Caravan Sonnet: April 2014

4/30/14

Spring Giveaway!

Happy Wednesday y'all! I am so excited to team up with these lovely ladies to offer one lucky winner a variety of prizes!
The wonderful thing about this giveaway is that there are multiple prizes! Are you still looking for a mother's day gift? You could win it here! Looking for a graduation gift? These prizes will give you some options! Or win a Starbucks or Visa gift card for you or a friend! All you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter below! 

Good Luck y'all and Happy Spring!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

4/29/14

Teachers Change Lives



I have said numerous times how much my heart misses being in the classroom and teaching. As I think back on the years that I taught I have a million different memories that span the gap of time and can place me back in a room or situation in a heartbeat. I shared a few weeks ago of some of the few memories from my most recent school (click here to read) but with two additional schools and 300 additional students I know that you can understand when I say that there are a million different memories. 

Last summer the New York Times shared a story about a former teacher who was dying of brain cancer and was traveling across the country to meet with former students he had taught. When asked why he was spending his last days and weeks doing this he simply replied: "I want to know if I have made a difference". 

Every single teacher that I know that is dedicated to their students understands the depths of love in this simple statement. 

I have always been angry with Hollywood when they find it appropriate to illuminate the "bad" that teachers are doing (in mockery)- with inappropriate relationships with students,  inappropriate language at their students, or the ones that don't care about their students. Honestly these incidents (while horrible and inexcusable) are the minority in education. The teachers that I know that choose this profession do so because they want to make a difference in a students life and hope to impact the world. 

Because of this I was so thrilled to be apart of the Office Depot campaign to highlight and spread the stories of just a few teachers who are changing lives each and everyday. These teachers are changing lives one student at a time. I had the opportunity to view over eight different videos that show a variety of teachers changing lives in innovative, creative, and unique ways. Each one of these teachers has done the complete opposite of what is often portrayed on TV or in movies. They are not only stepping up to the plate to teach a subject but are encouraging the generation behind them to live beyond what they thought they could. It was so hard to pick just one of the teachers to share with y'all because honestly they are all spectacular. BUT one of the stories of Brian Copes- #TeachersChangeLives brought me to tears. 


Brian Copes- #TeachersChangeLives is a pre-engineering teacher at Calera High School who has pushed beyond the social norm of just having students think about helping change the world to actually doing it. He has encouraged his students to think beyond themselves and has brought them to do what he is doing: change their worlds. Brian's students- #TeachersChangeLives not only have traveled out of the country to Honduras but have made prosthetic limbs out of old car and bike parts for those who are in need! Isn't it amazing?!? In addition to this his students have also helped make utility vehicles for people in Honduras. Want to hear more about this amazing story? Click here- #TeachersChangeLives to watch the video!

Because of Brian and so many other teachers like him that exist throughout our country Office Depot and Adopt-a-Classroom are partnering together to raise awareness about teachers who are changing lives. Each and everyday teachers do innovative things in the classroom and are desperately trying to raise up a generation that will change our world for the better. Teachers spend money every year out of their pocket (especially in lower income areas) and Office Depot and Adopt a Classroom are working together to help connect donors with teachers to help continue to enhance the learning environment for students.

Do you want to register your classroom or a teacher's classroom? It is very simple! Go to the Teachers Change Lives website by clicking here. When you arrive at the website click on the red box that says "Register Your Classroom," which will take you to the Adopt-A-Classroom website. From there follow the corresponding steps to register!

Want to donate to a teacher who already is registered? Simply go to Teachers Change Lives website here and click on the teal "Donate to a Teacher" box . This will then take you to the Adopt-A-Classroom website and you can follow the corresponding steps from there.

Thank you so much to Office Depot and Adopt-a-Classroom for this exciting opportunity to highlight the amazing things that teachers are doing and a small way that we can give back!




