Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Merry Chistmas!

I had a very Merry Christmas in 2014. :)  I hung out with my parents on Christmas Eve and then went to our church Christmas candlelight service in the evening. 
On Christmas day, my whole family had our picture taken in the morning.  It was hard to get everyone together; but...finally we made it happen.  It's okay that Abigail and Hudson aren't looking...:) They are little yet.

On the way home, we saw the most beautiful sunset! 

I'm going to post more pictures tomorrow of my great Christmas Day!  :)  I have so much to catch up on!  Until later...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Last Days in CA

California weather is so different from the East Coast weather!  Right before I left to come home for Christmas, it was just finally beginning to be fall.  All of the leaves on my tree out front fell one night...now it is officially winter!
My friend Kim is graduating in December here, so she came and stayed the night at my place.  It was really nice to spend one last day with her.

It was ALSO very nice to make a huge plate of bacon for us to each-for no reason. 

My last sunday at my church, I had such a nice time with two of my piano students.  I will certainly miss teaching them these next few weeks. 
Well, I am back in Pennsylvania safe and sound.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Mine was very nice.  I took way too many pictures, so I will be sure to post them on here a bit later. 
Until then!  Hope you all have a nice week until the New Year begins!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Church Christmas Program

My church had their Christmas children's program last week on Sunday.  This program was one that I worked on with the kids, taught them songs and helped with speaking parts, so I was sooo excited and nervous at the same time! 
We have been working on the play now since about the middle of October. 
The Saturday morning before the play, I baked about 6 dozen peanut butter blossoms, my favorite cookie to make!

Last Sunday, we had two practices in the afternoon which went really well...then the play started at 5pm. 

We did the play "Peanut Butter Christmas" and the kids did so so well!  I was so proud of them all. 

Afterwards, we had our cookie buffet and hot chocolate while I played Christmas songs on the piano.  It was such a nice time and I am already making plans for an Easter Program. :) 
Yesterday evening my church had their candlelight service.  It was also such a beautiful time.  I enjoyed it immensely. 
I will post more pictures later from this past weekend at church.  Also, I am going home for Christmas very soon, so I'm sure I will be posting a lot of familyish Christmasy pictures as well :)
Until later!

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Struggle...

I never used to be this way, but sometime between my sophomore and junior year of college, I began having the desire to be independent. 
Being dependent on someone or something makes you vulnerable to that person or thing. I do not enjoy being vulnerable to anybody. I began searching for who I really was and I found myself becoming quite independent...Just what I wanted.

I began realizing something about myself. I do not enjoy the unknown, the unseen or the uncertain. If I were to take one of those personality tests that liken you to an animal, I would be a beaver; the one who follows instructions and rules. If it is all written out for me, I am completely happy. Like I mentioned, when I started desiring to be more independent and not relying on others for my own personal happiness, I found a problem.

Lately, I have given some thought to this matter. I once heard a Pastor preach a sermon, and in it (speaking of trusting in God) he said "When you come to the end of your rope, reach for the hem of His garment." 

I thought that was great, memorized it, wrote it down...and then it popped into my mind a few weeks ago and I couldn't stop thinking of it. I realized that while it may be great for some people, that concept would never work for me.  I have a desire to be independent, I enjoy challenging myself, and I hate feeling vulnerable. If I were to wait until I came to the end of my rope, who knows how long I would hold out before turning my faith and trust over to God?!

In Proverbs 3:5, I am commanded to trust in the LORD, and not to my own understanding.

In Jeremiah 17:5, the Bible says that the man who trusts in himself is cursed.

In the area of trust, it is better that I simply let go of the proverbial "rope", than to wait until I feel like I have come to the end of it. Knowing myself, I would never come to the end. 
This is an area of life I have realized that I need to work on. Even though I CAN take care of myself, and I can pay my bills by myself and things like that, I must never ever get to the point where I feel like I can make it completely "on my own" without God.
My struggle? It isn't wrong to be responsible and be independent or to live alone without help. But it becomes wrong for ME when I hold onto that proverbial rope and rely on my own strength rather than reaching for the hem of God's garment, knowing that I can't make it on my own. 
Just something I have pondered lately...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Black Friday Flea Markets

So, I am back in California now!  It was a lovely break, and I had a nice relaxing time.  It has been like a breath of fresh air and now I am fully prepared to finish the semester strong!  It was great!  Because now that I am back, teaching is fun and work is fun...it's amazing what a short, week long break can do for you.  Anyway, these are just a few more pictures from my break. 
we went "black Friday" shopping...at a flea market!  It was great, and of course, there were some terrific deals!  :) 
Afterwards, we went to a park where we thought it would be fun to explore. We found the strangest little camper I have ever seen. 

