“If you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it... But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.

~Frank Lloyd Wright

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Wintry Weekend

- First off, can I just say that I love my new camera I was given for Christmas? A Nikon D3300 - it's such a beauty. I'm having a blast fiddling around with all the settings. I can just do so much more than with my old point-and-shoot! It focuses on the little details, and is absolutely amazing. 


   





- I found this meme when searching for brilliant Newman quotes on the benefits of a liberal arts education. Because yes, scholarship essays are a real thing. Even when they're just a slim chance for a full ride, you know, that's something. Gotta throw in all you got.
But anyway, Newman's such a boss. 


- I've been reminiscing about my lovely visit with Peregrin a little while ago... (we did this photoshoot thing.  At the cutest coffee shop ever.)

- This bitter, bitter cold weather has been the perfect time for just curling up on the couch and reading Emma. ♥ (that heart can't even be big enough to properly express my love for that book)

- Having snow at last, after a bleak month without, has been making me a lot more reconciled to winter.  Even the frigid temperatures have a benefit, because they mean we can now skate on our frozen pond.  I had so much fun doing that both yesterday and today, and actually kept warm too!



- In case you didn't already know, Saturday afternoons are the perfect time for baking. Yesterday I enjoyed experimenting with a new kind of gluten-free bread, and then wound up with some chocolate chip cookies of course. :)  Just like reading books, baking is something you just HAVE to do when everything turns icy outside.  (Especially when it involves chocolate.)

- I was admiring this elegant hairstyle the other day. Isn't it just gorgeous? And looks fairly simple to do... I think I'll have to give it a try. It just reminds me of Downton Abbey. 

- This weekend my dad finally bought plane tickets for my two college visits in early February! I'll be swinging by Benedictine and then on to southern California to visit TAC, all in one trip!  Honestly, I don't know how I'm going to wait that long. I mean, I'm actually going out to California at last!! I can't even believe it's really true sometimes...

- March for Life is in less than two weeks. O_o That's amazing, and fantastic, and super exciting, all rolled up into one.  I absolutely cannot wait to go for the second year in a row. :)

- Honestly though, why do all my assignments and scholarship essays and debate things all have to be due this week?  It's really ridiculous how many deadlines I have coming up...  So much to be done, so little time. But in all the craziness of senior year, I think I'm really discovering how important it is to just step back sometimes. To step back, and treasure the little moments.

the feel of the icy wind biting your cheek as you skim across the ice...

the taste of chocolate melting in your mouth...

the shimmer of the trees all covered in ice...

the look of the sunlight across the snow...

the funny things your little brother says...

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“Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering” 
― Ida Scott Taylor

Sometimes that's just really important.  To enjoy the little things, notice the glorious sunsets, recognize the beauty in the everyday things of life. 


Thursday, January 1, 2015

~ Lessons from 2014 ~


I discovered so many things this past year... both about myself and the world around me.  I feel like last winter I was a totally different person than I am now. This whole growing up thing, you know. It's so stressful at times, but honestly, so beautiful at others when you realize how far you've come.  As I pondered the vast multitude of everything that has flooded my life in 2014, these were things I learned that stood out.

I. Books. I have been awed by the beauty of Janette Oke's writing, brilliance of Chesterton, sheer amazingness of Dickens, and cleverness of Tolstoy. I delved deeper into the awesomeness of JP2, St. Thér èse, Mother Teresa, and many other holy men and women.  I've been inspired by Tolkien more times than I can count, and really just discovered more than ever before my love of great literature.   Books. Are. Amazing.

II. Coming from my first point, it's thus imperative to have a very large bookcase. I definitely learned that this year.

III. Blogger friends are amazing.  Especially when you get to know them really well in real life too.  Some truly wonderful friends have entered my life this year, and I am just so grateful.

IV. Live life fully. Get out there and do things. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone.  Live, laugh, love.

V. Hard work pays off.  Studying pays off.  If you crack down and really prepare and learn that material, you can get an A even in a very difficult class.  If you don't work hard, you won't get that good grade.  It's honestly sometimes as simple as that. (Now of course it does depend on how hard/easy the class is, and how much sheer natural brilliance you have, I suppose.  Some people can pull off impressive things without studying... But whatever. Working hard still pays off.)

VI. Studying Italian is ever so much better than Latin. ;)

VII. God needs to be first in your life. Always.

VIII. Time is precious. Don't waste it. This is something I really still have to work on remembering, but I feel like it's been hammered into my head quite a bit this year.  There's this song by Marie Bellet, a Catholic music artist, called "What I Wouldn't Give" - it just pulls on my heartstrings.  what i wouldn't give is what hurt me most of all... When we refuse to give others our time and our love, that what we often regret later. What we didn't do. When we've wasted our time, or pursued useless things, in the end we wish we'd done something different. We realize more fully how time is a treasure / it comes from above / time is the measure and maker of love. And if we keep it all to ourselves and refuse to share our time with others, we will deeply regret it. Oh what I wouldn't give... 