I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

San Francisco, California

I am so delighted to share some more pictures from my March trip out to California for my doctors appointment. Yesterday I shared with y'all my fun in discovering a little part of historic Redwood City and today I wanted to share a few pictures from San Francisco. As y'all know from my Notes from the Porch sixteen update I only had about 48 hours in California (not including my time in the airport). Because it was such a short trip I was so happy to have the chance to spend about an hour after my appointment going into San Francisco and seeing the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Because I had such a short time (and because after my appointment I was exhausted) I took some "short cuts" and side roads to get to the bridge so that I could miss most of the traffic in downtown. While I missed a lot of the heart of the city (and hope to visit it at some point!) I was delighted to see parts of San Francisco and have time at the bridge (which provided gorgeous views!).
 It was so interesting to see this whale painting on this wall here in San Francisco. When I had been in Key West  in February there had been a similar one done by the same artist! 
As this church came fully into view I was mesmerized by it. It reminded me of so many European churches that I saw when I studied abroad. The architecture was so unique and the stone work was stunning. I was so glad that traffic was stopped for a few minutes at a light so that I could snap some pictures!
As I drove by it and snapped one more picture of this beautiful church I was so delighted to have had the opportunity to spend a few minutes driving through the city! I definitely would like to explore more of San Francisco in the future! 
It was such a blessing to have a short burst of energy to drive through the city towards the bridge. I was so thankful to God for this blessing! As I have said before, California definitely steals a little piece of my heart every time I visit. I have to smile as I think about the ways that I have seen (in my brief time in California) that the northern and southern parts of California are so different and yet I have fallen in love with both parts I have seen. Newport Beach area was a definite love of mine to travel and live in last year and San Francisco, while different, has captured me too. 

I can't help but smile as I think about how personal the Lord is in our lives. I have always loved to travel and explore- whether it is just in my hometown, visiting a new state, or going abroad. I love seeing different cultures, understanding how people live, meeting new people, and seeing all of the amazing things that the Lord has created. Being sick has definitely put a screeching halt to that part of me as my "exploration" on most days is to try a different street to my doctors appointments. In the midst of all of that though the Lord has been so kind to lead me to the best doctors for my particular case (with the complexities of Lyme, Cancer, and now this environmental illness) to a state that I continue to fall in love with. While I hate that the doctors are so far away from where I am I can't help but notice the simple fact that the God who created me blesses me in these amazing ways. I hope and pray that as you face difficulties and suffering today that the Lord shows you His unique hand print in your life and the blessings that He is giving you each day! I can't wait to share more pictures of the beautiful San Francisco Bay soon! I hope y'all have a wonderful Tuesday! 

4/28/14

Redwood City, California

I am so delighted to share some pictures from my March trip out to California for my doctors appointment. (yes, I know I am horribly behind! I am so sorry!) As y'all know from my Notes from the Porch sixteen update I arrived in California early in the morning (PST) and went to the hotel to check-in, then to the doctors office and finally to  Whole Foods before spending the remainder of the day resting. 
I first wanted to go to Pacific Frontier Medical Group to do a prayer walk around the office. (Anytime that I have gone to a "new place" in my life- a job, apartment, home, doctors office, etc. I always like to take time to stop and pray on the grounds. I like to spend time praying over the place, asking the Lord for wisdom, praying for those that I am going to meet, and begging the Lord that He would make Himself known in each conversation. At doctors offices I also ask the Lord to give the doctors wisdom and to bless the appointments with clear direction.) Because it was a Sunday the streets were deserted and there was no one around which gave me the opportunity to spend a long time praying as I walked around the building.
I loved how there was a couple of beautiful lilies on the property! 
As I left Pacific Frontier and drove to Whole Foods I was so delighted to spend a few moments driving through the "historic section" of Redwood City. It was so quaint and immediately I fell in love with it.
As y'all know I find historic brick buildings wonderful. 
And historic brick buildings with flags... absolutely lovely.
Main street was simply adorable.
I was so thankful for the opportunity to "explore" this historic area through driving (as I did not have the energy to walk it!) and to see this city. Prior to this visit for the doctors appointment I had not been to northern California (except to airports for connecting flights). It was definitely a treat to see a small part of northern California. Every time that I visit California it steals a little piece of my heart! *smiles* Later on this week I can't wait to share with y'all some pictures from San Francisco! Until then y'all I hope that you have a wonderful Monday!

