Caravan Sonnet: June 2014

6/29/14

"Make Today a Sweet Memory" small clipboard Art Piece

Happy Sunday y'all! I am excited to share with y'all another new addition to the December Caravan shop! Today I wanted to share with you another adorable small clipboard art piece! This piece, "Make Today a Sweet Memory" is now available in the shop! I love this saying and sentiment and love how true it is that we should be present make everyday a sweet memory! This piece was definitely inspired by the last several months of change!
This small clipboard (approximately 9 x 5 and 1/2) features a beautiful quote amidst vibrant color accented by spots of silver glitter outlining: 
"Make Today a Sweet Memory".
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 December Caravan and browse around the shop! 

6/27/14

Smitten: Hair Love


smitten: {adj}: infatuated, charmed, captivated, beguiled, enamoured

There are certain products that I use or have that I am just smitten withI love discovering great products on other blogs and hope that these items that I talk about from time to time on here might be a wonderful discovery for y'all!

Today I wanted to talk all about hair products that I am smitten with. The truth is that since fighting Lyme and Cancer my hair has changed in a LOT of ways. It can rotate on what it does (depending on the different medications) but overall (despite numerous suggestions) it has had a dry, dead, and rough feeling to it. This is not a big surprise (and I am so thankful that I haven't lost my hair!) but as a gal who loves to feel "girly" I miss my happy and healthy hair. BUT over the last few months I have found some lovely products that have made a HUGE difference in my hair. The joke around the house is that I used to just throw it up in a bun all of the time because I couldn't stand touching it but now it stays down most of the time. *smiles*  Here are some of my favorite hair products that I am smitten with:

(one) Arbonne Fortifying Hair Mask- $34.00

Do y'all remember when sweet Kori shared about Arbonne products back in May on a Thursday Health Thoughts? She was so lovely to take the time to share and host a giveaway and offer me a free product. I was honestly a little embarrassed to tell her that I didn't have the energy  (or the money) to take care of my hair like I wish that I could (or had been able to before getting sick). She was so kind and offered to send me this product for free. I was skeptical but because she has GORGEOUS hair I was like "well, what can it hurt"? Y'all AMAZING. SERIOUSLY. AMAZING. Within three uses I noticed a HUGE difference in my hair and now am already asking for this for a Christmas present - SIMPLY AMAZING. I went from not wanting anyone to touch my hair (let alone myself) to loving the softness and the clean feeling. It is so easy to use. After washing your hair simply put the mask on and wait 3-5 minutes before rinsing with warm water. SO SIMPLE and yet so amazing!! I can't recommend this product enough! (If you would like to order it from Kori simply click on the link above!! You will not regret it!)



(two) KMS Free Shape Quick Blow Dry Hair Spray -$14.00 on amazon

I don't use this product as much right now while I am sick but whenever I am going out after I wash my hair I do use it. I fell in love with this product two years ago with very early mornings that encompassed being a teacher. *smiles* As someone who has very thick hair it takes me at least 30 minutes to fully dry my hair. To be honest this is just not time that I had in the morning! Two years ago my hairdresser mentioned the KMS product: Free Shape Quick Blow Dry Hair Spray. I admit that I was a little skeptical that it would cut down the drying time at all. Imagine my SURPRISE when it cut down the drying of my hair to twelve minutes! YES, all of my hair only took me twelve minutes! I was AMAZED and seriously so thankful.

It is so easy to use. After washing your hair simply towel dry your hair and spray the Free Shape Quick Blow Dry Hair Spray onto your hair. Start drying and get on with your day! I will admit that it is a little bit pricey (at salons the price ranges from $18-$20 for a 6.8 oz bottle) but I recently found it on amazon for approximately $14 for a 6.8 oz bottle. You don't have to spray a ton on your hair (I use approximately 5 sprays for my whole head) and a bottle lasted me six months (using it 5 days a week for the entire spring& summer).


