Thursday, 30 June 2016

June Highlights

June is ending. July is coming. And CANADA DAY IS TOMORROW!!! WOO-HOO!!! :D 

Note: This post might be a little short because I'm going to attempt writing this in half and hour. (We have to leave for piano lessons and grocery shopping for tomorrow's get-together with church friends!) Oh yeah, and also, please excuse the quality of the photos. I used the iPod an awful lot this month to take pictures . . . ;) 

So, at the beginning to June, (June 5, to be exact) Tiger Lily and I went for the first time in our lives to attend some Landry Summer Camps in North Carolina. It. Was. AWESOME!!! 

The camps themselves were so much fun. And the people were amazing!! Tiger Lily and I made friends with some super special peoples....and we miss them soooo much now! We won't get to see them until next year :( 

 But I'm SO glad we got to meet them when we did. 'Cause friends are special. And no matter how far they live from you, they'll always be in our hearts, right? ;)
I promise more posts on our trip to NC will be coming up! Hopefully this coming month! :) 

The day after we returned from our trip was Father's Day, so we went out for dinner with our grandparents, our aunt and uncle, and our cousins.

Tiger Lily, Spiderman, Ironman and I went to an amusement park as well. Sibling time! :)

Sooo....yeah, don't ask me what Spiderman's trying to do :P 

After 4 rides in a row on a very shaky wooden roller coaster ;) 

Of course, the cotton candy. We don't get this very often, so when we do...
We get kinda silly :P 

Baking this month... hmmm. Well, I made oatmeal cookies. And Mom made dee-li-cious banana chocolate chip muffins!

Tiger Lily and I also had a photo-shoot together. The only difference between this one and past ones was that she was the one behind the camera this time. Toblerone wanted to come with us...and of course he stole the spotlight. He's so adorable, it's hard to resist the urge to not point the camera at him! :D The following pictures are some of the best ones from the shoot. Notice how many he's in? ;)

So this is what I get from my brothers when I wear a new dress that is slightly not typical of my 'usual' style :P 

Ironman: What's that black thing around your tummy? 
Me: It's a belt
Ironman: Oh, it is? I thought belts go around your waist. 

Later. . . 
Spiderman (staring weirdly at my dress): You have a hole in your dress
Me: *sigh* 
Ya see the hole? :P 

Some random pictures from the month:

Mr. Sticky-Toes arrived again; but he's smaller, so I don't think it's THE Mr. Sticky-Toes.
I took my camera and snapped around 50 photos of him in a bunch of different angles.
Didn't realize how much I missed my camera until I started using it :P 

Mom and I

Well, well, look who hacked into the iPod :P
Double Piggy-Back!  

This month I read: 

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
All Things Hidden - Tracie Peterson
Mocassin Trail - Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Gammage Cup - Carol Kendall
The King's Daughter - Suzanne Martel
The Old River Road - Ivy Rose 

Not a lot, I know :( I've been looking for new authors to read, and Deborah's Recommend June Fest really helped a lot with that! :D I think July has quite a few good books lined up to be read ;) 

A new and favourite song that I was introduced to at Landry Camp was Undefeated by Jason Derulo.

This is new to the highlights posts, but these posts are so awesome, you have to read them! The posts that really stuck out for me this month were: 

Millions That Will Never by Rebekah Eddy

Love is Enough by Thomas 

Be Yourself by Deborah

And that's the end for this month!
How was your month?
Did it seem like June just flew by?

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

RJF - More Books Coming Your Way! :D

Okie dokie, here are a few more books that I've really enjoyed reading! Oh, and just a note for the Melanie Dickerson books... they're on the more romantic side, just saying, not saying. Just saying, not saying :P 

The Golden Braid - Melanie Dickerson

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.
The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel in turn rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to this knight than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery is about to be revealed after seventeen years of lies. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?
The Merchant's Daughter - Melanie Dickerson 

An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf’s bailiff—a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest - Melanie Dickerson

A beautiful maiden who poaches to feed the poor.
A handsome forester on a mission to catch her.
Danger and love are about to unite in Thornbeck Forest.

