Sunday, March 29, 2015

one year ago // a look back

today is the one year anniversary of our move from Goldendale to the Vancouver area. It seems like the year has flown past, but it was also one of the hardest years of my life, (so far. :). 

(a View from the river about 23 minutes from my house in Goldendale)

Moving was so hard for me; leaving the familiar life I had always known, the home I had lived in since I was six, friends and mentors, my incredibly talented bestie, and especially my beloved horse, Princess. I can't even begin to explain how much I miss her. I miss hearing her nicker a greeting every time I step out the back door, crying into her shoulder after a hard day, the goats bleating in protest as I led her into the woods for a long, peaceful walk, I even miss the smell of horses. 

But looking back I can see that even though moving was really hard and  painful , and it will continue to be hard at times, it really was a good thing for my family and I. I can see where God's will has been at work, and while it was hard, (and it's still hard, there are moments/days when I want nothing else than to just go home to Goldendale.) but there are brand new opportunities for us all here, new friendships God has in store for us, and so many unrevealed things. Dad is finally able to live at home seven days a week, instead of only being able to come home for the weekends, and all the kids have more friendships blossoming then they had before. And a major plus is that we now live only 50 minuets from my big brother and his wife. ;)

(we had gorgeous sunsets almost every night!)

All this is to say, that looking back a year ago, I was so upset and heartbroken, but I realize now that the move was really and truly God's will, and it was best for us. I am starting to feel settled here, and it's begining to feel okay. (I still haven't adjusted to the traffic, (Goldendale had three blinking red stoplights... it was pretty tiny.) or the fact that people think it is weird to wave at people when driving. Everybody does that back home! It's weird if you don't wave!)

(My absolute favorite mountain!!)

I remember distinctly one particular moment last year today... Dad sent me to fill up the van with gas. It was only the second time I had pumped gas in my life, and it ended up being really traumatic. The gas pump didn't shut off properly, and it started to overflow, and I was already upset. It just ended up making the day that much worse. I actually still get nervous every time I have to pump gas. :) 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's A Girl Thing // Lace and Denim

I french braided my hair and then flipped it up inside itself and pinned it earlier this morning, but it slipped and looks strange, but at least it's off my neck! :)

 Daisy making a guest appearance... she was following me around the whole time. :)

The Details:
Skirt: Gift {0.00)
Tied Chambray Shirt: Khols {19.99}
Black Cami: Forever 21 {1.99}
Earrings: Gift {0.00}

I was inspired reading a post by the lovely Hannah Everly recently about being real in the blogging world. (something I've talked a little about before.) Anyway,  she inspired me to not feel so self concious about the "little less than perfect" photos of myself.

     Over the last year or so I have been becoming much more confident in my personality. I dealt with the normal issues as a young teen, (13-15) where everything is awkward and the typical ungraceful stage every girl seems to go through. But, contrary to most girls, I just never grew out of that stage. I take tumbles regularly, fall down the stairs at least once a month; I trip over my words and sentences and most of the time my brain is moving forward too fast and my tongue doesn't keep up. I can't make my thoughts into words, and I forget things with the speed of lightening. I cut myself and hurt myself all the time and it's not on purpose, (I am NOT a self harmer... it just happens.).  I have struggled with my ungracefulness for so long, (Doesn't every girl dream of being graceful and beautiful as a princess??) but I am learning to be confident in who I am. I may not be the most graceful person in the world, or on the dance floor, but have you tried my soups? ;) And that's just for starters! I can do lots of things well, so ungracefullness doesn't need to worry me so much. 
     Two days ago I landed flat on my back in a mud puddle after trying to kick a soccer ball from a standing position while holding a mug of hot coffee. The coffee went one direction while I landed squarely in the puddle. Whilst wearing a cute '50's style swing dress no less. My reaction, to my brothers relief, (who ALL witnessed it, btw,) was to giggle uncontrolibaly... while laying in the puddle. I just kept imagining how funny it had to look. The funny thing is that about a month ago I was having a conversation with one of the guys from church about sports, (no idea how it came up...) and I explained that I don't play sports except for volleyball because I am super klutzy and it seems like volleyball is the most "not dangerous" sport out there... and he asked if soccer would be safe. My answer was, "no, I'm pretty sure I would end up falling flat on my back..." I don't think he really believed me, but I proved myself right... :)

