Caravan Sonnet: June 2013


six years and a thousand memories engraved on my heart

This past year was the first year that I did not teach high school students in a very long time. Because I loved my job life so much during that time there were moments where I missed my students so much that my heart ached. Throughout the year I thought of special moments and times and many times throughout the year I would think, "Oh I would be on the fall retreat right now" or "oh today would be the day that I would give the "thanksgiving feast"" or so many other countless (and to many people inconsequential) things. Each memory is special and each memory is a gift. During this difficult, difficult year I have looked back on those six precious years and my breath catches at how good God was to me to give me such amazing gifts. Six years and I have a thousand memories during those times. For all of the hope that I would change a students' life more for the Lord, it was mine that was changed the most. 
In just a few days I am going to be reunited with some precious former students friends. I have been receiving the most lovely bunch of text messages, emails, facebook messages, and phone calls and I can hardly wait. My heart is so excited to celebrate a dear friends wedding! As I anticipate seeing so many wonderful people memories from my six years of teaching have been flying through my head. I know I have shared some on the blog before but today I had to share a few precious ones.  
1. The "senior prank" that went wrong from ASCS. 1-800-LOCK-YOU-UP. :) STILL to this day makes me laugh out loud whenever I think of it!
2.  These girls were part of my first cheerleading squad that I was a head coach of. They (were) ARE brilliant, funny, and extremely wonderful. I treasure all of the memories from that year. 

3. And just when I thoughts my life was falling apart after a bad break up... the Lord brought these amazing 27 people into my life. I know that I wrote in April about this precious class but Class of 2009- I love you from the bottom of my heart. Words cannot express all that you mean to me.You deserve a million posts- a book really. One day. :)Image

4.  7th period AP World. The best class ever. How could it not be? I mean I know my time is running out... hahaha :) And the best.cake.ever. :)
5. Undoubtedly one of the best senior trips ever. :) Beautiful- I love you and can't wait to see you in a couple of days! (The air horn... hahaha)Image
6. My first advisory group at FCS. We definitely had the best group. No questions about it.Image

7. "Field Trips"=  ASCS- the Washington DC trip (including the part where we got lost); WCA- the CCP trips to starbucks (including the time that Carina stole my car); FCS- the noble beauty trip to see a movie and the beach. :) All treasured memories. Image

8. LOTS of talks - especially over ice (Love you IBFL). Sunshine - you are the best. I love you. Immensely. FFS- you have brought such joy to my life. Thank you. 

photo credit: lindsay m.
9. ASCS- Hotel Rwanda is to violent to watch. Because of the genocide depicted someone throws ice on another person. Ignore the fact that your teacher told you that she threw ice on her sister when she was younger.
10.  How can I just pick 10? This picture probably captures my emotions the best as I think back on six years of teaching. I was HONORED and humbled to get to know and spend time with all of the students who were in my classes and who are changing their worlds. Image
God has been so good to me! I love y'all!!


Sweet Wedding Scrapbook Layout

If you follow my Etsy shop you know that I am so excited to have revealed some exciting items a few days ago! I am so excited in the following weeks and months to share additional projects that I will be listing! Today I wanted to share with you some more pictures from a recent scrapbook project that I was working on for a friend!
All of my custom scrapbooks and their pages offer a unique perspective in every layout. I am in "wedding mode" this week as I look forward with joy to celebrating a dear friends wedding in just a couple of days so I wanted to share with you a couple of wedding pages from the custom scrapbook. In this particular layout I thought it would be delightful to capture the beauty and sweet loveliness of this wonderful day. These two pages were some of my favorite pages in the custom scrapbook that I made! After designing the background pages with a variety of scrapbook paper, I added in vintage lace with flowers, lovely ribbon, and sweet shabby chic tags to complete the look.  Here are a couple of shots of this layout! 

Left Page:

Right Page:


New Etsy Listings!

I am so excited to share with y'all that The Paper Sonnet has just added new listings to the store! There are three new card pack designs that are featured currently on Etsy each inspired by a dear person in my family! 

My sweet mom's collection (or aka. "The Elizabeth Casual Collection") has six beautiful cards in it that I think are so adorable. Inspired by my mom each card is filled with love, tiny prints, and lots of flowers. If you are interested in finding out more you can click here!

My awesome sister's collection (or aka. "The Emily Casual Collection") has six beautiful cards in it that I think are so lovely. Inspired by my sister each card is filled with lots of blue, inspired by the art of writing, and love for others. If you are interested in finding out more you can click here!!

My amazing grandmother's collection (or aka."The June Casual Collection") has six beautiful cards in it that I think are so wonderful. Inspired by my grandmother each card is filled with lots of color, joy, and love for others. If you are interested in finding out more you can click here!!