The margrave owns the finest hunting grounds for miles around—and who teaches children to read, but by night this young beauty has become the secret lifeline to the poorest of the poor.
For Jorgen Hartman, the margrave’s forester, tracking down a poacher is a duty he is all too willing to perform. Jorgen inherited his post from the man who raised him . . . a man who was murdered at the hands of a poacher.
When Jorgen and Odette meet at the Midsummer festival and share a connection during a dance, neither has any idea that they are already adversaries.
The one man she wants is bound by duty to capture her; the one woman he loves is his cunning target . . . 

What becomes of a forester who protects a notorious poacher? What becomes of a poacher when she is finally discovered?

House of Love - Elizabeth Cheney 

Aurelia Wilde is cruelly selfish and downright miserable—a victim of her mother's desperate attempts to place her delicate “prized possession” on an unreachable pedestal. But her glory is only surface deep. Aurelia's complaining spirit is a stark contrast to that of her servant-girl, Doris, who knows that in spite of life's troubles, she will one day “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Her many talents and cheerful disposition cause her to be loved and appreciated, even by the notable residents of Waverly Manor. How jealousy swells within Aurelia's vengeful mother! She'll get even yet…

Unbroken - Rebekah Morris

Difficulties arise at Triple Creek Ranch when Orlena, Norman Mavrich’s spoiled, pampered younger sister comes to live with her brother and his wife. The move is much against Orlena’s wishes, and she doesn’t hesitate to let everyone know it. Time and again Mr. and Mrs. Mavrich are driven to their knees to find strength to face another day. Join the young ranch boss, Norman Mavrich, his sweet wife, Jenelle, and the rest of the members of Triple Creek Ranch as they strive to be examples of Christ to the unbroken newcomer.

A Sensible Arrangement - Tracie Peterson 

Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past.Answering an advertisement for a "Lone Star bride," she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn't know.Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her.Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience. When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake's yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty's dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways...and dreams and secrets collide?

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Counting Our Blessings // Yours Truly

Hello all! How are ya doing? :) 

I realized a couple days ago that I had never done a blessings post yet, and the Lord gave me an opportunity to do it this month, so here I go! :D 

Photo Credits: Tiger Lily 
As most of you already know, I am a 16 year old country gal with 6 (and soon to be 7!!) younger siblings. I love reading, writing, singing, baking, photography, and so much more! I'm known in the blogosphere as Blessing Counter, and if you're reading this, you've probably figured out where I blog at ;) 
Now here are a few things that I'm thankful for. 

The Lord definitely shows His love for us in His creation, wouldn't you say? I love walking outside on a cool, spring morning and smelling the beautiful, dew-covered blossoms. 

Then seeing the light from the early morning sun run across the fresh new grass. 

I love studying the delicate patterns of a fragile butterfly,

And hearing the chirp of a little bird. 

Watching the sun's rays burst gloriously from the clouds,

and observing the glassy eyes of little Mr. Sticky-Toes.

Listening to the crack of thunder and the flash of lightening, and knowing all the while that behind everything is an awesome, all-powerful Creator who loves us and cares for us. He blesses us with the beauty of nature; Praise the Lord! Who says God doesn't exist? Look around you - His very existence is shown in creation! 

For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature  have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse ~ Romans 1: 20

I LOVE music. Listening to it, singing it, playing it, everything about music is just so beautiful and amazing and somewhat mysterious. Sure, there's scientific explanations for sounds and frequencies and all that stuff, but still! It's just mind-boggling trying to grasp that God made and gave us sound. Beautiful sound that comes together as music :) 

My Sister 
I'm not trying to be partial here; trust me, I love all my siblings! :D However, Tiger Lily and I have been best friends since forever and well, I'm very thankful for her. 

I've always sort of known it, but the full reality of how much she means to me really hit me when we were at the Landry camps. There were times when I was just so overwhelmed with how many people there were, or just feeling very alone. I'd head to my dorm room and she'd always either be there already, or come in a few minutes after I arrived. And she somehow always made me feel better :) 

Yes, we fight. There are tons of things we don't agree on. But we always make up. I have a very hard time trying to stay angry with her for very long ;)

She's funny. You've heard me say this multiple times. I think she's a clown at heart ;) A gentle, caring, kind clown.

