Caravan Sonnet: October 2017

10/31/17

Montgomery Inn at Ingleside // Prince Edward Island, Canada

Today I am so excited to share more about my trip to Prince Edward Island and specifically the amazing place we spent two nights on the Island at: Montgomery Inn at Ingleside. This is a post that I honestly have been excited to write and share about since May when I first touched base with Paul (the owner of Montgomery Inn at Ingleside) and decided to stay here. 

Honestly, the build up of excitement of staying at Ingleside couldn't even compare to the actual experience. It was incredible. On the website it says that if you are a Lucy Laud Montgomery fan than you should stay at Ingleside... and this is true. As an author I was inspired, encouraged, and in awe of staying at this historic property. BUT, even if you are not familiar with L.M. Montgomery this is still a must stay place on the Island. 
From the moment that you drive up to the property you feel that you have taken a step back in time to a different era. The outside building looks and feels quintessential Prince Edward Island and all things Lucy Maud Montgomery. I texted my mom a picture (this one HERE that I posted on Instagram) and said... "we arrived in Ingleside and can see the Lake of Shining Waters". For all of you L.M. Montgomery fans you understand the girly significance of this comment. *smiles*
As a bit of background, Montgomery Inn at Ingleside is the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery's grandfather, Senator Donald Montgomery. She grew up spending part of her childhood visiting her grandfather and nicknamed this home, "Ingleside". For those of you who are familiar with her books, her Ingleside Series of Books was based on her stays here at this home. 
This 4-acre homestead was established in 1877 has been converted into a Canada Select 4-star Heritage Country Inn. The work that has been done to keep the integrity and authenticity of the history and yet modernize the home is absolutely incredible. I can't wait to share more of the inside details with y'all tomorrow. It is truly amazing. 

Within the home there are tons of different rooms (including for those who are L.M. Montgomery lovers a chance to stay in her old room!) and we stayed in the Senators Suite which I can't wait to share more with y'all in the next couple of days!
For Anne lovers this 4-acre property is an absolute dream as it is set right next to the Anne of Green Gables Museum and the famous Lake of Shining Waters. 
This above map is located at the Anne of Green Gables Museum that shows all points "Anne" for those who are visiting the Island for this reason. You can see where the museum and the Lake of Shining waters is located and can see how central Montgomery Inn at Ingleside is. It truly is the perfect location to stay if you are an Anne lover. 
For those of you who may be asking if it is worth a stay if you are interested in exploring the Island beyond "Anne" it is a definite "yes". 

First, as you can see by the map I created above for our time in PEI, Montgomery Inn at Ingleside is centrally located to all different parts of the Island. We wanted to see and explore the Island in general and the central location of Montgomery Inn at Ingleside allowed us to easily do this. It took us no more than 1-2 hours to reach the different parts of the Island that we were seeing. As far as location goes it can't be beat. 

Second, the stay itself was absolute perfection. Everything was immaculate and the details were beyond compare. Both Ali and I commented several times on how restful the environment was, how amazing it was to stay in such an historic place that still be provided amazing modern comforts, and just in general how wonderful our stay was. It was quiet, restful, and truly a haven. If you are looking for a peaceful place to stay on the Island then Montgomery Inn at Ingleside is definitely the choice.  (Also, for those that are interested- breakfast is included in your stay!) 

Third, the owners of Montgomery Inn at Ingleside were awesome. They were accommodating to our change in schedule and made it easy for us to get into the house. They were available for help and questions but we never felt that they were intrusive either. We felt complete freedom to come and go as we pleased and yet everything that we needed was taken care of. This is unique as we all know because sometimes things with an Inn owner can be a bit awkward. This was not the case with Paul and Michelle. Just like the rest of our stay they were incredible. In fact one evening we had spent the entire day exploring and came home after a later dinner. Despite the hour Paul came over to see if we needed anything which spoke to the compassion and professionalism that they have.

Fourth, Montgomery Inn at Ingleside is incredibly safe. For those of you are taking a girls trip like we were this is an important factor that you always consider. The property was incredibly safe and one evening when we came back a bit later in the evening from a late dinner we arrived to lights being on and a soft glow of warmth welcoming us in. 

