Saturday, December 28, 2013

We Lift Our Voices

This weekend was incredible. 

Uplifting

Encouraging
Powerful
......

We worshiped.

We prayed.
We sang.

Oh, the singing. 


Not with instruments made by man, but with our voices, hand crafted by our Creator for His' ordained worship. 


Two thousand Christians


Surrounded by some of my closest friends, I could not help but lift my voice up even more. 


You did it again Lord, you surprised me once again with your magnificent plan. 


So I give my voice to the you, Lord. For you to use, for your glory. 


... speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord...
Ephesians 5:19

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Book Checklist

Christmas is just around the corner and I know I am rushing around trying to find presents for everyone.

I have to admit that my most favorite gift to give anyone is a homemade gift or,
that's right a book. 

I enjoy having the idea that I am giving an individual a whole new world to explore. 

Here is a list of some of my favorite books for gift ideas or merely just to add to your own library!

Enjoy!!
  1. Mark of the Lion  ( My absolutely most favorite series) 
  2. One Thousand Gifts
  3. You're Made for a God-Sized Dream
  4. Divergent (Just finished it, sooo good) 
  5. Hunger Games (The second book is my favorite)
  6. Mortal Instruments Series (Love, love, love) 
  7. Mere Christianity
  8. The Giver
If I wrote out a full list of my favorite books, it would be pages long.

Hopefully this will give you some gift ideas!

Since it is the holiday, I am having much more time on my hands so stay tuned for some book reviews!



Merry Christmas!!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Climbing Mountains

Mountains.

Looming above me.

Calling for me to climb them.

When I reach the top, it is like a whole new world around me.

Complete beauty. 

Breathtaking.

Also, terrifying.

There were moments when I wanted to turn back. 
I saw the clouds roll in, and I could not see the top. 
I grew cold or tired. 
I lost my focus.

Is that not how life happens to be? 
I start off strong, then grow weary?

Perspective. 

Reaching the top is extremely rewarding, but learning from the journey--that is the true reward. 
                                                                 
                                        
I took this photo on one of our summer
travels to Canada.
July 2010.  
#nofilter 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Morning

I found this the other day from my old blog. 
I thought it would be the perfect way to start off the traveling section of my blog.
Enjoy! 
:) 

The sun is slowly rising, 
It is that quiet, peaceful time when the whole world seems to begin to wake.
Birds are chirping, the animals in the forest begin to stir--light begins to shine. 
Jet lag is working at its finest, so I sit and write. 
Trying to describe how amazing Africa was. 
I cannot put it in words or express how I feel. 
No pictures will ever suffice.
But it was like this morning.
Peaceful. Simple. Humbling. Eye opening. 
Each morning brings a new day. Africa brought me a new perspective.
Dawn awakes new life. I saw how precious life truly is.
Birds singing. We worshipped with hearts full of song.
Light breaking through the darkness. 
I saw Christians lighting up the world.
God's creation--simply breathtaking.
The joy of the children--heart warming.
The vastness of the night sky--humbling.
Words cannot describe how I feel. 
I grew. I laughed. I cried. I was changed. 
Just like the morning-- preparing to grow, to change for the new day.
So let me grow, Lord. To be changed even more. 
Just like each morning. 

Sonadi's Precious Children. 

Baby Elephant Orphange. 

Blessed With An Incredible Family. 

Victoria Falls. How Powerful Our God Is!

Sonadi Once More. Forever Will Be In My Heart. 

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentation 3:22-23

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Love

Memories. 


I love your friendship.
Childhood friend. So many adventures, so many talks.
Always by my side no matter the distance.


I love your motivation.
Becoming one of my closest, dearest friend.
Our talks, our laughs. Your perseverance for the future.


I love your fire for the Lord.
Your caring heart and gentle spirit. My accountability buddy.
My "soul sister."


I love your frankness, your funny sayings.
Your beauty. Your zeal to learn more about God. Your weird music.



I love your humor and independence.
Fast friends. Your smartness. 
Your dedication to work hard.



I love you as my roommate.
Your insight on things, your encouragement. Your excitement on the little things in life.
Concerts and fashion tips. A true beauty. 
Go follow her blog!



I love your booming laugh.
 How you always make me smile and never cease to say hello.
So big, yet gentle. Always in the center of attention.


I love your honesty. 
Helping me make decisions. Reassuring me when I am upset. 
Thank you for the laughs. 



I love your gentleness.
Friends in high school. Possibility of becoming roommates.
Your love for God and His service.
Beautiful photographer. 


I love your encouragement.
Thank you for helping me, for being by my side.
What excitement we have for the future. 


Individually Unique, Together Complete
More than just a social club.
We became sisters. 



 These are just a few... A few who have impacted my life.
How truly blessed I am. 


"A friend loves at all times…"
Proverbs 17:17






Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kindred Spirit

Over the years, 
I have gained a greater perspective on how important true friendship is.
Graduating from high school and going to college has brought many changes. 

I have had many friends come and go. 
Life changes us. 
We grow and take our different paths. 
But once in awhile, you come across a kindred spirit (yes, Anne of Green Gables inspired) 
that stays with you.

I want you to meet them. 
Childhood friends, others I have just met.
 Some I still have yet to meet. 

What excitement and joy it brings!

When you find your kindred spirit, hold on to them.

You may be the person they have been praying for all along. 








Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Journey

I am a traveller.
It is a deep passion that will not go away. 
I love the unknown.
I live for the thrill of an adventure.
Meeting new people, experiencing new places.
Falling even more in love with this world's Creator. 
Traveling helps you find who you are to become.
Come with me.
It will be a ride you will not want to miss.  



