Caravan Sonnet: July 2017

7/31/17

Monday Inspiration and Encouragement (Volume Ten)

I shared a couple of months ago that for a while now I have had a dream of sharing some Monday inspiration and encouragement on the blog. Life is hard and I know full well that in the difficult times it can be hard to find inspiration, so a couple of months ago I shared my first post (which you can find HERE and all of the Monday inspiration posts HERE) and I plan to routinely share with y'all different things that I have found to be really inspiring and encouraging from all different genres and hope that it will encourage and inspire you for your week! 

To be honest I have come to look forward to these posts the so much throughout the week and it is hard to believe that it has been almost a month since my last Monday Inspiration and Encouragement Post. This month has been busy, full, and seems to have flown by. It is a month that I will treasure though as I have learned a ton and grown in so many ways. Here are just a few things that have encouraged and inspired me the last several weeks and I hope that they inspire you!
{first} I shared this on Instagram earlier today, but this weekend was one of those perfect summer weekends. Thoreau once said that "all good things are wild and free" and he couldn't have been more right. 

{second} Okay, I have shared this so many times, but it needed to be shared again because I am still loving the sound and music. If you haven't checked out Hope Social Club do so. Absolutely love the sound and music. If y'all haven't heard of them check them out HERE. Go listen and let me know what your favorite song is! 

{third} I shared a couple of months ago that for a special upcoming project (that I can't wait to share more about in the future) that I have been reading a lot of books from World War II and about the holocaust. So much of it is so difficult and yet, I am passionate about keeping this area of history alive so that it never happens again. 

The book above, Born Survivors, was absolutely horrific and inspiring. I had never heard of any pregnant mamas surviving death camps and the stories of these three women redefined for me courage, defiance, and hope. I won't lie.... this book is tough. It took me a couple of weeks to read because of the story and the horrific nature of what took place... but it is absolutely inspiring. You can find it on Amazon HERE.
{fourth} Florida was amazing. Disney - well Disney with friends and yummy food and lots of laughter with friends is absolutely priceless. I want to go back today. *smiles*
{fifth} I asked this on Instagram and loved the response so I am asking it here too... Anyone from Alaska or traveled to Alaska? What is your favorite thing?? Working on an upcoming project that I am excited to share with y'all more about soon! And yes, for those who know me well there are lots of colored papers and post-it notes and more colored pens and colored pencils not seen. Hahaha!

I hope that you are inspired and encouraged by these five things on this Monday! What about you? What is inspiring you recently?

7/30/17

Sunday Scripture Thirteen (Lamentations 3:22-23)

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Looking for past Sunday Scripture Posts? Click HERE!

7/29/17

Sweet New Items Available in the Etsy Shop

Happy Saturday friends! Today I am so excited to share with you just a few of the cute additions to the shop! Over the last several weeks there have been lots of new journals and buntings that have been added and today I am so excited to share with y'all just a few pictures! In the last couple of weeks there have been more than 50 new items added to the shop so head on over to check them all out by clicking HERE
Ever since I was a young girl, I have always had an obsession with journaling and making things that I own pretty. I love to fill my planners with colorful, unique, whimsical, and pretty ribbons, sweet paraphernalia, and writing that speaks to my heart and that encourages me. 
I love that journals provide us an opportunity to write down special moments and the ordinary blessings that sometimes later on in life we realize are the biggest blessings. There are so many times that I look back in my old journals and I realize how blessed I have been. Journaling provides a window into the past that reminds us how beautiful and special life is. 
I have said this numerous times but the altered journals are one of my favorite things to create for the shop. I love imagining what each person who buys one will be recording and the special moments that they will be writing down. (You can find the altered journals section in the shop HERE!)
I shared last week on the blog about the pineapple altered planner that had been added to the shop and this week a couple of additional altered planners/calendars were added to the shop, including this "hello 2018" mini planner. It starts in August 2017 and goes through December 2018. You can find the altered planner section of the shop HERE and the "hello 2018" mini planner HERE.
Finally, there have been tons of children's buntings, scripture buntings, and inspirational quote buntings added to the shop. You can find the baby and children buntings section HERE, the birthday and theme buntings section HERE, the mini scripture buntings section HERE, the scripture buntings section HERE, and the quote buntings section HERE
Happy Saturday friends! I hope that you have a wonderful day with friends and family, having the courage to make your dreams come true!! (Click HERE to go directly to the shop!)

