Friday, March 27, 2015

Every Girl Should Know:

"You are beautiful, Miss Maddie," the little girl I babysit tells me.
Here I am sitting: messy haired, sloppy, makeup less disaster in jeans and a sweatshirt, but somehow she sees beauty. She: ocean-eyed, golden-faced, little girl smiling back at me. She's the one who is pretty,
"You are beautiful too," I tell her.
Then, she nods her head and says, "Mmmhhhmmm.God made me beautiful."
And I am a lost for words. If only every girl in the world could say that with so much confidence. Why can't we? Lies? Insecurity? Social-media?

So I went outside today because I have Spring fever and beauty was everywhere. I practiced photography on Caroline, my beautiful sister. 

All her life Caroline has battled eczema. We do not know why. Through countless diets, lotions, and ointments nothing takes it away. 

So while I'm complaining about one pimple or my nail polish coming off, Caroline is making the best of things with cuts covering most of her body. 

The world is telling us we need flawless skin...but whoever said beauty had to be flawless? 

Beauty is so much deeper. Caroline may have cuts all over but she does not hide. She does not curl up and pout. She models for pictures and smiles wide and she is still beautiful, totally gorgeous. She knows God made her and He did not make a mistake.

I know that there are voices out there telling you what beauty is and what it is not, and everyone has their own opinion, but I think there is beauty even in the rusty nail on a broken porch. If you cannot find beauty in your mirror, look again.

Maybe your standards are just twisted. Maybe you are looking through the wrong lens. Take a second look. Spot the beauty in the broken. 


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

what sisters inspire you to do...

My sister was writing random poetic descriptions of things that she likes and she read them to me, so the writer in me was inspired and I tried one about love...

 little girl
with a heart as full as the world of people, and a soul even fuller.
she makes a home behind the locked door of every honestly-kind deed and every truly-caring thought. 
sometimes she is hidden
or mistaken, 
but she   n e v e r   betrays her closest friends.
she paces the heart of the human;
comes and goes as she pleases
free like a sparrow
just a little girl
not always wise, always tripping
but she is sincere when sincerity is lacked. 
she gives. she takes.  
she creates. she destroys. 
sometimes she stays; sometimes she doesn't. 
and sometimes she leaves behind an unfilled place in the hollowed heart of a human. 
so some despise her...
and some welcome her...
and some fail to notice her at all. 
but when all eyes open
and darkness melts away 
for once everyone will see
she is the last flicker left 
b e a u t y 


Thursday, March 19, 2015

In Love With Words

Beautiful words are treasures. Since my last post was so full of me and my words, I wanted to share words that are not mine. Sentences I've found in books that make my blood run and my heart beat. Welcome to my treasure chest.


~Albert Einstein 


May we never forget that without fighting there can be no holiness while we live, and no crown of glory when we die!

~J. R. Wile, Holiness

"My soul has pastured with the stars
Upon the meadow lands of space,''

~L. M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

Stories aren't peaceful things. 
Stories don't care how shy you are. 
They don't care how insecure you are, either. 
Stories find their own way out eventually.
 All you gotta do is turn' em loose.

~Natalie Lloyd, A Snicker of Magic







~L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

"I've a pocket full of dreams to sell," said Teddy, whimsically,...
 "What d'ye lack? What d'ye lack?
 A dream of success-
-a dream of adventure-
-a dream of the sea-
-a dream of the woodland-
-any kind of a dream you want at reasonable prices,
 including one or two unique little nightmares. 
What will you give me for a dream?"

~L. M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

T h e r e   i s n 't   a n y   s u c h   t h i n g 

a s   a n   o r d i n a r y   l i f e. 

~L. M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

//A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other//

~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities 

We know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.
{ 1 John 3:24 }


Thursday, March 12, 2015


Most of these pictures were taken accidentally on my iPhone, but I needed pictures for the post. Do not judge.
Imagine...need there be more words?

Curled up on my bed reading when sister snapped this. I hate when people snap unexpected pictures...but I do it too.

