November 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, wee one

I love you so much.

November 29, 2010

Show Hope: part 2

(yes, I took photos of myself in the bathroom of the concert venue. no, there wasn't anyone else in there. yes, I was nervous someone would walk in at any minute. yes, I'm glad I have the photos to remind myself of that amazing evening.)

One of the best parts about volunteering for Show Hope is meeting the other fantastic people that share in the wonder of this organization. Families who love Jesus and enjoy SCC's music and get behind the miracle of adoption. Sponsors who love to help wherever they can. Families who have received grants from SH to bring home their dear ones from around the globe.

During the evening we have down time while the concert is going on and the lobby is empty to chat and get to know each other. Usually this type of thing would be paralyzing to me. I hate small talk. I'm terrible at it. But this night, I was a blessing. Hearing stories of hope and adoption. Oh, my...

That night I was volunteering, there was a family there that was made up of mom, dad, teenage daughter and 8 year old daughter adopted from China. ( of my very favorite things about SCC concerts is seeing the many families with little Asian girls now placed as dearly loved daughters/sisters in their mix. It makes my eyes well up with tears every...single...time.) During one of our down times, I was able to chat with dad. I asked him how he became connected to Show Hope, and I got to hear his family's story.

Mom in the family began praying about adoption. Dad wasn't on board yet. But she kept praying and talking to him about it. They went to an open meeting with an adoption agency. When they were driving home from the meeting, dad looked at mom and said that if they were to adopt, he knew it had to be from China. Mom had complete agreement. And that began their paper chase and 3 years of waiting for their daughter in China. They received a grant from Show Hope to help pay for the adoption.

Dad says that waiting those three years was so, so hard. But the moment that their little A was placed in their arms, it all disappeared. It melted away, he said. Dad also said that they just had a 3 year reunion with their travel group (many families meet other families who are adopting at the same time in China) and I will never forget that he said he was blown away at how different these girls were 3 years later. When these girls were placed in their arms, they were scared and hopeless and sad. Deep sadness. Now, they are changed children. They laugh. They have hope. They run and play and have a secure place in their families. It was noticeable on their very faces. They looked different.

It was a great chat. And little A was just so sweet. I got to talk to her for a while. I could see the love she had for her family and the love they had for her. Deep abiding, forever love. Hope-filled love. She was a happy 8 year old girl just like any other kid at that concert.

Dad asked me how I got involved with Show Hope and I told him my story. I have always wanted to adopt, but it isn't possible in my life right now. Instead, I sponsor Show Hope so other families can adopt and bring little ones home forever. I love it! It brings my heart eternal, abundant joy. He said, "that's great! Thanks. We were able to adopt because of a grant."

At the end of the evening, we were packing up the table and sponsor packets and saying our goodbyes. We thanked Julia for allowing us to help, and she ran off to catch the tour bus. As I was about to turn to go, dad turned to me and grabbed my hand in a strong, firm shake and looked deep in my eyes and said (I'm going to paraphrase because I can't remember the exact words), "thank you for what you gave. I have my family, my little girl, now because of you. Thank you."

Can I just tell you....I got out of that place as fast as I could because I burst into tears and sobbed the 1 hour trip back home. I cried when I told my small group the story last week. I'm crying now. There are few times in life, friends, where we get to see the impact that our small lives and the things we do in them have in this world. $35 little dollar a month. It's nothing, really, to me. It's eating out a few times a month. It's a trip to Target. But combined with other sponsors, it is a little girl's welcome into a loving family. It is HOPE. It is life. It is the possibility of an orphan hearing Jesus' love whispered to them in love. These dear, sweet children abandoned and told they are worthless are loved and part of a family forever and told they are valued and precious. Sweet treasures of heaven here on earth.

I thanked God (and continue to) over and over and over for that moment. I didn't have to have it. I would have still supported SH. But now, each month, I will think of the face of that little girl, a happy, dear, sweet treasure now home, forever and loved. The Lord was so gracious to let me peek behind the veil of the eternal, to see what really matters in life and to receive a "thank you" on earth. I will never, ever forget that moment. I will forever be grateful for it.

You can find out more about being a sponsor for Show Hope here.

You can make a one time donation here.

You can see what Jesus says about orphans here.

November 28, 2010

Show Hope: part 1

(blurry cell phone photo. sorry!)

A week ago today, I had the pleasure of volunteering for Show Hope. You guys, Show Hope is amazing. They are the real deal. You can read about what they do and who they are.

I have been sponsoring them for a long, long time now. One of the things that drew me to them (after the fact that SH was started and run by the Chapman's, whom I think the world of) was their passion to not only help orphans, but place them in loving, Christian homes. Show Hope gives grants to Christian families to help with the cost of adoption. And now, they also have have a special needs orphanage in China called Maria's Big House of Hope.