7/28/17

3 Adorable Transitional Summer to Fall Tops from ASOS

Y'all know how much I love ASOS and today I am excited to share 3 transitional Summer to Fall tops from the website!
1. Vero Moda Tall V Neck T-Shirt - White
A classic white v-neck top is the perfect transitional piece for summer days to fall days. I love this tall v-neck one from ASOS. It is incredible soft and the I love that it is perfect to wear alone for the summer with jeans or in the fall with a jacket. There are a lot of different white tops that ASOS carries, but this classic one is gorgeous. You can find it HERE
2. ASOS TALL Denim Shirt in Midwash Blue - Blue
Seriously, y'all- I love this denim shirt in this midwash blue color. How cute is this?? You can find the top HERE
3. ASOS Stripe T-Shirt in Baby Loop Back - Multi
This adorable striped top is so cute and perfect for summer nights on the boat and yet perfect to take into the fall. You can find it HERE!

These are just a few of the adorable transitional and cute shirts that are available  from ASOS! I can't wait to share more tops for the fall in the upcoming weeks! What about you? Do you have any favorite transitional tops that you love?

Happy Friday friends! I hope y'all have a wonderful day!

7/26/17

What's Up Wednesday (July Edition)

Happy Wednesday friends! I am excited to link up with MelShaeffer, and Shay for the "What's Up Wednesday" Link up! I have so enjoyed reading these ladies posts and am excited to join in! It has been so fun to connect with so many other ladies who are doing this each month over last year and I am looking forward to connecting more in 2017. Here are all of the "What's up Wednesday" posts from 2017:


And here are all of my "What's up Wednesday" posts from 2016: 


 If you would like to join in and have a blog, just answer the questions above!

What We're Eating this Week... 
Pesto. And more Pesto. 

I have shared before how I work to get tons of greens into me every single day and recently one of the simple and extra ways that I have found to get more spinach and basil into me is through Pesto. I literally have been using it on everything... sandwhiches, fish, as a dip with veggies, etc. It is SO yummy! You can find my easy and healthy basil and spinach pesto recipe on the blog HERE.  What is your favorite pesto recipe? I would love to know!

What I'm Reminiscing About... 
My trip to Florida and spending time with dear people in my life eating delicious food and spending time at Disney Parks and in Orlando. I seriously want to start the whole trip over. How has it already been three weeks?? You can read all about the trip by clicking on the links below:

What I'm Loving... 
My ESV Journaling Bible, the Interleaved Edition. I shared before, but I still absolutely LOVE it. For such a long time I have always loved making notes in my Bible and bringing artistry to what I am studying. At the same time though I haven't wanted to cover other scriptures that I may want to really delve more into at a future date. Enter the ESV Journaling Bible, the Interleaved Edition. Every other page is a FULL blank page. It allows for tons of creativity and lots of note writing and I am loving every single moment of using it. It is a bit big and heavy so I still use my smaller Bible (THIS beautiful flower one from the Bloom Collection) for travel, but I can't say enough about the ESV Journaling Bible, the Interleaved Edition for my home Bible Study. If you have any questions I am happy to answer- it is wonderful!

What I've Been Up To...
Over the last several weeks TONS of new items have gone into my Etsy Shop including new children's buntings, scripture buntings, altered journals, and altered calendars (including the adorable pineapple altered planner I shared last week on the blog!) Thank you so much for all of your support of my shop! All proceeds go to help pay for my medical expenses and a portion of all proceeds goes to charity! You can find the shop by clicking HERE!

What I'm Dreading... 
I can't say anything different than more treatment. But we take one day at a time, sometimes with a lot of tears and other times trying to laugh more than cry and remember the precious promise of Psalm 125:6:

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."

What I'm Working on... 
Lots of marketing items, interviews, and things related to the release of the 2nd Edition of Praying through Lyme Disease which released June 1st!! I have been overwhelmed and so grateful for the continued support of this project. 

If you would like to help spread the word about this book I am definitely looking for help in a few areas which I shared about in a blog post HERE. Thank you!!

 Praying through Lyme Disease is available where books are sold and on Amazon. 
 I am also working on some final edits for When Lyme Invades that will be released on November 1st... 

It is a busy writing year and yet, so exciting. I am so grateful for all of the support and I am excited to share something next week about an upcoming book! Stay tuned!