Thank you so much for all of your support of The Paper Sonnet! It is a joy to create and please feel free to contact me ( for custom orders!


15 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

To be truthful I had heard of Apple Cider Vinegar before but had never really known anything about it or the health benefits of it until about a year ago. A friend of mine introduced me to a few of the health benefits and I have been amazed to discover a wide range of possible uses and health benefits that Apple Cider Vinegar provides. 

I personally would recommend Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and all of the things that are listed here today are based on their specific brand. As a side note you can locate this in this in the condiment and the health aisles of your grocery store because it is used in a variety of different ways. 

So what are the health benefits of organic Apple Cider Vinegar? Check these out:. 

1. Helps with digestion.In addition to this if you have difficulty with stomach issues a readers digest article has stated a suggested mixture that can be found here.

2. Helps wash toxins away from the body.

3. Help to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells in the body. 

4. Some studies have suggested that vinegar can help with obesity because it helps  people feel fuller quicker.

5. Known to help with diabetes.For diabetics there has been a lot of research done that shows that apple cider vinegar can help lower glucose levels

6. There have been cases that have stated that Apple Cider Vinegar can help kill lice.

7. Helps to strengthen the immune system and some articles have claimed that it will help heal a cold. 

8. Helps to alleviate bad breath. You can look for a mixture to use if you are interested here.

9. Helps to balance the ph levels. 

10. This might sound humorous but instead of being scared to death or trying to hold your breath Readers Digest suggested using apple cider vinegar to cure hiccups.  

11. Some reports have claimed that it can help with exercise exhaustion.

12. Helps with nighttime leg cramps.

13. Helps to whiten your teeth. 

14. Helps to reduce acne. 

15. Helps to erase cellulite. You can find the mixture recipe here. 

Do you use Apple Cider Vinegar daily? In what ways have you found it helpful?

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}


Can I Pray for You?

Covered in Grace
I am so delighted to talk with you today about a topic that y'all know is very very dear to my little heart. That is the subject of prayer. I recently discovered a fantastic project called "prayer warriors" and the goal of this project is to join together with other Christians and pray for one another. This has been happening for a while now and I am delighted to have the opportunity to become apart of it. There are so many of you that have taken so many countless hours and spent time on your knees for me crying out to the Lord and I am honored to pray for many of you in return. 

I have said this often but I truly love "bloggy world". I am amazed by the way that we can reach out across city, state, and country lines to meet and inspire one another. I also love that we can stand together and support one another during hard and difficult times. And that is really my main reason for joining in on this group: I really want to encourage others by letting them know that so many people are praying for them. 

SO if there is anything specific in your life that I could spend time praying for please feel free to email me your prayer request to:

Please know that your request will stay confidential with me and if you have something too personal to share but would still like prayer just please let me know that you have an unspoken. God already knows what is on your heart!

Thank you for all of your prayers that y'all have prayed for me this past year. I am so blessed and humbled. I am so thankful!! 

Dear Amazing Friend... Happy Birthday Jen!

Do you have a friend who is truly a hero to you? Someone whose life is an amazing testimony of God's grace and spurs you on to trust the Lord in new ways? Someone that you can text or call and ask for prayer and you know that they are crying out to the Lord on your behalf. I am so blessed to have a couple of friends like that. One of them is so precious and it is her birthday today so I just had to give her a shout out! 

Happy Birthday Jen!
Photo By Jen S.
I "met" Jen about five years ago through facebook. A friend of mine in graduate school shared with a few of us that she knew that Jen was about to have brain surgery because of the fact that she has a severe case of epilepsy. I prayed for Jen, followed her story, continued to read her blog, and finally about a year later I sent her a message through facebook telling her how much she touched and changed my life just through her writing. I was so touched when she wrote me back and thus began our "facebook message friendship". 

What began as a facebook message friendship turned into a beautiful friendship of sharing deep prayer requests and the trials and sorrows as well as the joys of life. I have been constantly encouraged and inspired by her to live life to the fullest despite health challenges. 
Photo by Jen S.
While I was in California I was THRILLED when the opportunity arose to get together! It was SUCH a blessing to be able to meet after so many years of praying for each other and talking in person. She and her husband Ryan drove more than an hour to come meet me and have lunch with me. As we ate lunch and then as they prayed over me I was overcome with God's goodness and the blessing of dear friends in my life. Their prayers have definitely sustained me through many a dark night these last several years. Their hope in God's goodness and His healing has been a beacon of light during many dark times. 

Jen is TRULY my hero as she has been such a role model for her deep faith in Christ despite what many would have seen as ultimate devastation. I won't share all of her story (as it is not mine to tell) but suffice it to say that despite all of her losses she has clung to her faith and inspired so many others, including myself, to do so. 