"He that Lives in Hope" {Red & Blue} small Clipboard Art Piece

As I mentioned last week, I can't wait to share with y'all new additions that are being added daily to The Paper Sonnet. Last time shared the "she that lives in hope" clipboard art piece and today I wanted to share the "He that lives in hope" clipboard art piece!
This small clipboard (approximately 9 x 5 and 1/2) features a beautiful quote amidst vibrant color accented by spots of silver glitter outlining: 
"he that lives in hope danceth without music".
Using fun paper, lovely letters, and wonderful cranberry twine this unique piece of art is perfect for your home or as a graduation, birthday, or any day gift. 
And if we are connected on instagram then you already know of my love for twine from The Twinery ! I loved how the adorable deep red twine added an extra little "pop" to this piece to accent the cute little mason jars.! I literally love how you can use twine for so many different things!
Want check out this piece and other new additions to the shop? Click HERE! Are you interested in ordering a custom piece for graduation or mother's day? I would love to work with you to create a special piece for your occasion! In the meantime I hope that you will stop on over to The Paper Sonnet and browse around the shop! 

4/25/14

Notes from the Porch {eighteen}: a voice in the wind

*There are so many of you that have sent me beautiful text messages, lovely emails and facebook messages, left compassionate voicemail messages, and have sent the sweetest cards in the last couple of weeks. I appreciate your patient understanding as I work through answering each of them. They are so precious to my little heart that I didn't want to just give a quick reply and I appreciate your kindness in my delay to respond as quickly as I would like.*

** While I have chosen to be very open about this health journey through Lyme and Cancer this post is going to be a little more ambiguous in the details. I appreciate your sensitivity and compassion to this and the choice that I (and my family) has made at this time.**

*** I can't begin to express my gratefulness to Pacific Frontier Medical Group for your AMAZING staff and kindness. TRULY I am confident that the Lord led me to them for treatment! ***

"After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper."
-I Kings 19: twelve-
California- May 2013 - After receiving treatment at Whitaker Wellness Institute
I meditated on this verse a year ago as I headed out to California to begin treatment at the Whitaker Wellness Institute. I am so incredibly grateful for the wonderful treatment that I received there (and hope to go back for additional treatment in the future). In many ways I can't believe that it has been a year! 
California- May 2013 - After receiving treatment at Whitaker Wellness Institute
A year that has been filled with incredible ups & downs & learning a whole new language of Lyme Disease &Cancer. Sometimes it seems like the days have flown by while other times the days seem long. 


 In the last few days I have looked at this verse countless times as I have felt that I fell through an earthquake, walked through a fire, and survived a storm. As many of you know from a picture that I posted on instagram I had my follow up appointment (over the phone) with my new doctor from California on Monday. During this meeting we were going to discuss the plan that I have been following from my office visit (at the beginning of March) and also the results of the extensive blood work that I did while I was out there. {Some of the blood work results I had already received back and was so excited to share that for the first time in two years it was some good news!}

As I mentioned in my Notes from the Porch {sixteen} we were exploring some extensive blood work to see what the best course of action (for the future) would be. I think that I had mentally (and emotionally) prepared myself for a lot of different things that would come out of that phone call. I wasn't sure (to be honest) what my summer would look like or if they were going to find that I was suffering from extensive Lyme Co-infections. One of the things that I was most curious to hear about was if I had the MTHFR gene mutation and I assumed that would be the focus of the conversation. And while I do have the MTHFR mutation the focus on the conversation was not anywhere near that for the most part. 

From the start of the conversation I could tell  that my doctors tone was not only kind and compassionate but was also laced with a touch of surprise and sadness. After we talked for a few minutes she explained that I am in fact testing positive to another illness in addition to the Lyme and Cancer. This illness (and again, at this point I am still coming to terms with it and understanding what exactly it is!) unfortunately is very serious and also has affected the way that my body is functioning. This is an environmental illness that is not only affecting my entire body but is (obviously) preventing me from truly being able to heal and beat Lyme. Adding in this environmental component to my already fragile body has put things in a very serious situation and has created a chain of events (and affects) that we are having to make some serious decisions about. Due to the fact that I do have have the MTHFR gene mutation this has (obviously) heavily contributed to this issue. And ... due to all of these complexities it looks like our treatment of Lyme being the main focus is going to have to take a backseat which I fight and deal with this new issue (or "new" to me finding out). 

