Thursday, May 31, 2012

Taking time to dance...

This week has been very, very, very full and busy.
But, all of it is good.
I've had some wonderful times of creativity, great times of productivity, and accomplished a lot.
Tomorrow I'll walk onto a stage and share a graduation day poem aloud, then later in the ceremony I'll watch a picture slideshow of my life glide across a screen, and I will walk across the stage to become a graduate.
After all that ceremonial excitement  I'll get to visit with friends, family, and then celebrate at a fun and festive time.

Amidst all of the busy, planning, accomplishing, and creativity this week I haven't had much time to blog.
But, that's okay. I'm living life. And, next week I'll have lots of lovely to share.

In the meantime, know that I'm taking deep breaths, enjoying these adventures, getting out in sunshine, and best of all...taking time to dance.

Forest adventures6 dance

I look forward to sharing lots of lovely with you soon!

I hope you're taking time to dance too. (Don't worry, it is totally okay to dance by yourself. The picture above was taken early one morning this week with the self timer on my camera. I was enjoying the morning with just my dog Annie and the birds around when I danced a little bit.)

Simply,
Sarah

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A dress from my Momma...

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful three day weekend!

This morning I awoke with lots of energy and tons of creative inspiration. One of the creative inspirations was to participate in the "Your Mom Style" link up party over at Rouge and Whimsy.

It's a link up party celebrating moms and their style!
Here is what Erika had to say about it, "Your interpretation can be broad -- a post where you share photos of your mom's rocking style, try to recreate your mom's look, or even write from her perspective. It's up to you!"

From the moment that I first read Erika's post that announced that she would be hosting this link up party I knew that I wanted to link up and what I wanted to wear.

Many years ago my Momma gave my sister and I one of her old dresses. She wore it  in the mid 80s and purchased it while engaged to my Daddy.

It has sweet yellow buttons all the way down the front, a lovely print, and of course...shoulder pads!

Dress Collage
Here are a few things she said about it when I asked her what she had been drawn to when she purchased the dress.

-Her favorite flowers are roses, so, she really liked the print.

RoseDress4

-She liked how feminine it was.

RoseDress1

-She loved that it was twirl-y. (I very much agree on that!)

Rose Dress3

I've always liked having old dresses from my Momma. When I wear that rose dress, one of her old piano recital dresses, and such it feels so special. I think part of it is that I've been able to wear the items or try them on when I'm about the same age that she was when she wore them. And, there is just something generationally amazing about that!

CollageDress

Want to link up to the party?
Or, just want to see what others linked up?

Here is a link: Your Mom Style Linkup Party

mom stye

Simply,
Sarah

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blank canvas and a new chapter...

I did it.

I completed my GED testing!
And, I completed it feeling great.
I honestly think that it went as well as possible and I'm proud of all of the hard work I put into preparing for the tests. I'm so thankful for my amazing GED teacher (Lori) and all of her support. I'm thankful for my family encouraging me to achieve this. I'm thankful for my amazing friends that texted, prayed for and encouraged me. I'm thankful for Luke and the celebration lunch he took me out on once I was done. I'm thankful that the testing is completed and that I feel good about it.

I do hope that I didn't simply pass, but that I achieved great scores. (Though, I would be okay with simply passing the math portions since that is such a hard area for me.)

Today I sat and took the last of the testing.
I remember filling in the very last bubble on the bubble sheet.
As I scribbled it dark I thought,

"That's it. I'm officially done with high school. Wow."

It was such a bitter sweet moment.
Mostly sweet, but a little emotional.

I don't know what I'm doing now. I've been so focused the past few months on completing my GED.
Now, the future seems like this big vast unknown space.

But, as I was telling my Momma, I feel like God is teaching me not to look at the future of the rest of this year as a big, vast, terrifying, unknown. I feel like He is teaching me to look at it instead as a big, blank canvas. As an artist I'm afraid to take a brush in hand, choose a color, and paint those first strokes. I don't know what the picture is supposed to look like. But, maybe that's okay. Maybe He wants me to begin taking those first brush strokes and trust that He'll guide me as I go and the moment of creative direction will hit and I'll know the general way to go, what strokes to paint, and if over time it changes some it will be okay.

