Here We Go

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 was a big year for this little space. I put more time into it than I ever have before. I worked with several brands, joined a few blogging networks, hosted and co-hosted new projects, took a class, and found the topics that seem to be "mine".

After years of mostly keeping to myself, I made some really great friends! You know who you are, but you can't know how much you encourage me as a Christian and inspire me as a woman and as a blogger. If we could all live in one city I'd love that...but, I'm grateful for the community we have built together!

We're all making plans for 2015. There are a few things you should know:

* The goal that I'm most excited about is that my side bar is going to look different. I'll be contacting people asking if they'd like to advertise their blog or Etsy shop on my side bar - for FREE. This is a way for me to give back to all of you. Consider this an invitation to contact me if you're interested!

* Earlier this month, Ask & Answer began because I just couldn't wait any longer. I thought round one was a lot of fun.  We'll keep this up as long as you all continue to enjoy it!

* I'm working on ways to make navigating OLD material on my blog a little easier. There are so many new faces around here, I'd love to make looking around fun for you!
* Kiki and I are already talking about hosting another letter exchange. I hope you'll help spread the word! What time of year works best for you?

* I'm toying with the idea of switching up the design. Does my purple font drive you nuts?

I have a few other things up my sleeve too. For now, I'm enjoying some special time with my family and hoping that in 2014 Through * For * By has brightened your day, encouraged your soul, and given you many reasons to praise God!

Happy New Year!

Purpose of God

Monday, December 29, 2014

Every now and then Jay will stop by for a visit just because. It's usually in the afternoon and it almost always turns into a theology chat session. Earlier this month, I came home to find his Jeep parked in the driveway...I hoped he hadn't been here long because I didn't want to miss out on his visit! 

I wasn't disappointed. I joined the conversation happening around our table and talk quickly turned to a time years ago when Jay worked his way through parts of Chambers' book in a new way. He looked up a topic in the index and read and re-read every entry that was listed until he had his questions answered. This came up because we were talking about the purpose of God.

Jay left me with the challenge of looking up "purpose of God" in the index of "My Upmost For His Highest". I began working my way through the entries reading and re-reading them one by one. The entry from May 22 is the perfect reflection on this last Monday of 2014. The Scripture for that day comes from John 17:21. It says, "...that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us..."

If you are one of God's people, whatever is happening in your life, or has happened in your life, is working together for a purpose. John 17 tells you why and verses like Romans 8:28-29 leave you with full assurance. Chambers puts it this way, "...Jesus has prayed that you 'may be one' with the Father as He is."

As we finish up the last few days of this year and prepare our hearts for the one ahead, it is the perfect time to take stock of where we are as children of God. May we find great comfort in this great will of God! May even our troubles be viewed as blessings.

I want to leave you to consider this question from Chambers, "Are you helping God to answer that prayer, or do you have some other goal for your life?"

Join me in answering it honestly and reflecting on it often.

What I Learned in November

Monday, December 22, 2014

November 27, 2014

Miracle on 34th Street is ALSO a book.

Book clubs on Good Reads are a great idea!

Shopping by myself is not TERRIBLE, but I really do hate it.

First novels CAN be wonderful. Leave it to Madeleine L'Engle to teach me this lesson with her very own first novel, "The Small Rain".

It is both OKAY and AMAZING to bust out Christmas early. This year, I pulled out the music and movies on November 1st and I decorated two whole days BEFORE Thanksgiving.

My Grandma used to sing this song called "We Need a Little Christmas", but I had forgotten all about that song until I heard it on Pandora. It's a favorite once again!

Frozen turkeys are injected with a bunch of salt. This means that when you brine a frozen turkey you can and should use way less salt. After several years of SUPER salty gravy, this year's brine led to the perfect gravy. This year we used 1/4 cup of kosher salt even though our recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of kosher salt.

What did you learn in November?

PS - I'm taking the rest of the week off!
May you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Affogato Share This With You

Friday, December 19, 2014

I'm pretty sure that I first heard about affogatos last fall...And last winter I promised to tell you about them, but then affogato I forgot!

It turns out that they are slightly strange, but also really, really yummy! Saying "affogato" is an added bonus.

The possibilities are endless. Basically you just combine your favorite coffee with your favorite ice cream. There's even room for toppings if that's your thing.

