weeks as a camper with us.

Every time I saw him all I could think was that this little guy will go back to China with stories of a camp in the USA. He will tell his friends about songs he sang in chapel (he was trying so hard to learn the words!) and the stories he heard like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (just imagine that in broken cute!). He will tell his friends about the banana boat and snack shop and his counselors and the pool (where he wore a swim cap and goggles). Our own little camp ambassador in China!

August 18, 2010

beautiful pieces of music

I put Battlestar Season 4 soundtrack in my car a few days ago. I think I've been missing the show. Missing Starbuck and Adama and Apollo. (not that I have ever stopped listening to the music. It's always on my most played list.)

Anyway, I realized that I am just positively in love with the whole Adama/Roslin theme. I get chills when I hear it. I instantly take a deep breath and sigh, contentedly. It's one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.

There is a piece of it on this particular soundtrack. I think I finally stopped hitting repeat in my car after about the 10th time. No joke. I love it.

My very favorite arrangement is the first time it is used on the Season 2 soundtrack.

Is there a piece of music like that for you? Something that echoes your inner most being? Something that makes you stop and just listen and be?

Faces: God's healing

This is the face of God's healing.

That smile and joy in her eyes is by choice. She chooses to let God write the story of her life, even when it means pain and suffering. Not only that, but she spreads joy to those around her. She disciples well. She loves well. She enjoys life and embraces all that it contains.

We were so very blessed to have her here this summer. I was so blessed by her presence, her laughter, our talks, her smiles, her very presence. She was silly and fun, yet tough when she needed to be. She is a treasure and a constant encouragement to me.

August 17, 2010

View from here

I have:

~ Fallen in love with the view from my room.

~ Lost about 15 games of Bananagrams and 5 games of Rummycube.
(That's right...I'm playing games. By choice, no less.)

~ Laid on a raft in the waves for hours on end.

~Read half of The Book Thief

~ Danced in the living room.

~ Put pigtails in my nieces's hair.

~ Sang along to Thomas the Train videos...more than once.

~ Taken naps

~ Eaten way too many cookies.

~ Gone on a bike ride to look at pretty beach houses.

~ Taken deep breaths and thanked God over and over for vacation and my family.

favorite new accessory

Meet my new best friend. I've been hearing about Goody's Spin Pins for a while now (first on this cute blog). But, dear goodness, these things are hard to find! Our Target finally got another shipment in the other day and I just so happened to be at the store. I snatched up a box and ran home to see if it really worked as well as everyone says.

After wearing it for an entire day(s), I must tell you that I am in love with it. It is so easy to use and easy to get out of my hair. My hair can be up in a cute bun in 5 seconds flat and stay there all day. And I have super fine, straight hair that falls out of everything I try to pin it up with. It used to use a bunch of bobby pins all jammed into my head to keep up my tiny bun. No more.

It's spin pins forever! Perfect for those days when you didn't have time to wash your hair (not that I ever do that....or that I haven't washed my hair in 5 days...cough...cough...clearing throat). Spin pin and it's cute and in place all day!

August 16, 2010

colors of happiness

These may be the prettiest bridesmaids dresses I have ever, ever seen. I adore all the colors in this wedding.

Is anyone else addicted to Once Wed?

Thank you, friends!

Violet, Holly and Olivia now have sponsors!!!

Thank you, my sweet friends for jumping in and caring for the orphans in China. You are my heroes!

There are still kids waiting for sponsors. You can sponsor an orphan, by heading over to An Orphan's Wish. 100 Sponsors in 100 Days in still going on. That means you can get a free shirt when you sign up!

Questions about AOW? Let me know. I'm happy to help. And if you just want to hop on over and stare at those adorable little faces for a while, I'm happy to do that with you too!

ps...check out these beautiful necklaces from Hip Mom jewelry. I'm in love with the Hope for China/Africa ones. You can enter to win one at Stefanie's blog Ni Hao Y'all (Stefanie is on the board for AOW, and her blog is how I discovered AOW.)
I also love this one made especially for An Orphan's Wish by Wheat and Wildflowers.

August 15, 2010

Me: I can't believe how absolutely perfect the weather is. I couln't have asked for better.

Dad: Well, we've been praying for months for it. Why are you surprised?

My dad...still handing out wisdom to his 33 yr old "little" girl.

...and it literally is absolutely perfect. Hello, summer vacation!

Faces: God's love

This is the face of God's love.

The very presence of His life changing love. I see it in action every day in this face. This beautiful face that belongs to my dear, sweet, brave friend. She lives with an open heart. She is willing to make the hard choices to follow Him. She is funny and kind and gives great hugs.

God brought her here last summer. Oh, how she brightened my life. This summer we didn't work together at the water's edge, but we found those moments to have great talks and listen to each other. I'm always excited to see how God's love is changing her heart.

This was a HARD summer for her. There were tears of pain. But I'm so proud of the way she handled herself. She did such a great job in a position of leadership here this summer.