(three) HSI Flat Iron 

(Disclaimer: I received this product for free for an upcoming review)
As I have mentioned I have always loved having my hair look "girly" - and this hasn't changed just because I am sick. What has changed though is the time and energy that I am able to put into my hair. It is just not realistic for me right now to spend a long time (or any time really) on my hair. I have a couple of upcoming events though for this summer and contacted HSI to explain my predicament. My old flat iron is at least 15 years old and I don't have the funds to purchase a new one. They were so kind to send me this flat iron and I have fallen in love! I am going to be doing a review post on it next week but y'all... seriously! With all of my hair- it is completely flat ironed in NINE minutes!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!


(four) Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has a ton of health benefits to it (you can read a post that I wrote HERE about all of the different ones!) and one of them is to help clean your hair. I purchase the Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar (its organic) and simply put it into a small travel bottle. I spray my hair about 5-10 minutes before I am going to wash it and then use shampoo and conditioner regularly. I have found that this has helped me in keeping my hair healthier! I definitely recommend it to everyone!

Do y'all have any favorite hair products or tips? I would love to hear them! Happy Friday y'all!

6/26/14

Thursday Health Thoughts: Doctors out of State/Country Series- Part Three- Paying for Costs&Expenses when Traveling out of State/Country

{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.}


Happy Thursday y'all!! I am so excited to continue this six part series on Thursdays dealing with topics related to seeing doctors out of state or country. Here is the list of the topics for the series and the coming weeks:

Today I want to talk with y'all about how to pay for the costs/expenses when traveling to see a doctor who is out of state or country. This is probably one of the questions that I receive the most from people who read my story and I am excited to share but also hear from y'all who have experience with this! (Side note: No offense to any of my doctors but NONE of them have ever looked like this guy otherwise I am sure all of us ladies would be traveling to out of the state or country! *smiles*But this single gal can dream right? Either way I hope it brings a smile to your face! *smiles*)

So how do you pay for the expenses and costs associated with traveling to see a doctor who is out of state or country for your illness? Here are just a few ideas:


Take Stock of ALL expenses:
Make sure that you take stock of ALL of the expenses that you will need when you travel out of the state or country to see a doctor. Here is a list of what I have learned (sometimes the difficult way) of things that I will need when I am staying for 3 weeks or even when I am staying just for 48 hours:

Before you Leave:
*all medications
*travel size containers
*clothes
*toiletries (either before you leave or when you get there)
*magazines to read (or books or something on a kindle or nook)

Traveling:
*items to eat & drink in airport or when traveling
*something to read or to listen to
*travel pillow
*travel blanket (do I even need to mention the germs on the blankets on the planes?)

At your Destination:
*rental car or money for taxi or transportation
*hotel
*meals
*water or things to drink at hotel
*snacks for hotel

Doctors Visit:
*anything that insurance is not covering
(Next week I will be talking about insurance issues when going out of state or country so I am not discussing that in this post today. Please note though that not all insurances will cover the costs of your doctors visits (or testing) so make sure to get all of this information upfront!)

General:
(one) If possible, contact the non-profit organization that deals with your disease. Certain organizations that deal with diseases do have grants and programs associated with helping to defer the costs of traveling to see a specialist. Unfortunately this is rare but there are some that can help. If nothing else the organization associated with your illness might have some ideas on where you could look for funding. 

(two) Ask your current doctor for any suggestions. This also is a really simple idea but sometimes very effective. Sometimes your doctor might know of a grant or scholarship that might be available to you. Don't be afraid to ask for help and any suggestions that they might have.


(threeResearch. Research. Research. Sometimes the research will bring you to a dead end but other times you could be surprised by what you learn. Research any and all options and keep knocking on the doors that you need to have opened!

(four) Sometimes "mr. Google" is the best way to obtain information. Sometimes this has been the best way to find out about different scholarships and grants that might be available. With my specific diseases there is not a lot of options but for children who are ill there are tons of options so don't be afraid to ask and research "mr. google". 