I am HONORED to call her a friend. She is such a blessing in my life and I am SO thrilled to know her.  Isn't it amazing how God works?! Who would have thought that a beautiful friendship could all start because of Facebook? 
Photo by Jen S.
I am so thankful for your beautiful sweet friendship Jen! You are SUCH a blessing to me and I thank God for our friendship daily! I pray that you have a WONDERFUL birthday! May God's blessings be ABUNDANTLY upon you this year! Believing that the Lord has BIG BIG BIG things in store for this coming year!!!

Happy Birthday!


Notes from the Porch: a health update

I have been so overwhelmed by all of your questions, gracious comments, and emails (and phone calls and text messages) asking how things are going with my health. It is hard to express how grateful I am.  It is hard to believe that I have been home for a month from the Whitaker Wellness Institute. 

As I have mentioned in some other posts it has been difficult to find some of the necessary treatments for the Lymes due to where we are located in NY for the summer. I discussed in great detail with my doctor and my family the possibility of spending the summer in the south but my doctor truly believed that it was very important to spend the summer resting and she is confident that it is ok to take a couple of months away from two of the treatments: the Hyberbaric Oxygen Treatments and the Vitamin C IV treatments. In the meantime I will continue on some of the other natural treatments (including acupuncture) and also the medications that are helping treat aspects of the Lymes. I will also be continuing to add additional supplements each week to help my body from a natural perspective. One thing that is definitely a prayer request is that my immune system (which the Lymes has destroyed) continue to improve and heal. Currently my immune system is so low that I am not able to handle the "tougher" medicines so that is definitely one of the main goals this summer. 

The initial tests for the cancer are so far all good which is a definite answer to prayer! While my family and I are so grateful that we are dealing with basal cell sarcoma the doctors are keeping a very close eye on the cancer because it was labeled as aggressive and the margins were extremely large. In addition to this my immune system is so weak that the doctors want to make sure that everything is watched very carefully and no new spots develop. 

There are so many things that I am grateful for these days- the ability to walk short distances on my own, sleeping for several hours at a time now, the joint and arthritic pain has lessened, the headaches are extremely better, I am able to drive to different places and there are times that my energy levels have been a lot better then they have been in months! Most of all I am grateful that I am not bedridden daily! Praise the Lord! 

As I mentioned before there is a LONG road ahead and I do admit that somedays that I am impatient to be completely healthy and "back to real life". I know that rest is extremely important and I so appreciate your prayers and encouragement during this long journey. While I do not always post weekly about my health your comments, emails, texts, presents, and phone calls have truly been such an encouragement. Thank you so much for everything! 


Persecuted: A Global Assault on Christians (Book Review)

I mentioned in April that I was thrilled to discover the website Booksneeze! This website offers the opportunity to receive free books in exchange for honest reviews from bloggers. I was excited to find this site because as y'all know I do love reading and what a great opportunity! I also appreciate the opportunity (as a writer) to examine someone else's work! There are so many talented writers in our society! *smiles* In April I did my first review for them on the book: Days Like These: Even in the Darkest Moments, Light Can Shine Through by Kristian and Rachel Anderson.

Last month I requested the book: Persecuted: A Global Assault on Christians written by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Nina Shea. The book profoundly discusses the widespread persecution of Christians and how persecution has not decreased but instead continued to increase in the 21st century. While the book takes a very theoretical and logical approach to the topic and can sometimes read like a news report there are emotional stories of oppression, abuse, and violence that span the globe found in each chapter. These stories allow the reader to easily connect to the book. In the last part of the book the book offers suggestions on how Christians can deal with the persecution that they and the church at large face today.

To be honest the book is shocking to read in some parts as I did not know how much widespread persecution is taking place throughout the world. My heart broke for those around the globe that have to deal with the intense persecution that is described in this book. While some areas that persecution occurred did not surprise me I was shocked at some corners of our planet that I did not know endured persecution. 

I would definitely recommend that every Christian read this book and be inspired in a fresh and hew way to share your faith. I would also recommend this book to understand the persecution and the way that Christian beliefs are threatened around the globe. How can we not understand and do something about this when there are brothers and sisters around the world dying or enduring horrific abuses? 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


the june fifteen

I have loved reading posts by other bloggers that share random personal things about them. To me the ones that have done this make their blogs that much more friendly. I was inspired so last February I started to share fifteen random facts about me and life on the fifteenth of every month. For July fifteenth I am happy to answer questions if there is anything that you would like to know! Just feel free to email me!