So I had a lot of fun, but I am back now, and ready to finish this semester in just a few weeks!  :)
Until later! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Giving Thanks in 2014

This year was the first Thanksgiving...being home in five years.  Since my Christmas break this year will be shortened by about a week and a half, I thought I would come home for Thanksgiving.  Also, because I have not been home for Thanksgiving in years. 
I was really excited when we got about 10 inches of snow the night after I arrived home! We even had to cancel church that Wednesday night. 
On Tuesday I went out grocery shopping and planned the menu for everything on Thanksgiving for the meal.  I haven't been able to plan an event in a long time...it was so nice to be able to do! 
Then on Thursday morning, my church had a Thanksgiving service in the morning.  It was nice to see everyone...and of course, take silly pictures on the way to church.

This is just a bit of the food I made for Thanksgiving.  Mostly just desserts actually... 

I had to get pictures with all of my nieces and nephews.  This is Reuben.  He is so cute!  And has such an expressive face...:)  I loved being goofy and making him smile.

Tabitha and Abigail are so adorable.  Tabitha is quite the little grown-up now.  It was so cute to see her mimic EVERYTHING I did.  If I would fold my hands, she would, or if I crossed my legs while sitting, she would too.  And Abby?  She talks soooo much now.  I love asking her silly questions just to hear her jabber on and on :)

And I finally got to meet little Ella Rose!  She is just as cute as her pictures.  She seems so tiny...its hard to imagine that she is "growing so fast", because she seems absolutely tiny to me!

Daniel had all three of the older nieces and nephew on his lap at once.  It was cute. 

My week-long break is almost over.  I have a couple more random pictures from when Oliver and I went black Friday shopping at the Green Dragon in Lancaster.  But I will post them just a bit later. 
I had a lovely Thanksgiving Day and I am so glad I was able to come home for it.  I am not too sad about leaving to go back to CA just because in just a few short weeks, I will be back home again for Christmas! 
Until later!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Another year...

When I was very young, all I cared about was the day I was in.  I cared about my stuffed animals, riding bikes, playing dress up and baby dolls. 
When I got just a bit older, I would look forward to days when there was no school, or days when my family would go to Knoebels Grove Amusement Park, or when I would get to go to Grandma's house.  I would count the days down until I would have a birthday, or we would have Christmas.   
When I entered my teen years, I would look forward to things like going Christmas shopping, or making money to spend, or days when I didn't have to work. 
In College, I would look forward to meals, weekends, spending time with those closest to me, and going home for breaks.  I had a countdown. 
Now?  I look forward to life.  That sounds so vague compared to the childish desires of my youth.  But though it is general, it is long term; I do not see myself having that crash of disappointment right after Christmas is over.  Or right after my birthday is done for the year. 

I haven't done a countdown since I graduated.  And yes, that was only a few months ago.  But any other year this time, I would be counting the days down until I could go home for a break. 
I am trying to slowly change that.  Birthdays are cool...it is nice to get older.  :)  I guess.  Christmas time is wonderful, and spending time with family is amazing...but today is good too.  I want to learn to be content living life day to day, not living life so that today can be over and tomorrow can start. 
With that being said, yes, I am 23 years old now.  Do I feel any different? Nope...but I am trying to love life every day, not just the "special" days. 
Just something that I thought of recently: Don't count the days, make the days count.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Growing up Sheltered

