Of Thankfulness and a Few Photos

Today is a lovely day.  It is not too cold, and I have finally warmed up.  I was cold most of the morning.  I need to switch to my winter clothes, and stop attempting to wear short-sleeved shirts, even if I do put a sweater over them.  ‘Cause I get cold.  But most of my winter clothes are thick, warm sweaters.  That makes it a bit hard to make a transition. 


That was NOT what I was planning to post about.  And I am sure that you didn’t exactly want to know about that.  But it just came.  Hmmm.

I have started listening to Christmas music already.  Not all Christmas music.  Just a few of my favorite songs.  And they are not the traditional songs.  Some non-traditional songs.

And they make me think.  They make me think about what I have.  My family.  My home.  Our lovely property. 

Really, just my life in general. 

I am so happy with my life.  I love it.  I am so glad this is where I am, right here, right now.

I am so glad that God has given my brothers and sisters, so I can influence them, and they can influence me.  It has been so fun growing up with them.  I love the late-night talks Drake and I have, talking about anything and everything.

I love being able to see where I am now, and look back and see where I’ve been.  Of course I don’t have a lot to look back on since I am only 17, but I look forward to the compounding memories, and to being able to look back and trace God’s providence through it all.

I love my life.  I feel like I have it the best that I could.

But I don’t love it in a way that I never want it to change.  I don’t want to push pause and stay here forever.

I love where I am.  But I am looking forward to what He has in store for me. 


Now here are a few pictures that I  have taken over the last few days.  This one is from German night (last week’s country).  The dinner did turn out FANTASTICALLY and we will have to make that again.



Making the spaetzle – I didn’t take that many pictures.  Confession:  I stressed.  So I didn’t take that many.

It turns out that spaetzle expand to about three or four times their original size when they hit the boiling water.  These in the picture, once cooked, where quite large.  We started cutting them smaller, and then Mom came to help us cut, and she cut them into the tiniest little bits.  They were the size all the spaetzle should have been.. Thanks, Mom!

I mentioned before that we made applesauce.  The first batch made 12 quarts and 3 pints.  We were able to get a second bushel of apples and that made 17 quarts and 1 pint.  I think we could use a few more quarts, but if we don’t, it’s not that big of a deal. 


Meiling running the strainer.  You insert the apples slices (skin, core, and all) in on side, and it separates it into applesauce and skin/seeds.  We usually run the skin/seeds through again just to make sure we get all the good stuff.  I love this thing!

Lucy was waiting for Meiling (or anyone, really) to drop something.  🙂  She’s just so cute!


Noah cutting apples


Daddy put noise cancelling headphones on Meiling (the mixer makes a bit of noise that can get a bit monotonous).  Meiling was such a great helper and worked the machine almost the whole time for the first batch of apples!


The canner and the pot of applesauce


Warm applesauce – this is AMAZING with a sprinkle of cinnamon

Of a Conference, Friends, Fellowship, and Exhaustion

Last Friday Mom and us children drove up North to attend the conference “By Every Word,” a conference about the importance of the law of God.  We had left in the morning so that we could make it, not just to the conference on time, but to our friends’ home.  They were making dinner for us.  We would be spending 3 days with them, and I could hardly wait.  Last time we spent time with them, we had so much fun.  That time we still were getting to know them (well, aren’t you still getting to know any of your friends when you spend time with them? we knew the L.’s, but not that well).  To tell you the truth, I couldn’t even remember Kristen’s name.  No joke.  I haven’t forgotten it since (except in those way-over-exhausted moments throughout the weekend).  This time we new them pretty well.  And Melissa, another good friend of ours, was also staying with them.  I knew we were going to have so much fun.

We arrived a bit after 5, which was later than we had wanted to.  We were still in time for dinner, and had plenty of time to get to the conference.  After dinner (and some talking of course – there would be a ton of that over the weekend) we drove to the hotel, where the conference was being held.

Dr. Morecraft’s talk was really good.  He spoke on how all laws are religious, and how we can’t be neutral.

(Insert funny story here:  I paused typing here to go take care of the laundry.  When I was finished, Noah was downstairs.  I thought he looked a little glum.  So I asked him what was the matter.  He said nothing.  Despite the fact that he said he wasn’t unhappy, I still thought that he needed some cheering up.  So I started singing the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” song.  That’s when Mom appeared on the stairs.

“Don’t you know that the insurance guys are here?”

Great.  No one told me.  I didn’t even know that they were coming.  So here I am (in full earshot) singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Just as I was getting the guts up to go upstairs (and act like I hadn’t been singing “Don’t Worry Be Happy” in the basement), I decided to go up the back stairs and enter the upstairs through the garage.  A better way to disassociate myself with the singing.  Then, as I enter the house, I recognize one of the insurance agents.  Great.  No way to disassociate myself now.)

Back to the story: Once we came back to the L.’s house, we all didn’t go to bed like a bunch of good little children.  Who would?  Really?  The party was just getting started!

After some more eating (and Melissa broke out her chocolate covered espresso beans – mmm, where they good!) we migrated over to the family room.  We now spent the remainder of the evening – and some of the morning – talking.

The next day there were 5 talks plus a Q&A session.  Since the hotel had coffee, Laura and I brought hot chocolate packages to make mochas.  And we did.  And they were good.  And they helped us stay awake.

The conference was done by dinner time.  We went back to the L.’s home for dinner with them and another family that we are good friends with.  We then proceeded to stay up very late again, despite our previous late night, early morning, and the early morning tomorrow.  Fun, fun, fun.

