2 More Giveaways & Questions for the Blog Party!

Hello my wonderful peeps of awesomeness. :) Remember those questions I told you I would get up for the blog party that starts Monday? Well, they're up! So, hop over and take a look!

I've also got two new great giveaways for you all!


A free "Remember, Dream, Live" vinyl decal from Leen The Graphics Queen!


A $50 gift certificate to GILD Bookbinders!


A $35 gift certificate to The Vintage Lane!

On another note...thanks for all of your great comments about my new violin! As soon as I have a song finished to play for you all, I'll put a video up. :) Plus, I'll have vids from the orchestra concert a week from Sunday! Yay!!!!




I got a new violin!!!!

Isn't it just the most gorgeous and beautiful and wonderful thing in the whole entire world??? Well, ok...I will tell you...that reddish color is something that I could have done without, but the tone of the instrument is absolutely gorgeous! I'm so excited to see how well it performs as I improve! It's already a giant leap up from my last violin.

I must admit...as I dropped my violin off at the shop--left there to be repolished, and eventually picked up by someone else--I had a really really melancholy feeling. I mean, that violin has been with me through thick and thin. It was there for my first orchestra audition. It got me into first violins! I had that violin for 5 years...

...but now, I'm just absolutely, completely, and totally psyched to experiment with my new baby and learn more and more!

I took a video of myself playing today, just to examine my technique (some people use mirrors...I use a video recording)...and OH MY WORD! I need to work on my bowing technique sooooo badly, it's really not funny. My bow was all over the place--it's so weird how something as basic as a straight bow stroke can get completely out of hand when you're trying to focus on everything else!

So...that's the awesomeness in my life right now. I'm working on a new piece called "Allegro Brillante" by Ten Have right now. I'm really excited about it!


3 Blog Party Giveaways!!

Aren't you all getting SO excited about this blog party!? I know I am! Now, to build the anticipation...here are three awesome giveaways that you'll be entered in if you link up on Monday, March 1st!


A Custom Illustration, Blog Banner, and Avatar from Modern Renaissance, valued at $75!

How fun is that?! These custom avatars are a perfect way to personalize your blog and give it a little YOU. Aren't they just happy to look at?


A $50 Gift Certificate to Charm Design!

If you're anything like me, you LOVE bags of all shapes, sizes, & colors! Well, the name of this shop fits it too perfectly, because the best word to describe these bags is utterly charming!


An adorable business card holder wallet from MiMi's Babies!

If you've never been to MiMi's Babies before, you should go now! All of the new spring merchandise for yourself and your little ones is coming in, and it's absolutely beautiful!

I'll announce the remaining giveaways this Friday, February 26th, at which time I will also post the optional interview-style questions for the blog party (so that you can start formulating your fun and witty posts, of course)! So, keep your eyes open! :)


"I've Got Your Back..."

My little bros' lives form this kind of symbiotic circle--those of you who have groups of siblings that are always copying each other, bossing each other around, and doing everything together probably know what I'm talking about.

Harrison--though he is the youngest--has a natural instinct to protect his siblings. If he sees that something is "scary", he'll make sure that he tells his brothers to stay away from it!

Harry, pulling Jonas away from the railing when he was sticking his leg through.

He's quite a responsible toddler...but then two minutes later...

He's doing the same thing!

How did he learn to be such a protector?

It's the influence of these little boys, but big brothers.

I genuinely believe that having older siblings has made Harrison subconsciously learn to care for the safety of others...Yes, he's still a toddler, and gets himself in PLENTY of trouble! But his older brothers, shielding him from danger, have taught little, 2 year old Harry to care for them in the same way--by helping him through the rough patches in the "forest", bundling him up before going outside in the cold, watching him closely every time he's with them, and by simply adoring him.

I love these little men.


You all up for some FUN!?

ME TOO!!! So, guess what I decided to do...

I'm having a blog party!

Begins: Monday, March 1st - 12:01 a.m. (Central Time)
Ends: Monday, March 8th - 11:59 p.m. (Central Time)

IMPORTANT: To link up, click here!

All you have to do is link up to my party post, anytime between March 1st and 8th, and let the good times roll! I will put my party post up at midnight on March 1st, and I'll put a MckLinky at the end where you can add your link.

Come back on February 22nd, because I'll be announcing several GIVEAWAYS for you all! Everyone who links up to the blog party will be entered. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, March 9th.

{Giveaways 1, 2, & 3}
{Giveaways 4 & 5}

So, pretty please take the button from my sidebar (or from the bottom of this post) and put it on your blogs, and do a post about it if you feel so inclined...spread the word so that the blogosphere can truly be what it was created to be--a network where anyone and everyone can be seen and heard.

Edit: Questions added below.
I will be adding some fun interview-type questions to this post that you can fill out the answers to for your party post--or if you'd rather introduce yourself through your own methods, feel free!

Interview Questions:

1. What's your favorite time of the day, and why?
2. If health wasn't an issue, what food could you live off of?
3. If you could have one wish granted (besides wishing for more wishes), what would it be?
4. What's one thing that you get teased about a lot?
5. If you could choose one movie, book, or TV show to spend your life in, which would you pick? What type of character would you be?
6. If you could have one talent that you don't already have, what would it be?
7.If money were no object, where would you go on vacation?
8. If you were an awesome singer, which genre would you sing?
9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, what would it be?
10. If you could live in any point in time, when would it be?
11. If every outfit in your wardrobe had to be one color, what would it be?
12. If you were one of the seven dwarves, which one would you be?
(Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, or Dopey)
13. What's the last album you listened to?
14. What's something we'd be surprised to know about you?