I love the truth and beauty in this song... even though it has such a sad quality too. 

It makes me really reflect on time, and what God might want me to be doing with the time He has given me.  You know, like what Gandalf tells Frodo. We might not understand why God put us in a certain situation, but that is not for us to decide. "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is give us." 

And you know what, I say this, but it's still one of the things I most struggle with.  I don't always prioritize what I need to do very well, and procrastination is a very real thing for me. :/  Putting my time to better use is definitely something I need to work on carrying out during this new year as well.

IX. While I'm on this note, let me just say I've learned to never forget that while it often may look like some people just have the perfect life, really, deep down inside, everyone struggles with something.  No one's life is perfect. Because we're not destined to be perfectly happy on earth. There's something higher beyond this.  So if you think you're alone in all your hardship, you're not. You are not alone. We're in this journey of life together, with all its ups and downs, joys and sorrows.

X. "The more we are afflicted in this world, the greater is our assurance in the next; the more we sorrow in the present, the greater will be our joy in the future." ~ St. Isidore of Seville

XI. "Don't Just Try. Train." I listened to this Matthew Kelly CD in the summer that really struck home for me. He talked about how, if you want to run a marathon, you can't just go out and try your hardest, and do it.  You have to train and work up to it little by little, or it's a physical impossibility.  And he said that goes for pretty much everything else in life.  If you want to be a good musician, you have to practice, practice, practice.  You want to be a successful lawyer or business man? You have to train for your career.  Everything requires training... Except, he said, people just walk into a church and think they can become a good Christian just by being there.  But as he says, "transformation is not just about trying, it's about training." And we have to pray.  Prayer is the most important thing. We have to pray and we have to become transformed. "what you become is infinitely more important than what you do, or what you have."  Isn't that just beautiful?  Something to really take to heart.

XII. Lastly, I've learned to just realize that I am who I was born to be. I can't be afraid to be myself. I'm unique, and God created me like that, and it's the way He wants me.  I wasn't meant to be someone else, or looking like someone else.  He loves me as I am. So I should just embrace that. 


//

2014 was amazing. It truly was. Now 2015 is upon us. And even though I don't yet know exactly what lies around the bend in the road, that's okay. Because I've got Jesus to guide me. 


Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Inside the house, that is. We finally drove out and cut down a tree yesterday, so last night was quite festive with the decorating.

  

But as for the Christmas spirit outside, that's a whole different matter. You see, Michigan decided to have December weather in November with lots of snow and all that, and then have November weather in December. So consequently, not a speck of snow anywhere right when we want it. Yep.

See? It's bleak out there.

But anyway, I just cannot believe that Christmas is less than a week away! It honestly seems like just the other day when I sat down in physics class for the first time, glanced around at all the strange faces, and wondered how on earth this whole thing was gonna work. And now that's over and DONE - all the hours and hours of studying came to a culmination on Monday for the final - and I've got my grades back and everything is bright and happy. :)  I'm so, so thankful. God is good. 

And that Federalists vs. Anti-federalists paper about the Constitution for government class that was so, so loooong... all turned in now. :)  It's basically the loveliest feeling ever to be on Christmas break.  (Hey look, I actually have time to write a blog post!!)

I am just so full of excitement for everything right now. Excited to go finish my shopping in the next few days, excited for Christmas (obviously... who isn't!?!), excited that I'll be going to visit Peregrin in five days (!!!), excited for debate events, excited to host my own white elephant party :), and of course excited that I'll be going to the March for Life again in January and will get to meet up with a lot of MODG friends. Honestly, so much excitement in the air right now I don't know how to cope with it. :D  But no, I've just been thanking God a lot today.

And gazing at the balls on the Christmas tree like that snowman...

I spent a quiet Sunday, watching snatches of the Lions game with my brothers after Mass, walking my dog, and reading Bleak House by Charles Dickens. That really is an excellent book.  Dickens is such a fabulous author.    I can't wait to do so much more reading during break, there are a gazillion books I want to get to. 


What have you been enjoying lately? most looking forward to over Christmas break?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Walk with Christ

"This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God."          ~ Micah 6:8
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"Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives!  He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God.  Turn to Him in prayer and in love.  Ask Him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always.  Walk with Him who is 'the Way, the Truth and the Life.'"                ~ Pope St. John Paul II