Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Year In Review '17

slovak folk patterns - Google Search 

I was feeling a bit blog-ish tonight (yes, I believe I invented that word), so I thought to myself, "Why not strike while the iron's hot?"  A positively smashing idea on my part, undoubtedly ;)

Truth be told I was scrolling through my reading list on my blogger dashboard, feeling somewhat wistful and dreamy, and I happened upon Abby's post in regards to hopes for the coming year, I felt compelled to follow suit in my own little way.

These are some of the questions that she included.

What did you do in 2017 that you'd never done before?
 Rode a Ferris Wheel!  

I Absolutely LOVE Ferris Wheels,I can set and watch them for hours,especially at night..when they shine so bright! :)

 Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions and will you make new ones?
I've never really been one for making resolutions, or at least not the usual kind people seem to expect.  I'm not saying those kind are bad, not at all, but I guess I just prefer to look at them as goals or opportunities for betterment. With that in mind, I want to make my focus this year more or less the same as last: To live every moment of my life as the gift that it truly is, to remind myself of this in moments when I forget, and to help others see life as a great treasure, too.

 Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my favorite sister had a baby in the spring, making me a proud auntie! 

My little Hummingbird in her new Christmas bonnet ♥

 Did anyone close to you die?
A great-uncle.

 Which countries/states did you visit?
 Let's see, no international borders were crossed, unfortunately.  Sorry to disappoint!
As for states, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and for the first time ever, New Hampshire!  I would love to add Maine to my 2018 list but I can't really see that becoming a reality.

I love New England
♥ Home sweet home ♥

 What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
My very own lighthouse.   Maybe a slightly clearer future?  On second thought, I'll just look for another lighthouse.

Portland Head Lighthouse  Museum in Cape Elizabeth Maine--this is almost the exact painting I inherited from my grandma.
Portland Head Light, Portland, Maine.
I think I'd like to write a story about this place.  Thoughts?

 What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory?
 Ooh, January 22nd!  But I'm not telling why...

 Did you move anywhere?
If living with my favorite sister and wonderful brother-in-law in NY for two months counts, then yes.

 What was the best month?
 Hard to say... March? April? October?

 What was your biggest failure?
Not making prayer my first and strongest refuge.

St. Ephraem of Syria on praying makes us more virtuous

 Did you suffer any illness or injury?
 A few more colds than usual but I'm still breathing.

 What was the best thing you bought?
 Probably my laptop since it's come in handy for schoolwork, writing, and this very blogpost you're (hopefully) enjoying :)  

 Whose behavior merited celebration?
 Mulan's, she saved China ;)

Day 02 Favorite Princess: Mulan. Technically she may not be a real princess, but she is a real heroine. With a good heart, incredible bravery, and cunning she is able to- protect his father, bring honor to her family AND SAVE CHINA! Talk about badass am i right? She grew to be the most beautiful flower of all. (And no I am not biased bec I am Asian...maybe just a little)

 Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
 Those who think being an American means throwing mass temper tantrums in the streets is a show of patriotism when they don't get what they think they want from a government they don't begin understand.

 Where did most of your money go?
I don't think I spent very much in the past year, it was probably equally dispersed between book sales, thrifting, and yarn.

 What did you get really, really excited about?
My trip to New York and my eventual return home.

 Free printable Mother's Day sign | CatchMyParty.com
 Compared to last year, are you:
happier or sadder? I'd like to think I'm happier :)
thinner or fatter? More or less the same.
richer or poorer? Richer in love, poorer in fears.

What do you wish you'd done more of? 
Reading and blogging, but we shall change that this year!

What do you wish you'd done less of? 
Asking "what if?", procrastinating, doubting.

"To thine own self be true." | "Hamlet" | 21 Shakespeare quotes shared in LDS general conference #shakespeare #lds #quotes

What was your greatest musical discovery?
 Spotify.  Where was this incredibly helpful convenience when I was planning a wedding two years ago?!?

 How did you spend Christmas?
 As stated above, with my family.

 How are you spending New Year's?
 Same as Christmas :)

 Who did you spend the most time on your phone with?
 My most special friend!
Another Summer read. 
 What was the best book you read?
 Hmm...probably The Great Gatsby.  I'll tell you what my least favorite was and about all the books I read last year in my next post.

 Did you fall in love in 2017?
 Oh, wouldn't you like to know?

Everyone remembers those seagulls from Finding Nemo, not by their significance but by "mine! Mine! Mine!"<<< I know 

 What was your favorite TV show?
 I don't really watch a lot of TV shows, especially not current stuff, but as an enduring favorite I'd have to say JAG. (Which I got all ten seasons of for Christmas, eeek!)

JAG - fun show but funny how almost every finale had Rabb crashing a plane in some remote area over seas. Oh no! Is he gonna make it this time? Cliffhanger! 