(five) Contact your schools alumni association to find out if any alumni work in a position to help you out with any of your travel needs or costs. Sometimes someone that you graduated with or someone that graduated from your school might be the president of a hotel or rental car agency. Who knows? Ask and find out! 

(six) If you work ask co-workers to donate a vacation day to your time off. Unfortunately for those who are working and balancing obtaining treatment you might have to use your vacation days or pay for your time off. Consider asking those that you work with if they would be willing to donate a day or a certain number of hours to help you out. For many co-workers this is a lovely way to help a friend in need so don't be afraid to ask!

(seven)- Ask your workplace about working from a different location. I have a friend who is a college professor who had to travel to receive treatment. After talking with her boss ahead of time she videotaped herself teaching the courses for the three weeks that she would miss and had that played while she was gone. In addition to this she set up skype so that she could communicate and even answer questions in the middle of her taped lectures. It took a ton of work on her part and I am still shaking my head at her ability to do so much but it worked. Y'all those of that are fighting illnesses are warriors and can come up with amazing solutions like this one so don't be afraid to think outside the box!

(eight) Embrace life while you travel. I was SHOCKED last year when I was fundraising to go to California when someone donated two tickets to Disneyland for me and my best friend. I have to admit that at first I thought "what a waste of $200" - I could use that for .... and had a whole list in my mind. BUT honestly after talking with the couple who generously donated this to me and experiencing the day at Disneyland I still tear up at the goodness of their gift. They wanted me to remember that I was still living life and had carefully thought about not only my heart but me as a person when giving this gift. It was a BEAUTIFUL day and I am forever thankful for this gift. My advice is to embrace life as you travel- whether it is in visiting Disneyland or simply walking around the town that you are in (or driving through it if you aren't well enough to get out for a walk). Embrace the opportunity to see a new place and allow these healing thoughts to help you in the journey. 

Paying for Travel:
Unless your doctor is in a state where it is easy to travel to by car (and this is a viable option due to travel fatigue and travel pain) most people will be traveling by plane. The ideas listed below are mainly for this but could be easily adapted to other means of travel.

(one) Using frequent flier miles to pay for plane tickets. Almost every ticket (except for four) that I have used to fly to my doctors visits have been done through frequent flier miles donated by friends and family. This does make traveling a tiny bit trickier (with the way that frequent flier miles work with times and dates) but with a little bit of research (and patience!) this is the best option. I have a friend who has asked every single one of his friends who flies on a particular airline to donate all of their miles to him and it works out to his benefit. This is a great gift to give someone and it can be the best way to travel the cheapest. 

(two) Contact the airlines directly for help. Unfortunately for adults, but fortunately for children there are a lot of airlines that do help cover some or all of the costs for sick children traveling to an out of state specialist. This is very rare for adults but something that should definitely be explored. I have never received any help in the actual cost of a plane ticket but I have received the fee waiver of checking bags and that has been an extreme blessing! ($25 is a HUGE amount of money that is saved!!) Certain Airlines do offer grants if you are traveling to a specific state or country. There was an article from 2013 about how Southwest Airlines was helping patients that needed to travel to Baltimore (John Hopkins). You can read more about this article HERE.

(three) Research options for Travel. If you click HERE you will find a list of charitable organizations that help out those who are ill and need to travel. Most of these are very specific in their guidelines but some people can and do benefit from these amazing opportunities.  If you have cancer this article HERE has some great suggestions! 

(four) Use a credit card for miles. I am almost hesitant to suggest this one as I am not a major fan of credit cards AT ALL. BUT in saying that - if done responsibly and correctly this can be an easy way to accumulate miles for free. I don't have experience with this at all but I know many people do and have found this a really helpful option.

