"Sinner that I am, why should the sun give me light,
the air supply breath,
the earth bear my tread,
its fruit nourish me,
its creatures subserve me ends?
Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my undeserved stripes." || The Valley of Vision 

Today was a looong day. I waitressed from 8am-3pm, did a little shopping afterwards with Suzi [we had to find a dress for Eva Charis to wear to Kate's wedding this weekend...], and then I went with Suzi to her house to help her paint, paint, paaaaaiiiiinnnt [prime actually, we didn't even touch the actual paint!] her downstairs. Yeah, we did a lot of it...'til about midnight when we decided tomorrow would be just as well to finish the job. :) The addition of yummy doughnuts, caramel macchiato frappachinos, and new ginger apricot tea made it a pleasant task though. ;) And Sara Katie is such a sweetheart...

♥, Sara



Wow. Okay, bear with me for a moment... I'm such a terrible blogger that I'm now so far behind [read: 9-10 days behind] that it's almost overwhelming to try and even catch up. [It's actually Feb. 7th, but I'm posting this as Jan. 30th, because, well, that's what I'm supposed to do, right? :) ] Sometimes I just get so caught up in observing and doing life that blogging loses it's appeal. But I want to keep doing it, so I press forward, even if I do have almost two weeks to catch up on! Tell me you forgive me? Okay, good.

I also realize that my pictures are pretty much awful, and that my writing could use some help. But then, I constantly compare myself to others...prettier blogs, better photos, more adventures and happy moments and comments [I mean, 1K - 40K+ comments on a single post, really?]...and doing so just shows me how very unwise I am. Because, this little blog of mine, if nothing else, is real. It's real life. It's what the blog of an ordinary, uncommon girl looks like who can't seem to figure out how to get her slr camera to take the photo she sees in her head and who doesn't have the time of day to type out pretty, inspiring essays ever, let alone every single day...

So here's to being real, choosing to stop comparing myself, and not trying to be as awesome as all those other blogs. :)

On another note, I had the day off of work today, so spent my time catching up on things around the house. I came across this 7-day water detox today and would love to give it a try...You just mix and drink each day for seven days: 60 oz. water, 1 TB pure cranberry juice, 2 TB lemon juice, and 1 dandelion root tea bag. Sounds easy, no? I'll let you know if I ever actually try it! ;)

I talk a lot about breaking tradition when it comes to weddings and showers...how are these for fun, non-traditional wedding reception ideas? Love.

♥, Sara



My newest passion? All things baby and nursery decor. I made this dainty heart-and-flower mobile this afternoon in shades of white, cream, and the palest pink...and I'm in love. The hearts and flowers are crocheted, and the touch of vintage lace really makes it perfect. :) I have a thousand other ideas running through my mind, and I can't wait to try and craft some more of them soon! Happy Sunday...

♥, Sara



"Justified by his blood I am saved by his life,
glorifying in his cross I bow to his sceptre,
having his Spirit I possess his mind.
Lord, grant that my religion may not be
occasional and partial,
but universal, influential, effective,
and may I always continue in thy words
as well as thy works..." || The Valley of Vision

Today was a lovely little day...a few of the boys went along with Suzi and I to do a little shopping in Erie. I found the loveliest set of Polish pottery and picked up a couple of pieces to add to my collection...  I also came across some pretty books and a couple of hobnail milkglass vases at a thrift store [only 79 cents a pop...umm, score!]. With the addition of a new cardigan and a pretty little scarf--perfect for Spring, it was a shopping day success!

♥, Sara



"Lord God Almighty,
thy understanding is unsearchable and infinite,
thy arm cannot be stayed...
all works hang on thy care,
with thee time is a present now...
Thus may my soul rest in thee...
revealed as thou art in the Person
and work of thy Son..." || The Valley of Vision

Fridays are bake-something-sweet-and-warm-to-eat days, so I baked chocolate chip cookies. :) Fridays are also clean-up-the-house days because we give sewing and crochet lessons in the afternoons..., so I cleaned! After lessons were finished for the day I attempted to make Pioneer Woman's perfect iced coffees...and then spent the evening at Josh and Suzi's...ready to do a little shopping tomorrow! Yay!