(Pretty sure this look means something like "don't make fun of my poses!" :)

So basically all this was to say, embrace who you are, because nobody else in the world is exactly like you, and it seems cliche, but we can be beautiful and special, no matter how weird or klutzy we are. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

baby frills

Sometimes Mom gets so excited about having another baby girl, that she overloads Lydia with frills and ruffles. Todays outfit, (or actually, this afternoons outfit. :) was a little over the top... even her socks had ruffles. Nevertheless, she was adorable as usual, and I almost caught a smile on camera. That feat is proving quite the challenge as she seems to become a little intimidated at the appearance of a DSLR, (and I admit that posing in front of a camera is quite daunting,) and she quite refuses to smile until the split second after I push the power button and it is too late. I shall continue in my attempts, however, and hopefully will manage to capture one or two soon!! :) She turns 5 months old on Sunday, and I believe she is somewhere around 9 1/2 pounds now. Mom is increasingly proud of her double chin and dimples. :) Lydia is growing up a little spoiled, and has learned that she has only to let out a little screech and one or two or ten people will fly to rescue her from boredom. We're rather fond of her. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

five things that make me happy // a list

1. Horses, Dogs, Elephants and Otters. 
     Sometimes, when I am sad or having an especially hard day, I Google various baby animals and gush over the adorable photographs and videos. Usually I feel considerably better after a little dose of cuteness. Who can resist a baby elephant throwing a tantrum in a mud puddle, or an otter who can't fit the stackable cups together? :) I also recommend ducklings and big cat cubs... these photos and videos also pacify cranky toddlers, and I am speaking from experience here! :)

so sweet

2. Grace
     Lately God has been teaching me about Grace. It blows my mind that the God of the universe, (the God who created the universe and all it contains with only his breath!!!!!) chooses to complete his work through imperfect, flawed, selfish creatures like us. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, by Grace you have been saved... and not that of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Eph. 2:4-5 God chose us. God chose to create us knowing what choice we would make. We rejected God, exalting ourselves, and He, in his infinite and overwhelming love, mercy and Grace, reached out to us and provided Salvation through the brutal, horrific death of his Only Begotten Son, laying his plan for Salvation before the very foundations of the world were set into place. 
     "My Grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 
     He chose to pour his love and grace on our weak souls, and his power and plan is perfected through us because he is GOD.
     God's grace blows my mind everytime I think about it, but it makes me want to scream for pure joy at the same time. The God I serve is full of love and Grace. I just discovered that my middle name, (Anne-with-an-e) means Full of Grace, and it just became more special!!
3. Children
     I am a big fan of littles! From babies learning to smile and chuckle to toddlers and their endless questions and energy, to six year olds who amaze you with their sheer brilliance... children are unexpectedly witty, and serious, full of life and laughter and surprises. Life is never dull with a child/baby/toddler around. ;)

4. Coffee (and Ice Cream) (and Food)
     You want to know the tried and true way to improve my mood and make me 110% more happy with you and any given situation? Bring me a mug of coffee. Especially if it's anytime in the morning before 10:00. I will love you for absolutely forever, and probably longer. :) The same sentiments also apply for ice cream and food. (as long as it's not fish or peanut butter... just throwing that out there.) I am not a morning person, and coffee turns mornings into a much pleasanter (is that a word?) experience for my family and I. In fact, sometimes my brothers have it made for me before I even come downstairs!
5. Books, Bookstores, Libraries, Conversations about Books, Smelling Books, Touching Books.
     My mom always encouraged reading, and when my older brothers and I were younger Mom had us complete a speedreading and comprehension course... and accidentally created bookaholics, (mostly just in my case, the Boys don't really have the time anymore.). Now I could get through reading material two or three times as fast, but totally still understand it! Mom took to punishing me and Andrew by withholding reading privileges instead of other things because it was so devastating. :) Now books are my constant companion, and are always spilling out of the corners of my room, packed into my purse and taken everywhere

Monday, March 16, 2015

October Baby // Book Review

October Baby
Eric Wilson

* * * * * {five of five}

Not long after Hannah, a college student, experiences increasing anxiety and a sudden collapse, all signs point to the surprising circumstances of her birth. Hannah soon learns from her parents that she was adopted and is the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.
     Bewildered, angry and confused, she turns to her oldest friend, Jason, for support. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his friends on a road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past and find hope for the unknown future.
     Along the way, Hannah finds that every life is beautiful, and that life itself can be so much more than what we might have planned.
     Based on the popular move of the same name, October Baby brings to life powerful themes of hope, love, forgiveness and redemption.

