Thursday, June 30, 2011


A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy? ~Albert Einstein 

Turning me loose in a grocery store in midsummer is dangerous. 

The bushels, baskets, and various bins filled to the brim with fresh fruit is almost enough to send me into a whirl of delight. 

There is something about the kiss of fresh fruit juice against my tongue, flowing down my throat in a rush of fluid sweetness, that is just the epitome of summertime refreshment. 

Can you imagine a world without the tart sweetness of kiwis and raspberries...

...the acidic refreshment of pineapples and oranges...

...the pure lusciousness of cherries and strawberries...

...the overflowing juiciness of peaches and mangoes...

...what kind of world would this be to live in without the tantalizing refreshment of fruit?

So much joy can be found in wandering through the fragrant orchards, groves, and berry patches of spring and summertime...wicker basket in hand, surrounded by luscious freshness waiting to be picked.  

The gifts from Heaven are abundant in nature -- love and affection from friends, summery breezes and the softness of grass between my toes...the list goes on and on. 

But fruit?

This is a gift that was once our downfall and is now our delight. 

The shame that was brought on mankind by a sinful bite will be renewed in the Garden of the Lord. 

Fruit is more than a summertime pleasure.

It is a reminder of things to come in the Heavenly realms.

And this increases its delight tenfold. 

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse..." ~Revelation 22:1-3

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The one good thing about not seeing you is that I can write you letters.  ~Svetlana Alliluyeva

I am a huge advocate for the written word. 

Honestly, as much as I love and rely on technology for communications with the world beyond my own doorstep...

...there is something so heartfelt about a hand-penned letter, placed in a hand-licked and carefully address envelope, and slipped into a mailbox. 

It requires patience and love and a steadfast hand. 

It's a discipline and a virtue, one of which I am a devoted follower. 

I received my first penpal at the tender age of 11 with a little girl I met through a Christian children's magazine...

...and then continued with my letter-writing delights at the age of 14 with a guy friend I met at Family Camp, with whom I still have a wonderful friendship with to this very day.

And now, I have just recently begun a new mailbox-connected friendship with my beautiful friend Grace of Puddles of Memories

There is something so entrancing about the idea about sitting down at a table, taking a pen between my fingers, and allowing my thoughts to flow out from me onto the page...

...sharing everything, no matter how trivial, with someone who waits in a different part of the country to hear my soul's musings. 

There is magic in the art of the pen and paper. 

The computer has its delights and its requirements, that is certain. 

But the whispered mystery of the written word...

...novels made of paper, fragrant with ink and unspoken promises of lands to come...

...the scritching sound made as my pen traces across the blank page of a eagerly-waiting journal, aching to fill its empty spaces with teardrops and overwhelming joys...

...letters written in the careful hand of a patient and tender friend... 

These things have held me spellbound all my life.

And regardless of technology,

I would rather hold the words in my palm. 

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.  ~Walt Whitman

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fleurs et du Thé (Flowers and Tea)

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

The attributes of summer are endless.

I've probably written ten posts so far just on the glories of summertime, and each little wonder just waiting to be uncovered with each fluttering breeze...

...each one more hypnotizing and more beautiful than the next. 

Fireflies and fresh air...sunsets and dust motes captures in rays of brilliant sunlight...cotton sundresses and bare feet...Jane Austen novels and the tartness of lemonade...all set to the tune of Regina Spektor and Owl City.

Can it get any better than this?

Oh yes, I truly think so.

I honestly believe that any of these beautiful attributes of summer can be amplified with a steaming mug of tea and a wandering stroll through a floral-scented garden.

There is magic found in the bottom of a mug of tea. 

There is whispers of fairy dust and early morning mystery found in dew drops clinging to daisy petals. 

Whether it's curled up in a soft leather chair in a local coffee shop, Harry Potter between my fingertips and a flower tucked behind my ear...

...or standing in the middle of a wide open field, soft grass between my toes and a straw hat hanging down my back, my hair long and loose in the wind and a blanket spread and waiting beneath a maple tree...'s that fragrance of tea and rose petals that lingers...

...and that turns even the most commonplace of locations into a summertime fairyland. 

tea leaves
                                                                                                  tea loves
loves tea
lives tea
leaves tea?
~Uniek Swain

Monday, June 27, 2011


It's a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.  ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Time is a funny thing. 

