~16 Sweet Things About You~

My little sister's 16th birthday is today...oh my gosh did I really just type that out!? Let's all wish her (my sister Mary) a happy birthday shall we? I just wanted to tell you that I love you Mo-mo...to the moon and back a zillion times over!

16 sweet special things that I absolutely love about My SiSsY (in no reasonable order whatsoever):

(1) You are not afraid to be different...never have been.

(2) You are trendy, and often teach me things about fashion and makeup that I am totally clueless about.

(3) You are a brilliantly talented cake designer...and they taste yummy to boot!

(4) You have the most beautiful blue-green-brown-gold 'mood eyes' that I've ever seen! 

(5) Sometimes when I need you to, you seemingly switch roles with me, and become the older sister that I need you to be for me at that moment. Sometimes I swear we were born out of order...and secretly you are the bigger sister!

(6) We are polar opposites...and well, that makes life unpredictable and a lot of fun!

(7) I always know that you strongly stick up for me and everyone else in your life...and you always think of me and others too!

(8) Beneath that strong tough exterior you are a big softy...you are very caring and thoughtful even if you don't like to admit it! (Sorry, I've told your secret! =P)

(9) You sing loud and proud (literally) alongside me even if we don't always hit the notes. (...and we've 
recorded it...)

(10) You are a beautiful dancer...one that I only dream and wish I could be! (I cannot dance at ALL!)

(11) You are a 'Towanda' girl through and through...unless you just painted your nails again! (Inside. Joke.)

(12) You typically rise to the occasion...and I know you will continue to do so throughout your life. (Remember...Jeremiah 29:11-13 dearest! He will continue to lead and guide you through your life as you keep your beautiful eyes and heart focused on Him...and especially when you step out and do hard things!)

(13) You can put up with my constant badgery of goofiness daily...and you can dish it too!

(14) You are never afraid to stand up for what you believe and say aloud what you truly believe in your heart, whereas I am more guarded and scared to say things aloud sometimes. (I am learning from you daily...)

(15) You always know when something's wrong...reading me like a book. I say I can't stand this at times, but really it just makes me feel comforted and loved all the more!

(16) Everything about you is vibrant and vivacious! Your room (which is hot pink, lime green, tangerine, and purple), your bubbly personality, your bold outlook on life, your ability to sing off key at the top of your lungs in your room while standing there with the biggest Cheshire Cat smile on your face looking in the mirror as you sing (I love sneaking a peek at you doing this when you are unaware...hehe), your trendy clothing choices, your lovely face that is beautiful and painted with vast color pigmentations...etc.

...and this is a picture of my sissy's present that I got for her...think she'll like it? Although she already knows she's getting it I hope she will love the songs on it....guess we'll have to wait and see! =)

{image via: glambamm.com}
HaPpY SwEeT 16tH BiRtHdAy SiSsY!

The Beautiful Biltmore Estate

The friendly lion who greeted us at the door.

The gardens, nearest to the estate home itself. Such a lovely flower carpet....now I want one in my yard too!

I love the architecture of the balconies at Biltmore......they made me start daydreaming....which is unusual that any piece of architecture would do such a thing! haha

~ St. Joan ~

~ St. Louis ~

The old horse stables where we ate lunch. How cool is it that we ate where one of the Vanderbilt's horses ate at once upon a time?

French Dip.....more like Heaven on Ciabatta bread! Yum-o!


Lily pads.......

This is the side view of Biltmore House from the Carpet Garden.

Now that's an estate. The man who designed the gardens and landscaping for Mr. Vanderbilt, Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted, also designed the landscape for another large icon.......can you guess what it is? *Hint: it's in the middle of NYC*

The greenhouse and other garden areas are also very lovely. Vibrant crimsons and greens bring this seemingly dull place to life.