The thrill of walking into a store all alone, the thrill of being the babysitter, the thrill of being mistaken for a grownup. It is all still so real for me. I still get that queasy excitement every time it hits me; I am not really a kid anymore. I laugh at my reflection, that's not me, but it is. Of course, I am probably the only person who feels this way. I am not ready to grow up, but I am here. I have never been ready to grow up. Not that I still play with Mr. Potato Head, suck my thumb, and watch Clifford... I just don't want to give it all up. I don't want to give up that magical world that little kids live in; that world of princesses, bugs, and fast-food playgrounds. I want to still be part of it, but it slips higher and higher into the shapeless sky like a balloon until it is gone. I can feel it vanishing through thin air, evaporating, leaving me behind. Grownups have a world of their own of course, but somehow I do not like that world very much. It is so new, but so disappointing. 

On April 1 I will be 16. Just like all the other pieces of growing up, this is intoxicatingly unreal to me. Every birthday I give up my old age with a slight ache knowing I am giving it up forever, but I also meet my new year with a slither of excitement. When I think 16 I think princess, beauty, meaning. 16. Doesn't it sound so old and fascinating? It sends shivers all over me. I do not want to be 16, not yet...I have too many goals to meet before that perilous age...but it is coming fast and none of those goals have been met.

My friends and family welcomed my 15th year with a surprise party. I loved them all for it, for being there, and for caring about me. One birthday card actually made me cry. What can I say? I'm an emotional teen girl. In someways it seems like days ago and in someway it seems like centuries ago that I walked into the kitchen and they all yelled, "Surprise!" and I was 15.

old favorite
Another one

Hate posting selfies but I was trying to get a picture of my eye and somehow half my face got in there too.

I have a confession to make. I have very few friends who are 15. To be honest, I do not know what an average 15 year old is like...15 does not sound extraordinary, but my 15th year was different than all the other years, very different. I learned so much. Not sure if it's worth sharing or not, but here goes.

Those Things I Learn

~there are hundreds of pieces of the world I will never fathom, never understand, at least not on earth.
~ I pay way to much attention to what others think about me, but it is in those sort of rare moments when I focus on Christ that I am happiest
~ some things change and some things never do...yep. 
~ God still works miracles... insane, impossible, beautiful miracles. For example, my writing a book in a month. It is a choppy, sad little novel but God makes sad things beautiful. It is my miracle book. If you knew what a slow writer I am and how little time I had, you would understand what an unbelievable miracle it is.
~ God gives and takes away. This year I found that out in big ways, and I struggled and I still struggle. I do not know why He took away things very important to me, but He did. God gives too. He gives in ways I never expected. Little ways but marvelous ways and I am so thankful for this year. Thankful for those little gifts that made it amazing.
~ no matter how different, how goofy, how mean, a person can be, they still feel pain, loneliness, grief, and joy like you do
~ Sometimes your best friends are the people that you live beside everyday, battle with, and annoy. Sometimes your best friends are your siblings. That has definitely been true for me this year. Oh, we all still argue, and bug each other but siblings are always there. Friends can leave you... but sibling are there for you through out your entire life. They will always stand by. You have a choice. Hate that or love it. 
~ music keeps me company
~ I love little kids because they see the beautiful in you when everyone else sees the wrong. They see the world so differently than we do, it is an adventure to them. They are so ignorant and still we can learn so much from them. 
~ on the outside someone can appear as insignificant as a grain of sand but in the inside they are often as precious as jewels
~ stories are everywhere; in life, in moments, in songs. Search for them. 

Posted this accidental pic because I love how the ceiling looks.

Could not resist. My little buddy.

Maybe you are nodding as you read my list already knowing everything I wrote. Kind of common sense, huh? Or maybe you are breath taken. Yeah, I did not think so, but I hope it somehow helped someone. Blogs are full of perfect pictures, perfect writers, perfect lives, but the world is not. The world is full blurry pictures, imperfect writers, broken lives, but God is still here to shine beauty on the ugly. 
So this whole growing up thing is an adventure. I am ready to take the ride. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Comfort Ye


Today we went to my great uncle's burial at Arlington cemetery. I wish I could remember him, but I cannot even put a face to his name. I could not feel the loss like others around me could, but it was still very meaningful to me. Here it is...

We pass grave after grave. Each grave is all that is left of its person. The gravestones read unknown name after unknown name. 
No one says a word, only the wind speaks, and the eerie sound of the crowd breaths.
A rumble rolls over the ground. Airplane. Just ordinary over the silent, but the most unique kind of ordinary. 