What I'm Excited About... 
Lots and lots of things. Do you remember when I shared my word for this year? There are so many ways that I see this coming to fruition. Small, big, and beautiful ways. Even in the midst of pain I see so many lovely things that are happening.

What I'm Watching/Reading... 
During the summer I really don't watch any TV because we don't have one at camp, but I have been reading a lot. I have shared in my Monday Inspiration and Encouragement post about a couple of books, including "The Zookeeper's Wife" which I definitely recommend. Anyone read this??

What I'm Listening To... 
Ever since the trip to Disney I admit that Disney music has been pretty much on repeat. Hahaha but seriously music, lots and lots of music. Before I started healing music was really hard for me to listen to because of sound sensitivity. In the past few months I have been singing along and dancing in the house to so many different music songs y'all would just laugh if you saw me. hahaha. 



What I'm Wearing... 
Lots and lots of summer dresses. One of my favorite things this summer is this black lace dress from Loft. I just love it. 

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month... 
Holding on to all of the summer days and nights. 

Everyone is starting to talk about fall but honestly y'all I just want time to stop. I shared this on Instagram but this summer has been beautiful in deep meaningful ways that has taught me so much that I just want time to stand still. Please summer, last forever

I would love to know your answers to these questions friends! Share your thoughts below in the comments!!

 Happy Wednesday!

From Hope Valley Devotional (Week 23): The Blessing of Knowing Someone Deeply

One of the most lovely and fun aspects of When Calls the Heart Season 2 was watching the relationship between Lee and Rosemary begin to grow. The humor and the quick banter between the two of them drew so many #hearties into their story (including myself) and I have loved watching the relationship between them deepen and grow throughout the last several seasons. At the beginning though, this exchange between Lee and Jack in the 2nd episode of Season 2, shows a timeless truth for all of us to consider... the blessing that comes with knowing someone deeply.

When I watched this scene the first time I giggled a bit, along with lots of viewers I am sure, but as I sat down to write this chapter I started to think about the depth of what is conveyed here. Often times when we meet someone new (whether it be a new romantic relationship or a new acquaintance that we hope to have a deeper friendship with) we are interested in all of the details about that person. Our hearts want to know more and more about this new person and we often focus on finding out lots of details and information. Every little conversation holds significance and as Lee said, "we want to figure the person out". 

But often times (and I am just as guilty of this as anyone) this desire to really know someone changes. As we get to know someone or they become a regular part of our lives we lose the "allure" of what first drew us and instead get annoyed by the "drudgery" of getting to know another flawed human being. 

Instead of being intrigued we grow bored. Instead of putting our phones aside and focusing solely on the person in front of us, we pick up our phones and aimlessly scroll through social media, choosing to not engage with the one in front of us. Instead of asking detailed questions we don't put the energy into those types of conversations. Instead of carefully listening and learning about the person, we assume we know "enough" and don't take the time to truly listen to the answers. 

Instead of viewing the person we once wanted to know everything about as a fascinating creature who is unique, we often reject them because we assume we know enough to not put the detailed work into continuing to know them more deeply.

But here is the thing. There is a certain blessing that can only come from knowing someone deeply... the blessing of depth and true relationship that is forged only with time and work. In these types of relationships we learn how to listen. In these types of relationships we learn more about grace. In these types of relationships we learn about what true friendship looks like. In these types of friendships we learn about what love really is. 

We learn about another person and in many ways we grow and learn about our selves. It is only in the relationships where we take the time ... which is really a lifetime to really get to know someone deeply. Our investment is never in vain because love... love never dies. 

Today, let us dare to reach out and get to know someone deeply. Let us ask the deep questions that take us into murky waters where some may not want to go. Let us forge into the darkness of a person's journey knowing that listening and love can restore a lost voice. Let us venture boldly, knowing that sacrificial love has the power to change the world. And mostly let us hold fast to the hope that there is a unique and special blessing of knowing someone deeply... the blessing of true love.

"Love never gives up. 
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always 'me first'...
It takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, 
Trusts God always, 
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies."
-I Corinthians 13, The Message-


Looking for past From Hope Valley Devotionals? You can click HERE to find a complete listing of all of the devotionals! 