 What were your favorite films of the year?
 That would be I am David,  A Walk to Remember, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and The Zookeeper's Wife.  I think the latter is my top favorite, plus it's also the only one that was "new" as of 2017.

 THE ZOOKEEPER'S WIFE (2017): The Zookeeper's Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the Nazi invasion.

 What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
 I turned 17 and my wonderful brother-in-law got me a pinata!

 How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?

 http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/164887750/tidy-hair-was-all-my-ambition-print-12-x?ref=shop_home_active http://society6.com/britishindie/Tidy...
  And some days, not even that was achieved!
What kept you sane?
 Journaling everything.  Thoughts, joys, the things I did, and what made me sad or especially happy.

 Which celebrity/public figure did you admire most?
 
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a British politician who speaks the truth unabashed and defends it with dignity.

 Who did you miss?
 My family and friends at home while I was in NY, and my family in NY when I was home again.

 Who was the best person you met?
 Two new friends-one older than I,  the other younger-but both very dear.

 Tell a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017. 
"It could always be worse; this too shall pass." ;)

Five personally significant events of 2017:
  • Becoming an Auntie.
  • Learning to drive.
  • Participating in NaNoWriMo.
  • Entering my Senior Year.
  • Developing my skills.
 Five things I want to do in 2018:
  •  Continue developing my skills and gain new ones.
  • Go on more adventures!
  • Turn 18!
  • Graduate!
  • Embrace all that life is and has the potential to become.
 People I'd like to know better in 2018:
My grandfather.

 motivation, inspiration, quotes, home decor

Thank you again, Abby, for the inspiration and very good questions!  Be sure to pay a visit to her beautiful blog, Lavendar Spring.  

And of course, I fully intend to blog more frequently in 2018 (distant laughter), so you shall be hearing from me yet again before too long.  

Until then, tallyho, my dearies!

Always,

~Emma

Sunday, December 31, 2017

On the sixth day of Christmas...


Greetings!  Happy sixth day of Christmas to you all!

Ryan Fowler's Six Geese-A-Laying, part of an exclusive #TwelveDaysOfArt collaboration with Surround Yourself + @greatbigcanvas #holidaydecor #holidays #12DaysOfChristmas 
(Here, I brought you "six geese a'laying", aren't they cute?)

I very much like that song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas", but I especially like the hidden messages it carries in its lyrics about our Catholic Faith.   Do you know the message I'm referring to?

Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords and leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, FIVE GOLD RINGS, four calling birds, three french hens two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. 
 For the benefit of this post, I'll just assume that you don't ;)  

I first learned the story of this old carol many years ago in one of my English workbooks, maybe in 5th Grade?  The story goes like this: 

During the time of the Protestant Revolt in England under Queen Elizabeth I when Catholics were forced to practice there religion in secret, the hunted Jesuit priests who bravely remained would teach the little children to sing this seemingly nonsense song as a way of instructing them in their Catechism.  You see, each phrase of the song acted as a mnemonic for a particular Truth of the Faith, one for each of the twelve days of the Christmas Season, lasting from December 26th to the Feast of Epiphany on January 6th.

 Irish Catholics attending a “house Mass” despite the English persecution and law
 (Faithful Irish Catholics attending a "house Mass" despite persecution at the cost of their lives.)

The "secret messages" contained in the song look something like this:

"My True Love sent to me" = God the Father, Who sent His Son Jesus into the world to die for our sins.

"A partridge in a pear tree" = Jesus Christ is the "partridge" and the "tree" is the Cross on which He was crucified.

"Two turtle doves" = The Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

"Three French hens" = The virtues of faith, hope and charity or the gifts of the Three Wisemen to the Christ Child.

"Four calling birds" = Represents the four gospels, "calling" all people to Christ.

"Five golden rings" = The Pentateuch, or first five books of the Bible.

"Six geese a-laying" = God created the world in six days.

"Seven swans a-swimming" = The seven sacraments or seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost.

"Eight maids a-milking" = The eight beatitudes revealed to us by Jesus.

"Nine ladies dancing" = Referring to the nine choirs of angels: Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Powers, Principalities, Dominions, Virtues, Seraphim, and Cherubim.

"Ten lords a-leaping" = God's Ten Commandments given to us through Moses.

"Eleven pipers piping" = The number of apostles who remained faithful to Our Lord.

And my favorite!

"Twelve drummers drumming" = There are twelve points of doctrine contained in the Apostles' Creed, which is what this final line refers to.  

Isn't this cool!?!  So next time you hear this song playing, you can think about all of the meaning behind some of those words we sing.  It is far more than a nonsense song for children!