Sunday, after church, was the fellowship meal.  I really enjoyed getting some more time to chat with all our friends around the lunch table, and then again after lunch.  We went and sat under the gazebo, where there was shade and a lovely breeze was stirring.  It felt like a lovely spring day.

We left the park at 6:30, and went over to my mom’s cousin’s home for a surprise visit.  We did give her quite a surprise, and she and mom had a nice time talking.

When we got back to the L.’s home, we broke out the leftovers again, since it we were hungry. 🙂  Next, I got the grand tour of Kristen’s closet, just as she had promised.  Then Melissa painted Kristen’s toes and my toes.  Mine are an adorable red that is so absolutely cute.  I am in love with it (if you haven’t guessed that yet).  I am going to have to buy it.  There are no pictures of them now, but don’t worry.  There will be plenty in the next post.  I even did a photo shoot of my toes in the car. 🙂

Since we left the L.’s on Monday morning, this seems like an opportune moment to pause this narrative.  It will be resumed in a later post.


Friday night – Laura, a fellow photographer


Dr. Morecraft


My cute pen


Saturday Morning – Dr. Carlsen


Saturday evening – Aren’t Kristen’s shoes and skirt just so cute!?


Feet 🙂


Kristen – the lighting was amazing

Drake’s Birthday

Yesterday was my brother Drake’s birthday.  To celebrate his birthday, Drake picked to go see Avengers in the theater.  It was great – I hope to see it again!

I love you lots, Drake!  Happy Birthday!


Drake started the day with pulling out our old Nintendo game consuls and playing games.  Other people also took turns.


Chipotle for lunch, before the movie – Like father, like son.


Drake and Mom


Drake, waiting in line


Drake likes to make funny faces.


Noah and I were waiting – reserving a table – while everyone else went through the line.  I was a little bored, so I started taking pictures.




Our table




The ceiling


This one is rather tipped, but I still liked it






Tabasco sauce!  I didn’t use any. 🙂


Drake suggested this for my lens picture.  He even supplied the burrito! 🙂


Going to see Avengers – Iron Man is Drake’s favorite.  He wants the suit.  The funny face is because he kept closing his eyes and was trying to keep them open.


Waiting for the movie to start – I like how this shot turned out, even if it is too red.


Drake kindly took a picture of me with my favorite Avengers character.  Don’t mind Thor looking over my shoulder.  I’m not tall enough to block him out. 🙂  I can’t quite pick a favorite Avenger – she was definitely my favorite at the moment, though.


Meiling’s favorite Avenger, or as she says, ‘Venger.


Eating dinner




…and French fries


Drake and his birthday pie!


Don’t forget – if you haven’t entered the giveaway, you still have time!  Go here to enter!

Building Your House

“The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.”
                                            ~Proverbs 14:1

Whenever I thought of this verse, I always thought of them in the context of a married woman.  I imagined it as applying to the woman who had her own home, but never really applied them to myself.  The other day I was thinking when it suddenly dawned on me.

“I can tear down my house now,” I thought.  Sure, it wouldn’t be in quite the same way now as it would be when I am a wife/mother, but I could still be tearing down my house or building it up.

In what ways could I be tearing it down?  Well, to name a few, speaking unkindly or discouragingly to my family members, being disobedient to my parents, being lazy, and not taking time for my siblings.

How could I instead be building my house?  I could be encouraging my family members, be helpful, be obedient to my parents, try to make time for my siblings, and just plain be humble.

Now to be honest, this is an area that I am in no way doing well in.  Quite the contrary.  In looking back, I have probably been doing plenty of tearing down.  I need to be trying to build up, instead of unconsciously tearing down.

What do you think about this verse?  How do you apply this verse?


Through Him Who Strengthens Me

About three years ago we started using Foxe’s Book of Martyrs with our history curriculum.  It was one of those books I would get lost in – read some, do the assigned reading, and read some more.  After reading all those stories of the cruel torture and deaths, I began pondering, “If I was to be persecuted for my faith, would I hold fast?”

Thinking about suffering torture and death often made me shutter, and I hoped that I would stand fast.  I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to pain, though, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t hold fast.

This past Sunday at church, our pastor mentioned Philippians 4:13 in his sermon, and said that Christ would strengthen us in persecution (and more).

I memorized this verse years ago, but when I was thinking about persecution, it never occurred to me that this verse applied to that, too.  So if I were to be persecuted, even tortured, I wouldn’t have to be worried about standing fast – His grace would be sufficient for each moment.

So whether being persecuted or just dealing with those little daily trials, he strengthens us through it all.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

-Philippians 3:14

Reformation Day

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his ninety-five thesis on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany.  This one act was the beginning of the Reformation, which led to a return to many biblical doctrines, such as the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.  Some of the rallying cries of the Reformation are:

Solus Christus – by Christ Alone

Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone

Sola Gratia – by Grace Alone

Sola Fide – by Faith Alone

Coram Deo – in the Presence of God

Soli Deo Gloria – to God be the Glory

Communio Sanctorum – the Priesthood of Every Believer

Post Tenebras Lux – After Darkness, Light*

I am inspired by reading the stories of these great men of faith (Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others).  I feel so blessed to be a child of God, and to be able to call these men my brothers in Christ.

Happy Reformation Day!

Soli Deo Gloria!

*These were taken from a paper compiled by Pastor Marcus J. Serven, Th. M., titled “The Rallying Cries of the Reformation”