And just listen to what God is doing through Show Hope....the Chinese government saw how amazing MBHOH was with their own eyes. They saw how the children there were being loved and cared for. And guess what they did? They asked Show Hope to take over the special needs floors on all of the state run orphanages in the province of Luoyang. Can you even believe it?! God is moving in the hearts of a government that doesn't allow its people to even worship Him. So now, SH is raising the funds to begin 2 special needs floors in two state run orphanages in Luoyang, as well as give grants and run MBHOH.

Last Sunday, I went to the SCC concert and worked at the Show Hope table for the evening. What an amazing experience. I've done camp fairs too many times to count. I've talked to people about camp and how amazing it is (and it really is). But there was something about helping people become sponsors and sharing with them the wonder of adoption and caring for orphans that made/makes me feel alive inside. Adoption has always, always, always been a big passion of mine. I put my money where my mouth is. I support it and believe in it and pray every single day that I will be able to do it one day. Oh, how I loved looking into the eyes of concert goers and thanking them for choosing to help the orphans of the world. My "thank you" was sincere and most of the time with tear filled eyes.

I was also able to meet Julia, Caleb's wife. She works for Show Hope and was the representative for them at the concert. She was so kind and sweet and just fun. It was really neat to see her passion for Show Hope and hear her get excited to tell people about it.

There were a bunch of other volunteers with me too. Several families with their children. Two girls about my age that worked for an adoption agency that has an office in the area. One of the families has 4 kids and they are adopting 3 siblings from South America! It was so neat to hear their story. They were also SH grant recipients.

There was one other family there, and their story is just as beautiful. I'll share that one tomorrow. It's one I will never, ever forget....

November 27, 2010

As I was helping my dad put together his new snow blower today, I was secretly wishing that he won't have to use it (my parents live about an hour from me). For as much as I love how beautiful snow is and as much as I love sledding and tubing, I really, really, really don't want another winter like last winter.

How about just a light snow?
A few small inches?
Yes, I think that sounds reasonable.
Don't you?

In other news, I watched Wall*E again with my parents this evening. That movie is still fantastic every time I watch it. So creative. So sweet. So thought provoking. And so beautiful.

November 26, 2010

Tangled = adorables

we loved Tangled

Let it be known gentle readers. We LOVED Tangled. That's right. It's adorables.
My favorite scene was the night the lanterns from the castle were flying through the sky.
It was beatiful. One of those scenes that will be stuck in my head for years. Kinda like the house flying through the air with 100's of balloons on Up.
ps...don't think that you need children in tow to see this. It was just me, my mom and dad and we loved it. Oh, and Zachary Levi gains even more adorable points with this one.

November 25, 2010

off the top of my head

Thankful list:

the Bible
Mom and Dad
Sister and Brother-in-law
Nephew and niece
friends who share life and make me laugh
a job that is more that just a paycheck
a cottage on the water to call home
SCC concerts
An Orphan's Wish
Show Hope
trips to fun places
the "less busy" months at camp
Nikon D50's
Totally Rad Actions
Pioneer Woman Actions
electric heaters in my bedroom
ER reruns
seagulls squalking reminding me of seaside living
Fall colors
Liberty University
sewing machines
Christmas music in November
Macy's Thanksgiving Day parades
Christmas shopping
lost and found Chuck Taylor hightops
chia seeds
Thanksgiving yummies
Thankgiving leftovers
My Yahoo
Mark Driscoll podcasts
Modern Family
A million other little things that make up life

November 24, 2010

road trip must

35 hours of TAL?!
It includes some of my favorite episodes
Um, yes, please.
Perfect gift.
For giving and receiving (hint, hint)!
Only $29 bucks too.

Plans...important plans....

Thanksgiving weekend plans include:

Consume as much of my mom's Thanksgiving dinner (+ leftovers) as possible
Black Friday shopping (online and in stores)
Seeing HP7 again with friends (and maybe Tangled, too)
Finish a dominoes game with the parents (we started it while camping)
Eat more leftovers
Finish editing photos for friends
Write out blog posts that are swirling in my head
Make a big, long list of things I am thankful for
Start Felt-A-Licious!
Make a few art journal pages
Do my Breaking Free homework
Work on a secret project
Take photos
Play with Winnie
Skype my sister, nephew, niece
Shop for wool roving
Research dyeing wool
Shop for Christmas presents
Play Banangrams (and maybe win, just once)

What are you up to this weekend?

November 23, 2010

City love

Two of my favorites...