It can move as slowly or as quickly as it wants, depending on your own hopes and wishes...

...and yet, it is so entirely reliable all at the same time. Things repeat themselves in the most calm and reassuring cycle. Dates and times moving forward and yet circling in a gradual loop. 

365 days in a year. 28-31 days in a month. 7 days in a week. 

But I will admit...sometimes, I wish I could make time move as I chose. 

I wish I could borrow Hermione's Time-Turner. 

I wish I could freeze moments in time...those moments that make you feel more alive than you've ever felt in your life...your skin afire and your breath tingling like electricity in your lungs. 

I wish I could speed up certain events...passing through the heartbreak of the current moments, silencing the inner struggles and casting away the Dementors in my own mind as easily as though I wielded the power of the Patronus. 

I wish I could rewind...go back to moments in my past and fix them...make different decisions and not act like such a foolish child, and maybe save myself some pain and heartache in the long run. 

But then I realize...what purpose would that serve?

What would I learn if I change my past?

What would it serve to me to feel nothing of pain or sorrow...what growth would I obtain?

And if certain moments were frozen and repeatable, what sort of precious would they be? Would they not fade into something trivial and empty, nothing to be rejoiced it at all? 

As much as I envy Hermoine her Time-Turner...

...I do think that I shall live in the present 

and savor my own moments 

as they occur. 

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." ~Matthew 6:34

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.  ~Kahlil Gibran

To the right is a picture of me. A picture of which I am honestly not all that fond.

I am not wearing even the tiniest bit of hair is wind-tossed and blown out of proportion by humid summer winds.

It's not my best look. Not even a little bit.

Normally, I would never even consider posting a picture such as this one for all the world to see. 

However, there is a reason behind this strange behavior.


The above jumble of letters stands for People Are Imperfect Campaign For Bloggers Who Are Awesome -- a truly brilliant idea started by Olivia and her simply spectacular blog, Of Horsefeathers

The concept? To embrace ourselves as truly beautiful and imperfect women.

The challenge? To post a photograph of ourselves with all the external "beautifiers" stripped away. 

To be entirely real.

I will be entirely transparent and say that I am a very insecure individual. There are so many things I dislike about many things that, if given the chance, I would take away or add in a heartbeat. 

I struggle to love myself....and as such, I struggle to let myself be loved by others, even those who look me deep in my eyes and whisper "you're beautiful" every single day. 

In my own eyes, my own beauty is non-existent. 

And so, I war with myself.

But this is a step for me.

Perhaps a small step...maybe even more of a two-inch wiggle. 

But it's movement forward. 

Sans makeup...sans styling.

One tiny step at a time.

I'm learning to love me.

I'm learning to be imperfect. 

I don't like standard beauty - there is no beauty without strangeness.  ~Karl Lagerfeld


Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength. He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places. ~Habakkuk 3:18-19

At this moment, I am overwhelmed.

So many things have come at me at once...and I am simply lost in the glory and incredible love of my Savior.

The response to my giveaway within in the first eight hours of its posting caught me entirely off-guard. The way my family, friends, and followers have showered me with love and support is beyond anything I could have ever anticipated...

...and I cannot wait to see what the next month has in store.

My sister, who is currently overseas in Germany for the next three months, has made a true effort to stay connected with me...even though we have both been struggling in recent days with our relationship.

People in my life who have covered me in prayer...loved me and wanted me, despite my endless list of weaknesses and insecurities, and made an effort to keep me in their lives...their love is remarkable.

The reality of all of these incredible occurrences is enough to draw me to my knees and bring tears of joy pouring down my face.

This is more than I deserve.

I cannot even fathom it fully.

I am undone.

This entire process, however, has put something powerful in the forefront of my mind.

I no longer want to be happy.

Being happy comes and goes...emotions fade in and out like flower petals in a gale.

I want joy.

I want lasting peace and enduring love that stays at my side, regardless of what pain I endure....regardless of what is said to me, or thought of me...casting aside the happiness that only the world can bring.

I want to rejoice.

In light and in life and in love and in heartbreak...

...I want to overflow in peace.

In joy.

In Him.

He has made me strong. He has FLOODED me with Himself in ways that my human mind flounders to understand.

And that is where I want to stay.

Overcome by joy.