So, life, with your big blank canvas chapter waiting for me...
I'm coming.
With paints in their bottles, with brushes in my pocket, with a flower in my hair; I'm coming to begin the new chapter and new painting for my life gallery.

I don't know what this next chapter of life is going to look like once it's been painted.
But, after I walk across that stage in that funny cap and black gown (with my blue celebration dress beneath) the new chapter will begin.
And, I'll make that first stroke with paintbrush in hand. (Or, I might even dive right in and finger-paint! *Gasp! Can "grown ups" finger-paint in life?* Yes, yes, I think that might be just right for me.)

fingerpaint
Photo Source- Amanda Kern


Simply,
Sarah
 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A little bit of newness...

Hello everyone!

As you may have noticed here on the blog I've changed the look up a good bit today.
I hope that you like it! (Though, I know it may take some getting used to.)

I felt it was time for some newness in the design to go with the newness that I've been experiencing this year. I wanted something clean, crisp, joyful, and welcoming. After a lot of photo editing and playing with different ideas I'm really happy with what I've created!
I hope that the space is very welcoming to you!

There are a few more things that I need to finish before the new design is complete, but it is very close to being finished!

Since I moved a few things around I thought it would be nice if I gave all of you a little blog tour.

So, dear readers, allow me to show you around the blog...

First of all, I moved the navigation buttons from the top of the page over to the right side of the blog.
(I also made them pretty instead of just typed words.)

To visit my about page, the blogs that inspire me page, contact page, or go back to the home page just click the corresponding button and it will take you where you need to go. Happy navigating! 


Secondly, I moved my blogger profile section and the labels/topics section down to the very bottom of the blog.


The rest of the blog layout I kept pretty much the same as before.
I hope you enjoyed that little blog tour. I always want things to be easy to browse and navigate for my readers.

I hope that you enjoy the new color and look of the blog!
It is still the same great blog adventure, just with a new look.

Well, I'm off to enjoy dinner and relax/rest well before my last day of GED testing tomorrow.

I hope that you are having a great week so far!

Simply,
Sarah 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No more numbers game...

Today someone stopped following my blog.
Today someone else messaged me to share how much they enjoy my blog.
Today I learned something...


It is easy as a blogger to get swept up in the numbers "game" of popularity.
To think, "Why don't I have that many followers?" 
Or, to feel let down when a number drops.


But, here is what I was reminded of today-


Why do I blog?


Really, it is a good question.


Here are my thoughts...


1. I blog to keep my long distance family and friends updated on my life and health. It has become a great way to allow people to keep up with me on their own and then we can message, email, or call and we'll talk more in depth or catch up without having no idea where to start. (It also allows people to see that after all of this crazy health stuff I am okay. I'm not stuck in bed or gloomy all of the time.)
2. I blog for me. I've come to realize that this blog is a creative outlet. It is also a way that I document creativity, thoughts, and memories to look back on.
3. I blog in hopes of bringing joy, light, and hope to someone's life. If this blog encourages and blesses one person, then it is worth it.
4. I blog because this blog sphere is such an amazingly creative community and I enjoy being a part of it.

So, yes, there was a sad tug when I saw that I had "lost" a follower.
But, a number isn't what is important.
The things that really matter are the messages like today. 
The lovely person who messaged me and shared how much she liked my blog means more than numbers.
Numbers can be empty, numbers can rise and fall, and at the end of the day I don't write, create, or share on here for the numbers. 

I needed that reminder. I needed that reality check. It is easy to get caught up in the blog "popularity race".
But, tonight, I say, "No!"

Even if everyone stops following my blog and only my family reads it I will continue to write.
It's a creative expression and something that I desire to use as a beneficial blessing.

And, to you, dear readers, thank you.
If you follow me via email, if you comment often, if you follow in a blog reader, if you are a silent reader, if I know you in person, or if we've never met- thank you for reading. I truly hope that this blog is a place of joy, encouragement, creativity, and hope. Please know that I give thanks for every kind comment, email, message, or times that people have shared in person what they enjoy or what blesses them about my blog.