Rest On Embalmed And Sainted Dead Dear As The Blood Ye Gave
No Impious Footsteps Here Shall Tread
The Herbage Of Your Grave

reads the gate we pass through. No one says a word, we do not think. We feel.

His coffin wades through the graves pulled by two moon-eyed stallions. And we fallow it. No one says a word, we do not think, we feel.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. 
Someone says these words, we do not think, we hear. 

What comfort can there be here? We ask without words. 
Three times we hear shots fired. They do not kill, just echo the death already made. 

On my own I feel nothing but from the stories that the tears in others tell, I feel something. I feel unfinished stories find an end. I feel unspoken words find a voice. I feel un-given love find a beginning. 

And the trumpets play our national anthem and my heart swells with pride. Then the real anthem plays when the Champlain raises his hands and promises peace from the one above. 

And there is life in all the dead, hope in all the broken, words in all the unspoken. Christ is the resurrection and the life. 
We all say words, we do not cry, we smile. 



Monday, March 2, 2015

You Will Be Hungry After This Post

Hair is not the only thing I experiment on. Cooking is another thing. For my brother's birthday on a snowy afternoon last week I made cupcakes, snicker-doodle with maple frosting at his request. 

Aren't snowy cold days the best for baking?

I took the chance to practice my photography. I have never photographed through the cupcake process before, but so many bloggers have done it  so it cannot be that hard, can it?

The flowers were so pretty. I could not resist.

My first rule when I bake is to start out with a clean kitchen. 

Second rule, turn on  music. 

Third rule, taste your batter.

It is an eggfie. Egg + selfie! Get it? Ok...maybe not...

I know, I know, some say raw egg is dangerous to eat. If so, baking is perilous, but true bakers must take the risk and taste their batter. How else are they going to catch their mistakes before it is too late? 

I am always inspired to bake after watching Food network. The night before, we watched the kid's baking championship. How do those little kids know all about baking when I still make mistakes? They have true talent. 

Talent is a fascinating subject, something I have been pondering lately. I remember Tim Hawkins once telling his audience during one of his shows, "Really the only difference between you and I is I've got the talent." The crowd roared with laughter. 

You don't have to know how many pictures of the cinnamon I actually took...

At a knitting group I went to the other night, we were sitting around laughing and chatting while we worked and one of the little girls stops us. 
"I want to say something!" She announces.
So we pause to listen. 
"Here I am surrounded by talented people," she motions to us all. "Knitters, artists, crocheters."
"You have talent too," we tell her. 
"You give hugs," someone puts in. 

This set me thinking, and as usual I spilled my thoughts out in my book. I wrote this fragment of After Ever After with talent in mind.

"I painted that," adds Gadella without a trace of pride in her voice. 
"What? How in the world? That is unbelievable. I wish I was talented like that!"
"Everyone has talent," she murmurs. "Some people's talent is just louder than others."
"I don't have any," I mumble back.
"You do, it is just soft. Soft but beautiful," Gadella tells me.

Soft talent. I think we forget the soft talents, but if we stopped and saw them we could recognize the beauty in them. The talents of giving, of smiling, of loving. They all go overlooked next to art and dancing and baking. Loud talent blows are minds but do we ever even notice the soft talents?

Well, so many blogs take pictures of those spotless kitchens. Let's be honest here. Baking means dirty dishes. I am just being real. 

What if we recognized for once the talent of the girl who shares hope everywhere she goes, or the talent of the boy who creates laughter in the world? Isn't that the neatest talent of all? 

So my challenge to you, yes you readers, is for you to recognize the soft talent in others this week? God gave us all gifts. Do not be blind to the softer ones. If you look close, you will find those are the most beautiful. 

It was way worse than it looks. Pretend you never heard that.

As far as baking goes, recognize my soft talent for spraying crumbs over the entire kitchen with the handheld mixer. Just kidding. 

Actually these cupcakes turned out crumbly, sugary, mouthwatering.  At least I liked them. Two people have already requested this recipe. Click here for the recipe where you can see even better pictures of these tasty goodies. Find the recipe for the sweet, addicting maple icing I used here. (My pictures of the iced cupcakes turned out bad due to bad lighting so they are not included) 

<3 storyteller

Ooops. One is missing. :)

Comment your favorite soft talent below?