I'm blessed to call her my friend and blessed to be reminded of God's love each time I see her face. I'm so excited to see where God leads her.

August 14, 2010

freakin' roll

Because I love you and because I was on a freakin' roll the other night I have lots of posts for you whilst I'm on holiday. Seriously. I was writing post after post and I couldn't sleep even when midnight rolled around. It was fantastic. The flood gates were opened.


I have a delightful mix of randomness and who-knows-what-ness prepared for you while I lie on the beach and soak in some (more) sun. Plus, I'm going to try and phone-post when I can (ps...I really, really want an iphone just for reasons like this.). I hope this begins to mend things when I left you this summer. You see, I really did want to post. But life had to be lived in real time instead of being typed out. And now, you reap the benefits because I'm full of ideas and words.

An now, adieu to yur and yur and yur (and hello family and sandy beach!). Enjoy my midnight posts.


Cottage Girl

August 13, 2010

I know I should be ashamed of myself...

...but it's just so delightful that I can't say no.

hello, addictive love

You know that part of So I Married An Axe Murder when the dad says "he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave it fortnightly!" That's how I feel about Menchie's. Except I crave it daily. Sometimes more than once a day.

We have a new fro-yo shop in town. It's been open for just a few months, but because of camp I just found it this week. I won't tell you how many times I've been to it because that's just embarrassing. And I won't admit here in this public forum that I'm hoping to have time to go tonight as I leave town for vacation. I won't do that here. Oh, no.

Let me just say that it is positively, absolutely the yummiest of yums. It's heaven in frozen yogurt form. It's delightful beyond words.

Current favorite mix: Red Velvet yogurt with snow caps and brownie pieces sprinkled on top and a smidgen of hot marshmallow syrup and hot fudge. Oh, dear goodness, I want some so bad right now! Or at least until I find a new mix I can't stop eating.

What's you favorite summer treat right now?

August 12, 2010

book number 3

I finished my third book of the summer (from my list) last week. While it's not a massive amount, I think I did a pretty good job of reading during the craziness of the summer here. I actually tried to read more and watch less TV. I usually do during the summer, but this year was easier with my handy list all ready. I also tried to make sure that I had the next book on hand (bought or borrowed) for when I finished another book.

Gilead snuck in there and was, by far, my favorite book of the summer. Shadow of the Hegemon was great, but not quite as fantastic as the first two books in the series. This last book, which I bought on a whim at Sam's Club because it was really cheap, was by far my least favorite.

I was really disappointed in this one. Very poor character development. Story was kinda creepy (aka: I would never read it to kids). I mean the whole premise is Greek gods who have affairs or one night stands with humans. These humans have kids and the kids are half gods/half human. It's a premise that wants to be cool, but is just weird.
The characters are very two dimensional. I still don't really care about any of them after reading the entire first book. And, yes, I realize it's a kid's book, but so is Harry Potter. I was hooked after two chapters of HP and knew Harry so well. Take him or leave him.

This coming week I have an entire 7 days ahead of me with nothing....let me repeat do but sit on the beach and hang out with my family. So, with that in mind, I have two more titles. One from my list: The Book Thief. One that was recommended to me: The Eye of the World. Plus, I also snuck Catching Fire into my bag just as a refresher for (cue horns and angels singing) Mockingjay coming out in 2 weeks! (side note: Hunger Games was THE book to read for our summer staff this year. I got several people hooked on it. If you haven't read it, do it now! It's ridiculously good!)

I'm feeling a little nostalgic for the wonder I had reading Harry Potter or the Hunger Games for the first time. You know, when you just can't put the book down even at 2am because it's just that good?! I want to find a book like that again. That feeling is the best!

August 11, 2010

Faces: God's surprising plan

This is the face of God's surprising plan.

This sweet person has a camp story very similar to mine. She came here Week 1 with her sister, who is dating one of the guys on our management staff. She decided to come and hang out with her sister at this camp she had heard about. Just so happens that she fell in love with it after just a few days. Just so happens that she filled out an entire application and gave it to the summer director to put on file for next year because she was so excited about what God was doing here. She drove home (3 states away) excited for next summer and possibly coming here to work.

Then our whole Week one disaster happened and we were looking for a female day camp counselor for the summer. Well, it just so happened that the summer director had an application in hand.....

She said "yes!!" to 7 weeks of camp, packed and drove all the way back here to spend the rest of the summer with us. And what a wonderful blessing she was! The kids LOVED her! Our staff LOVED her! And we were once again humbled by a God who has His plan already in place even though we can't see it directly in front of us.

I am continually blow away by the way God's work is accomplished here. It is astounding to see His hand in our lives, our work, His ministry. Astounding and so very humbling!

August 10, 2010

wants it

Um, I would like these pretties, please! Fun colors added to my photos? Absolutely, yes!

Which reminds me, I need to add a new roll of film to my Holga which has built in color flash gels. May need to take that one to the beach with me. Along with my pocket old waterproof disposable that I need to use up.