For me, the perfect affogato consists of one scoop of peppermint ice cream topped with regular old black coffee.

 Scoop your ice cream into a mug. Add however much you like!

Pour hot coffee over your ice cream. 

I take my time drinking these because as the ice cream melts, the coffee gets sweeter and creamier and colder.

serves 1
one scoop of your favorite ice cream
12oz. hot coffee
Place scoop of ice cream into a mug. 
Pour hot coffee over your ice cream.
Drink immediately!

Have you had an affogato before? 

What elements will you bring together when you make yours? 

The Circle: Christmas Wish Lists

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

1  /   2   /   3   /  4   /   5   /   6

CONFESSION: I used this wish list graphic in a Currently post a few months ago! It contains some "wishy" items, some "gotta have it" items, and one item that has already been taken care of.  

* Classic Trench Coat - I've loved these coats ever since I was a little girl! I don't know how practical they are where I live since it's always either super hot or super cold, but this is a WISH list. 

* Donut Pan - This is a for real gift idea for me. I would put this thing to some serious use! 

* Milk Frother - I hear that Nespresso machines are amazing. I don't have room in my kitchen for the machine and I don't really have one for this either, but again, this is a WISH list. 

* Slippers - Another real gift idea. My current slippers have all seen better days. A nice pair of slippers would great.

* Knife - My Mom picked up one of these knifes at Wal-Mart four summers ago. It became my FAVORITE knife, but I need a replacement! (NOTE: After a trip to Costco, this item has since been taken off my list.) 

* Display Box -  Another real gift idea. I've heard Hobby Lobby has these and I think they are gorgeous! I love keeping things that I use often out so that I can get to them easily. I'm always looking for cute 
options to keep them contained. 

What's on your wish list this year?

Be sure to link up with Kiki so that we can all see your posts! 


DIY Type

Monday, December 15, 2014

I am not creative at all. Pretty much all of my friends and family members ARE crafty. When I saw this book, I immediately thought of my sister.

As you probably guessed, "DIY TYPE" by Dana Tanamachi comes with letter stencils and several different shape and border stencils. The stencils themselves are not quite as fancy as I thought they would be, but it turns out that this book is meant to be a starting point.

You will find several pages of ideas and how-to's to get you started!

"DIY TYPE" will be a great tool in helping you to create so many things. I'm loving the cake idea and I'm hoping that my sister will make a banner of some kind.

I'm confident all of you will love this book! My friend Robyn used one of the design stencils to dress up a mug.

I'm telling you, the possibilities are endless!

Pick up your copy HERE

Are you crafty?

What would you use stencils to make?

* I was provided with a review copy of this book by Blogging for Books. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

Ask & Answer pt. 1

Friday, December 12, 2014

November 8, 2014

On Monday, I introduced this new series HERE. You asked a bunch of questions and we're ready for round one! Don't forget to share your answers in the comments. 

Here are mine.

How did God save you? 

Long story short, God saved me through a VBS that I didn't want to go to. I was 9 years old and that was only the beginning. :) You can read a more thorough version HERE (or HERE or HERE) if you're interested. 

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Years ago my Mom found out about Christmas Crackers. They're British and they're loads of fun. We crack them one at a time so that we can take turns putting on our crown, checking out our prize, and telling the joke that comes inside.

What is your most embarrassing moment?   

I asked my family to help me out with this one...I think we agreed that it was the time I was caught cheating. Please, let me explain myself! 

We were at our home fellowship group and about 20 of the "young people" gathered around to play spoons. I had never heard of this game before. With that many people it was very loud and competitive. I joined in and I was doing very well!!! All of a sudden, a boy that was sitting behind me piped up, "Hey!!! You can't do that! Victoria's cheating!!!!"  

It turns out that you need FOUR of a kind to pick up a spoon first, not three. I was terribly embarrassed, because I honestly thought you only needed three.  

During what time of day are you most productive?

The after dinner hours used to be my most productive time, but right now I do my best work between 8am and 1:30ish.

And that brings us to the end of round one! Be sure to share your answers.

If your question wasn't asked, I'll include it in another round. Feel free to ask more questions any time!