I have recently noticed that whenever and where ever I go on a trip I typically try on a hat. ;)

I love old tins! I have a few in my room....and while we were in a store in Antler Village (which is still on the Vanderbilt estate) I had to take a pic of them.
  • We arrived at the Biltmore Estate only to find the weather to be slightly overcast, but with a lovely temperature of 65 degrees. Fall was in the air...
  • I was able to truly appreciate all of the architecture on the outside and inside of the estate....and learned exactly what a cantilever actually means/is.
  • I was able to get a fairly decent shot with my camera of my favorite Saint....set in stone...she's lovely.
  • I got to glimpse, yet again, one of the loveliest libraries that I have ever seen. The ceiling is covered in a mural that was painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Pellegrini. The painting once looked down on a ballroom in the Pisani Palace in Venice. Mr. Vanderbilt had the piece cut into 13 long strips and then glued it and nailed it to the ceiling of the library. How awesome is that! The mural depicts Aurora the Roman goddess of the Dawn and is simply breath-taking! I would love to sit there in the library surrounded by the partial book collection (the Vanderbilt's had more than 23,000 books and only about half are actually kept in the library) and just gaze at Aurora and day dream forever....
  • I was able to pick out more of the Latin words and phrases hidden inside the tapestries and carvings of the Estate. Da~Pacem~Domine
  • While in the basement of the Biltmore House I glanced up at one of the walls and saw a portrait of Nike of Samothrace which was odd because just the night before I had done the 'Crown of Creation' post and used that art piece in the blog entry. Coincidence? I think not!
  • I ate inside of the old horse stables, and had the best sandwich on planet earth, also known as the French Dip. My mother, grandmother and I also shared a serving of Strawberry Shortcake which was superb....so much in fact that we had it devoured before I remembered that I hadn't snapped a photo of it!
  • I got really close to Koi fish at the courtyard garden pond (even snapped a pic of them), and no, I did not faint I am happy to report. Even taking and posting pics of fish makes me squirm....trying to face it though. (I am an ichthyphobic.....weird I know!)
  • I saw a woman cut leather the good ol' fashioned way, a man blowing a glass bulb, and another woman making a candle stick on her pottery wheel.
  • and etc.............
I so very much enjoyed my day trip spent at the Biltmore House alongside my momma, sissy, and Oma. I hope you all enjoyed perusing through what my eyes beheld... Have any of you ever been to the Biltmore House before? If so what were your favorite rooms? By far my two favorite rooms were The Winter Garden and The Library.  I cannot wait to go back to the Biltmore again....and next time I hope to take the guided tour...the one that takes you up to the rooftop.

Phew! I am so glad that I caught up...

P.S. .....and while there in the Garden Shoppe I tried Wassail for the first time...and I fell in love immediately!

"Unexpected" Update

{image via: flowers-in-my-hair.tmblr.com}
Thank you all so much for your prayers! My Mimi is doing much better than I thought she would be.....she seemed to be in pretty good spirits as far as I could tell today. She looked fairly well, despite her swollen legs and feet, her slightly pale complexion, looking a bit frail, and being strapped to a heart monitor. Honestly I've never been so happy to see her and to get to hug her and tell her that I loved her in all my life!

The Doctor came into the room today while we were there visiting my Mimi, and from what I understood from what the Doctor said there is not much that they can do at this point for her and her heart. They are running a heart stress test in the morning........really only to see if there is something that they have missed seeing thus far...or if there are any alternative treatments to help her poor heart out. For right now they are in the 'wait and see' mode, and they have given her different meds to take daily, and just today they put her on once a day insulin injections (which she was so not thrilled about) for her diabetes.

Really my Mimi needs to have bypass surgery done, but the doctor's are afraid of doing so because of the 4 blockages (narrowing of the heart valves) that are in her heart; the valves are not fully blocked however, but the particular places that the 'blockages' are in is in not in the most easiest of places to reach and fix without causing more damage to my Mimi and her heart...possibly. One of the blockages is in one of the valves at the back of the heart, where there is prior damage and scar tissue that was caused by her heart attack quite a while ago. 

There's a lot of scarring on her heart......and I pray that her heart holds up stronger for many years to come. The Doctor's may not be able to fix the damage that was done up until this point in time, but hopefully by treating her as they have been and surely like they will do in the future, God-willing, her heart won't worsen any more than the current state that it is in.

Again thanks for all of your prayers....it meant a lot to know that people were praying for my family and I! I am so emotionally and physically spent that I will have to call it a night and end the blog post here for now. I look forward to getting back to blogging sometime this week...so until then...good night bloggers.


Well, I had thought that I would be going to our Church tomorrow, and then in the afternoon I'd blog all about my adventure from this past Friday, but instead my family and I will be going to visit my Mimi in the Hospital. My Mimi called my daddy today on the phone...she tried to hold back her tears as she broke the news to him....she told him that she found out today that she has 4 blockages in her heart and there's nothing anyone can do for her. The doctor's have said that they cannot do a bypass....she needs a new heart, but her kidneys are not strong enough to take a transplant (as far as we all understand thus far...not sure if this was even talked about, or if it's an option.)