     This is one of my "to be read when I’m sick or sad” books. It’s an easy read, I love the formatting and the way the pages are laid out. (That’s one of my bookish pet peeves: When the type is too large or too small and the words are stacked like sardines, with no paragraph spacing or breaks in the lines. And especially when there is no break between “times,” I.e. the preceding sentence says something about Mr. Whoever, and then the next sentence says three years later they did something… but there is not break between the sentences. THAT’S JUST WRONG! there, I'm done ranting now.)
     The story of Hannah Lawson is filled with controversy. Abortion is a touchy subject, and painful to everyone, whether they've had one themselves, or know somebody who did. But I felt that the creators of the movie, and the authors of this book, did a really tasteful job with approaching the subject. (The subject of abortion brings to mind Dr. Seuss' line, from Horton Hears a Who, “A Person is a person, no matter how small.” That message is pounded in throughout the movie, one of the major reasons we like it.)
     Hannah is sweet, caring and super conservative. Her passion is acting and she’s good. But she collapses on the night of the opening of her play, and subsequently finds out that she was adopted 19 years earlier, after her birth mother tried to abort her. She is understandably extremely confused and angry, and leaves in an attempt to sort everything out, on a quest to find her real mother.
     I love Hannah, not only does she share my bestie’s first name, ( :) !!!!) but because she is dreamer, an idealist, she isn’t perfect and she messes up, (she is human, but to be human is to beautifully flawed, as Sergeant Dodd’s wife said.) but she picks herself back up and moves on. 
     Through the book we watch Hannah go from a confused, bewildered angry girl to a beautiful, confident woman, capable and stronger from the confusion and sorrow she has experienced.

I highly recommend October Baby to those in search of a sweet, easy read about a journey from confusion to confidence, of searching for something and finding the answer was forgiveness and Jesus all along.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Daisy Duck // photo shoot

     Luke (8) brought two tiny ducks home from the feed store a couple of days ago and long story short, I have kind of fallen in love. They're adorable, and it is gorgeous outside today (somewhere around 65-70 degrees!), so I decided to run out after lunch with this precious little girl ^ to snap some photos. The best part of the "shoot" is that she follows everyone around, toddling after them as fast as her tiny two feet can go, quacking and peeping all the while. It's super funny to watch. I think they're only five or six days old, but they sure get around fast and make a lot of noise. Our adult duck (Quack Quack Junior, named after our first duck. ;) hasn't even noticed them, much to the children's chagrin. They keep taking the little ducklings down to Jr.s pen to swim in her pool.
     Luke has just informed me that he has decided to name her and her brother Donald and Daisy. :) I'm not fond of birds of any kind, (which is ironic, because my siblings raise Racing Pigeons, chickens, ducks, quail, turkeys and a falcon.) But I do have a soft spot for ducklings. I mean, their feet are so cute, and so are their bills, and they're quite top heavy. :)


Sunday, March 8, 2015

eagle creek // hiking

yesterday i went hiking with my brothers and and bunch of people at Eagle creek, Oregon. The total hike was roughly anywhere from 13 to 16 miles. The two people who tracked it on their smartphones via GPS had conflicting mileage, but despite the total distance, it was rather fun. I've hiked this one before, but it's so beautiful that it is totally worth doing over and over. 
     in all honesty, I shouldn't have gone. I was sick all week, and felt pretty bad yesterday with a horrible headache. (the kind behind your eyes where if feels like someone is literally squeezing your brain in their hands.) but I knew my bros wanted to go, and I've been wanting to do that hike again for a while. I am glad I went, although I was extremely quiet and non talkative because of the headache. 