It will be a journey.
A journey to travel all around the world.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Introduction: Book For Every Soul

Third grade was when it started.
It was always after lunch. 
I would close my eyes and let my imagination soar. 
My teacher's soothing voice brought a brand new excitement to my life. 
She read to us.
Mysteries, romances, action, heartache. 
Some of my favorite books were read in her class. 


I want to share with you some of my favorite books.
It may be a bit spread out, but I hope you enjoy the postings. 
I believe my generation is losing the sense of beauty of reading a book. 
I know not all love to read, but maybe give it chance? 
I believe there is a book for every soul.








Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Gifts in Life

I have lost my voice.

Not a raspy, man sounding voice.
No, I can barely mutter a word.

I have been whispering for two days now.
Having to be silent gives me a lot of time to think.
How much I take for granted. 
Voice, sight, smell, being able to walk-- it's the little things that we forget to thank God for.

When was the last time I thanked God for legs to run with, or sight to see the leaves change?
When did I praise God when I could smell my favorite candle burning or a voice to use when singing along with my friends in the car?

I call these little things gifts.

I encourage you all to read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

It completely changed my way of thinking.

I have a journal, and each day I try to write a few things that I am thankful for--the small things we often overlook.

Maybe losing my voice was exactly what I needed to refocus. 

Maybe it is letting me soak in these last, precious days here at Faulkner with my friends. 

Maybe it is letting me see gifts that I have never seen before.

It is working. 








Monday, December 02, 2013

A New Kind of Diet

I love to eat. 
I blame genetics.
But, eating different foods has been a struggle for me. 

Ever since middle school I have had stomach issues.
I get awful stomach aches after eating and not feel better till hours later.
Milk, cereal, pizza, fried chicken… I could go on and on.
I have been to countless doctors.
After blood tests and varied opinions:
not a clue.
So, I have had to be careful.
For years.
It stinks because it comes and goes.

A friend of mine mentioned to me trying a gluten free diet.
I have heard that it makes you feel better anyways, so I thought I would give it a go.
I am hoping to find some tasty recipes that I will be able to share, and give you my opinion about this diet.

Wish me luck! 


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Cookie Dough Truffles

Cookie dough isn't exactly festive, but I will get to those recipes later. 
This recipe is a family favorite.
My dad and brother have eaten a whole batch in two days. 
Enjoy the deliciousness! 

Cookie Dough Truffles 

Prep Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 pounds of semi-sweet chocolate
Directions
In a mixing bowl, cream softened butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add all-purpose flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Mix well.
Stir in miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place them on parchment paper. 
Cover and refrigerate for approximately one hour.
Melt semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave for coating truffles.
Dip balls in chocolate and place on parchment paper.
Refrigerate until firm, about 10-15 minutes. 


Recipe found on Pinterest
Official website below: 
http://www.canadianfamily.ca/recipe/cookie-dough-truffles/



Friday, November 29, 2013

Time to Write

I have missed this. 
The sound of my fingers gently touching the keys.
Thoughts rushing through my mind.
Tears, smiles, laughter-it all comes with writing.
I have had so much trouble writing down my feelings from the past couple of months.
The summer was such a blessing, so completely convicting.
I didn't want to go back.
I have struggled with feeling content, finding joy when all I wanted to was cry.
But through the stress, the future looming over me-I have found peace.
I was a broken vessel at the beginning, but He has transformed me.
I didn't see the things He used, but I started to begin to feel whole again.
I have found that childlike love once again. 
I yearn for Him to use me. To challenge me. 
To take me to places I have never been before.
I thought I was whole before.
But now, it feels different.
It feels more real, more full of life.
Joy.
Peace.
Kindness.
Contentment.
Love.
So much more meaning dwells in those words to me.

Maybe through these months of silence, the Lord has prepared me to speak.
To speak loudly.
To write.

So, let the typing begin. 

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...a time to keep silence and a time to speak.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1,7

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Each Day On Earth

Crackling of the fire. 
The sound of the leaves crunching beneath my feet.
The fresh smell of a turkey, waiting to be eaten.
Tangled Christmas' lights.
The aroma of my cinnamon candle. 
My grandma's joyous laugh. 
Dad's prayer. 

Thanksgiving. 

Not just for today, but for every moment in life. 

"As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible." 
- Ann Voskamp 
One Thousand Gifts 

Complete joy. 

That's what I feel on days like today. 
Imagine a life filled with that joy everyday. 

Today when giving thanks, enjoy the laughs, the smell, the taste of the food and crisp air, but also remember that each day on earth deserves as much thanksgiving. 



Happy Thanksgiving! 



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Spirit

It is that time of year again!
Christmas lights, the tree, caroling, family gatherings and of course FOOD!
Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes and crafting tips to get into that holiday spirit. 
                                                

                                            It truly is the best time of the year!

He Sees Me

Rain hitting the leaves outside my window.

I listen.

The garage door opening, welcoming someone I love home.

I feel.

Soft, warm covers around me.

I see.

Pictures of friends, family that bring back so many memories.

I smile.

A God who loves me, who sees me. 

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me, ”for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 
 Genesis 16:13

How powerful are those words? The One who sees me. The One who knows my every action, every thought, every fiber of my being. He is my God, my Savior, and my Refuge. The joy, the pain, the journey, He sees. He not only sees, but reveals.

Beauty of His creation.

Blessings of a Home.

Family and Friends who Love me.

A Savior who Died for me.

He truly is the One who sees, but also is the One who beckons me to see, to see Him.





Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hey There!

Hi, my name is Joanna! I am really excited to start this blog sharing all the things I love! From movies, books and crafting to traveling tips and dreaming big, I hope to write all about it! I can't wait to see what is in store for this blog, and please tell me what you are interested in! 

Joanna 

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