There is an access code for the key box and the locks on all of the doors. One night we actually had the house and property to ourselves and never once were concerned. We felt incredibly safe and would recommend this to anyone who is traveling for a girls trip. 
Fifth and finally, the views and property are so peaceful and restful that you will not want to leave. From the moment you drive up you are surrounded by beauty on all sides that just draws you in and invites you to truly relax on your vacation.
One morning of our stay I got up early and came out to watch the sunrise. It was spectacular. I curled up on the front porch with a blanket scarf around me and just took in the beauty of the land before me. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Our stay at the Montgomery Inn at Ingleside was absolutely wonderful in every way. Even several weeks later I continue to talk about this amazing property. It truly welcomes your heart in and is wonderful and we would love to go back.

Interested in booking a stay at the Montgomery Inn at InglesideMontgomery Inn at Ingleside is open from May 1st through October 31st. You can connect with the Montgomery Inn at Ingleside and make reservations here:

Phone Number: 1-902-439-0889
Address: 4615 Route 20 Park Corner
Kensington PE COB1MO
CANADA 
You can connect with Paul, the Owner of Montgomery Inn at Ingleside on Instagram HERE
I hope that each of you have a chance to stay at the Montgomery Inn at Ingleside. It is truly such a beautiful and lovely place. Please let me know if you have any questions!! Tomorrow I will be sharing pictures of the amazing details from inside Montgomery Inn at Ingleside and also about our specific suite, the Senator's Suite. 

If you are interested in reading more from my recent trip through New England, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. You can read all of the posts from the trip by clicking on the links below:

A HUGE thank you to Montgomery Inn at Ingleside and Paul Montgomery for the discounted stay rate. 

10/30/17

3 Top Tips for Choosing the Right Road Tripping Vehicle

*sponsored post*
When I first started writing about travel here on the blog I mostly spoke about road trips that I had taken or was going to take, tips for long car trips and road trips, and about different aspects of road trips that are important to keep in mind. I still love road trips. Honestly, those of you that know me well know that. I love having the time to talk, to connect on a deeper level, and to laugh and see a new part of the world with those you love. 
With my recent road trip through New England, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia I have been thinking more and more about how important it is to choose your vehicle wisely when you decide to take a road trip. So today I wanted to share with y'all three of the top things to consider when you are choosing a vehicle for a road trip... 
1. Gas Mileage
One of the first things to consider when choosing the right road tripping vehicle is the gas mileage that you are going to get on your trip. It is important to consider the amount of miles that you are traveling and also calculate what types of roads you will encounter along the way. 
2. Car Durability
If you are like me then sometimes you love to take time to venture off the beaten path on your road trips. Due to this it is important to consider the durability of the car. If you want to explore and blaze a new trail (or a less explored one *smiles*) then you will want to consider a car that can tolerate rough roads, mud, fields, and other elements (including the opportunity to drive on the ocean floor like I did a couple of weeks ago!).
3. Safety
Safety of the car is the most important thing to consider as you consider gas mileage and also the durability of the car. I saw this today and it stopped me up short:
It may sound like such a simple thing but so many people drive without their seat belts on and this number above of the death toll is truly tragic. And, for those that have kiddos this is such an important thing to remember. Not sure about how to properly use the car seat? You can read all about car seat checks  -HERE

What about you? What is most important for you when choosing the right road tripping vehicle?

Monday Inspiration and Encouragement (Volume Fourteen)

Several months ago I shared that for a while I 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 several months ago I shared my first post (which you can find HERE) and have loved sharing periodically on Mondays ( you can find all of the Monday inspiration posts HERE) 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! 

It is hard to believe that it has been a couple of weeks since my last Monday Inspiration and Encouragement post. If you follow along here on the blog then you know that life has been busy completing different writing projects from an amazing work/writing trip through the North Eastern US, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. I have shared about the US portion of our trip and New Brunswick and today my first post about Prince Edward Island went live. It still seems surreal that that beautiful trip took place. It was just lovely.  Today I am excited to share just a few things that have encouraged and inspired me the last couple of weeks and I hope that they inspire you and make you smile!
{first} I thought I was familiar with every single Elisabeth Elliot quote that existed but I had never heard this one before this last week. It has really struck me in deep and profound ways and as I shared with my Instagram community has been something I have been thinking over a lot. I hope it inspires you this morning as it has me.

{second} I shared with my Instagram community that yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to connect with other Lyme patients through a restorative yoga class that was being held at a yoga studio. The leader provided a time for each person to share a bit, to connect, and then we spent about an hour doing restorative yoga. A year ago there was no way that I would have been healthy enough to do this, but yesterday was such a gift and I have been so grateful for the opportunity. 