No more numbers game for me.
Instead I'll keep on writing, photographing, and sharing creativity purely out of joy!
If readership rises- I'll let it be.
If readership drops- I'll let it be.
I'll keep on being creatively me. 




Simply,
Sarah

P.S. First day of GED testing went well! One more time of testing and it will be officially complete!
It's hard to believe this chapter of life and education of high-school/GED prep are almost done.
I'll be walking that graduation walk at the start of June.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flowers are such cheerful things...

A very Magnificent Monday to you!
In this little blog space I find things to celebrate and share each Monday.


Today, I thought I would share a few pictures that I've taken over the past few weeks.


First, a few pictures of a lovely little girl I spent an entire day playing with and watching with my sister. While we were enjoying a bit of time outside she was smelling the flowers and looked so very lovely. So, I dashed inside to get Desi and capture the moment. Though, it is no surprise that with young children photographic moments don't last very long. (Which is why the pictures are a bit blurred and such.) After all, it is much more fun to run about than stay still for a picture.



Secondly, I wanted to share a few pictures of my precious Momma's flower that she received on Mother's Day.



Thirdly, I wanted to share a picture that I took of my daisy necklace. After all, even a flower imprinted into metal is a lovely thing.


Yes, flowers are such lovely things. I hope one or all of these pictures has brought a few extra smiles to your Monday.


Also, I have some exciting news!
I did well on my GED practice testing last week and this week I will officially be taking the GED tests.
I take a few deep breaths to relax and smile knowing that I've put in lots of work preparing for the tests.
I'm a little nervous, but also excited. Life is such an adventure!

May your Mondays be Magnificent!


Simply,
Sarah

Friday, May 18, 2012

Birthday festivities...

On this lovely Friday I thought that I would share some of the wonderful birthday festivities I've been blessed with this week.


On Tuesday evening I enjoyed dinner, picture taking, good talks, and times of prayer with my precious friend Sara Beth.





Sara Beth's gift to me was a journal with a handwritten story just for me, a lovely letter that blessed my heart, and a birthday card! I'm so thankful to have such a creative friend! 



Sara Beth also happens to be a dancer. She was kind enough to strike a few dance positions for me to photograph. Someday, I hope to take some time with her and maybe do an entire photo shoot of dance. Yes, I hope to do that someday.  



The Tuesday time with Sara Beth was such a blessing.


Wednesday was a very full day. I had an appointment with my doctor, completed the GED practice testing with my GED teacher, and then Luke took me out for birthday celebrations.

We enjoyed a relaxing dinner and good talks...


He gave me a wonderful card that truly blessed my heart...


He completely surprised me by getting me the necklace that I had written about back in this post...


And, I got to introduce him to the wonderful taste of pineapple milkshakes...


It was a truly wonderful night. I enjoyed it and truly cherish the conversations we shared and memories we made.

When I arrived back home my heart was overflowing with joy. That joy was increased even more when shortly after arriving home I received texts letting me know that I had done well on the GED practice tests! I feel a lot less nervous about taking the official tests next week now that I have the results of the practice tests.


Yesterday I enjoyed a relaxing day mostly spent with my precious family celebrating my birthday. Momma made me my favorite soup and purchased me my very own yummy frozen Greek yogurt. All in all, it was a lovely day.

It's been an amazing week. Later today I'm looking forward to support my sister, Luke, and all my other friends that are having their first play performance!  And, we'll get to enjoy a bit of dancing and celebrating afterwards.

I would like to end with this-

God is sovereign and good.
He is faithful amidst the times of joy and amidst the times of sorrow.
I can say that now with more heartfelt sincerity than ever before in my life.

I truly hope that you too are having a blessed week.

Simply,
Sarah      

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Doodle land...

I've been enjoying some wonderful birthday celebrations today and the past few days. 
I'll be sure to share lots of lovely pictures from the celebrations later!


But, for today I decided to share a bit from doodle land...

Chilling with my doodle friend. Her name is Flora. We like to pretend we're frolicking through fields of wildflowers together.

On an adventure in doodle land! Look at all those characters!
A bit of the creativity behind the scenes.