I [ahem] didn't take any pictures today, so how about a few inspiring photos instead? They make me happy... [sorry, no credits...because I'm bad about that, and no one who's too particular about proper crediting will read this anyway, so I'm not letting it bother me!]

♥ Sara



""Help me not only to receive him but
to walk in him,
depend upon him,
commune with him,
be conformed to him,
follow him,
imperfect, but still pressing forward,
not complaining of labour, but valuing rest,
not murmuring under trials, but thankful
for my state." || The Valley of Vision

All of the boys [yes, even baby boy!] got their hair cut today... It's always a bittersweet day when the baby gets his haircut...I don't even really know why. :( I worked this afternoon from 4-9pm...I've had so many morning shifts lately, it seemed strange to work until closing time...
Today I became sooooo inspired by handmade, quirky, vintage-inspired, baby designs...mobiles, blankets, crib bedding, clothing, accessories...Not that I'm having a baby anytime soon, or that anyone I know is in need of baby anything, but I'm collecting for a future nursery inspiration post, so stay tuned! :)

♥ Sara



"May I confide in His power and love,
commit my soul to Him without reserve,
bear His image, observe His laws,
pursue His service,
and be through time and eternity
a monument to the efficacy of His grace,
a trophy of His victory...
Perceiving nothing in myself, may I find in Christ
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification,
and redemption." || The Valley of Vision

I worked from 7:30-2:30pm today...and then decided to take Savannah and Sophia out for some strawberry shortcake [as if I hadn't already spent enough time at the restaurant today, I know...] They were sooo tickled to finally get to go to Sam's and eat something! Sam's strawberry shortcake is the best I've ever had [and working at the restaurant, I tend to eat entirely too much of it...]
Afterwards, we visited our Grammie and Papa for a little bit and helped them with a few things around their apartment...and then spent the rest of the evening at home. :) And that's that.

♥ Sara



"Thou blessed Spirit, Author of all grace and comfort,
come, work repentance in my soul...
melt my heart by the majesty and mercy of God...
teach me to behold my Creator,
his ability to save,
his arms outstretched,
his heart big for me." || The Valley of Vision

It's Tuesday! And I have the day off [five in a row, yay!]...
I adore Terrain. Ever since their first little introduction email popped into my inbox, I've fallen more and more in love with their products. But really it's Terrain's aesthetic that I love the most...you'll just have to check them out for yourself! Here are a few Terrain items that I particularly love at the moment.

♥ Sara



"O my forgetful soul,
awake from thy wandering dream;
turn from chasing vanities,
look inward, forward, upward,
view thyself, reflect upon thyself,
who and what thou art, why here,
what thou must soon be...
O God...bring me to a happy mind that rests in thee,
for thou hast made me and canst not forget me.
Let thy Spirit teach me the vital lessons of Christ,
for I am slow to learn..." || The Valley of Vision

Today was my sweet niece Becca's fifth birthday, as well as my itty, bitty baby brother Spencer's first birthday. To celebrate, we made the absolute best cupcakes ever, ever. And ever. Most cupcakes are overrated, but not these. These were topped with the most amazing whipped chocolate ganache...and no joke, I could have [not-so-guiltily] eaten it by the spoonful alllll day long.