I think I'm addicted to photography.....

August 09, 2010

Faces: Gentleness

This is the face of gentleness.

Oh, I could write an entire book about this dear one. She is a true kindred spirit. We spent hours this summer talking about orphans and China. This was her third summer here, but I think we really connected on a deeper level for the first time this year. It was really hard (read: tears) to say goodbye this time.

She has, for the last two years, had the challenging job of being a counselor for our youngest kids in our day camp program. 4-5 years old. These little ones are so precious, yet need so much more love and one on one attention than any of our other kids. They can be needy. They can whine and cry at the drop of a hat.

But I never ever saw this dear girl loose her temper or get frustrated in front of the kids. She was such a beautiful example of gentleness. She held in her arms crying, screaming little ones. She helped put on swim suits and clothes about 20 times a day without complaining. She laughed and had fun with the kids and made them feel special and loved and important in the eyes of the God who loves them.

I was also blessed to have some great conversations with her about life and what she wanted to do when she finished college. I found out that she sponsored a little girl through An Orphans Wish, the organization I sponsor and volunteer for. We read many of the same blogs and are connected to many of the same organizations in one way or another. We talked about traveling to China together and visiting orphanages and holding little babies. And even though we had to say goodbye at camp, I don't think our story together is over just yet.

I'm so thankful for the reminder of God's gentleness and grace every time I looked at this dear face. I miss her terribly, yet am so excited to see where God leads her next as she runs after Him.

August 08, 2010

faces: provision

I got this idea a while ago. Now, I finally have time to share it with you. I'm going to try and do a little series over the next few days (before I leave for vacation! whooo-hooo!)

I realized how some of the faces at camp represented God in different ways. I would see a particular person and I could hear God whisper to me "in this person, you can see My peace.....My compassion.......My provision....My love....My grace." Here are the stories behind some of God's greatest lessons to me this summer.

This is the face of God's PROVISION.

The story...

This summer was in the top of the hardest, most challenging summers I have ever had in my 12 years here. And, as usual, when it's tough, God show up in BIG, big ways.

Without going into a lot of details, at the beginning of the summer, the middle of Week One to be exact, we had to let 4 people go. Yes, FOUR. That was shocking, terrifying and just plain hard. We were now faced with 3 empty counseling spots for the remaining 7 weeks of camp that we had left. Full weeks, too, which means we needed each and every counselors to be present to take care of the campers that were going to be there.

Panic, right?! We did some of that. Maybe more than some. We prayed constantly. We trusted that Lord would provide. We tried to be patient.

Enter God's provision.....
This guy came to us by way of a phone call from his friends, who were 2 of our day camp counselors. He, like the story of Ruth (Ruth 2:3), just so happened to have worked at a camp last summer. And not any camp, but a camp that our camp is good friends with. We love their staff and their mission. He also just so happened to not be able to work there because he was still in school when they needed him to start. He just so happened to finish school just a few days before we needed him. He also just so happened to work best with older kids, which is exactly what we needed. He was also able to stay for the rest of the summer. 7 weeks. Just so happens.

Oh, and he just so happened to get a long perfectly with the rest of the guys who were counseling the older boys this summer.

Each time I saw him this summer, I couldn't help but realize that he wasn't planned. He wasn't "supposed" to be here. God sent him here in His perfect timing. We could only be awed and humbled by His provision for us.

August 07, 2010


The last day is always the hardest.
Many hugs
Exchanging of endearing words
More hugs

The start was tough.
The end was tough.
Everything else in the middle was magic.

I'll be back with stories and photos and the like soon enough.
For now,
I'll cry a little,
reminisce a lot
and pray that those special friendships will continue for the rest of my life.

Goodbye Summer 2010.
It's going to take me a long, long time to forget you!

August 02, 2010

Sunday picnic

The last few days, the Lord has answered our pleading and sent us some lovely weather. I don't think any of us are taking it for granted at the moment.

This weekend, on our last camp weekend, I decided that a picnic was in order. A "lay on the blanket and read" picnic to be more exact.

So, off to the park I went with my roommate

and our friend in tow.

We had a lovely time, until the rain chased us away

and we ran back to the car with our blankets as our umbrellas. It was perfectly wonderful while it lasted.

Now, we begin our last week. Week 8. It's not going to be easy. It will be full of goodbyes, my absolutely least favorite thing in the whole world. I'm terrible at goodbyes. I don't think they should exist. I think we should all have Star Trek transporters in our living rooms so that we can have anyone over at any time. No matter how far away they live. If scientists can make watermelons without seeds, surely they can make transporters, right?!

Anyway, week 8 is here and there is nothing I can do to change it. I'm going to do my best to soak in each moment and enjoy my friends being here. And then I'm going to put on my brave face and be an adult and give hugs goodbye. I'll take those last minute photos together and wave as cars leave the parking lots . And then, I'll look back over the summer and smile and mourn over the wonder (good and bad) that it was.