November 22, 2010

jumbled thoughts

(photo taking while driving. it's not against the law, right?)

I spent quite a bit of time in my little car this weekend. And the entire time, I kept thanking the Lord for the blessing of it. I've had my Versa for 2 years now. It's so nice to have a dependable car. Truly. I'm still humbled that I have it.

I have a beautiful story to share, but my mind is still processing, which means it is half written at the moment. It needs a little while longer to percolate. I have to find the right words. It was one of the most beautiful moments. One that I will treasure for years to come.

I really want to finish my Christmas shopping before December. December is next week. Oops...

I won a class on Tara Whitney's blog. I about died when I saw her name in my inbox. I've never won anything. And I enter things ALL the time. I get to learn to felt. Super exciting. I wanted to sign up for this class, but couldn't spend the money. Truthfully, don't know if I'm more excited to win the class or get an email from TW....

I really, really want to HP7 again. Like...really.

November 21, 2010

Beauty out of the ashes

Overwhelmed by a God who loves, who gives, who makes all things new.

One of the best weekends ever. More details soon.

November 20, 2010

this morning...this evening...

This morning...

This evening...

Could I ask for a better day? I think not.

ps...I could gush for hours on the wonder of HP7, but I'll refrain. I'll leave you with this...I was already wanting to see it again when I was 10 minutes into it the first time.

November 19, 2010

Sorry, O

Your favorite things can never even begin to compare to the beauty God creates here at sunset. The sky AND the water were pink tonight.

Oh...and I saw a bald eagle scoop a fish out of the river right in front of me this morning on my walk to work. So, so incredibly cool.

And with that, nighty-night.

November 18, 2010

Who is your daddy and what does he do?

The question I get asked most when people hear that I work at a camp....

"So, what do you do at camp? What's your job?"

Ohhhh, boy. Believe it or not, that's kinda a tough question to answer. Mostly because it changes almost every day. I usually answer "I'm the administrative assistant" because it's the easiest. But if you really wanted to know, here is the extended version:

Things I do (have done) at camp:

answer the phones
handle all the mail (camp business mail and personal mail for 17 people)
balay on the climbing wall
prep food (for groups of 20-150 people)
cook food
clean up food
do dishes
wipe tables
sweep floors
make coffee (lots and lots of it)
mop floors
vacuum, clean and organize our chapel
keep the sound system up and running in the chapel
facilitate low elements
run the Giant Swing
drive boats
put gas in the boats
help maintain the boats
clean the boats
work Snack Shop
serve meals
write donation letters
scrub toilets
plunge clogged toilets
help shoo birds out of the upstairs of the Lodge (more than once...)
take out the trash
clean windows
lead games
make up games for groups of 100 children
dress up in costumes
put on large camp wide events for Friday Night Events (during camp)
go down the slip-n-slide
clean up the soapy/sandy slip-n-slide
take photos
print labels
do mail outs
greet visitors
take out the recycling
haul cones
set up cones
drive the Mystery Machine
create crafts for campers
buy all the craft supplies
check the main office voicemail
distribute messages
more meetings
make flyers
update the website
proof-read letters, flyers, brochures, applications, you name it
buy office supplies
wash laundry
check out dorms
clean up trash

And then there are the random projects that seem to pop up like:

tiling the walls in the camp kitchen
de-shingling the roof of Harmony
paint a million different walls and trim
scare raccoons out of the Lodge
scare squirrels out of the Lodge
rescue canoes and paddle boats after a hurricane
put a new steering cable in a boat
pick up food donations at 7am
rescue stray dogs that wind up at camp
shovel snow during blizzards
clean up the basement after it floods

And I'm just going to stop because this list could go on forever. See? It's hard to tell people what my job is. I dread the day I ever leave here and have to answer that question on a job application. Some how I don't think "raccoon removal" will give off that "let's hire her" vibe. I'm just sayin".....

November 17, 2010

on the HP radar

Have you seen Marie Claire's Emma Watson cover shoot this month? (I've never actually read this magazine. I'm just in uber HP mode waiting for the movie to come out on Friday. I do love Nina on Project Runway though.) I happened to stumble upon it on my 3 hour trip to B&N last night. I immediately wanted to cut my hair pixie short again.

Little Hermione. She's quite a beauty now.

And the color palette in this shoot is perfection. I may have to buy this issue just to cut out these photos for future inspiration. Those greys, pale pinks, creams and mint greens mixed with big silver accessories....I can't get enough.

And just to be clear, I'm in crazy mode waiting for this movie to open. Dear goodness, it's hard to wait! And knowing that this one is going to be a "to be continued" is just killing me! Kaley, I know you are with me on this one.