"In the depth of winter,
I finally learned that within me
there lay an invincible summer."
|| Albert Camus

That's my challenge to myself today...to be awake and choose summer-time's happiness now. It's only circumstantial if I'm focused on myself. But when I'm focused on Christ, resting in Him...no amount of winter monotony can rob me of joy. :)

♥ Sara



"That which I know not, teach thou me...
Make practical upon my heart the Father's love
as thou hast revealed it in the Scriptures...
Thy office is to teach me to draw near to Christ
with a pure heart,
steadfastly persuaded of faith.
Let me never falter in this way." || The Valley of Vision

Desperate for the sun, pastels, salt water, sandals, and a reason to drink something cold...I created this inspiration board to remind me that it won't always be winter. :) Stefanie, Ethan, and the awesome Rodgers family invited me to join them on their Key West family vacation in April. [Umm, to say I'm stoked is an obvious understatement.] April can not come soon enough for me! :)

I'm still learning to remember to take at least one picture every single day. It doesn't always happen...like today. :( Hence, the lovely inspiration board, which is way more fun to look at anyway!
But today was another quiet Sunday...I love Sundays.

♥ Sara



"When thou dost first hover over chaos,
order came to birth,
beauty robed the world, fruitfulness sprang forth.
Move, I pray thee, upon my disordered heart...
Take of the things of Christ and show them to my soul;
Through thee may I daily learn more of his love,
grace, compassion, faithfulness, beauty...
Help me to find in his death the reality
and immensity of his love." || The Valley of Vision

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning...mostly because being snuggled under several blankets was so much warmer than being outside of the bed, and I've had such a hard time lately staying warm in our little house...it's been so cold lately. The wood stoves just can't keep up! Then I took the boys to a sled-riding party for a few hours [It's cold in the house, right? Well, it's ever so much more bitterly cold outdoors in the snow and wind!!]...

I loosely curled my hair with a straightener today for the first time ever. And I'm really, really tempted to buy some sea salt spray...just to see if it really gives that awesome salt-water texture to hair that they claim it does. Most likely not, but it'd be fun to give it a try anyway! After today I think I'm more than a little bit desperate for summer, and everything that reminds me of it!

I'm pretty much obsessed with Pioneer Woman. Ree's blog is one of the only blogs that IABSOLUTELYMUSTREADEVERYSINGLEDAY. Maybe it's because she and I are about as opposite as they come. Or maybe because her recipes are hands down about the best there ever was or will be? Well, this evening I made her sour cream pancakes from her cookbook [closest copy I could find since Ree doesn't have the recipe on her blog]. And they were good. And I ate too many of them. And I don't even like pancakes.

♥ Sara



"I don't really want more time; I just want enough time.
Time to breathe deep and time to see real
and time to laugh long, time to give You glory
and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time
in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven,
or wild to get it all done-yesterday." || Ann Voskamp

Today it was sunny and cooooold. I baked some cinnamon-streusel muffins just so that I would have a good excuse to turn the oven on and try to warm up the kitchen! Suzi and the kiddos came over for a few hours, and I spent most of the afternoon giving sewing lessons to these girls...

♥ Sara



I worked this morning at the 'straunt from 8-2pm. I love having a reason to be out-and-about earlier in the day than usual, because then I can see the sunrise...and this morning the sunrise was about as pretty as they come, coloring the sky and the snow so many gorgeous shades of purples and pinks. Everyone was talking about how lovely the sunrise was this morning...

And true to beautiful, pink + purple, rosy sunrises...remember all that lovely snow that melted away the other day due to the winter rain? Well, we got it all back again, thanks to today's blizzard. While driving home from work, I really doubted whether I'd arrive home safely [it's a little obvious that I did though]...the roads were so bad and I could barely see out of the windshield. So yeah, we have a ton of snow again. Typical Pennsylvania.

After work I read to the kiddos [we're so very close to being finished with Little House in the Big Woods, yay!]...and just had a quiet afternoon/evening with them. I like that. Quiet evenings are the best. :)

♥ Sara



"Thou art beyond the grasp of my understanding,
but not beyond that of my love.
Thou knowest that I love thee supremely,
for thou art supremely adorable, good, perfect...
My hearts melts at the love of Jesus...
I am never so much mine as when I am his,
or so much lost to myself until lost in him..." || The Valley of Vision

Today it rained. I mean, it rained a lot. All day long in fact, melting all our hard-earned snow. :(

This morning Suzi and the kiddos came over for a few hours...I made sugar cookie-bars [in Valentine's day colors, because it's the next up-and-coming holiday, and we already had the coordinating sprinkles]...we ate chili and fresh-ground sweet cornbread [I won't mention that the cornmeal wasn't ground fine enough so that the bread was a little...crunchy. It was my fault though. ;) ]...we watched several episodes of Little House...styled some hair via Abby at My Yellow Sandbox...and I made a bracelet, 'cause I was feeling crafty, and it was about the easiest thing I've ever attempted [only taking me maybe 10 minutes, honest!]...