 I remember when I was in highschool and beginning my college years, one of the most insulting things you could have told me was "You were sheltered as a child." To me, this was an insult.  I will be honest, as a homeschooled highschooler, I wanted to "fit in."  I wanted to be cool, have a lot of friends and do fun things, just like the kids I "knew." 
So I was in denial that I had grown up sheltered.  In today's society, it is a terrible thing to be sheltered.  It automatically means that you cannot socialize with people the way you could if you had been exposed to society.  It automatically labels you as a freak who cannot seem to connect to anything in the "real" world. 
I realized while I was in college that being labeled as a "sheltered individual" isn't such an insult after all. Sure, the people who say it are usually saying it in a negative light, but how I react to being called sheltered all lies in how I accept or reject its validity. 
So..I began accepting the supposed "insult" as a compliment.
"Wow...you were sheltered or something, huh?"
"Are you kidding?  You must have lived in a bubble your whole life!"
"Where are you from? Under a rock?"
My response now? "Haha, yeah pretty much!  It was awesome."
 I was homeschooled for 12 years,  
My best friends were my siblings,
I grew up listening to Scripture songs and Hymns,
The only movies we watched were Bob Jones VHS and The Grinch Stole Christmas,
my idea of a "computer game" was looking through Encarta Encyclopedia and playing the math horse race game, 
My first time spending the night by myself away from family was when I was 15 at camp,
and...the list goes on and on.

I say all of that to say this: It took me awhile to embrace the fact that YES, I was sheltered growing up, And particularly in the area of entertainment.  I was not exposed to TV, Video games, questionable music, or even friends.  What did I do for fun than?  Did I sit in a hard-backed chair day in and day out and cross stitch?
No, I used my imagination.  Along with all of my siblings.  We would have tea parties, and occasionally, my mom would let us dye water different colors and I would "feed" it to my baby dolls.  It was like fruit punch.  Nobody told me that babies shouldn't be drinking punch.

Almost daily, me and my sisters would play with paper dolls.  We had collections of paper dolls. Mostly historical characters.  The George Washington Family was always my family.  You should have seen the balls our historical families would attend.   

I grew up with a grandmother who was overly generous on birthdays and Christmas.  Every birthday and Christmas, each of us would get a new piece of Playmobil. My Playmobil house looked exactly like this one.  I have since realized how much these houses actually cost (they are expensive) and my grandmother bought a house for each of us girls. 
So we would all have our own houses with our families and we would name each character and then get our families together for events.
What am I saying?  I grew up using my imagination. 

When I was 16, or even 18, I never would have admitted to anybody that I was still playing with dolls at the age of 13 because it somehow seemed embarrassing.  But now? I'll tell anybody! I am GLAD that I was sheltered.  I am SO HAPPY that I grew up being childish and innocent.  
And I ask those who laugh and mock, which is better? Being sheltered, imaginative and innocent, or being pushed into society, being exposed to evil early in life, and feeling the need to always compete for acceptance in our pecking order world?
There are so many more thoughts I have on this subject, however, I will spare my readers. :)  These are just a few of the thoughts I have had lately regarding my sheltered entertainment upbringing.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ocean View and Acton, CA

One of the versatile things about living in California is that I can drive 45 minutes and be in the mountains with hiking and potentially seeing bears and mountain lions...I can drive an hour and be at the ocean, drive 1 minute and be in the complete desert with nothing but Joshua trees and tumbleweed...and the list goes on.  California is pretty diverse.  So while I am planning to go hiking one of these Saturdays, a few weeks ago I visited the ocean.  There were not many people there at the beach which was why I went. 

On the drive home, I pulled off the freeway at Acton, another historic town.  It is so small that you can literally blink and miss it.  Which is why I was trying very hard not to miss it. 

These pictures got out of order...but ah well. 

This is the little church that was one of the original buildings in Acton, a western town which nearly became the capital of California back in the day, believe it or not! 

I only ever post pictures on here of me having fun and going on adventures.  But lest my blog followers think that I live for fun and adventure, I feel compelled to point out that I work all week long. :)  Only my Saturdays are so laid back.  I have neglected taking pictures of random life events lately, so I will start doing that again.
Until next time!