We geek out over THE weirdest things.

We chat all night and giggle randomly at things that sometimes aren't even funny :P

We've been roommates for about 14 years, pretty much our whole life.

We're best friends forever. Bosom friends. Buddies.

We've pretended to be Mary and Laura Ingalls. We're Anne and Diana.

We've had tea parties, Indian war dances, and operas. We do weird things to our ice cream cones.

She is special.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with this girl! 

Monday, 27 June 2016

RJF // Eight Cousins + The King's Daughter + The Witch of Blackbird Pond + . . . .

Ahhh....3 more days until June ends! And there are still SO many books that I want to share with y'all! :D So...instead of doing rather lengthy reviews on one single book, I'm going to use summaries from Amazon, and post way more than just one book at a time. 

The books I'm posting today are absolute favourites of mine. I can read them over and over and over again and never get tired of 'em! :D 

Eight Cousins - Louisa May Alcott

When Rose Campbell, a shy orphan, arrives at "The Aunt Hill" to live with her six aunts and seven boisterous male cousins, she is quite overwhelmed. How could such a delicate young lady, used to the quiet hallways of a girls' boarding school, exist in such a spirited home? It is the arrival of Uncle Alec that changes everything. Much to the horror of her aunts, Rose's forward-thinking uncle insists that the child get out of the parlor and into the sunshine. And with a little courage and lots of adventures with her mischievous but loving cousins, Rose begins to bloom.
Written by the beloved author of Little WomenEight Cousins is a masterpiece of children's literature. This endearing novel offers readers of all ages an inspiring story about growing up, making friends, and facing life with strength and kindness.

And I'm adding this other cover because I found it on Google and it's sooo adorable! :)

The King's Daughter - Suzanne Martel

Jeanne Chatel has always dreamed of adventure. So when the eighteen-year-old orphan is summoned to sail from France to the wilds of North America to become a king's daughter and marry a French settler, she doesn't hesitate.
Her new husband is not the dashing military man she has dreamed of, but a trapper with two small children who lives in a small cabin in the woods. With her husband away trapping much of the time, Jeanne faces danger daily, but the bravery and spirit that brought her to this wild place never fail her, and she soon learns to be truly at home in her new land.

An Old-Fashioned Girl - Louisa May Alcott

Polly Milton never questions the way she is - until she goes to visit her cousins in the city. Her cousin Fanny looks too glamorous to be Polly's age, and wouldn't be caught dead playing in the snow. Will Polly ever learn to be like the other girls? And does she even want to? Sometimes being old-fashioned is right in style. A timeless story by the author of Little Women.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile - Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Mara is a proud and beautiful slave girl who yearns for freedom. In order to gain it, she finds herself playing the dangerous role of double spy for two arch enemies - each of whom supports a contender for the throne of Egypt.

I did a review for this in January. You can read it HERE

The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit's friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty. Elizabeth George Speare won the 1959 Newbery Medal for this portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

RJF // The Gammage Cup

From the back of the Book:

The Minnipins have lost their past.

Long ago, the hero Gammage led them in war against the horrible Hairless Ones. But now -
Bravery? Forgotten. Courage? No more. Heroes? The stuff of storybooks. Yet sometimes heroes turn up when they are least expected. . .

Muggles, Gummy the poet, and Walter the Earl are not like the other Minnipins. They dress differently, speak their minds, and - when Walter the Earl finds a package of old scrolls and swords - dare to disagree with the Minnipin leaders. For their troubles, they are banished from their village. But Walter the Earl found the weapons for a reason: The Hairless Ones have returned. And this time there is no Gammage to protect the Minnipins. This time there are only Muggles and her friends, outlaws who must rescue the very people who have cast them out.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The birds are twittering,
And squirrels chittering, 
As we go flittering
Down the brook. 

The dew is glittering, 
Grasshoppers spittering, 
And trout are frittering
In search of a hook. 

— Gummy 

Believe it or not, chittering, flittering, and frittering are actually real words. Spittering….well, that’s made up. But it’s by Gummy, what’d ya expect? :P 

The Gammage Cup has been a favourite of mine ever since I first picked it up. Carol Kendall definitely knows how to keep her readers hooked throughout the entire novel! 