If you are a Lymie or a person who struggles with chronic illness or pain and are wishing that you could do yoga but feel that you physically can't I definitely recommend restorative yoga with a kind and compassionate teacher. Many of the moves can be very adaptable and it was truly not only relaxing but very energizing. I looked on Amazon and there are a couple of different options for DVD's and Books HERE and HERE.
{three} So I definitely mentioned this last time but it is worth noting again. I was in need of amazing music for all of the driving I was going to be doing for the trip at the beginning of the month. I received a ton of amazing suggestions from J, which to almost all of them I fell in love with, but one that was absolutely perfect for when I wanted music without lyrics was the introduction to rodrigo y gabriela. Have y'all heard of them? They are a Mexican classical guitar duo and are amazing. You can listen to one of their videos HERE and find their tour schedule HERE. They are actually coming to the Vermont area this weekend and I so wish that I had someone to go with to see them!!
{four} So people's creativity continues to inspire me and truly just make me shake my head at the amazingness (is this a word?!?) of people. I re-opened the shop a couple of weeks ago (after my annual 10 day fall break) and the range of custom order requests that I have received has just really inspired me. From different color combinations to different requests it has been so much fun to create these orders. I am reminded that we can find beauty in so many different places if we look for it. 

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

Prince Edward Island // Canada: Practical Information for Getting On and Off the Island and the Confederation Bridge

Happy Monday friends! Today I am so excited to continue to share more about my recent trip through New England, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia! And today I am very excited to start sharing about our time in Prince Edward Island! 

I created this map to use for these posts on Prince Edward Island above and hope that it will be helpful for those of you who are interested in planning a similar trip to see the places that we drove to and saw. By the end of our time in PEI we had covered most of the Island and had gotten to all of the four major sections. We spent most of our time in Green Gables Shore area, but did have the chance to explore the rest of the island on our adventures. 

Today I want to share about the practical aspect of getting on and off Prince Edward Island. Aside from flying into Charlottetown airport, there are two ways of getting on and off the Island. Since the pain part of our stay would be in Green Gables/Kensington area, we decided to drive over the Confederation Bridge (which would take us into Borden-Carleton) and then take the ferry at Woods Island into Nova Scotia. Depending on your route that you are approaching the Island you probably will want to do something similar for getting on and off.

First, getting on to the Island is free- it only costs to get off. The cost for both the bridge and the ferry are comparable- both cost approximately $50. 
The Confederation Bridge (which we took from New Brunswick into PEI) is a 13km bridge that spans over the Northcumberland Strait and connects Cape Tormentine to Borden-Carleton, PEI. Crossing the bridge takes approximately 10-15 minutes. 

The bridge took almost four years to construct and uses innovate technology to resist the ever-changing harsh weather conditions that can arise in this area. The curved bridge is also the longest in the world that covers ice-covered waters. The Confederation Bridge is also regarded as one of Canada's top engineering achievements in the 20th century. 
For those who would prefer not to drive it the bridge does offer a shuttle service if you need it. While the ferry only runs from May to Mid-December, the Confederation Bridge is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
I will be honest with you that I was a bit nervous about the bridge due to what I had read about the high winds- specifically in the middle of the highest curved point. We were traveling in a light car and I didn't want to blow off- hahaha. Several people on the Island who asked how we had come would say to me, "Oh wow- you drove that?" with big eyes when they heard that I had driven the Bridge. And to be frank I get it... its a different kind of bridge and at one point I thought we may blow off. *smiles* At the same time though the bridge was incredibly safe, very convenient for the route that we were taking, and I would definitely recommend taking it - at least one way depending on your route. 

I will be sharing more about our ferry ride and leaving the Island in the next couple of weeks. If you want to learn more about the Confederation Bridge you can do so on the website HERE. Also available on the website is daily and real-time information on crossing delays, weather conditions, and other information that can help your trip!

If you are interested in reading more from my recent trip through New England, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. You can read all of the posts from the trip by clicking on the links below:

Happy Monday Friends! I hope you have a wonderful day to start your week! 