Rental Car Savings:
When I was out in California last year for three weeks it became quickly obvious that it was MUCH cheaper to rent a car to get to my variety of doctors visits then it was to take a taxi. (I had to pay $160 for a taxi to and from one of my doctors offices who was 7 miles away but could rent a car for a week for $99!!) So make sure to check out all of your options! Some hotels do offer shuttle services to major hospitals (for example some hospitals near Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson do have shuttles from their hotels) so you might not need to rent a car. Call the hotel and ask about these options! If you need to rent a car here are just a few practical suggestions:

(one) Using "frequent user" miles to pay for rental car. Similar to the frequent miles that can be used for airline tickets save up and ask friends to donate to your miles (or days as the case may be) so that you can obtain free car rental days. TAKE NOTE though that certain rental car agencies do not allow you to do this so you will want to do your research ahead of time!

(two) Always use the same rental car agency if possible and choose a rental car that gives you savings beyond money. Do your research about major places that you travel to and from and make sure that you always use the same rental car company to add up those days and savings. After doing a ton of research I settled in on Thrifty Car Rental Company because they were located in all of the cities that my doctors were located at, gave amazing deals, has amazing time saving practices (I don't have to wait in lines!! this is HUGE to this sick lady!), and will even pick up their customers and drop you off at your airport gate so that you do not have to walk if you are in a wheelchair or are seriously ill. (I am not receiving any type of promotion to say this but can genuinely say that I have been extremely happy with them!) 

(three) Contact the rental car company directly to ask for any special savings and discounts. I do this every single time I travel to see my doctor. Sometimes I have received nothing but other times I have received a "free tank of gas". This is HUGE! It never hurts to ask and even if the answer is "no" it is always best to knock on every single door that you can. Also don't be discouraged if at first you don't hear a "yes". Be polite and then ask for a supervisor or a manager. Sometimes the person you are speaking with might not know of certain programs or hidden gifts so ask and ask again!


Hotel (Or Lodging Savings):
(one) Check out all of your options when looking at the lodging situation. I have had "air bnb" suggested to me so many times and I think that for some people this is an excellent option. Unfortunately for me this is not an option with my fragile immune system, but can be a great option for those that might be able to do this. 

(two) Use hotel rewards. Similar to the frequent flier miles and the rental car savings ask friends and family to donate their hotel points to your stay and always try and stay at the same hotel to incur more points. 

(three) Choose a hotel that gives you savings beyond money. Similar to the rental car - explore all of your options when you are booking your hotel. The number one reason that I chose the hotel that I did in Newport Beach was because it offered a free shuttle to the Whitaker Wellness Institute. At the time I didn't know that I would be diagnosed with Cancer or need surgery so I didn't know that I would need to rent a car and this originally saved me the cost of the car. So do your research ahead of time! 

(four) Contact hotels for any special rates. Don't be afraid to contact a hotel and ask if there is any special rates that they offer if you are coming in to see a specialist or a major hospital in the area. There have been several times where this has discounted the price for my hotel stay by an additional ten dollars (after the triple AAA rate!) each night. Just like I stated above keep asking for a supervisor or manager or can help you with this!

(five) Ask family and friends for suggestions. I have a friend who needed treatment in a state and she couldn't afford to pay for the cost of lodging as she was going to be there for about six months. It turned out her aunts best friends best friend (did you follow that? *smiles*) knew someone who was looking for someone to house sit while they were out of the country for the year. It was a perfect solution! Don't be afraid to ask for help and see if anyone has any suggestions like this! 

(six) Check out Travelocity, Hotels.com, Hotwire, etc.etc. etc. There are drawbacks to doing this but sometimes these can provide excellent rates if you are not in a situation that you will need to travel regularly to the same location several times a year. 

Meals & Snacks Savings:
(one) Be realistic about your needs. Due to Sojourn's I have to be drinking water voraciously literally throughout the day. Unfortunately you can't carry water with you through security so I always have to purchase water in the airport. I literally budget this ahead of time and know that I need to have $21.87 (yes, I know the exact amount hahaha) for waters in the airports as I travel back and forth to California. Knowing this ahead of time helps me to be more realistic about what exactly I need and the money that I need. I save by packing snacks and my lunch (or breakfast or dinner) while I am traveling as I can take this with me. 