Christmas Lover

Can you believe that it's already the end of 2017?  I certainly can't believe it.  Isn't it strange how time passes us by the way it does, sometimes feeling fast and breathless, sometimes slow and lingering on endlessly?  It's fascinating and weird and perhaps a bit unsettling at times, but that's what I think makes it so valuable!

This has been an amazing year!  I think after four years of blogging here I have finally felt comfortable, like I can just have fun and write from my heart without holding back or being self-conscious. 

 And you know what?  I have all of you to thank for that.  No, I'm serious!  Knowing that there's even one person reading my insignificant little scribblings I create here is a great feeling, but I know that there's more than just one person tuning in here to every post, and that's kind of amazing to me!  Know that I appreciate your reading and commenting, your encouragement always makes me smile, dear. So thank you, and I hope you are given every blessing in the coming year ahead!

Here's to 2018!

Always,

~Emma

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Traditionnnnn! Tra-di-tion!"


First and foremost, to whomever got the reference, mozel tov! ;)

This post is kind of a hodge-podge of a bunch of different things my family and I do during the season of Advent leading up to Christmas.  

It's also that special time of year when Emma isn't quite sure if she sure should be baking lot's of yummy things, crocheting all of the Christmas gifts she hasn't started finished yet, or getting her room straightened out for Christmas guests to stay in. Soo, yeah...

Keep calm, there is only one more holiday till christmas!!! <3

Since Advent started a bit later this year (Dec. 3), it feels like we're even closer to Christmas than usual at this point in the month. *Eek! Just over two weeks?!?*  Like, Christmas is literally 15 days away.  How??

But if I'm going to tell you about traditions, I'm already getting ahead of myself!  (Does that surprise anyone?)  Let's go back and discuss November, shall we?

Being the month dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory and also the month in which All Saints Day (Nov.1) falls, my mum has almost every year decorated the door in our dining room with pretty much every saint holy card we have a copy of.


Of course, it isn't the work of a day and some years takes well into the month to fill, but it's always
fun adding new and interesting saints to the collection every year.

(Bonus points! Can anyone name the saints in this picture?)
Our altar, too, is decorated with saints all through November.

 (Christmas wreath in pre-stages: Hemlock, White Pine, Mountain Laurel, and Some Kind Of Brown Weed)

 Courtesy of NaNoWriMo, November was a bit of a blur.  A really fun, super exhilarating, inspirational blur, but a blur all the same.  I wouldn't hesitate to do it again next year, in fact I plan to providing life doesn't get in the way, but now I have a better understanding of how much more preparation I need to have in advance.

So anyway!  For me, the first official commencement to this most joyous of seasons is a little something known in my family as Wreath Making.  (Yes, the caps are entirely necessary ;) )

Wreath Making occurs every year, rain or shine, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  My whole family-aunts, uncles, cousins, and a special friend or two-all gather at my grandparents house to make wreathes with the fresh greens we pick from around the property.

(One of the wreaths I made this year for my best friend and his family)
This is one of my absolute favorite things to do every year!  Drinking warm apple cider, tramping around outside in the cold, trimming tree branches and getting thoroughly covered in more pine pitch than you might think humanly possible.  It's the best!

Plus, that is also the day when it becomes officially acceptable to blast Christmas music pretty much whenever you want, beginning with while you make your wreath.  And no one even minds if you sing along loudly with Bing and Frank! Win win, am I right?

(My chickens got their very own swag this year....

 ...much to Amber and Elsbeth's approval) 

 Now onto December!


 We set our tree up rather early this year, the first Sunday on Advent, I'm not quite sure why.  Usually we wait until more like the second week, but I think the reason partly has to do with the fact that my sister, brother-in-law, and niece are going to be able to come down and celebrate Christmas with us this year!


This is going to be little Anastasia's first Christmas, so maybe that has something to do with it.  For me it kind of feels even more exciting than usual, almost like I'm seeing firsthand what it's like to experience all the wonder for the very first time.

 (Our December altar.  No more saints, just the Infant of Prague and our Advent Wreath)

(St Nicholas found way into our Advent Wreath on his feastday, Dec. 6)
 
(I made these just the other day, Beehive Buns for St Ambrose, Dec. 7)

Why a beehive?  There is a legend that when Saint Ambrose, whose name in Latin means "sweet as honey", was a baby a swarm or bees came one day and clustered about his lips without stinging him.  By this sign his mother understand that he was destined to be a great writer and orator one day and he is still revered as one of the greatest theologians of the 4th century.  You can read more about St. Ambrose here  and get the recipe for Beehive Buns over here.

Thus concludes this lengthy post!  I hope you enjoyed :)  

And for those of you who didn't understand this post's opening line, here is the solution for you.


Happy Advent, everyone!  Do you have any pre-Christmas traditions?

Talk soon, my dears!

Always,

~Emma