A huge thank you to the Prince Edward Island Tourism Board that sponsored my trip to the Island, provided so much helpful information, and a special thank you to Laura who worked to organize everything for our time in PEI. Information on the Confederation Bridge and pictures of the bridge were taken from the Confederation Bridge website

10/27/17

JCrew Black and White Dress at the Vermont Country Store

JCrew Black and White Striped DayBreak Dress  (Wool Versions in Grey and Black HERE!!)
ASOS  Striped Scarf (out of stock, similar HERE, or HERE - for LESS THAN $9!!)
ASOS Oversized Square Scarf (Out of Stock, Similar HERE!)
Army Green Jacket (Out of Stock, Expensive Version HERE, Less Expensive HERE, Less than $100- HERE)
A couple of weekends ago I had the most delightful opportunity to spend a day with Annaliese from Southern Belle in Training. (If you don't read of her blog - head on over and start reading it today- you can find it HERE!) It is always so fun to meet up with other bloggers and it was honestly one of the most lovely days. After church we ate lunch and then drove down to the Vermont Country Store for the afternoon. Annaliese is delightful. She was so much fun to hang out with and I can't wait to meet up with her again soon and share more about our adventure to the Vermont Country Store next week! Today I was excited to share with y'all this early fall outfit that I have practically lived in while the weather has been warmer. I love the black and white with the green jacket! 

Do y'all have any fun plans for this weekend? I am so excited for this weekend- I am meeting up with one of the dearest people in my life!! SO fun!! Happy Friday friends! I hope you have a wonderful day and don't forget to check out Annaliese's blog HERE!

All of the pictures for this post were taken by Annaliese- thank you so much friend for snapping such wonderful memories of our day!

10/25/17

the 12th anniversary

If you read my October 25th post from last year or the year before or you know me well you know that October 25th is a very special day to me. It holds incredible meaning and significance as 12 years ago I had a life-changing surgery that changed the course of my life and this was the day that the Lord healed me after doctors told me that there was "nothing" that they could do. (You can read more of my story with my battle with Endometriosis HERE!)

I shared three years ago the different ways I have celebrated this anniversary over the years. While some of these days and moments have been photographed over the years, many of them have not. The precious memories that my mind remembers today are of sacred moments of telling my story to my students over the years as I testified about the Lord's mighty healing power, the laughter between family and friends, the precious phone calls and texts from friends who prayed for the miracle to happen and never stopped believing, my sister calling to celebrate with me, long walks thanking the Lord on year two, and the quiet celebration in my heart every time I see the calendar approaching this special day when doctors said there was "no hope" and yet the Lord spoke differently. 

As I think about year twelve today I have been met with a mixture of emotions. Extreme gratitude and thankfulness and tears at the Lord's mighty healing power and a humble gratitude that even though over the years I have wondered why the Lord hasn't chosen to heal me the same way in this health situation (a question that I think so many people have asked behind the scenes (and some of the brave have cried with me))... I am now seeing healing slowly and surely take place in new ways. 

I recently received another email from the same reader that I shared about three years ago. This reader wanted to know if my response to their question from three years ago would be any different as I am turning another year on the calendar date. (You can read the original question and response HERE and my thoughts from two years ago HERE.)

As I told this reader, it's really notI don't know why healing hasn't come in such a "mighty and easy way" this time and why it is a long and slow healing process. I really don't. What I do know though is that I have a choice every single day on whether or not to trust the Lord and walk in this trust over my feelings or spend precious energy questioning things. I choose to trust. I choose to trust the difficult and unknown path before me is the path that the Lord has me on. Where I might think I am better used or life would be better is not where the Lord has me. I humbly trust that "and if not He is still good" to all of my questions, all of my deepest hearts longing... and that is enough for today. Circumstances, if we let them can be refining windows into our hearts shining a light on what we believe. The "and if not" parts of life...even if I am never healed, never see my dreams come true, or if the secret longings that are deep inside of me never happen ...it is okay. It doesn't change who God is or His goodness.

 I promise, readers that despite any circumstances God's goodness is NOT changed. I can attest in new ways and in more marvelous ways then I could years ago. And as I celebrate this 12th anniversary I am brought to my knees by God's goodness. His faithfulness astounds me and His mercies meet each new day. 

Surrendering to God's goodness comes the opportunity to fall more in love with Jesus and who He is and what the Bible states and promises. NOT what I want it to state or promise but what it actually states and promises. And this 12 year anniversary is incredibly significant to me - especially as this Lyme journey continues on. 

Did you know that the number 12 in the Bible holds special significance? There are 187 references to the number 12 in the Bible. In the old testament we see that there were 12 sons of Jacob and those 12 sons formed the 12 tribes of Israel. In the New Testament we see that Jesus was 12 years old when he was questioned at the temple and that He had 12 disciples. There is a clear significance to this special number in scripture. 

*smiles* Okay, so you might be asking what does this have to do with me celebrating my 12 year anniversary and why are they significant to me? 

First, scripture is completely true - every single word holds unique and special importance. Thinking through the specific ways that the number 12 is used in both the Old and New Testament reminds me that this is a unique and special anniversary to be celebrating.