(two) Choose your stores ahead of time to make it easy for people to donate gift cards.Due to my insane strict diet I do not have the "freedom" to just choose anywhere to eat. Due to this I could potentially spend alot of extra money even though I don't want to on food and snacks. My best suggestion is to think of anything and everything that you can purchase ahead of time and take things with you that you can in your suitcase. After this I always research for a Target and a Whole Foods nearby and purchase the remaining items that I need. In choosing these two stores (everywhere that I travel for doctors appointments) I always make this known as some people like to donate gift cards and they know that these are the two stores that I will go to to purchase the items (including my smartwater!) that I need! I have also contacted both of these stores ahead of the time I travel and although I haven't received anything yet I will continue to do so each time that I am traveling! 


Basic Fundraising:
I have shared numerous times that the costs associated with being ill are astronomical. Even just this morning I was talking with the Lord about some bills that are due tomorrow and I am not sure where all of the money is going to come from. This is one of the most difficult parts of this journey. I won't re-share but I know that from the hundreds of emails that I receive each month that many people are in the same position that I am: every conceivable source of funding is "drained" and it is extremely humbling to have to ask for help. I want to encourage you to continue to pray and step out in faith. So many people do want to help but they don't know how. The suggestions listed below are just a few that might help you during this very difficult time. 

(one) Set up a place where people can donate directly. I researched a bunch of different options and chose to go with "go fund me". After looking at a few different options I chose to go with this particular group because the site is very user friendly (to you and to the giver), it allows for the option to input "off-site donations" at no extra cost to you (some sites do not allow for this), and it only charges you a very minimal fee. (Unfortunately on this last point each site that I looked into did charge a fee so you will want to choose the best option for you!) 

(two) Share the site on your twitter, facebook, and all social media sites. 

(three) Ask your friends, family members, co-workers, etc. to share your site! Honestly I have not done this yet (it goes back to the whole idea of feeling embarrassed) but I know several friends who have and this has been wonderful for them. This allows for those who love you to get involved and to share the news. Yes, I am going to ask people to do this today! (*smiles*)

(four) Ask everyone you know to donate their facebook status' to you for a certain number of hours to raise awareness. In the fall my sister and I asked everyone we knew to donate "8 hours on the 8th" to Rebecca's Run. It was incredible to not only see the donations come in but more than that to feel the love and support of so many people. I definitely recommend doing this! 

(five) Donate "___________" day. Along the same lines of number four is to ask everyone you know to donate a:  ____________- fill in the blank (starbucks, lunch, movie, etc.) for that day to your fund. I have had several friends do this and I am actually in the process of setting this up in a couple of weeks. The idea is that you ask everyone you know (and ask them to spread the word too) that instead of purchasing a $5 lunch, starbucks, movie (well these are probably a little bit more *smiles*), app, etc. they will donate that $5 to your fund. This is great because while large donations are incredible EVERY SINGLE dollar helps you and this will allow everyone and anyone to participate. If you want to see how this can work I will definitely be posting about it on my blog in a couple of weeks so I will let you know! *smiles*

(six) Use social media to your advantage! Share to anyone and everyone about the fundraising that you are doing! 


Thanks so much for reading y'all! I hope that this series will be a help to you or a friend! If you have experience of traveling and handling the costs and expenses to see a doctor who is out of state or country could you share in the comments your ideas? I would love to learn new ideas and thoughts! Also I am so excited that Next Thursday to share about handling insurance when traveling out of state or country to see a doctor!!!! Happy Thursday y'all! 