Sometimes we VLOG

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Well, it happened...I vlogged and I'm sharing it with all of you! You can thank my friend Faith and her Golden Vlog link up (which you should most definitely join, by the way)! 

It seems to be the custom in the vlogging world to apologize for all of the silly mistakes and to use some variation of the word "vlog" exactly one million times in the posts that surround them. I'd be here for quite a while if I tried to do all of that, so let's just get on with it.

It's my first vlog, it's 3 minutes long, and my Mom's only comment was, "You didn't even wish them a 'Merry Christmas' or a 'Happy New Year'!!!"

Here are the questions that Faith assigned this month:

1. What's your favorite Christmas song (and sing a few bars?)?
2. Do you open presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
3. Are you a last minute present wrapper or are you done buying and wrapping presents way in advance?
4. What's your favorite Christmas movie?
5. What are a couple things on your wish list?
6. What is a favorite Christmas memory you have?
7. If you are married, how do you split up time with each family?
8. Do you stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve?
9. Do you get dressed up or get comfy in your pjs?
10. Do you have your resolutions planned by the new year or think of them once the year is here?

Thanks for watching! I'd love to hear your vlogging (and EDITING) tips! 

Currently pt. 8

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 2, 2014

watching: Christmas movies!!! Last week we discovered the cheesiest series on Amazon called "House of Anubis", you didn't hear about it from me. ;)

listening : Pandora's "Christmas in New Orleans" channel. A podcast that's moved up into my top five is BBC's "The History Hour". The episode on the events surrounding the death of Glen Miller was the one that really won me over!

wrapping: Presents that are TOP SECRET!

making: Lots and lots of plans. I'm being vague now, but I'll spill the beans soon.

anticipating: The fulfillment of all the plans that are being made. Excited doesn't even begin to describe my feelings!

Normally, I link these posts up with Jenna and Anne

Introducing: Ask & Answer

Monday, December 08, 2014

December 20, 2010

Every once in a while, my friend Megan puts out a call for her readers to ask her questions. She always invites them to join her by sharing their own answers in the comments.

Since I love getting to know people, I've decided to put my own spin on this little project and bring it to Through * For * By! It will be called "Ask & Answer".

Here's how Ask & Answer will work:

Once a month or so I'll put a call out for questions.

I'll choose three of your questions and I'll add one of my own.

When I answer them, I'll invite all of you to share your answers in the comments!

So...What questions do you have this month? They can be serious questions like, "Who has had the biggest impact on you?" Or they could be a little more trivial like, "What is the most common color in your wardrobe?"

Comment below or send me an e-mail! I think this is going to be a lot of fun and I hope you do too.

The Boston Girl

Saturday, December 06, 2014


Boston is one of my favorite places and the early 1900's are one of my favorite times in history to read about. This novel caught my eye because it's all about an 85 year old woman looking back on her life and recounting her story to her 22 year old granddaughter. "The Boston Girl" by Anita Diamant is available for pre-order and will be releasing on December 9th. 

I've got to begin by saying that I was slightly disappointed with this novel. It's no secret that I've done some great reading this fall. This one just didn't keep up. It wasn't terrible, it just wasn't what I expected.

Addie (Diamant's main character) seems completely real. Born in 1900 to immigrant parents who happen to be Jewish, Addie wants nothing more than to BE an American Girl. She tries hard. It's difficult for me to read about "the grass is always greener" characters. The striving we do as young women usually takes us places we never meant to go. It's no different for Addie and her friends. Those are the kinds of elements and plot points that will probably draw other people in. 

As far as I know, this book is fiction. Diamant did incorporate events from the past as well as places and the way culture would have impacted the people who lived during those days. That's the part of the book that fascinated me! 

"The Boston Girl" has a little bit of everything. You'll love some of it, you'll want to shake Addie and her friends sometimes, and you'll be shaking your head in agreement in other places.

*I was provided a review copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

The Scenic Route: Thanksgiving 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014

Last Saturday is when I feel like Thanksgiving really started. That morning, I went shopping with my Mom and brother to get all of the food. I was in charge of making the list and managed to forget to write down "turkey"....In fact, I was all ready to check out without even grabbing a turkey. I'm really not looking forward to old age. I'll be TERRIBLE by then!

Later that day, we played Turkey Bingo (where my brother proceeded to WIN a turkey)! 