Second, our all powerful God shows His complete power by offering eternal life through Jesus and His death on the cross. In this act of unmeasurable love we not only are given the opportunity to accept Jesus as our Lord and be saved but on the cross Jesus conquered EVERYTHING. Including illness. EVERYTHING was conquered on the cross. 

Third, Jesus speaks to us through scripture and knowing this I have a choice to make... every single day... I can choose to act in faith and trust the Lord completely or I can respond to my circumstances sinfully and grow bitter and angry at the ways of the Lord. 

There is absolutely no question in my mind of my choice. 

Even on the days that I feel discouraged I choose to run to my precious Heavenly Father and lay everything at His feet. The reality is that this anniversary shouts to me in the dark and reminds me of God's ultimate power and who He is. And friends, as I spend more time with the Lord and continue to run to Him with all of my questions, fears, disappointments, hurts, and every other emotion He lovingly speaks to my hurting heart. And I am reminded on this 11th anniversary of His incredible grace, His good gifts, His undeserving ways, and the gift of love that He gives. 

And the best gift of all? Is the gift that the this 12th anniversary serves as a beautiful reminder that the Lord offers not only beauty, but incredible hope. Hope of a future that the Lord has in store... Hope of beautiful healing here on earth or in Heaven... Hope of living joyfully despite difficult circumstances... Hope of a loving God who loves us abundantly... and Hope of celebrating another 12 year healing in the future...

healing from Lyme Disease and all of its complications.

Photo Taken By Ali Turner on Prince Edward Island

From Hope Valley (Week 34): The Power and Beauty of the Unexpected Journey

Listening to Elizabeth's journal entry in the first episode of season 3, I was immediately struck by the wisdom that she is sharing here. Life... in all of its beauty and loveliness is also so peculiar. There are incredible twists and turns... triumphs and failures and in that messy life it does lead us on the most unexpected journey and if we let it... it has the power to change the way that we view each day. 

These past few months I have been thinking more and more about this concept of life being peculiar. Often times I think we want things to be neat and planned out, but life is often not like that. It has twists and turns that sometimes take us by surprise and make us catch our breath. There are unexpected detours that take place. There are moments of great triumph only to be followed with moments of deep personal failure that we struggle with. And yet... in these moments we come across the power and beauty of the unexpected in our lives.

Like so many of you that I have heard from, this past year was a year of change in several friendships, including the loss of one friendship. The loss of a friendship is painful and heartbreaking. On the flip side I have gotten to know a new and dear person in my life this past year that has been such an incredible blessing and beautiful gift. The friendship was unexpected and yet in this unexpected I have learned so much. One friendship doesn't replace the other, but instead I have learned the blessing that comes with true forgiveness from one and the beautiful and messy blessing that comes with knowing people deeply from the other.

Isn't it amazing what we can learn about ourselves from another person? When we open our hearts we can learn so much about a myriad of different things. From the unexpected I have grown. I have been changed in deep and profound ways. In both of these situations I am tenderly reminded that there is a power and beauty that can only come from the unexpected that takes place in our lives. 

Yesterday I tenderly saw this in new and profound ways. I needed to talk with a friend and decided to meet them after work. As I waited in the parking lot in my car it was pouring rain and it was dark as midnight. I shook my head and literally prayed that it wouldn't rain as hard because I thought it would be better to have it not raining for this conversation. 

Imagine my amazement as not only did the rain lessen but the sun started peaking its head through the dark and rainy clouds. Within a few moments the rain had not only lessened but I was surrounded by the most beautiful fall rainbows (I shared one of the pictures of the moment with my Instagram community HERE.) 

It was stunning
It was beautiful
It was completely breathtaking
It was unexpected.
And most of all it was a gentle reminder of the power and beauty that is found in this unexpected journey of life. 

I had simply prayed for a lessening of rain. Not the removal and not the end of it- just the lessening of it. And in the unexpected arrived something I never would have witnessed otherwise. 

The twists and turns of life... the triumphs and failures can be refining teaching windows into our hearts if we let them. It is in these beautiful unexpected moments that can open up a world we would never have seen otherwise... the rainbows of life - literally.

Friends... today in the midst of the ordinary... in the midst of the mundane... and in the midst of the day by day remember that there is a beauty that is found in the unexpected. Just like the beautiful rainbow that I saw yesterday...there are beautiful miracles that come from the unexpected journey and this has the power to change how we view our entire lives.

"From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another."
-John 1:16-


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.*