I receive several emails a week asking where you can watch older episodes of "When Calls the Heart". If you have a Netflix account you can find seasons 1-3 there or you can purchase them on Amazon. You can purchase and watch all of the seasons and episodes by clicking on the links below:

*Please note that the quotes used in these weekly devotionals are the sole intellectual property of Hallmark Channel, WCTH, & Crown Media, LLC. These on-line posts are in no way supported, endorsed or affiliated with WCTH, Hallmark Channel, or Crown Media. They are simply encouragement inspired by Janette Oke and this precious show.*

7/25/17

Epcot and Magic Kingdom with Friends

Looking back on spending a day at the Disney parks a couple of weeks ago with two dear people in my life fills me with incredible gratitude. It was a magical day filled with tons of laughter, constant talking about life, hilarious moments, and the precious gift of spending time with those whom I am honored to have in my life.
The day started bright and early and after our incredibly fun and delicious evening at Il Mulino Restaurant (you can read about it HERE) I admit that I was a bit sleepy. Hahaha. Our plan of leaving "really early" was a bit delayed by me and I so appreciated the grace from these people. After we got going, we were thrilled though to see that there wasn't much traffic and it was easy to navigate to the parks without to many crowds. 

We decided to park at Magic Kingdom (since we were going to finish our day there watching the new firework show) and took the monorail over to Epcot to start our day. As we road the monorail into the park and circled a bit of Epcot we could see the early morning activities were starting. 
Every time that I step back onto the Disney properties I am hit with the beautiful nostalgia and charm that is unique to Disney. There is a classy and timeless sense of consistency that draws a child and adult alike into a different world that gently reminds us to dream big in our lives. 

We started our day in the future world in Epcot (future world opened a couple of hours before the world showcase on this day) and had fun riding in spaceship earth, visiting the ride behind the land, and then riding Soarin. Have y'all been on Soarin recently? I hadn't done the ride in years and they have changed some of the pictures and it was incredible to "soar" over different parts of the world. 
After spending a few more minutes in future world and riding Nemo, we made a slight detour in our plans so that I could connect with Anna, a former student from my teaching days in Georgia. Anna was working in Magic Kingdom and so we headed over to there on the monorail. I am not sure how I didn't grab a picture with her, but it was such an incredible blessing to get to spend a few moments with her and give that beautiful lady a huge hug. We also had the opportunity to meet a couple of princesses, which as I am sure y'all know, I thought was adorable. *smiles* After this we snapped a few pictures before the three of us decided to head to Animal Kingdom for the afternoon.
As we walked down main street on the way to the bus transportation I admit that I had tears. I felt that as I heard all of the happy music, was laughing with these dear ones that are in my life, and seeing Anna I felt a weird juxtaposition. I was incredibly grateful at the recent good news of how much I am healing and yet seeing Anna reminded me of how much had been lost and robbed during this season with Lyme. 

When I left teaching Anna's class were in their sophomore year of high school and were incredibly dear to my little heart and this trip provided the opportunity to see a couple of my former students from that class. As I looked at them now on this trip high school had passed and they were about to complete college. Life in all of its mysteries and time had continued for all of us. I was so thrilled that both Anna and Robert took time out of their lives to spend a few moments with a former teacher and honestly the whole thing just overwhelmed me. It is hard to put into words, and I can't tell you how much I appreciated Ali and Paul's incredible understanding and compassion as tears fell for a little bit as we waited for the bus to Animal Kingdom.
And perhaps... just perhaps... that is the beautiful thing about visiting Disney. It removes you from your life for a time- no matter how brief (in this case one day) and gives you a bit of magic and laughter to take back. It gives a reminder that dreams can come true. It reminds you that there is a great big world beyond the difficult circumstances that you are imagining. It reminds you to keep dreaming big. All beautiful things that my little heart needed... and experiencing it with gracious and kind people who never rushed me, took extra time to rest again and again throughout the day, and continuously surrounded me with love was the most beautiful gift of all. And perhaps... that is the greatest take away from the day... that love and grace are the biggest miracles... reminding us to constantly dream.
I truly couldn't have asked for a more perfect start to the day at Epcot and seeing the Magic Kingdom briefly with these dear ones. I can't wait to share more with y'all about the rest of the day in the next few days!! 

** A HUGE thank you to Walt Disney World for the complimentary tickets to enjoy the parks for the day. You truly gave me a beautiful gift with friends that I will treasure forever!! All opinions are my own.**