And I found this, which I love, love, love. Absolutely must try when my hair grows another 6+ inches [which seems to me will be never, but we won't talk about that]...Looks beautiful and easy enough, right?

♥ Sara



"Thou hast helped me to see and know Christ,
though obscurely,
to take him, receive him,
to possess him, love him,
to bless him in my heart...
to seek and know his will from love,
to hold it in love,
and daily care for and keep this state of heart." || The Valley of Vision

I realize that my days are perhaps not always very interesting, that I sometimes forget to take any pictures while it's still morning-time [oops!], and that I'm usually a couple or more days behind schedule in blogging...because there's usually a dozen other things I'd rather be doing [definitely my own fault, there's no good excuse!]. ;) Today I worked nine hours at the restaurant, and I didn't seem to accomplish anything beyond that. Waking up, I felt worlds better than I had the previous day, but I still wasn't at all motivated to do anything [except get ready for work, because that had to be done!].

A little burst of sunshine on a bitterly cold, winter day...

♥ Sara



"May I be convinced...
of my need for a prince and saviour,
implore of him repentance as well as forgiveness,
love holiness, and be pure in heart,
have the mind of Jesus, and tread in his steps...
Help me show to the world the likeness of Jesus." || The Valley of Vision

I'm afraid today was more of a can't-really-remember-anything-'cause-i-laid-around-in-bed sort of day than anything else. But that's because I was really sick, so that's sort of a good excuse right? It was a stomach-thing that's been going around, but it more or less just made me so weak and sore that I could hardly even type an email or read. And I had to work for a few hours in the evening, but bless those waitresses...even though I called off less than five hours before my shift started, they saw to it that somebody else could cover for me and told me not to worry about it. So sweet. :) So then I pretty much got comfortable in bed and did nothing of significance, just because I could [or because I couldn't do anything else?]. And that was my day. These are just a couple of random pictures taken in my room...my TOMS shoes and an organized closet. :)

♥ Sara



"All-searching God,
Thou readest the heart,
viewest principles and motives of actions,
seest more defilement in my duties
than I ever saw in any of my sins.
The heavens are not clean in thy sight,
and thou chargest the angels with folly;
I am ready to flee from myself because of my abominations;
Yet thou dost not abhor me
but hast devised means for my return to thee,
and that, by thy Son who died to give me life." || The Valley of Vision

A quiet, lazy sort of Sunday... I really wanted coffee today, but made myself not drink any. I haven't exactly started my caffeine fast yet, I'm just curious to see how long I can go before I get desperate. ;) I worked some more with the porcelain paint today too...more of a TOAST-inspired design this time. I'm kind of having a lot of fun with it, even if the designs are pretty simple. :)

♥ Sara



I love mugs, and I love chevron stripes even more, so I couldn't resist trying my hand at Amanda's diy hand-painted mug tutorial...and since Stefanie really liked them as well, I made a set of four of them for her and have about 8 mugs to spare + enough paint to last me for years! And here are a few beautiful glimpses of some airy, natural interiors that I adore via Veranda magazine...I'm pretty sure I can see myself living there. :)

And I made some of this yummy hot cocoa for the family this morning [found on Women Living Well]. I added extra milk and though it's definitely a must-save recipe, I think that maybe I'll leave out the cinnamon next time...I'm just not a huge fan of cinnamon with my chocolate. :)

♥ Sara