My brother captured my creative thinking pose while I was creatively thinking.

Doodle land is a wonderful place filled with so many adventures. I'm glad that I was able to give you a peek into doodle land today.
You'll have to thank my little doodle friends for being so helpful and welcoming.
And, we might even get to enjoy some more doodle adventures very soon!

I hope you're having a great week and enjoyed this peek into doodle land. 

Simply,
Sarah

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Toady...

Today I would like you to meet a delightful little critter...


I named it Toady. (And, I may have a soundbite from D.W. off of the Arthur show to blame for that being the first little name to come to mind.)


Let me tell you the story of Toady...


On a wet and stormy day over a week and a half ago I had to run an errand with my Momma. 
Upon arriving home as I opened the car door I noticed that little critter was hopping close to our steps.
I froze, grabbed my Momma's arm and said quite excitedly, "Momma! Look! It's a toad!"


I do not know why little things in life are so exciting to me. But, they often are.
And, my family is quite used to my daily enthusiasm for the little things and my exuberant reactions when I notice them.

So, as I held onto my Momma's arm and sat there watching I excitedly waited to see what Toady would do next. I got to watch the little critter hop up the porch and after awhile Momma and I headed to go inside. Toady stayed still and I was able to closely watch it and see it hop in front of me. It hopped off of the porch over to an area of rocks. 

After watching awhile I decided to dash into the house and grab my camera to take Toady's picture. It was such a well behaved little thing! It let me take pictures and get the settings just right to get enough lighting without using the flash.

Once I achieved the picture I bid Toady goodbye and headed inside.

The rest of the evening I had sparkly eyes and goofy joyfulness over that little toad. 
My family laughed and enjoyed seeing me so excited over something so small.

I'm thankful for family and friends that love me in all my goofy exuberance. 

Have you ever gotten so excited over a little critter?

Simply,
Sarah  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A full month and picture fun...

Hey everyone!

May is such a crazy month for me! (And, I imagine it is for many other people too!)
There is so much writing on the calendar squares and such a little amount of blank spots.
All of it is good, productive, growing, or all of those things combined. But, it is very full.
So, blogging my be a little more sporadic than usual.

This week the other home-school graduates in my co-op got together for group graduation pictures. It was a time of lots of laughter, smiles, silliness, and making memories. I took a few of my favorites and edited them. I wanted to share them with you today. 

Taking steps into the future...I don't know what steps are ahead of me after graduation, but I'm trusting God's lead.

It should be stated that balloons make me ridiculously happy. And, when balloons and a camera are involved in a time of fun it is even more wonderful.


In a field with wildflowers and a balloon. Yes, I was one happy gal.
And, there we are the 2012 graduating class. Graduation is feeling more and more real.
Is May a full month for you?

Well, I'm off to a wedding later today and looking forward to it.
I hope you enjoy this weekend and all of the little moments that make up the time.

Simply,
Sarah

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CFS/FM Diaries: Amazed...

Hello everyone!
This is a post that is devoted to updates on my health issues. I realize that not everyone wants to read about my health updates so I have decided to title the posts that are devoted to that topic the CFS/FM Diaries. It is a series of posts on living with chronic illness and updates on how I'm doing currently.

CFS/FM Diaries: Amazed…

Hello everyone!

I haven’t shared a CFS/FM Diaries post in awhile.
Honestly, I think there have been a couple of reasons why. Firstly, I’m amazed by how well I’ve been doing. This year has been going amazingly well not just in life in general, but specifically health wise. Secondly, I think sometimes when you have chronic health issues and you get to a place of doing so much better it is easy to almost pretend that the chronic health issues don’t exist at all in your life. To ignore the fact that the future is still unknown or that you still have to live a different lifestyle.

But, I think it is important for me to document and share with others about my health updates.

So, here we go.

As I said, this year my health has been very improved. I was just reading a diary entry yesterday from April of 2011 and I’m amazed by the contrasting difference. I honestly don’t understand what all is contributing to my better health. By that, I mean that I still don't understand what my body is doing or why I'm living in this blessed health state right now. (Though, even doctors don't have CFS and FM figured out.) But, I’ll name a few things I know that have and continue to help.