I am not sure about what to expect when I walk through those Hospital doors in the morning. I am upset and confused....and I just want to go and hug her and be beside her. We've always struggled with connecting with one another....and I haven't always been there for her as a granddaughter. I just want things to be okay, and for her to see that I do love her and I do think of her often contrary to belief. I want to have a change of heart....to hold her dearer and closer in my heart....because I am not sure what is going to happen. 

Please pray for my Mimi, my Papa, and my family and I as we travel to go see them tomorrow.

Many thanks for your prayers and much love to you all,

The Crown of Creation

{image via: totalfilm.com}
Last night as I was lying in bed reading, before I drifted off to sleep........I found myself swimming in the comfort and knowledge that I am indeed a 'Purposed Princess' in His eyes.

Have you ever thought about the creation of woman, and why we were made in the fashion and order that we were by our loving Creator-God? It's okay if you haven't because I've never really put that much thought into why woman is the way she is and why she was created after animals and man too. I mean there has to be some order that the Lord had purposed in fashioning us and presenting us to the world and to man (Adam) when He did right?

I hadn't come to the realization yet of why we were created after...after the earth, sky, waters, animals and man before until I read a passage out of the book I am currently reading, called Captivating (by: John & Stasi Eldredge.) Last night as I was curled up under my quilt, squinting through my glasses, that set semi-perfectly straight upon my nose,  to see the words laid before me on the new-book-smell filled pages I began to understand why we as women were the need to be the created after part.

Here's what I read last night that sparked the fires of my mind on the 'why after' question:

"Nike of Samothrace" 
{image via: theoi.com}
She is the crescendo, the final, astonishing work of God. Woman. In one last flourish creation comes to a finish with Eve. She is the Master's finishing touch. How we wish this were an illustrated book, and we could show you now some painting or sculpture that captures this, like the stunning Greek sculpture of the goddess Nike of Samothrace, the winged beauty, just alighting on the prow of a great ship, her beautiful form revealed through the thin veils that sweep around her. Eve is...breathtaking.  Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? As Paul later writes, man "is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man" (1 Cor. 11:7). Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God's final touch, his piece de resistance. She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill. Step to a window, ladies, if you can. Better still, find some place with a view. Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, "The whole, vast world was incomplete without me. Creation reached its finishing touch in me." 
~from Captivating pg. 26 by: John & Stasi Eldredge~

Now tell me that this passage from Captivating did not give you chills! Sisters, we were purposed from the beginning to be the finishing touch in this world. You know what this means don't you? It means that the world could not spin as it does so now...without out us it would have been a fretted collision waiting to happen upon itself. God needed man. Man needed something too.... God realized this and He made Woman, to be a Help-Meet, and a completer of man, one whom brings him glory. 

We are the glory of man, and the daughter's of a brilliant masterful loving Creator! He longs to know you deeply....that is why your reflection as a woman is seen as being deep, emotive and longing after love...because after all God is that image which you portray and long for daily. God is deep, emotive, loving...that is why we long for such things and attributes in our lives...it because truly deep down inside we know that we long for Him.

I cannot wait to finish reading Captivating......and to get around to telling you all of the other many things I will surely love about and learn from this lovely little hardback book. 

Perhaps I will go further into the different aspects of Biblical Femininity in future posts....one aspect is 'Glory of Man' which I have only just touched on minutely in this post. Would any of you be interested in learning more about the aspects of Biblical Femininity alongside me? Don't worry I will still finish writing the 'Recession' posts I had planned on doing...and at some point or another I plan on discussing different worldviews and diving into Apologetics. I am taking my sweet time with researching, thinking on, and reading all about different worldviews and Apologetics, so please forgive my tardyness on posting about it all.....patience is still needed please! I am in full blown wild tangent researcher mode I assure you. 

Much love to all of you lovely Purposed Princesses,
P.S. - I will be going on another 'adventure' tomorrow. I cannot wait to take lots of pictures of my 'adventure' and then blog about it all later on this weekend so that I may share my 'adventure' with each and every one of you lovely...and handsome bloggers! Oh...and I just joined BlogFrog so if any of you are on there FIND ME! ;)

An Adventure Down River

Well, I am back to blogging, finally, after a really long super fun Labor Day weekend spent with my family and my boyfriend. This past Sunday my dad, uncle, aunt, cousin, boyfriend and I headed up to the mountains and went White Water Rafting.