We spent most of Sunday at Jay's house along with Al and Alva for an early Thanksgiving dinner. Jay is an excellent cook and a perfect host. Days at his house are always fun! After dinner, my brother and sister played Monopoly and the adults sat around visiting. We passed around coffee and sweet potato pie and kept on playing and visiting until late into the evening. 

My Mom and I worked together to get everything prepared on Wednesday. And that night we watched The West Side Story and my sister and I played Horseopoly. (I won. Write that down, please!)

And that brings us to the day of Thanksgiving....

The sunrise was beautiful!

First things first...Coffee for her, water for me, and checking in with all of our relatives on the east coast while the rest of the family sleeps.

Stuffing the turkey!

I stepped outside for some fresh air. It was 60 degrees this Thanksgiving and we all welcomed the warmth!!!

Polishing the silverware and "smiling" because I wanted a picture of everyone watching my Mom doing the work.

The table is ready for this year's feasters: uur family (minus my brother), Grandma Karen, Ron and Julie, and Mackenzie and his wife (I don't know how to spell her name).

And this is the part where I ate a sandwich, we played skipbo (I won that too...), and then I called my Grandma to wish her a happy Thanksgiving. I didn't pick up my camera again until AFTER the food was served, consumed, and put away. I kick myself!

We ate right around 2 and I think that the kitchen was all cleaned up by the time I took this picture. My sister is ready to continue the game of battleship she had started earlier that day with my Mom.

Meanwhile, my brother continues working on the video he has been editing ALLL DAY LONG! (I'm really not passive aggressive. Honest!)

Once again...I put the camera down and didn't take any more pictures. The rest of the day was spent eating dessert, visiting, and then half the guests left and Mackenzie and his wife stuck around for a rousing game of Horseopoly. We agreed to play for 1 hour...At the 1 hour mark I'm pretty sure that my brother was winning, but everyone begged and begged for another half hour. Two and a half hours later, I had pushed everyone to bankruptcy except for my brother who just needed to land on one of my properties to be out of the game.

That was Thanksgiving 2014.

Tell me about your day!

What I'm Into: November 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 8, 2014
November was something else!

I spent the month listening to Christmas music, trying to figure out the weather, and stocking up for WINTER.  

My brother and sister finished up their CYT class. We tried out Texas Roadhouse (the concensus was: Good food, lousy atmosphere. I think I'm getting old!). 

I got to see Heidi two different times this month! We made soap at her house and hung out at mine. I really wish we just lived right next door. I met a new friend named Joe and he's already taught me a great way to clean my microwave. 

My brother won the turkey at the Turkey Bingo this year (and Jay was the other winner at our table)! We had an early Thanksgiving at Jay's last Sunday and as usual the day was well spent and lots of fun!  Our table held new guests for Thanksgiving and we've been in game mode the last few days. 

What I'm Watching

I kicked the month off with a Christmas movie, but now I can't even remember which one!

We watched "Maleficent" two nights in a row.

"Gentleman's Agreement" (1947) is by far the best movie I've watched in a long time.

I've been watching "All About Eve" (1950), but I keep getting interrupted before I can finish it.

November 24, 2014

In the Kitchen

I made Joy the Baker's Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting from THIS book for my brother's 22nd birthday!

Porcupine Meatballs are an old favorite.

THESE dinner rolls were amazing. The only thing I'm going to change is to divide the dough into more rolls so they aren't quite so big. 

6:37 this morning
What I'm Reading

I've come to the end of my fall reading.

I really enjoyed "The Small Rain" and "My Life in France".

"The Christmas Cat" was my first Christmas book.

 I've been reading "Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Book Store".  I'm still making up my mind about it. Have you read it? What did you think (no spoilers please!!)?

I've got some great reading ahead of me in December...First up is a book club read that you're invited to join in on! Learn how to sign up HERE.

On the Blog

Liebster Awards are a great way to learn more about people.

I wrote about friendships.

Kiki and I hosted The Circle together! You can still link up.

A quick christmas read and my recipe for gingerbread hot cocoa all in one.

Lessons From My Mom.

You're Invited to "Read It" my brand new Goodreads book club!

What were you into in November? 

I'm linking up with Leigh for her "What I'm Into" link up!