Supplements- I have a good many supplements that I’m on. At this point everything that I take I can tell makes a difference. One in particular that I realized is making a huge difference is a supplement called AdreneVive. I recently made a mistake and didn't communicate to my Mom when I needed her to order me more. So, I spent 4 almost 5 days off of the supplement before it came in the mail. I could definitely tell a negative difference after being off of it a few days.   

Vitamin D- We found out last year that my vitamin D levels were very, very low. We’ve since been working to bring the levels up to where they need to be.

Progesterone- We found out last year that my progesterone levels were way too low also. And, I’ve since been taking bio-identical progesterone as directed to work on bringing a more balanced level to my body.

Diet- I have a bit of a sensitive stomach. So, I tend to eat pretty plain food and I only eat fish and poultry these days. (Beef and pork are hard for me to digest.) I also try to avoid white flour and sugar. Though, I've gotten a little off track with that lately and need to get back to that.

Sleep- I can’t tell you exactly when, but sometime in the fall of last year (I think) I began sleeping better and better. Currently, I’m achieving restful sleep almost every night. I sometimes startle awake multiple times during the first hour of sleep, but after that I seem to sleep well. I can’t express what a difference improved sleep makes! There were long periods of time before this time of improvement that sleep was terrible and I would go weeks without ever feeling rested. So, each morning that I wake up feeling rested is a morning that I give thanks for over and over again.

I’ve also learned that if I am excited or stressed I have to work harder to calm myself before I sleep so that I’ll have good rest for the night. Sleepytime tea, calming music, and other habits are things that I’ve found to help me on nights that I’m excited or stressed.

Life style- I continue to live a different lifestyle than most people my age. I’m very thoughtful when it comes to making plans and I try not to put too much on my schedule. I have to be careful about sitting on harder chairs or benches for a long while. (Though, sometimes I’ve gone ahead and sat there anyway and paid the price with Fibro pain later.) 

Emotionally- Last year I think I finally came to a point that I'm no longer trying to make the past my future. I'm learning to dream new dreams and imagine a happy life even with these health issues. That's not to say there haven't been any moments this year that I haven't cried or had to grieve a little. But, over all, I think I'm finally accepting this lifestyle and learning to make the most of things. 

God's goodness- I realize that some who read this post won't agree with this segment, but honestly I believe that God's goodness is a huge part of my current state of health. He has given me strength and peace through the incredibly hard times. He has given wisdom as I've sought healthcare providers, what supplements to take, and so on. And, His faithfulness is overwhelming.  By His grace I'm feeling so well and continue breathing.


There you have an update on my health!

I've had only a few bad Fibro-pain flare-ups this year and the "crashes" have been very light.
If I over extend myself a bit my body's current "crashes" are simply feeling extremely heavy, a little achy, and exhausted. But, those crashes have often been greatly improved simply by taking a 2-3 hour nap and not overexerting for the rest of that day.

Currently most of my energy is being invested in my relationship with God, relationships with family and others, and my preparations for the GED test taking and graduation. It's an exciting time. I don't know what my life will look like after gradation yet, but I'm incredibly thankful that I'm actually graduating! That didn't even seem possible a year ago.

Simply,
Sarah   

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A full day and blooms...

Hello everyone!

Yesterday was such a full day schedule wise and emotionally that my usual Magnificent Monday post simply didn't happen.

The day was full of so many emotions. There were emotions in everything from having lunch with someone I haven't seen in a long time, the weighty feeling of selecting a "with sympathy card" for the family of the friend that recently passed away, to the laughter over a special dinner, and a truly humbling heart to heart. It was a day full of emotion.

The memorial service for Joey was incredible. It was a true reflection of his life, his heart, and his love for Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful for the way that he has and continues to impact my life with the memories of him and the legacy he left.

Today I wanted to share with you a few lovely flower pictures. Our Rose of Sharon bloomed late last week and continues to bloom this week. It is such a lovely and exciting thing when I see the very first blooms burst open each year. I'm thankful for the cheerful beauty of the blossoms.