I had never been White Water Rafting before...so this was all a first for me.

When we finally got to the White Water Rafting place we waited around for the guides to show up (our group name was called and we were told that our guide's name was Boomer), and then we grabbed some PFD's and some paddles and then we had to stick around and listen to them tell us some tips and safety precautions for when we got on the rapids. I was struggling with putting my life jacket on and was trying to loosen it when all of a sudden this young woman comes up behind me grabs the back of the straps on the life jacket and starts pulling the cords uber tight. She was tightening the thing so much around me that I thought my ribs were gonna crack open! I am telling you I know how girl's felt in the Victorian era with all of those corsets being tightened to the extreme....sheesh!

After we heard the speech...ahem I mean helpful tips...we loaded ourselves onto a big old clunker of a bus. I walked down the aisle of the bus and quickly grabbed a seat, but before I slid in the seat I made sure I let Jared slide by me so he could sit by the window. Everything that the guide had said about all of the safety hazards flashed through my mind....."Somer Teeth.....if you don't grab a hold of the T-handle on the end of your paddle at all times you are gonna knock someone's teeth out...some are here....somerthere..." 

My stomach was in knots and I couldn't catch my breath...worrying had started to take over and I started to feel like I was gonna lose my wits, and or lunch. Jared told me to breathe in slowly and not too deeply, to relax and then he reached for my hand. As the bus made it's way through the curvy intertwining roads of the mountains I tried to keep calm....knowing that I could do it. I was gonna be okay and maybe I'd have fun too along the way. Jared was by my side....daddy was by my side... 

We arrived at the point of no return....stepping off of the bus with Jared closely at my side (because I wouldn't let go of his hand to save my life) we awaited our group's name to be called. They called our family and we went and stood over by boat number 25 while our guide, named Boomer, talked it up for a few moments with us....found out that he is a lefty just like Jared and my cousin Christian....and then we figured out where each of us would sit at. We grabbed the boat up off of the ground and took it down to the water....Jodi and I slipped into the front of the boat, Daddy and Ray behind us, and Christian and Jared in the back seat with Boomer right behind them. We told Boomer about our deal....we had made the mistake of making a 'meal deal'....the first person to fall out of the boat was to buy dinner...and we told that to our guide!!! It probably wasn't the smartest thing to tell a guide that whoever gets thrown overboard first and gets really good and wet is going to have to buy dinner....because in Boomer's mind his mission became MISSION 

As we began our rapids river journey along with Boomer I knew we were in for a treat.......and perhaps a good soaking too. Boomer was quite comical (slapping the water with the paddle loudly behind the boat and yelling out "BeaverShark!"), quite talkative and seemed like a pretty easy going daredevil. Hmmm...not sure how the words easy going and daredevil can be used to describe someone but that was how Boomer was. Boomer made it his personal mission to have us steer our boat towards ANY and EVERY  rock in the river that is for sure.

The waters eventually started to seem to calm down about an hour after being out there on the beautiful blue green waters that were white capped. At one point we hooked our boat together with about 8 or 9 other boats (something that the other guides hadn't tried yet but had wanted to) and we were all in for a 'splashing good time.' After the row of boats were hooked together and facing the rapids in one combined our guide suddenly jumped up and out of our boat and jumped from boat to boat to boat....then all of the other guides started jumping boats too....it was pretty tense and exciting for me all at the same time.

When we finally reached The Falls (seen in the above picture) I wasn't sure what to expect honestly. I wasn't disappointed....it was exhilarating and scary all at the same time, and I would definitely go White Water Rafting again! I love the picture above because here's what I think we are all saying in our minds: "Boomer: Well, he's buying dinner. Christian: What!? Jared: Haha. I am so glad it's you Mr. H and NOT ME!! Ray: OH MY GOSH! Jodi: What a crack up...Mark's falling out. Sarah: Oh my gosh I am gonna fall out too! Hang on tight spider monkey!"

...and we made it! I had a great day out in the beautiful mountain rapids with my love and my family....honestly I cannot wait to brave the rapids again!

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday weekend too,
P.S. Thanks ladies (Alaythea, Nikki, Lynette and Laurel) for the sweet comments on my last blog entry! Also, what do you all think of my new blog template/layout/background? Is there anything that you all miss about the old one...or is there anything about the new one that you don't care for in particular? I really like the new look...but just maybe I'm not done tweaking it all yet! So let me know what you think...please! :)