6/25/14

delighting in the beauty of ordinary

"Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure." You have made my lot secure."
- Psalm 16:five-

For the past several months there have been has been a change in the wind around this little space. But more than just this little blog there has been a change in the wind deep within my heart. Its been hard to describe or put into words exactly what was taking place because sometimes the deepest things are the hardest to explain.
In the past several months as certain changes had to be made due to my health and it became obvious that this journey was far from over there was a deep unrest that began to grow in my heart. At first it was a tiny little seedling but it quickly grew to a very wide weed that was threatening to choke out the life within my heart. I had alluded to this on the blog but as I felt everything within my life completely shift and change I struggled to fight to save who I had been. I prayed more than I ever have for healing and prayed that I would be able to quickly return to the life that I loved and the life that I envisioned was my future. I went from being a completely independent gal who loved her job, loved ballroom dancing (and competitive ballroom dancing), serving in my church and community, and living life with others. I also went from feeling useful for the Lord to feeling completely useless. (I hear this a lot with those whose lives have changed completely due to illness.) It has been one of the must humbling parts of the journey. 
And for a while this was honestly one of the hardest parts of the journey. The heartbreak, the pain (physically and emotionally), and the knowledge that things are not what I ever envisioned. All of this part has been a huge journey to walk.
Over the last few months my heart has wrestled through, prayed through, and found peace in the verse that I posted at the start of this post:

"Lord, YOU have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure." 

The Lord has assigned me my portion and my cup. 
I have also been thinking about Mary (Jesus' mothers) last words recorded in scripture. She said: "Do whatever He tells you". What an amazing thing to say. In these simple 5 words we hear trust, belief, but also acceptance
And y'all I am learning that acceptance changes everything. Absolutely everything. It changes the way that we view our circumstances, our lives, and the way that we approach everyday. Acceptance in a circumstance is defeat, but acceptance in Christ is victory.
As y'all have been so supportive and have been cheering me on with your love and support through this journey I have been incredibly thankful. This space has allowed me to express and work through things that I never imagined having to work through or go through. This space has allowed my heart to bleed the words that have been trapped deep inside and to testify to the goodness of the Lord. This space has truly become an online journal of the good, the bad, and the extremely difficult. 
And as I have worked through all of these things and the tides of changing emotions my faith has grown exponentially. I have cried tears of pain but also tears of joy. I have seen (despite the bad) the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I can testify without a shadow of a doubt the truth that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. I can share His love more freely as I have seen in new ways the Lord's abundant love for me. 
I have learned a whole new way to pray as I have stepped out and seen the ways that the Lord has answered time and time and time again. I have seen His mercy in the most difficult moments and His beautiful grace in the good moments. I have seen His incredible love through so many people including my family, my best friends, and strangers. I see His goodness in the miraculous and also in the ordinary moments of each life. 

And I am learning to delight in the ordinary.
I move on from the past with such gratitude for the thousands of precious memories but I have found peace and acceptance in the present and in the future. I trust my little heart with an unknown future to a God who is known and makes Himself known everyday.
In this acceptance has come a greater peace with the Lord then I have ever found. As I have abandoned my plans, my dreams, my expectations and have exchanged them for knowing the Lord I have found a greater joy then I have ever thought possible. 
"Lord, here I hold within my trembling hand this will of mine, a think which seemth small. Only Thou, O Christ, canst understand how when I yield Thee this, I yield my all. It hath been wet with tears and stained with sighs, clenched in my grasp till beauty it hath none. Now from Thy footstool where it prostrate lies, the prayer ascendeth: Let Thy will be done."
His unfathomable love has become the greatest and most important thing in my life (even more than getting better) and with that has come a confidence in the fact that while I might feel useless, it is the Lord that has assigned me my cup and portion and I am content for His will to be done.
With all of these changes to my personal life I wanted to change the look of the blog. I had been thinking about it for a while but the timing never seemed exactly right. I love the new design and the simplicity of it. I feel like it completely reflects my simple heart and the love and joy that I am finding in delighting in the ordinary. 
The prayer below from Betty Scott Stam (a missionary who was a martyr for Christ) has become my the prayer of my life and heart:

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt. Send me where Thou wilt. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."
As this journey continues I want to say once again "thank you" for all of your love, support, and faithful prayers. Every single day I see the way that the Lord answers all of them. Thank you so much friends. My prayer for you that you would experience and find the deep peace that comes with knowing the Lord. He is so good. 