Be real, be fun, and be you! In your party post, give us a glimpse into who you are--what your passions, interests, quirks, and traits are. The more we can relate to you, the more likely you are to get people returning to your blog for more! :)

See you on 32nd Street! A revior!


Brushing Out The Tangles

You know what guys...I've realized something. Simplifying life is not as easy as it sounds! It seems no matter how many schedules I make for myself, or how many rules I set for myself...I always end up crumbling within a matter of days. Life just doesn't fix itself up and stay that way.

Life is such a tangled mess most of the time!

I find myself not wanting to cater to other people, because--Hello!--I'm being so diligent and following my schedule! But isn't that stupid? Because the main reason I started doing all of this was so that I could be more productive without losing any of my family time, and so that I would be more consistent in my bible study. All the rest is just delicious icing on the ogre-sized brownie, ya know?

Life often brings giant gusts of wind that send our hair flying in all directions...but I'm trying to just brush out the tangles as they come, and live life with my priorities set in stone.


I've Been Dreaming of a Truuuu.....

....ly amazingly awesome laundry room!

You know that you all have those little BIG things that you would give almost anything to have, this just happens to be mine.

My perfect laundry room would include 3 of these babies--extra-large load capacity, all wrapped in a relatively pretty package...isn't it just to die for? *sigh*

Next, I'd get three beautiful dryers. The one I was just looking at is spectacularly amazing, because it senses when the clothes are dry and switches off. Is that not a totally epic and brilliant development in laundry technology!? Oh, it definitely is.

Now, coming from a family of 8 that lives in a two story house, the idea of a "community" closet (alright...family closet.....but same diff!) sounds completely enthralling--like TOO good to be true. You know...like the giant walk-in closet on Princess Diaries 2? Yeah...I didn't love that movie, but I LOVED that closet.

Slap some deep purple orchid colored paint on the wall...and I'm in heaven. Purple is just about my favorite color now. Isn't it just perfect? Playful enough to keep your attention, yet still subtle enough that it's comfortably elegant.


But don't worry...as long as I've got a space heater and a working washer and dryer, it's all good! After all...in the words of Anne Shirley to her bosom friend, Diana Barry...

"We are rich. We have sixteen years to our credit, and we both have wonderful imaginations. We should be as happy as queens."
Anne of Green Gables (1985)



Today my younger sibs were all gathered around the TV for most of the evening, watching a timeless Canadian show called Tales From Avonlea. When I was a little girl, my family ALWAYS watched it! It was kind of like our secondary Little House on the Prairie. I loved dreaming of epic things with Sara, pretending to boss around the rest of the household with Felicity, and creating mischief with Felix. Cecily's name was even inspired by one of the characters, Cecily King!

Somehow, watching my siblings becoming so engrossed in something that I experienced in my childhood gave me major warm fuzzies. Life has been a lot different for them than it was for me--not better or worse....just different. For instance, they have several older siblings. I wonder what that would feel like? Jared has never seemed that much older than me (from my perspective), so I really have no way of relating to that.

It's so interesting seeing all of their individual personalities, likes, dislikes, etc. come out, but still seeing them holding certain similarities to other people in the family. I mean...when they were born, it was like all they learned to do was copy. It's the way our brains start to work--we copy our parents as they prompt us to start saying little words like "Momma" and "Daddy", and then eventually we catch on to the pattern and start listening for things that we can copy.

Like mother, like son...

I wonder at what point it is that we start thinking independently--making our own decisions based on our developing personalities...whether to wear the sneakers or the dress shoes...whether to watch movie A or movie B...whether to get the peanut SunDrops or the regular ones...

Isn't God miraculously complex?


The Results Are In....

Aaaaand....I stayed exactly where I've been in orchestra--no solo (that part's not surprising) and still in 1st violins, 11th chair. At first, discouragement and embarrassment were my main two emotions. Who am I? What made me think I would move up at all? Why did I even bother trying out for solos? I felt like an egotistical and over-eager freak who didn't belong, and thusly had been put in her place.

After much encouragement from my family, and an uplifting violin lesson--though I felt a little better--I was still in a pit. All of my hard work (the hours and hours of practice) were worth nothing. I hadn't even begun to climb the ladder which I'd so carefully built for myself over the last several weeks.

But through this trial, one thing has just been made very apparent to me. I know why I tried out for the solos, and I know why I was disappointed when I didn't move up. The point of intersection between my pain and my gain is found in the fact that I LOVE violin! And I can't help but hope that someday, destiny will bring to the point which I've become so attached to.

More than anything...I love the feeling of accomplishing things in the best way that I can--with Christ at the forefront and humility in my heart. Hard work is the best thing I can do, and I feel very much at peace now, knowing that I did give it my all, and I feel very blessed that I didn't slip down in my chair placement! Praise God! He knew that I would need this experience in order to reach the point where He wants me. And I'm willing to take a trip through the dunes to reach the spring on the other side.


Doesn't it just give you perfect goosebumps? Yup...mark my words--someway, somehow...I'm going to play like that.

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”
-Julie Andrews