Monday, October 20, 2014

My life as a History Buff

I always knew that I was a history buff.  Even when I was a child and reading children's books on Crazy Horse and his battle fought against General Custer...
However, I never pictured myself just driving to every historic spot nearby and looking at it all.  That is what I do for fun though.  Since I am finished college and I have my car, I have made a habit of driving to nearby historic places and learning as much as I can.
My latest find was Fort Tejon in Lebec.  I only took this one photo since I was either reading plaques or talking to reenactors the entire time.  I got distracted. 
This is a picture of the Barracks where the dragoons would stay. 
I met several awesome people who asked me if I would be interested in reenacting for a special upcoming event.  Of course I said I would be interested...so we exchanged contact info.  This event was last weekend and I was able to borrow a costume and play games with the kids who came.  It was so much fun.  Below this picture is a picture of me, in my "garb." 
When I left the Fort, I was on my way home, driving along the freeway minding my own business when I saw the roadsign for Pico Canyon Road.  That jogged my memory of a ghosttown I had read about online that was off of Pico Canyon Road.  On a whim, I took the Pico Canyon Road exit and continued to follow the road until I reached the Stevenson Ranch Park, which I remembered was the public park that owned the ghosttown. 
I followed a narrow, winding road back through the canyon and finally came to the abandoned town of Mentryville.

Call me crazy, but I was the ONLY car in the parking lot.  Nobody was around, no park rangers...nobody.  I paid the $5 fee which honestly seemed pointless since nobody was even there.  But then I walked toward the town.  Not too much is left, but there is an old schoolhouse, outhouses, the remains of an old building, a few old wagons, the oil rigging area where the first oil well was, and the Mentry house.  It was windy, and this old building was swaying in the breeze and kept creaking. 
Honestly, I was a little bit scared being there completely by myself.  It would have been the perfect setting for a murder mystery. 

This is the house, which was fenced off.  I can't tell you how tempted I was to jump the fence and go peer in the windows...but I didn't.

I saw a lady walking/exercising on the park road nearby and so I thought I would try to talk to her and see what she knew about the town, thinking she was probably a local who knew about the place.  She was walking straight towards me, so I pleasantly said "Hello ma'am? Are you from the area? Could you tell me about this old town?"
She COMPLETELY ignored me, looked straight ahead and continued walking briskly.  I tried again, but she walked right past me very fast and would not look at me.  It was so weird. 
I don't think I have ever had a complete stranger ignore me like that before.  And on top of the fact that I was by myself in a ghosttown, it was sort of eerie.   

Anyway, as you can tell, I made it out alive.  When I told my landlady about the strange woman who would not talk or look at me, she said "Well if I saw a girl, by herself standing in a ghosttown trying to talk to me, I would ignore her too! I would think you were crazy."
haha...so I guess maybe I can understand it from that point of view.  But goodness, it's not like I looked violent or drugged up or something.  I had a camera haha. 
Ah well.  Next time I go back, I want to take someone along with me. 
Until later!  I think my next post will be a rant about something...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Calico Ghosttown Adventure

I experienced the time of my life!  I have been researching all of the ghost towns and abandoned towns nearby Lancaster, CA, and I found this town called Calico.  This town is an abandoned gold mining town.  When the gold mine stopped operating, the town was abandoned. The best thing about it, is that the buildings are original and just restored...and the reenactors are volunteers who just love to act the part of wild west pioneers and gunmen. 
This is the town of Calico from up on the gold mine

I got my picture taken with this man, who claimed to be Doc Watson.  He kept trying to sell me elixirs and tonics and saying he would skip town as soon as I bought one.  He sure acted the part, I loved it!

There were a ton of these gold miners hideouts in the mountain.  I got my picture taken inside this one.  If you know me at all, you know that I was going ecstatic over finding all of this...pretty amazing.  I even found Pecus Bill's secret hideout...

These are some of the other gold miners hideouts.

This was the Calico restaurant.  The CA gunfighters put on a few skits for us, it was awesome!

The Calico schoolhouse

On our way to the town of Calico, we stopped at the famous Peggy Sues Diner.  The breakfast there was amazing!  It was pretty neat to eat at a place where old actors and actresses ate.

With a reenacting Indian.  She was true to her part...would NOT crack a smile.

This is the railroad at Calico

Part of the CA gunfighters assoc.

And this cute little hideout...I loved it. 

Basically, this town is my favorite place so far.  So far in California, my life has been fun. And my idea of fun is finding historical towns. Until later!