To Admire Yellow Roses

One evening, after an exhausting but rewarding day spent dancing, I rested in my kitchen.  I couldn’t help but gaze at the glowing blooms adorning the center of the oak table.  They were vibrant, silky, petals opening with the color of the morning sunrise or the evening sunset.  Any of you that really know me can probably guess what I did next.  Grabbing the small black camera that had already been used so many times that day at the recital, I snapped about a hundred (well maybe fewer) pictures of the gorgeous roses.  I thought I would share a little warmth of summer with you! :)

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The Best of Friends

    “Have you ever had a friend with whom it was hard to keep acquainted?  You parted on good terms and thought of her/him as a friend all the time, but when you met again you found that once more you must become acquainted.  I have had such experiences and found them unsatisfactory.  I would rather a friend be a friend all the time.” Taken from Beautiful Girlhood, by Karen Andreola

Have you had any such experience?  I know I have.  When you see that good friend again, after some time and some distance apart, an uncomfortable feeling seems to grow up inside you and suddenly you feel shy.  The same person who you once knew so very well is now a stranger to you.  After some time, a conversation might bloom, but it will not come easy and will taken much effort to start.  If you find these circumstances unpleasant just as I do, you must discover how to prevent them.  You might not be able to see your friend for quite a while, but you may still communicate.  You know as well as I do, that if you where to converse through letters, email, and the telephone during your time apart, you would stay acquainted with your friend, and it would be easy when you saw them once again.

A true friend really knows you inside and out.  You are only a real friend when you learn to like the inside of a person and not just the outside.  There is a good feeling when you know that you can just be yourself.   You can do this around a friend that really cares.  Friends give suggestions that are not always easy to hear.  Friends understand when you are hurting inside.  Some people find it easy to build a huge circle of “friends” around them of people who they can talk to when they’re bored or want to have a good time.  But in times of need, these “friends” turn their back.  It is harder to find a true friend who will never leave you and will stand by you no matter what.  I believe that it is important to make friends with your family.  Because in the end, if no one else is there, your family, hopefully, will be.  But above all, it is very important to become a friend of God.  And just like a friend on this earth, you will find it necessary to stay acquainted with Him every day.  Then you will  really know him.  When you think about it, who knows you better than God?  He created you inside and out!  He loves your insides and your outsides.  He is the best friend you could have.

If you find it hard to talk to people around you, than you are not alone.  Sometimes, I feel very alone, standing outside of the “circle of buddies”.  I walk around thinking no one wants to talk to me.  This may be true, but I cannot assume that people don’t talk to me because there is something wrong with me.  Sometimes I find it very easy to talk to everyone in my class, etc.  And they also talk to me.  But even though I don’t have a huge circle of “friendly acquaintances” I have three very dear friends and I have the best friend of all.  His name is Jesus.

I encourage you to invest in a friendship that will never end.  And if you need to talk to someone, don’t worry, Jesus is always listening!  I also want to remind you to stay acquainted with your true friends.  You don’t want to lose them.  And if you don’t have a true friend yet, and you can’t seem to find one, just ask God and he will help you search!

Below is a poem a true friend once gave me:

The Best of Friends

by Jill Wolf

The best of friends,

can change a frown

into a smile,

when you feel down.

~

The best of friends,

will understand,

your little trials,

and lend a hand.

~

The best of friends,

will always share,

your secret dreams

because they care.

~

The best of friends,

worth more than gold,

give all the love,

a heart can hold.

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A Day at the Park

The other day my family and I took a trip to the park.  I didn’t have my best camera with me, but I was able to take a few “okay” shots.  Hope you enjoy them.

 ~

 The field was full of dandilions.  Make a wish!

My brother goes around on the merry-go-round.

The old unusable basketball hoop caught my attention.

A train passed by while we were there.

My favorite part is the tire swing. It always has, it always will.

Just outside the park, I captured a fallen log in the woods.

Well, that’s all for now. Thanks for taking this little trip to the park with me.