The story follows five brave Minnipins in their adventure against the Hairless Ones and their quest for freedom. Here is a character summary: 

Walter the Earl: For years, all Walter the Earl ever did was dig, dig, dig in his search for hidden treasure. Despite the villagers’ scoffs, Walter the Earl is determined in finding his ancestors’ treasure. And when one day he finally does find it, it comes in handy much more than anyone, even he, expected. 

Gummy the Poet: For the most part, Gummy is very lazy. He loves rhyming and makes up funny little scribbles (aka rhymes) on the spur of the moment. You could probably say Gummy’s one of the more sillier characters in The Gammage Cup. There’s always that someone who adds the humour that makes a good book more enjoyable! ;)  

Mingy the Money Collector: Now why would anyone name their character 'Mingy'? Well…I’m guessing Ms. Kendall wanted it to rhyme with stingy. ‘Cause that’s definitely what Mingy was. Note how I said was though! After he chooses to be banished with Curly, Gummy, Walter, and Muggles, his stinginess surprisingly goes away - just like that. Despite the hard countenance that he most always wears, he can be a quite likeable character, as Muggles finds out. 

Curly Green the Painter: Curly Green expresses herself best in her blobs. What are blobs, you might ask? Well, they’re simply little paintings that you blob of random things at random times. At the beginning of the novel, she is most known for her front door, which she paints a brilliant scarlet instead of the standard green that all Minnipins used.

Muggles: Just plain Muggles. Everyone thinks she is simple-minded; no one asks for her opinion. That is, until she is outlawed with her four new friends. Life changes after that, and she, along with everybody else, realizes that she isn’t as simpleminded as was believed. Muggles has a good, sensible head on her shoulders, compared to some of the other outlaws. As a result, she naturally rises to the position of leader after the banishment from Slipper-on-the-Water. She is the one who gets everyone organized in working together and building shelters in preparation for winter. She is the one who notices what needs to be done, and does them. She sees things as they literally are, and writes maxims that go something like this: “ When something happens, something else always happens” and “The only good mushroom is a cooked mushroom” and “A turtle should take fright at a boiling pot.” 

The Periods: The Periods are the descendants of Fooley the Magnificent. When Fooley returned to Slipper-on-the-Water all those years ago, he had brought with him a list of words that no one could make sense of. His wife finally decided that they were the names of friends that Fooley had made on his expedition, and instantly began naming her children after them. And ever after, all the descendants of Fooley carried with great, and rather overbearing, pride these very distinguished and special-looking names, all with periods after them. Here is a list of these oh-so-special names, along with Fooley’s wife’s pronunciation of them: 

                                     Ltd.        ~    Litted (to rhyme with fitted
Co.        ~    Coe
    Bros.    ~    Bross
   Wm.    ~    Wim
      Geo.      ~    Gee-oh
 Eng.      ~    Eng
   Scot.     ~    Scot
     Etc.        ~    Etcuh 
 Rd.         ~    Rid
 St.           ~   Stuh
                                 Ave.          ~    Ave (to rhyme with save)
&.           ~    ??? 

The Hairless Ones: That’s a very peculiar name, isn’t it? It’s accurate though. Here’s a description from the book:

"They were taller than Minnipins by at least a head, and they wore tight brownish-white clothes that fitted like skin, so that their round bellies bulged fat as puff toads. Their heads were almost hairless, and mushroom-coloured like their suits, as though they lived their days in dank caves, and they had ears twice the size of Mingy's own." 

The Hairless Ones are the fierce enemies of the Minnipins. There had been peace after Gammage drove the Mushrooms (as they’re also known) from the valley. But then one day, they return. . . 

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Inkling Explorations // The Secret of the Rose

Time for another Inkling Explorations post! To find out more about this super fun monthly link-up, click HERE

This month's selection is: Roses in a book or film 

For this month, I chose an excerpt from The Secret of the Rose by Michael Phillips. 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

“I brought you something,” he said. “I know it’s probably not so special - after all, you have them all over the place here. But . . . well, it was . . . that is, I wanted to find one that was just perfect. I went to three shops in Berlin until I got exactly the one I wanted, though I’m afraid it's starting to die.” 