To be absolutely frank I spent most of Monday in shock and then Tuesday and yesterday in tears. Last night as I went to sleep I wept as I cried out to the Lord. I had someone ask me why I would be so upset because this is good news to have found out "another component" to the picture of what is going on. I am sure that they meant well but honestly my heart was not there. And in many ways it is still not. It is very easy to say (from outside the situation) that this might be "good news" and that this will "help me get better". BUT at the same time you are talking to someone who has been fighting and struggling to get well (even before we knew I had Lyme) for the last eight years (since I contracted Lyme). And the last two years have totally shattered my life - with having to move home to my parents, quit my job, give up ballroom dancing, give up a lot of independence, take a break off from school, etc. SO finding out that these next 8-12 months are going to be primarily focused on this new issue and then still have to fight Lyme aggressively... well honestly friends it just broke my heart. I definitely felt that it was like a GIANT earthquake had gone right through my heart. 

On top of all of that I learned that this new illness is difficult to fight and I feel very tired. I definitely felt like I was walking through the fire. On Tuesday I just cried and cried with my sweet friend Jen ... crying out to the Lord and begging Him (as my amazing friend Michelle did) to bring "beauty and new life" to the ashes. I said to several people that at this point I am still completely lost at this recent news. It just seems NEVER ending and I feel like there is just always "one more thing". I will be honest friends that I think that this is one of the lowest emotionally that I have felt in this entire journey.

"but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper."

I love love love the last part of this verse. The Lord was not in the fire.And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. I love how the Lord has been gently whispering to my broken little heart. 

To rest in the truth of His words.

To rest in the knowledge that He does have a plan.

To rest in the truth of who He is.

To rest in the fact that the Lord has led me to a wonderful team of doctors.

To rest in HOPE not in the circumstances before me.

To rest in the knowledge that He WILL provide every need that I have - especially the financial needs for unexpected treatment, supplements, travel, etc. 

And the whispers continue each and every day. Amidst pain. Amidst the tears. Amidst the hugs from family and friends. Amidst the doctors tests and information. Amidst the blood work, concerns for provision, etc. 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. 

Thank you so much for your understanding hearts, your countless prayers that have been prayed on my behalf, and for continuing to lift me up to God and for walking with me through this journey. For reasons that are unfathomable to me it looks like this journey is going to continue much much much longer than I ever believed it would. And while I don't have any answers I am placing my broken little heart in His hands. For He continues to whisper. 

Each and every day. 

4/24/14

"She that Lives in Hope" {Pink & Green} small Clipboard Art

As I mentioned yesterday, I can't wait to share with y'all new additions that are being added daily to The Paper Sonnet. Today I wanted to share one of the newer additions- "she that lives in hope" clipboard art piece
This small clipboard (approximately 9 x 5 and 1/2) features a beautiful quote amidst vibrant color accented by spots of clear glitter outlining: 
"she that lives in hope danceth without music".
Using sweet paper, lovely letters, and wonderful twine this unique piece of art is perfect for your home or as a graduation, birthday, or mother's day gift. I recently made one as a gift for a friend who plans to use this in her dorm which would also be wonderful! 
And if we are connected on instagram then you already know of my love for twine from The Twinery ! I loved how the adorable mix of pink & white twine added an extra little "pop" to this piece to accent the cute little mason jars.! I literally love how you can use twine for so many different things!
Want check out this piece and other new additions to the shop? Click HERE! Are you interested in ordering a custom piece for graduation or mother's day? I would love to work with you to create a special piece for your occasion! In the meantime I hope that you will stop on over to The Paper Sonnet and browse around the shop! 

4/23/14

"the wings of hope" small clipboard art

In the coming days and weeks ahead I can't wait to share with y'all new additions that are being added daily to The Paper Sonnet. Today I wanted to share one of the newer additions- "the wings of hope" clipboard art piece
This small clipboard (approximately 9 x 5 and 1/2) features a beautiful quote amidst vibrant color accented by spots of copper glitter outlining: 
"the wings of hope carry us soaring high above the driving winds of life".
Using sweet paper, lovely letters, and wonderful twine this unique piece of art is perfect for your home or as a graduation, birthday, or mother's day gift.
One of the most special parts of this piece is the hand sewn words "soaring high" that has been sewn into ivory vintage fabric. 
And if we are connected on instagram then you already know of my love for twine from The Twinery ! I loved how the adorable mix of green & white that added an extra little "pop" to this piece whether it was used to accent the cute little mason jars or to use as "thread" to sew with! I literally love how you can use twine for so many different things!
Want check out this piece and other new additions to the shop? Click HERE! Are you interested in ordering a custom piece for graduation or mother's day? I would love to work with you to create a special piece for your occasion! In the meantime I hope that you will stop on over to The Paper Sonnet and browse around the shop!