I hope that you had a Magnificent Monday yesterday and that you will enjoy seeing the floral pictures.

The way that the (I believe it is pollen) had fallen onto the flower seemed pretty to me for some reason. It was a bit like the flower was "wearing" pollen behind its "ear".

Small buds soon to open up.

These flowers always make me smile.


Simply,
Sarah 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Creative restlessness and dreaming…

I'm going to let you in on a bit of the inner workings of my personality. Are you ready?

Sometimes I get creatively restless.

I do.
It's incredibly true.

And, sometimes I get creatively moody in my restlessness.

Let me explain.

Sometimes, I have this extreme restlessness to do something new, creative, or that I haven't done in awhile. To break out of my current pattern a little and be creative. Yesterday was one of those days. I felt creatively restless. Honestly, if I could drive, had a car, and money for gas I would probably have gone on a really long drive out in the country. I would have written poetry in the car, gotten out and taken pictures, or so on. But, I can't drive so I did the next best thing...I took a bit of time to go outside and write.


As I sat, I wrote in my journal and wrote a first draft of two poems and a song.
I went and sat on the front porch on the opposite side than usual.
I watched the cars drive by.
I was so still and quiet that I surprised and startled a stray cat when it walked around the bush and realized, "Oh! There's a person there! Eek!"

After the time of soaking up sunshine and enjoying the cool breeze I still felt restless.

I think that there have been so many emotions going on from last week that I'm emotionally a bit drained this week.

So, I went to a used bookstore. There is something about used bookstores. Surrounded by all those words I feel extra creative, inspired, and not as restless. I browsed the craft section and thought of creative projects, I took notes of book titles to look up at the library, touched a beautifully illustrated flower book, picked up a book to read with my littlest brother, and browsed a few other books. When I'm around all those words I feel inspired. It makes me want to write. It makes me want to have a book sit upon a shelf with words that I wrote with my little name upon the side of the binding.

When I read the dedication or forward of an author and hear about how hard they worked, the hours they put in, the support of their loved ones, it makes me want to write a book. To write a book and finally begin to be brave and enter the publishing world. To have a project that I'm so passionate about that I could get rejected 40 times and still keep trying.

And, I think I will.
Yesterday I began compiling a list of things that I want to do after I graduate.
One of them is write a book and become a published author.
I dream to write something that I'm passionate about and try, try, try until it one day sits upon a book shelf in its own proper cover.

Do you ever get creatively restless?
What do you do to help the restlessness?

Simply,
Sarah

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I bid goodbye to blossoms…

Luke gave me beautiful Carnations when he took me to prom.
And, I absolutely enjoyed them. They smelled wonderful, looked beautiful, and were all around grand.
But, as flowers do they began to fade and were looking too dreary to stay in the vase much longer.

As I thought of the flowers I decided to take a few more pictures of them before they went away.

I went outside with my Desi and began taking pictures of the flowers.



Then, I decided that I wanted to have a few pictures of me with the flowers.


 
As I was taking pictures I had a moment of instant inspiration!

I thought to myself, "I'll make a whimsy flower chain crown!
Oh! And, I'll put on a dress and my boots and I'll have a whimsy photo-shoot!"

I dashed inside calling out to my family, "I have a creative idea! I'm so excited!"
(My family is rather accustomed to such creative outbursts from me.)

So, I slipped into one of my Momma's old piano recital dresses.
(She wore it back in Junior High!)
I pulled on some socks and my favorite pair of boots.
(Well, favorite next to my rainboots. But, this was not a rainboot occasion.)
Then, I was off to make the floral crown.

My sweet Sissy offered to take pictures for me so that I didn't have to run back and forth working with the self-timer.

Oh my! It was such fun!
I got to prance about all whimsically, twirl, smell the last fragrant scents of the blooms, twirl ribbon, spend time with a butterfly, and laugh with my amazing Sissy. (I'm fairly certain that the neighbors officially think I'm crazy, but I was having too much fun to really care.)

Though I had to bid the flowers goodbye, the photo time was the perfect ending to their floral life.

Enjoy the whimsy fun!


Simply,
Sarah