You're Invited: Book Club

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

 I've decided to start a book club over on Good Reads!!!

This club will be dedicated to reading and discussing one book each month. The genres will range from literary fiction and mysteries to autobiographies/biographies and maybe even a little YA every now and then.

You'll need a goodreads account, but it's completely free and besides that, it's a great way to keep track of your reading! To join, simply visit THIS link.

We'll begin on Monday, so be sure to sign up and start looking for a copy of the December's book right away!

Lessons From My Mom

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Last month Kiki wrote about "being good enough" and as I was typing out a comment, the idea for this post was born! 

March 3, 2012

I don't think I talk about my Mom on this space very much. She is hands down the most influential person in my life. We have been extremely close pretty much my whole life. She has taught me so many things and if I could just remember half of them I'd be sure to go places!

My Mom always taught me...

 To do my best - She pushed me to do things well, but to be okay with my limits.

To not be afraid of failure - Her exact words go something like this, "The only thing worse than failing is never even trying."

To listen up when learning opportunities show up - Her Dad told her "The only stupid question is the question that you never asked." and she made sure to pass that same wisdom on to me. Pay attention, ask questions, and GIVE IT A SHOT.

That I'm okay - This started when I was a baby. She would always acknowledge the pain and then quickly move on to helping me "brush it off" and reminding me that "it isn't any trouble just to S.M.I.L.E."

These pieces of advice have never let me down.

See , Mom? 
I have been listening!
And don't quote this post 
next time I'm struggling 
with something! :) 
I love you !

Christmas Reading

Monday, November 24, 2014

Every December something called Christmas comes over me! Picking out an Advent study, pulling out the decorations, heading to the library on a hunt for some quick Christmasy novels, and baking until right before December 25th never get old.

The only thing different this year is that Christmas came over me in November! I've held off as long as I can, today I'm going to spread some cheer to you. This is also my very first post feature pictures taken with the fixed 50mm lens that I just got a few weeks ago!!! I LOVE it.

"The Christmas Cat" by Melody Carlson was the first Christmas book that I read this year. It's a very short read, but true to Carlson's style, packed with several great plots! I've received a lot of teasing for reading this book...I am not an animal person, but that didn't keep me from enjoying it!

I've been reading Carlson since I was ten or eleven years old. If her name is on the cover I'm going to give it a try for sure. We all have our favorite authors and she has been one of mine for years.

Let's talk about her latest release and then I'll tell you about my Gingerbread Hot Cocoa recipe...

"The Christmas Cat" is mostly set in present day Vancouver, WA and begins just before Thanksgiving. A man named Garrison is the main character and he begins the book with a few things to sort out. After being a missionary in Africa, he returns to the states and finds himself single, living with a buddy, and without a job. To complicate matters even more, he ends up losing his Grandmother and becoming the executor of her estate which includes six cats who are going to need homes.

Garrison's dilemma unfolds in Vancouver with a fair amount of humor, a smidgen of romance, and some good lessons that we can all relate to along the way.

You'll become pretty fond of Ruby (the sweet older neighbor lady) and I hate to admit it, but even the cats themselves!

Sometimes you just need to read a good story and "The Christmas Cat" is exactly that. It's not one that will make you cry. The humor won't have you rolling your eyes. It really is the perfect book to enjoy with a hot drink on a cold winter day!

Grab a copy of "The Christmas Cat" today and be sure to tell me what you think!

* * * * *

A few years ago on my Grandma's birthday, I was baking up a batch of Ginger Cookies and I came up with the brilliant idea to use some of the spices from that recipe in hot cocoa.  This cocoa is pretty much Christmas in a cup if you ask me!

This recipe is not exact. I use less than an 1/8 of a teaspoon of each spice. You can adjust the amounts to your taste!

While the kettle is on the stove, pour your cocoa mix, a little ginger, ground cloves, and cinnamon into your cup.

Add your water and stir VERY well to make sure that all of spices are thoroughly mixed into the drink. Cinnamon can be a little stubborn, but it will come together. Pour in a splash of half & half and stir one last time.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream or some marshmallows and ENJOY!