6/23/14

Lake Champlain Ferry Ride

If you have been around for a little while I think it is completely safe to say that you know my love for Lake Champlain. Located in upstate New York the Lake spans from the Canadian coast down to the Hudson River. It has a ton of history that relates back to the War of 1812 and I could go on and on and on for days as I love this tiny gorgeous space of earth. Back in 1899 my great-great-great-great-great grandfather (on my mom's side) bought a tiny piece of land for his family (there is a beautiful and long and rich story filled with joys and heartbreaks about how this came to be that sometime I need to share here on the blog!) and on my father's side his parents bought a piece of land semi-close to that same piece of property. My parents have the "summer love story" ... well except for the fact that my mom was not interested at all in my father when she first met him, burned some love letters, and threw up after their first kiss. *smiles* BUT 45 years later and they adore each other and the Lord more and more each day. It is rustic (we got hot water when I was a teenager), it is definitely not winterized, there is no TV channels, an itsy bitsy shower, blankets that have been passed down for generations, and constant work that needs to be done just to keep it "standing", and yet I love every tiny inch of it. It is deathly silent as there is not a ton of noise surrounding us, internet service can be extremely spotty, cell phone coverage is always impossible, and any "normal American distraction" is basically non-existent. 
I love it.

 My brother once said "camp is written in your soul" and it was probably the most accurate description of how much I love this beautiful and untamed land. In many ways it has been written deep in my soul as the quiet and the beauty shout God's love and faithfulness throughout a thousand generations. 
Being sick I find great comfort in the truth of God's love and faithfulness throughout generations as I see in new ways the faithful love of the Lord every single day. One of the ways is in the way that this beautiful view shouts to my heart of Jesus' awesome power and creativity. Two weeks ago on the way home from a doctors appointment in Vermont the ferry ride home was simply gorgeous. The day had been long with difficulty but this early evening ferry ride home was simply gorgeous and once again I was reminded that it is not about where we are at or the circumstances that surround us. Instead it is about the faithful love of a God who carries us each and every day. As we start this new week I pray that you are comforted and encouraged by the beauty and the faithfulness of God's love. Happy Monday sweet friends!

6/20/14

Beautiful Evening Sunset

A couple of nights ago we were treated with a beautiful and peaceful sunset. It came at the end of a day filled with lots of grey and fog and reminded me once again of how every color is beautiful in different ways. I am learning this lessen more and more each day that if we look for beauty in the "quiet" and "simple" moments we will find it. Sometimes (as with yesterday - a day filled with unexpected doctors appointments, learning that I have a tooth infection (ouch!!), the news that I need to have that tooth removed (boo!!), issues with insurance over a particular medicine that has been helping my stomach, etc.)it takes a lot of effort to do so. But here is the the thing that I am learning more and more: if you look you can find it. There was incredible beauty yesterday despite the "yucky" things including amazing parents who are always encouraging in this journey, friends who text at just the right time, prayers of thousands of people for my health, a kind dentist who gave up his lunch break to fit me in, a pharmacist who went above and beyond his job to try and help, and the list goes on and on and on. There is generous and amazing beauty in what many people consider ordinary or "everyday events" and as I search to see them I am astounded at the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (psalm 27). Next week I can't wait to share with y'all how I am finding this more and more, where my "new" name for my etsy shop came from, and the meaning behind the "newish" slogan for the blog and the shop. I hope you enjoy these pictures sweet friends and I hope today and this weekend brings lots of moments to "delight in the beauty of ordinary". (Yes, that is the official slogan *smiles*)