“Matthew - what is it?” asked Sabina laughing. “Are you going to keep me in suspense all day?” 

He pulled his hands out from behind his back, and held toward her the perfect bud of a single yellow rose. 

Tears filled Sabina’s eyes. 

She reached forward and took it from his hand. She struggled to speak, then turned aside, choked with emotion, unable to find a single word. 

“There’s a little card I wrote to go with it,” said Matthew. He handed it around to her. Still looking the other way, she took it from his hand and looked down at it. It was a tiny slip of paper with but two words handwritten on it: Friends forever

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

RJF // Moccasin Trail

Hello all you wonderful people! 

Have you heard of the Recommend June Fest yet? If you haven't, go hop over to Deborah's blog (Click HERE or click on the button on my side bar) Lots of books, author interviews, and other bookish stuff going on, I'm telling you! 

Anyway, I was absolutely determined to get a review up today. Thankfully, I was able to find a book review/summary I had done years ago. From what I remembered, it had been pretty good. Unfortunately, that was what I had thought years ago. I must've been around 13 or 14 when I wrote it...anyway, I am appalled at the words and tenses that I used. Not as good as was imagined ;P But hopefully you'll still be able to understand it - somewhat ;) 

I give you: 

Ever since he was eleven years old, Jim Keath has known himself to be a Crow Indian. He had been raised as the son of an Indian chief and taught how to count coup, throw knives, creep through the woods, dodge bullets - everything an Indian ever needed to know. He enjoyed his life, carefree and always full of excitement. But then the letter came and it changed him forever. Not only does the letter contain words from his medicine dream, it also reveals that his long-forgotten brothers and sister are still alive, and looking for him. Now nineteen-year-old Jim must leave his beloved Indian life behind and hunt out his family. But when he finally finds them, Jim faces hardships he had never imagined would occur. His parents have died and his siblings have changed drastically. His little sister, Sally, has grown into a beautiful young woman, and she hates him the minute she sets eyes on him. His long braids irritates her, the feather in his hair annoys her, and his most precious medicine bag horrifies her. Nothing Jim does can please her. But what hurts Jim the most is the change in his brother, Jonnie. They had been soul mates as boys growing up, now they were aliens. Though Jonnie tries to suppress his feelings, Jim knows that he disapproves of his wild, “Injun” ways. Not so with Dan’l however. Dan’l, Jim’s youngest brother, instantly takes to his long-lost brother and greatly admires his Indian skills. During his stay with his family, Jim tries to settle into the white man’t lifestyle. He longs to go back to his old lifestyle as an Indian, but for some reason, the words of his medicine dream compel him to stay. But when the medicine dream is finally explained to him, will Jim find out that he belongs to the Indians or to his family?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

An Explanation

Hello all! At the moment, I am draped ungracefully on the couch, listening to Britt Nicole, and typing out this post while trying not to fall asleep. Why, you may ask? The past two weeks have been BUSY.  And also SO. MUCH. FUN!! :D 

Sooo.... Tiger Lily and I went to North Carolina for two weeks of summer camps with Landry Academy! It was awesome! It was the first time we both ever flew somewhere by ourselves, so that was an adventure in it of itself. But then getting to stay at Lees McRae college with almost 200 campers our age was amazing. (The "our age" part has to be emphasized, because's never happened before where I was surrounded by SO many people around my age ;) It was intimidating and amazing, all at the same time) 

We met so many absolutely wonderful people. We made new friends (yes...we socialized *gasp* :P)

We learned lessons. We experienced dorm life. We had laughing parties. 

We sang. We danced. We dyed hair. 

We did SO many things...and I loved it so much! I'll tell you all more about it later on, but I had to just post this really quick. 

It's also the reason why I spread out my short story into six parts. Didn't want to abandon my blog, but I had barely any time at all to comment, save posting on my blog. So I apologize for not commenting very much...but don't worry! I will be heading to all of y'alls blogs; so look out for some comments ;) And to those who were commenting on my blog the past two weeks, THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! I did read them (and enjoyed them SO very much). I will be replying to them soon, I promise! :D 

Signing out!