12-12-12 Gingerbread Hot Cocoa
makes 1 serving

1 pkg hot cocoa mix
touch of ginger
little more ground cloves
little more cinnamon
splash of half & half (or milk)
optional: whipped cream or marshmallows

Set your kettle on to boil. Combine hot cocoa mix, ginger, ground cloves, and cinnamon in a mug.

Add water and stir VERY well until all of spices are dissolved completely. Stir in a splash of half & half.

Top with whipped cream or marshmallows.


* I was provided with a review copy of this book by Revell. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

Julep Friendsgiving Box

Thursday, November 20, 2014

When the November box was released, Julep had a special "build your own box" option.  So far, I've found that Julep has great customer service and makes getting products that you are sure to love super easy. 

Customer service example: My first box came with a bottle of their Freedom Polymer Topcoat. I was getting ready to use it and I accidentally dropped it. It landed just right and BROKE. They offered to send me a brand new bottle free of charge. That's what I call customer service!

Getting products you love with ease example: The Friendsgiving Box. Is there even a better way to thank your customers than to offer to let them build a completely custom box? I don't think so!

The November box included:  "Sawyer" from the Boho Glam collection, "Marzia" from the It Girl collection, and "Devon" from the Classic With a Twist collection . I chose "Bonnie" as an add on.

They also included two little candies, a coupon, one of their little quote cards, and a couple of mini catalogs.

I tried Sawyer out first. It is one of those polishes that looks like different colors depending on the light. And I already know that I'll be layering Bonnie on top of EVERYTHING, all year long!

As always, Julep would like to offer a free trial box to you! Simply click HERE to take their style quiz and get started. I should note that they've just released the selections for their December boxes!

What are your go-to winter polish colors? 

Are you on the hunt for a specific color?  

* While this is not a sponsored post, I have included affiliate links.

The Circle: November

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm so excited to announce that I get to co-host this month's The Circle link up with Kiki!!!

I met Kiki earlier this year and we have become great friends. She teaches pre-school and she has a serious knack for taking pictures of everyday things in ways that make them look beautiful. She is also the brains behind The Circle which happens to be one of my favorite link ups!

The theme this month is to share 5-10 of your essentials. What things make you you?

1. Reformation Study Bible - I received this Bible when I graduated from high school and it is something that plays a HUGE part in my life.

2. Walking and Photography - I snapped this shot during a walk on Cape Cod. Wherever I go there are two things that I always do: find a walking route and take pictures of things that catch my eye.

3. Reading - My favorite genres are literary fiction, mysteries, and auto biographies/biographies. I especially love reading outside.

4. Gardening - Thanks to Julie I use these gloves. Thanks to Alice I use steak knives. Thanks to both of them, my Mom, and my Grandma I have come to love growing flowers and vegetables.

5. Baking - My favorite room in every house is the kitchen. Cinnamon Biscuits are one of my go-to recipes.

6. Bags - I picked up this purse when I was supposed to be Christmas shopping a few years ago. I didn't "need" it, but it was THE perfect bag. I'm always carrying things for other people and I have quite a few essentials (remember THIS post?).

7.  Family Time - It's no secret, I love people. I love pulling out a board game and some snacks and spending time playing games with my friends and family.

So, what are the circles of YOUR life? I hope you'll join us by linking up!!!!

In Its Time


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

July 22, 2014
Last month I picked up "Cold Tangerines" by Shauna Niequist and I couldn't put it down. (You can read about that HERE.) The essay about friendship titled "Swimming" really grabbed my attention.

On p. 49 Shauna said these words:

  "Friendship is acting out God's love for people in tangible ways. We were made to represent the love of God in each other's lives so that each person we walk through life with has a more profound sense of God's love for them. Friendship is an opportunity to act on God's behalf in the lives of the people that we're close to, reminding each other who God is...We get to remind each other about the bigger, more beautiful picture that we can't always see from where we are."

It's true.

I have been blessed with so many friends. When I look back, I realize that facing the hardest times together have been some of the sweetest. Staying close and connected takes work and every now and then we need reminders that the work of friendship is worth it. (I wrote one HERE back in January.)

Today I'm writing to remind all of us of the treasure that we have in being able to be friends to one another. May we think about our relationships with people as a means to show them a little more of the God that created everything and holds it all together.