The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting. ~C.S. Lewis

Friday, June 24, 2011


There was no point in worrying yet.... what would come, would come... and he would have to meet it when it did.  ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

There is something intensely mysterious about a suitcase...

...or a carpet bag...

...or even a purse. 

Because, if you think about it long enough, you will realize that lying within each of these leather and cloth containers are a collection of seemingly innocent objects that add up to compile a picture of our hearts.  

Your clothes, folded neatly and pressed to a fault in the manner of a detail-oriented perfectionist...or tossed helter-skelter in a rumpled and artistic manner, speaking of a free spirit. 

Your shoes...are they sensible sneakers for hurrying from place to place...or perhaps they're a pair of beautiful open-toed high heels, perfect for country lanes strolls...or just maybe, you left your shoes behind altogether, leaving your feet free to wander gypsy-like across grassy knolls or wide-open fields. 

Your jewelry -- artistic or practical, delicate or bold, flashy or subtle...what does this say about your style, about your personal flair. 

Are there books tossed admit the fabric? What wistful fairytales and poetic tomes are contained within the piles of jeans and cotton dresses?

Do you travel with a photo or two, captured memories of those you love...those whom you leave behind, and yet, who keep your heart close to them regardless of whither you wander in the world? 

Is there a pen and paper, a journal perhaps? A camera or soft charcoal to capture sights yet unseen?

Are there bottles of the purest water, or small boxes of aromatic teas and freshly-ground coffee to tantalize your tastebuds? 

Which do you prefer: a faint smearing of opaque gloss to give just the faintest shine to your already beautiful lips, or a richly coloured stick to bring your sweetness to a new height? 

Whatever you pack...whatever your luggage says about your soul...the truth remains universally the same. 

The journey may be long or short, easy or difficult, uplifting or heartbreaking.

But in the end, it is a journey, regardless what happens along the way.

And eventually, you will arrive at your destination...

...bags in tow, your personality tucked in your back pocket. 

So pick up your suitcase

and meet the gypsy road.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say. ~J.R.R. Tolkien 

Présent (The First Giveaway)

Item No. 1
Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can. ~Danny Kaye

To enter the August giveaway, go here.

The day has arrived.

The day to begin the first Inspired Monthly Giveaway.

Yes, technically, the plan was to wait until July1st to begin. However, as of yesterday morning, I hit 100 followers, and I simply got far too excited to wait another moment.

And goes.

Our first fabulous giveaway is courtesy of the lovely Holly at Five Little Gems

Holly has generously donated three of her AMAZING pieces to this giveaway, and I could not be more delighted with her work. Her entire shop is flooded with stunningly beautiful necklaces, earrings, hair combs, wire work, and more. 

I can honestly say that I have the faintest twinges of envy for those who will be receiving her beautiful artistry through this giveaway...if only I could win... 

Item No. 2
The items to be won are shown in order throughout the post, and here they are: 

Item No. 1: Burgundy pearl bar necklace with antiqued gold

Item No. 2. Denim blue jade faded nugget bar necklace

Item No. 3: Pink crystal and grey pearl earrings

Here is how to enter in this giveaway (each entry number counts as +1, and each one must be left in a separate comment)!

Entry No. 1 (required entry): Comment on this post with your favorite lovely "simple" things that you enjoy in the spring and summer months. What little joys make you smile, the things that would normally be overlooked in daily life?

Entry No. 2 (required entry): Follow/be already following the blog, and post my BLOG button (not my 100 posts button!) somewhere on your blog.

Entry No. 3: Tweet/blog/both about the giveaway, and either leave the link to the post or your Twitter username in your comment.

Item No. 3 
Entry No. 4: Go to Holly's shop and pick a favorite item from her listings. Be sure to tell me what it is about that item that draws you in. Also, follow Holly on Twitter (hollynichols1) and add Five Little Gems  to your favorite shops, if you have an Etsy.  

There are three items to be won, and as such, three winners will be randomly chosen (using www. on July 31st. Winners will have 48 hours to contact me, or a new winner for each "abandoned" item will be chosen. 

I am incredibly excited, overwhelmed, overjoyed, and blessed by this entire process...I really hope that you are, too!

It's the simple things, the little things that illuminate my heart with joy. 

I cannot wait to see

that same joy

in you.

To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can teach.  ~Havelock Ellis