November 16, 2010


Tonight, I spent a happy hour sitting on the floor of the children's section of the black hole. You see, on Thursday I am a guest reader in a second grade class at a local private school. Gotta admit that I was giddy excited to be asked. I'm a nerd when it comes to reading to children. I adore it. And classic children's books are my very favorite. When one of the teachers asked me to read, I instantly exclaimed "yes!" I immediately began debating which of my favorites to read to the kids.

I think I've decided to read The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. It was one of my personal favorites when I was a kid. I still think of this story when I see a tiny house in the middle of an urban setting.

As I was reading the book, I couldn't help but remember this cartoon from Disney. It is a loose adaptation of the story.

Watching this makes me feel like I just got home from a long day at school. I would sit on the couch from 4:30-5:00 and watch old Disney cartoons to unwind. Such fun memories....

What children's stories did you love? Make Way For Ducklings? Madeline? Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?

November 15, 2010


What I mean to say is that I am home.

Not that this photo is home.

It is not.

It is a battlefield. A national park, if you will

It was quite beautiful at sunset last night.

And now on to a week full of exciting fun things!

November 14, 2010

East Coast love

I grew up on the East Coast. I've spent my life here except for a few jaunts here and there to fantstic new lands. And the more I travel the more blessed and in love I fall with the beauty and history that surrounds me here.

Today I spent a good part of the day on grounds hallowed by Americans and history buffs alike. I've decided that history by way of audio driving tour is my favorite way to experience the past. It was amazing, lesson filled and not too long and boring like every history class I've ever taken.

Headed home tomorrow with lots of great memories and photos.

Nighty-night, friends!

November 13, 2010

Camping is instant stress relief

It just is.

Nothing to do but sit by the fire, play Bananagrams, make s'mores and laugh.

It is my de-stress drug of choice.

Amen and amen.

November 12, 2010

camping time

I'm headed out to do one of my favorite things in the world.

Camping. Well, RV camping, that is.

I'm headed up north with the parental unit and other "friends who are family."

While I'm gone, you should:

watch this video from The Honey Trees. I'm obsessed with it.

Read this post from Katie and this post from another blog I follow. I didn't know they knew each other.

Check out Elsie's Tricks & Treats posts. It was the most inspiring place online the last few weeks of October. I got so many great ideas!

Check out this fun new feature from two of my favorite bloggers. I'm super excited about it!

Go see Waiting For Superman. You won't be disappointed.

Check out all the cuties on the AOW blog.

See you sooooonnnnn. I'll try and phone post if I can. I want to keep up my NaBloPoMo.


Cottage Girl

November 11, 2010

"carry me?" she asked.


November 10, 2010

camera face

There are few things in life that can make me quite as happy as camera face.

My features are hidden.

My eyes are focused on things other than myself (except when I take self portraits, of course).

My creativity is sparking like crazy.

Light becomes magic and using it correctly becomes the most important thing on my plate.

I find myself holding my breath constantly in anticipation.

I get cross eyed from closing one eye tightly so I can filter out everything except what is in my viewfinder.

Here's to an exciting afternoon of camera face that is coming tomorrow.


ps...all that Hawaii talk yesterday made me pop in one of the few chick-flicks that I can watch over and over and over. I adore Adam Sandler. I think he's adorably funny.

When I miss Hawaii, I usually watch this or this. Then the Hawaii voices will quiet down for a little while.

November 09, 2010

bring back

I'm already done with the cold weather. Bring back the 80 degree days. Bring back the 7:30pm sunsets. Bring back the calm, quiet evenings on the pier thinking and praying.

I'm definitely not ready for 5 more months of cold. Nope, I'm not. I think I'm supposed to move to California or Hawaii. Who's with me?

November 08, 2010

Time for bed routine

1. Straighten room. (I can't go to sleep in a mess. I will literally toss and turn in bed until I get up and straighten everything. I need order when I go to sleep so it will be in order when I wake up.)

2. Wash face, brush teeth, etc...

3. PJ's. Comfy, cozy things that usually don't match.

4. Into bed with Bible and journal in hand.

5. Read the Word and pray/journal for about 10-40 minutes depending on the night.

6. Turn out lights.

7. Turn on alarm.

8. Asleep in 10 minutes or less (usually)

My big thing before bed is reading the Bible. I started this in middle school, I think. I believe that I'm most emotionally vulnerable at night. I get weepy over hard days. I get wistful over dreams and plans. I ponder everything that went wrong that day (pessimist, that's me). It's the time of day I'm most likely to break down in tears.