Whether it's a phone call, a card, a coffee date, or a cleaning party - God gives us so very many opportunities to reach out to one another. May our reaching out not be for worthless things, but for more of Him. May we love one another and be friends with one another in a way that points all of us right back to the very source of friendship, namely God Himself.

Every single one of our friends was once a stranger to us in the same way that God and His grace went completely unnoticed. May we be the type of friends who help our friends to be glad that they know us. More importantly, I hope that we can all be the type of friends that make ignoring God and His grace impossible!

Be a friend today, take time to be with God and then share Him with those around you.

Take time to thank the friends who stand beside you doing the same thing.

It's friendship and it's beautiful.

Influenster VoxBox Reveal

Monday, November 17, 2014

I was selected to receive Influenster's Moda VoxBox. As you can see, it was jam packed with some really great products! Let's talk about them...

* I LOVED the Swiss Miss Simple Cocoa. With only five ingredients, I felt better about drinking it and it truly was RICH and creamy.

* The Resource Natural Spring Water left my mouth feeling tingly. I do enjoy bottled water, but there was something about this one that I didn't like.

* I've been using JERGENS Ultra Healing lotion for years. They've got a new formula and have been running a 7 day challenge. I didn't realize notice a difference between the new and old formula, but I will continue using this lotion!

* Hair Food was new to me. This Moisture Hair Mask seems to work really well. I love the smell and the fact that my dead ends almost disappear after I use this product. If you're after smooth, silky, healthy hair (that smells nice) this is worth trying out.

* Whoever thought of a soft pack of Puffs is a genius! My Grandma always kept a box of tissues in her car and when I got my car I followed suit. When you have kids climbing in and out of the back seat, tissue boxes soon become rather crushed. This soft pack would fit under the seat or above the back seat perfectly. I love it!

I'm not a make up wearer. However, I've always enjoyed playing around with it. Since I don't wear makeup, my lips and skin stay pretty clear and healthy. That said...

* My lips are rarely chapped, so I don't feel like I can give an honest review of the Rimmel London Moisture Lip Liner. I think the idea is a good one, but it didn't leave my already moisturized lips feeling any different.

* I loved the Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick! They sent me a crazy bright color, but the name won me over because it is "As You Want Victoria"! I loved the way this lipstick covered my lips and felt on them. This will provide great color and leave your lips feeling hydrated rather than "under attack". 

* I have sensitive eyes so it's not a good idea for me to wear mascara, however I did try out the Rimmel London Rockin' Curves Mascara that was included in this box. It went on really well and the shape of the wand was pretty handy. I think it could take some getting used to, but overall, I think you'll love it.


*Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa = $2.29 || Five Stars

* Resource Bottled Spring Water = $1.49 || Two Stars

* JERGENS Ultra Healing Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer = $5.99 - $6.99 || Four Stars

* Hair Food Moisture Hair Mask = $14.99 || Four Stars

* Puffs Soft Pack = $1.99 - $2.49 || Five Stars

* Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lip Liner = $5.99 - $6.49 || Two Stars

* Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick = $6.99 - $7.49 || Four Stars

* Rimmel London Scandeleyes Rockin' Curvves Mascara = $5.49-$5.99 || Four Stars

To learn more about Influenster or to sign up, be sure to email me ( and I'll get you a referral link!

*I received this box from Influenster for review purposes. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

All Kinds of Plans

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

August 1, 2014

I'm sitting by the fire with a hazelnut mocha that Wendy made me, hitting the pause button on life for just a minute. This week has left me kind of a mess and it's only Wednesday!


Sunday was my brother's 22nd birthday. This is the 5th birthday of his that I have not been able to spend with him. Sure, there is skype and that's all well and good, but it's just not getting any easier. I miss him.

Over the last week or so I was chipping away at Madeleine L'Engle's "The Small Rain". It was her first novel and I had ZERO expectations. In fact, I assumed that I would probably hate it. I didn't. I decided to take however much time it took to finish it on Monday morning.  I never do that and it made for a lovely morning! Monday also included lots of cleaning and laundry and a walk on what we expect to be the last "fall" day of the year.

Then there was yesterday. I headed to my friend Heidi's house for the day. We made soap and sunscreen and I helped her daughter make a necklace and kept her son out of trouble. We visited with Ruth and then Dennis and Darlene too for a bit before I had to head back home. As I sat down on the couch last night I was so glad that I set aside that time to spend with all of them!