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How to Make an Origami Crane

I love folding origami cranes.  I am convinced that I have made hundreds of them, big and tiny!  I finally decided it was time for me to photograph and create a short step-by-step tutorial on how to made one, despite the numerous versions of tutorials already out there.  Below are pictures of each folding process.  To view the photo in its larger size, simply click on the photo you wish to see in more detail.  I hope these photos will help you as you make your very own origami crane.  For an animation video of one being made please visit my post: The Art of Origami

All you need is:

  • A thin piece of square colored paper (or origami paper)
  • Your hands

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Once Upon A Time…

Once upon a time, on an ordinary, rainy afternoon, the minds of two children sailed away on a not-so-very ordinary adventure.  The lively adventure that only comes to those who read.  Any morning, afternoon, or night can grow into exciting day if you take the time to open a book and paint a picture between the lines of exciting text.  Below I have made a few lists of books I or someone else in my family has thoroughly enjoyed.  There is a list for each age group and if you are interested in a certain book, click on the title and the link will bring you to a page with more information.  Many if not all of these treasures can be hunted for and borrowed at your local fortress of literture (or library lol).

Books for Children of a Young Age (This is a list of books that my younger sister has especially enjoyed)

  

Soup Day is a delightful but simple book about one girl’s soup day from start to finish.  My sister read it in story-time once months ago and she hasn’t stopped reading it since.  She doesn’t know how to read, but since everyone in the family has read it to her trillions of times, she knows every word and can sit down and “read” it for herself.  There is something homey about this book.  Children thrive on routine, and the simple delight in this book with make this your children’s or siblings’ favorite book as well.  The illustrations are creative and fun.  They make me hungry for the warmth soup can bring, any time of the day.

This book demonstrates a quiet, simple life, which children love.  Once again, my sister has this book memorized! She “reads” it to me!  Her favorite lines from the book: “the bunnies bathed with daisy soap in silver bunny tubs, then wrapped in fluffy towels for mother bunny rubs”…”…the bunnies found a bungalow a cozy bunny home. They live there still, they always will, they made it all their own.”  This book is cozy and sweet and perfectly demonstrates a simple, family life full of the simple pleasures that are the most important after all.

A warm book full of beautiful poems written by the famous Robert Louis Stevenson.  The pictures, illustrated by Tasha Tudor, are full of imagination and color.  This is a breathtaking book which will introduce your youngest children to the wonderful world of poetry.  Every night, I would read these poems as my little sister drifted off to sleep.  This book contains some of the most well-known poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson, including The Swing, My Shadow, Bed in Summer, The Land of Counterpane, and many others.  The poems included in this book seem to be endless. 

  • “The Valentine Foxes” by Clyde Watson

Every year on Valentines Day, my mom borrows this book from the library.  This is a cute book, illustrating the joys (and frustrations) of day-to-day life.  The story is about a family of foxes preparing for Valentines Day.  The young foxes get carried away as they glue hearts and paper to everything in the dining room.  When mother fox is too busy with baby fox, the young foxes lend a helping hand and decide to make the special valentine cake themselves.  Not only is this a wonderful little story, there is a mouth-watering recipe for the foxes’ valentine cake in the back of the book.  Our family has made it a few times and we all agree that it is our favorite.  I encourage you to borrow this book from your local library next Valentines Day or any day of the year!

This book, full to the brim with music, has always been a favorite of mine since I was a young child.  The story includes a CD of musical accompaniment that goes along with the book.  The story will introduce your children to every type of music imaginable!  From classical, jazz, or blues, to opera, bluegrass, or country, the music is delightful and very beautiful.  I strongly recommend this book to anyone!

A List of Books for Older Children (This is a list of books that I have especially enjoyed)

My friend recommended this book to me and I eagerly read it shortly after.  It is an amazing true story about two young sisters and their journey of faith.  The girls are captured by indians and taken far away from their families to indian camps.  Their home is destroyed, their father murdered, and they are even separated, but they hold on to their faith during the hardest time of their life.  This book is exciting and attention-gripping.  It also demonstrates a faith in God that can never be broken.  I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end.