     I carried my camera the whole way, and proceeded to take only ten or twelve photographs. :) I think I'll just have to do the hike again when I feel good simply for photography sake. I think it would be cool to do a photoshoot with people (and pretty dresses?!) at some of these waterfalls. (Although it would probably be too difficult and strenuous to hike in with props and dresses...) 

     and ftr, I really want to stand under this ^ waterfall someday. (probably when it's warm, and I am wearing a swimsuit. :) It was gorgeous, and looked sooo fun.

     After hiking, (from 9:30 or so, until 4:00. That means we were walking roughly 26-30 minute miles... o.O.) we went to Red Robins for burgers. I felt terrible for our waiter... He had to take care of a group of 21 people entirely by himself. He did great though! We did a ton of visiting and didn't actually make it home until 9:30. I took a really long, very hot bath to relax my muscles, and read part of October Baby by Erik Wilson. I've read it several times but it's pretty cute. I should have gone to bed right away, but instead, I didn't go to bed until really late. But my family let me sleep in until 11:00, which was super nice of them, because i've missed sleeping in until noon on Saturdays for probably the past month. 

     the rest of today will be spent doing laundry, and avoiding getting dressed. (we'll see if mom protests. I am all for staying in pjs if you aren't going anywhere. I mean, they're SO comfy!!) I shall probably finish October Baby today, and then read some more of The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I may make cookies too. I feel like eating snickerdoodles or peanut butter cookies. I also need to do some studying on John 7 for the girls bible study tomorrow. I also plan to walk at least three miles on the treadmill. I think it would help my muscles unkink. I am actually anywhere near as sore as I thought I would be. Which makes me incredibly happy, because I am supposed to walk a half marathon with my incredible, beautiful bestie on the 28th. :)

     (Mom sat down in the living room, where I am working on this post on my latop, and three seconds ago, she told me to get dressed... haha)

Tunnel Falls on Eagle Creek Trail, Oregon   _________________________

In case you're wondering what is so great about this hike. ^ this is Tunnel Falls, where we turned around. It is somewhere around 6 miles into the hike, which is a 25+ mile loop. 

     do you like to hike? if so, do you prefer to hike hard, and feel accomplished according to miles and time, or do you prefer to mosey along and take in the sights and experiences? Personally I think I am in the middle of the two. I have a competitive streak, so I like to push myself and go as hard as my body will allow (usually not competing with others, just against myself and pervious timings or goals.), and then I get carried away with the beauty of the landscape and stop to enjoy it frequently. :)


Friday, March 6, 2015

it's a girl thing // brown and mauve

The details: 
Dress: ??? 
Scarf: Gift {0.00}
Headband: Gift {0.00}

Wasn't that info terribly informational? :)

Today has been interesting. Mom had to leave pretty early, so I was up a little earlier than usual, downing coffee like a pro. :) Soon after she left, I fed James his breakfast and got him dressed and picked out this outfit for myself. I knew that I wouldn't be going anywhere, and that I am not feeling great, (getting over a headcold) so I wanted something EXTREMELY comfy. This dress is always the one I go to for comfort. It isn't flattering, because of the hiplines and pockets, but boy is it comfortable. I paired it with this scarf and headband (which I picked out separately, actually, and they were a perfect match.) I also decided not to bother with shoes. :)
     After getting dressed I straightened my hair and put make up on. (Yay for sparkly gold eyeshadow!). I'm going hiking tomorrow morning, and have to be up really early to meet everyone on time, and i knew I wouldn't want to spend much time on my hair in the morning. So I washed it last night and straightened it this morning so that tomorrow I can just brush it and maybe touch up the straightening a bit. Strategy, folks! :)
     And after finally getting ready for the day, I searched the entire house for my SD card, which my little sister had misplaced. I finally found it in the last place I looked. Who would have thunk it? :) 
     I've also been working on laundry all day, and will be done as soon as I finish drying the current load. :) This afternoon I shall do math and biology, and read some of The Three Hostages by John Buchan. (His books are fabulous, ftr.) I shall probably also con one of my brothers into going for a walk with me. 

How has your day been?