And today...I finished up the last webcast for a poetry class I've been taking, took a walk to get the van, and then I met up with Joe to run some errands.


I had all kinds of plans for my blog this week and now none of it seems important. I might write or I might just take this week off, I haven't decided yet.

There are people around us and the pain and the fights with sin and the aging aren't easy. We shouldn't leave each other to deal with these things alone. I'm so glad that God prepared things for me to do in this life and right now my soul is just overflowing with JOY in Him.

Excuse me while I praise Him and pick up the pieces...I'll be back soon!

Friday Fun

Friday, November 07, 2014

November 7, 2014

I was nominated by Ladonna at A Dash of Encouragement for the Liebster Award! I only met Ladonna recently, but she has become a fast friend! She posts dashes of encouragement every Tuesday. You should definitely pop over to her blog!

Here's how the Liebster Award works:

    Post 11 random facts about yourself
    Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you
    Nominate bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to do the same
    Let the bloggers you have nominated know they have been nominated

Part One - 11 Random Facts

1. My favorite color is purple.

2. I almost never measure anything when I cook. My Mom despises this habit.

3. I was talking in complete, understandable sentences by the time I was 16 months old. Yes. It's true. This should have clued my Mom in to what the years ahead would hold. (I talk a lot.)

3.  Up until earlier this year, I didn't have any dream destinations outside of the USA. Thanks to Fitzgerald, I've added the French Riviera to my list of places to visit.

4.  2014 was also the year that I realized that I want to be a librarian someday.

5. When I was 13 I gave my go-cart a complete overhaul.

6. I was in 4-H for one year when I was six. I showed a goat and earned the only trophy that is just mine...The trophy was because of my excellent barn duty skills! This is funny for so many reasons.

7. It takes most people a long time to call me Victoria. Kids can't say it. Adults can't remember it. And well meaning people are always trying to shorten it.

8. I almost never play games on the internet (I don't even know what to call them), but Diner Dash and Burger Bash are my games of choice.

9. My favorite arcade game is Ski-Ball.

10.  My favorite toy as a child was a cash register. I had several toy ones, but the real one my Dad let me play with was my favorite.

11. In October, I earned about 750 Swag Bucks.  It's so much easier than I thought! I'm planning to exchange the Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards to use on some of my Christmas shopping. Shameless plug - you should sign up HERE

Part Two - Answer The Questions

1. What is one thing God is teaching you during this season? To KEEP setting my hope in Him.

2. If you could travel any where tomorrow, where would you go and why? This is HARD. I would love to go back to Massachusetts to visit all of my friends there. However, I owe my family in South Carolina a visit first. While I'm there, I would be sure to get together with my blogger friends that live in the area too!

3. What is your favorite Christmas movie? It Happened on 5th Avenue

4. Team Edward or Team Jacob? I never read Twilight...Or saw the movies…Sorry!

5. What are you currently reading? 1 Peter, "The Small Rain" by Madeleine L'Engle, and "The Christmas Cat" by Melody Carlson

6. What is your favorite time of year? SUMMER

7. What is one goal you hope to accomplish this next year? I want to become efficient at using Illustrator.

8. Where and who will you be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with? My house with my parents and two of my siblings and whatever other friends and family decide to join in on the celebration.

9. What inspired you to start blogging? It was just a new way to keep a record of things. I started in high school and never looked back.

10. Who inspires you the most in life right now? God. He is my everything!

11. Who is your favorite author? Mary Higgins Clark, hands down.

Part Three - Leave Eleven Questions

1. What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

2. What is the last book that you finished? Would you recommend it?

3. What is your DREAM car?

4. What is your favorite thing on the Thanksgiving table?

5. What are your go-to nail polishes for this season?

6. What Scripture do you go back to over and over again?

7. What is your favorite APP?

8. As a blogger, do you plan posts in advance or blog as you go?

9. Growing up, what was your favorite movie?

10. What person from history do you relate to most?

I now nominate the following bloggers for the Liebster Award:

                                                       Angela @ The Harrells on Hood

I know that some of you have more than 200 followers, so I'm breaking the rules a little bit. If you choose to accept the award,  please come back and comment with your post link so we can read your posts!