  • “The Elsie Dinsmore Series,” by Martha Finley

Once I began this wonderful series of books, I couldn’t put them down.  They portray such an inward beauty in the main character, Elsie Dinsmore.  The books begin during Elsie’s girlhood years and end in Elsie’s last years of life.  The first two books are my favorite, but I enjoyed all of them with equal pleasure.  If you or your daughters have never read this series, I plead with you to do so now.  You will cherish these books once you have read them.  Elsie’s strong moral character and unwavering love for the Bible and her Father is heaven are a perfect example to young girls of all ages.  Girls will be inspired by Elsie’s will to never displease her heavenly father in any possible way, no matter what persecution and rejection she must endure.  This is what makes a truly beautiful person, inside and out. 

This is a exciting yet heartbreaking book about a young Christian Jew during WWII.  Adolph Hitler’s ominous statements seem only a distant threat to eleven-year-old Rudi Kaplan. But when the Nazi forces invade Poland and bomb his home city of Warsaw, Rudi finds out that he is Hitler’s enemy not only because he is a Pole but also because he’s a Jew and a Christian.The next few years change Rudi’s life forever. With only his imprisoned father’s promise that they will be reunited after the war, Rudi must learn how to survive in hiding, how to be truly brave, and how to overcome the hatred of his enemies. He must learn to die to himself and to trust the God who is mightier than any army.  Can Rudy put trust in his father’s promise, or even more importantly, his Heavenly Father’s promise that He will never leave him nor forsake him.  I have read this book so many times both by myself and with my family.  I encourage you to read it for yourself.
  • “Letters From Rifka,” by Karen Hesse

My mother read this book to my brother and I about two years ago.  It has been one of my favorite books since.  I remember listening intently to every word.  Rifka’s story is inspiring and I love how she wrote everything down between the margins of her Russian poetry book.
 Twelve-year-old Rifka’s journey from a Jewish community in the Ukraine to Ellis Island is anything but smooth sailing. Modeled on the author’s great-aunt, Rifka surmounts one obstacle after another in this riveting novel. First she outwits a band of Russian soldiers, enabling her family to escape to Poland. There the family is struck with typhus. Everyone recovers, but Rifka catches ringworm on the next stage of the journey–and is denied passage to America (“If the child arrives . . . with this disease,” explains the steamship’s doctor, “the Americans will turn her around and send her right back to Poland”). Rifka’s family must leave without her, and she is billeted in Belgium for an agreeable if lengthy recovery. Further trials, including a deadly storm at sea and a quarantine, do not faze this resourceful girl. Told in the form of “letters” written by Rifka in the margins of a volume of Pushkin’s verse and addressed to a Russian relative, Hesse’s vivacious tale colorfully and convincingly refreshes the immigrant experience. Ages 9-12.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
 
There are so many more books that I could list on my top favorites, but I couldn’t possibly post them all here.  For more lists of books I recommend, please visit my Books page.

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Oh My! Times Does Fly!

Today, I am celebrating my birthday.   The years have gone by so quickly!  It all seems like just yesterday!  I often miss those days when everything seemed so simple.  When I didn’t have school and the business of life to worry about.  When I could run through my Florida backyard completely barefoot in the heat of summer.  When I could play all day without a care in the world.  When I could just be a child.  Childhood is a wonderful thing.  Children enjoy life to its fullest and are never afraid of just being themselves. 

But I am thankful for memories… 

Memories of all of the things I was able to do in those short years of childhood.  Memories of exciting trips to Disney World, Washington D.C, or Grandma’s House.  Memories of friends I have grown up with since kindergarten, or have enjoyed since 5th grade.  The thrill of finally getting a puppy after praying for many years is a feeling that is not soon forgotten.  But most of all I am thankful for the memory of family.  The night I saw my brother for the first time; camping with my dad; going on excursions in little mountain towns with my mom; the weekend my little sister was born.  These are times I will never forget…on my birthday and always.

I thought I would post something special for this day that I think you, my kindred spirits, will especially enjoy.  Here are a few pictures of me (and maybe even my sweet brother) throughout the early years. 

 

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