1. Some of you have asked how tall I am- 6'2 or 6'3 depending on which doctors office that I am being measured at. *smiles*

2. Somebody asked what my favorite post was from this past month. It would be the one from yesterday. The views over the bay were breathtaking. Absolutely gorgeous!{I made one of the pictures my facebook cover!} It reinforced my thoughts that I expressed about the Lord bringing hope in the night

3. Someone asked what was my favorite link up that I have been apart of? That is really difficult to choose from because there are so many that exist where you can meet and connect with lovely people in bloggy world. I probably am most partial to the petites link up that I started this past month! If you didn't join up with us in May please do on June 24th! I was so delighted to connect with so many other ladies whom I now consider good friends!

4. Yes, it is true. Caravan Sonnet now offers sponsorships

5. My health is holding stable. I will be having an updated post about my health next week but I so appreciate your prayers and ALL of your support. 

6. I do still covet prayers for not only my health but also finances still. Treatments, medications, supplements, and day to day needs continue to be a large financial stretch and so I do continue to appreciate prayer and your support for that need! 

7. It is hard to believe that back in February I wrote a post about how excited I was for Kristen's wedding! I had absolutely no idea that my health would continue to decline as rapidly as it did and that I would need to go out to Whitaker for treatment. Due to that the financial resources to go to the wedding were used up and I had been praying my little heart out for a miracle. Imagine my humbleness when the Lord answered that prayer by Kristen's parents giving me a plane ticket and several other people stepping up with other resources. I was overwhelmed by the love and have cried out of gratefulness several times. Thank you so much to the Visy family. I am counting the days till I celebrate with you! {maybe I will even wear this dress... hahaha}

8. Some of you have kindly asked about the book I am writing. I am working on a book that discusses faith during times of crisis and the way that the Lord is ever-present in our lives. My hope is to be finished by the end of June to start the next steps of getting it published! I am truly excited to embark on this new adventure and season! 

9. Somebody asked if I (as a former teacher) have "friended" students on facebook or other social media. This is a great question! I had a policy when I was teaching that any student that turned 18 (who was a female and in my senior girls Bible class) could "friend" me while they were still students.  Any other student would have to "friend" me after we graduated or after I had left the school. I do not "friend" any student- if they want to "friend" me they are welcome to. The same goes for other social media avenues... {looking at this picture makes my little heart miss teaching SOO much...}

10.  I am trying to go back and thank all of my teachers that I have had in the past as I know that it always makes my day when I hear from former students! 

11. I was surprised when someone asked what I feed Scamper. *smiles* He is happy with Purina Cat Chow. To be frank I know that there are better things on the market for him, but this is all that he will eat and it makes him very happy. 

12. Someone asked why I call my grandmother "Ba". {Honestly, I am still looking for where I referenced that on the blog?? It still makes me feel a little weird that I can't find it... hahaha but...} When I was younger I used to call my grandfather "Pa" and my grandmother "Ba". No one really knows why but it has stuck and my entire family does call her that to this day and I love it. And her. *smiles*

13. The Paper Sonnet is up and running again and I will be adding more things to the shop in the next couple of days! Please check back soon!

14. The story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea has become one of my favorite stories in the Bible as of late. What a beautiful example of the Lord working miracles during "the long detours". 

15. I am so thankful for ALL of my lovely readers and ALL of the comments that y'all make that truly encourage my heart everyday! I am truly a blessed blessed girl in bloggy world! Thank you so much for all of your love and encouragement! 


Willsboro Bay Sunset, Lake Champlain

The weather this summer has been very rainy and cold so far. We have spent more time huddled around fires then we have been outside. So it was delightful to my little heart to spend some time with my camera in the bay capturing the brilliance of this sunset last night. The beauty of this land struck me and I fell in love with Lake Champlain all over again and fell in love deeper with my God who created such beauty. 

Before I headed over to the bay I was struck by the gorgeous view from our front porch.

As I drove to the bay the beautiful clouds reminded me of the verses that talk about the clouds being the dust of God's feet. 

I was truly in awe at the beautiful sunset! 


Where I blog from

While some bloggers have certain places that they blog from regularly I truly vary in my places that I write from. Most of the time in the past several months I have blogged from my bed since I have been ill, but I also would sometimes blog from the living room couch. Out in California I would blog from a comfy chair in the hotel room that looked out onto the pool and the airport. Here in New York I have blogged from a variety of places in the camps and love blogging from our porch!

I have to say that in all of these situations the common theme is the ability to see the outdoors and to be inspired by nature. In that way I am truly inspired by my surroundings. And my favorite place to blog from is here in New York at camp. To give you a picture of what I look at I am going to share just a few pictures  of my view from the porch. 

{Disclaimer: These pictures are from past summers as this summer has only graced us with very wet and rainy days so far!}
Where do y'all blog from? Do you draw inspiration from your space? Have you done anything to enhance the inspiration that you feel?