I discovered many years ago that if I end the day with verses and words from Jesus, life is livable. Sleep is possible. Hope is readily available. Joy will come in the morning. I fall asleep easier because I've laid everything down before The One who can handle it. I'm not saying that I don't pick it back up in the morning, sometimes. But I do handle life better when my last words of the day are with my Savior.

What does your routine look like?

November 07, 2010

care for them

It's Orphan Awareness Sunday.

What a perfect opportunity to advocate for adoption and the care of the least of these. God commands us in James (James 1:27) to care for the orphans. It isn't a choice. It's easy to think that it is. It's easy to say, "oh, that's someone else's place, not mine. I have my own family to consider." Nope, sorry. If you are a believer, it is your responsibility to love orphans.

What will you do to help the orphans of the world?

See the sidebar for some great organizations where you can help ---------->

And check out this video from Cry of the Orphan.

November 06, 2010

Last night, I had a wonderful time with my camp girl friends. We drank lots of tea and ate lots of British cookies that my roommate brought back from England. Then we laughed and laughed and laughed until we cried (especially at the video above). What a blessing and wonderful relief from the last month of crazy weekends. I'm so thankful for these girls and magic of their friendship. I'm blessed beyond measure to have them in my life.

Today I went to my 3rd wedding in 5 weeks. I think I'm wedding-ed out. Tonight is all about cozy-ing up at home.

The end.

November 05, 2010

I see you there

What makes me notice someone.....

  1. They make me laugh. All my closest friends are hilarious to me. We laugh together.
  2. They exude the love of Jesus.
  3. Outgoing/extrovert. I'm shy enough for 10 people. Give me someone who is confident and outgoing.
  4. A quoter of movie lines. Totally guilty of this myself.
  5. An understanding of the wonder of sarcasm.
  6. Selfless-ness.
  7. A random Battlestar reference.
  8. Hair/hairstyle. It's the first thing I notice.

November 04, 2010

Would you rather be wealthy and ugly, wise and sickly, or beautiful and stupid?

I think wealthy and ugly. Here's why...

I could adopt as many kids as I wanted with no worry about funds.

Schools could be built, children and families fed, orphanages built and medicine supplied in Uganda

I could spend a year in China at MBHH with no worry about money.

I could fund friends who wanted adopt, but didn't have the money.

Camp could do a million different things like build a new dorm, replace the Cottage, hire more staff, add fun new activities with a few million dollars.

I could travel and see all my friends and family who are scattered across the country.

And let's be honest. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My looks will fade no matter how beautiful I am. I'd rather be ugly and help other than be beautiful with no sense to do anything.

What would you choose?

November 03, 2010

The plot

After yesterday's downer post, I found out that it is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). So, now I have a constant stream of ideas to inspire me and prompt me on to writing. It couldn't come at a more perfect time. I always feel more mentally stable when I can write. Anyone else every feel that way?

Anyway, on to today's prompt....

Describe the plot of the next book you want to read, even if the book doesn't exist yet.

That's an easy answer....

It would be another Harry Potter book. Maybe in the years between the end of the war and the epilogue in the end of Hallows. There are 19 years of stories just waiting to be told. It would, of course, center around Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny. It must have lots of the Weasley family. All of them. I miss those Weasley's.

ps....I'm in the middle of 3 books right now. Three completely different genres so I can read what I'm in the mood for. Anyone else read books like that?

pss....If you decide to participate in NaBloPoMo too, let me know in the comments! It will be so fun to share ideas and thoughts with you.

November 02, 2010


I haven't really been able to muster up the gumption to post lately. I'm sure you've noticed. My posts have pretty short and fluffy most of the time. It's been a struggle just to get something...anything written each day, if I even do a post.

I've struggled with the question of letting it go. Saying goodbye for a time and just leaving it be until I want to come back. But the truth is, if I went on how I feel at this moment, I wouldn't really come back for a long time. So, I plug along, knowing that even as I look back and read these last few weeks/months, I will be able to read between the lines with what has really been going on in my head.

Truthfully, I don't know what it is. I don't know why God has been continually pounding on me. I do know that these last few months have been some of the most trying, mentally speaking, that I've had, ever. I know that God has a purpose for all of this because I can see His hand working throughout everything. I know that there is a reason, even if I can't see it or understand it now, and may never.

The more I grow in my faith, the more I realize that I know nothing. The more I am forced to just be quiet and talk to Him. The more I just have to process what He is trying to show me. The more I have to let go and just follow.

So when I look back over the last few months, I can see the empty spaces in my thoughts. I can see the complete randomness of my crazy brain. I can see that there is something deep down that is being refined and purified.

November 01, 2010

"God's training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself." -Oswald Chambers