Setting Up for Christmas


       Every year when I mention getting a tree. My dad replies: "Do we really need to?" And I emphatically respond: "Yes!" 
       Despite my annual custom of decorating the house, it's not the act of hanging the bizarre reindeer ornament that gives me joy, it's the memories that accompany the environment of a decked living room. Having my family with me, brothers and all, makes me want to sing "Hallelujah." God is so good. Just the memory of falling asleep to the sight of a lighted Christmas tree in our New York apartment, fills me with nostalgic affection for the holidays. 
       The only real reason I can enjoy this season so much, is that I know that no matter how the next year turns out, my family and I have been secured by Jesus' coming to earth. He has established joy in my life and by his blessings I have seen His goodness in the land of the living. 

Veronica A.


A (Mercifully) Short Book About A (Really) Big Problem

     Before Thanksgiving Break I was going crazy, Orchestra and School and Choir and Church and life! I was exhausted. The first morning of sleeping in with no lingering anxiety of a late Organic Chemistry test was glorious. Second day into break, my mom enthusiastically recommended this book, which she had sped through it about a day. I knew I needed some help, my life beyond nap indulging breaks was out of control.
     Kevin DeYoung doesn't claim to be able to solve the problem of business, instead he provides an adjusted perspective on the issues that run many of our lives. I found that I wasn't only scared of cutting out activities in my week, but I also was terrified of having to trust God with my future. Identifying the problem is halfway to solving it. Crazy Busy pinpoints the struggles that perpetually busy people have but don't want to deal with. It is an insightful yet short read.

      In light of my crazy busy life and my unrestricted desire to please people, this has become my new life verse.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters"
~Colossians 3:23
Veronica A.


When I Tried to Spell 'Gourd'

    I'm going to let you in on a little secret about my blog posts...my mom reads and critiques every-single one.  The collaboration has most definitely effected my composition for the better. However, sometimes we disagree.
    Last week as I was preparing my post about the Pumpkin French toast when my mom commented that I had spelled 'gourd' wrong. I asserted that my spelling of 'gourde' was correct. So I did what any 21st century teen does when she has a question, I googled it. And this is what came up:

     At this point, I wasn't as disappointed at my lack of spelling skills as I was amused at how I had happened upon this odd fact.
     I then went on to learn that the gourde was first introduced in Haiti in 1813 in replacement of the livre, the conversion being 1 gourde= 8 livres. Most commonly the bank note is used in the values of 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500 gourde. Fascinatingly, 1 U.S. Dollar is equivalent to 46.22 Haitian Gourdes.

I'm not exactly sure what the lesson of all this is.
Veronica A.


The Fall Ideal and the Forgettable Pumpkin French Toast

Food photography is a lot harder than it appears. 
      Sometimes I like to remind myself that it is fall outside in the world beyond my electrically heated girl cave. My window barely peeps above the deceased flower bed lining the lower floor of our split level home. I can see our large maple tree outside. But it didn't turn the color I wanted. Longingly, I  watch greenish yellow leaves litter the lawn. It's the first time I can actually absorb the fall scenery, since I no longer inhabit an apartment building in a city. In an effort to live a little, I lifted a season-appropriate recipe off Pinterest. I couldn't think of a better way to enjoy the tastes of November then to blend them into a breakfast food. Pumpkin French Toast seemed like a good decision.
      I told my mom that I needed Pumpkin puree and she responded by slapping a strangely vibrant red gourd into the microwave. The fruit (Yes! It is a fruit, I googled it) had previously sat on our counter for decoration. The next morning I hustled to whip up the seasonal french toast before my early class started, after which I eagerly devoured the results. The pumpkin flavor was non-existent, which I wanted to believe was due to the strange looking specimen my mom threw into the microwave to soften. Nevertheless, my pains to celebrate chilly mornings and orange landscapes were foiled. I hope that your efforts to embrace November are more successful then mine.

I have not given up yet.

Veronica A.


You Should Nap

     Now that I'm in my junior year of highschool and my days are oppressively full, I'm constantly searching for ways to improve my productivity. Particularly after reading this. I've come to the conclusion that taking a nap during the day can be a beneficial lifestyle choice.
     In my case, I have around 6 to 7 hours of sleep which causes me to be exhausted and contemplating the meaning of life around 3:00 in the afternoon. After I leave my computer I get depressed assessing the afternoon work load. I try to force myself to get active which causes me to take a lot of breaks by "checking" Facebook or Instagram. However, if I take a thirty minute nap after my classes or resign to do nothing in that time, my brain is able to reboot and rest before I practice harp. Once I implemented this change in my day, I found that the work that followed my snooze was more focused than when I had tried to jump right into Organic Chemistry after getting out of class with my enthusiastic Calculus teacher.
     I would recommend napping to all those struggling with ungodly workloads, it might just improve your productivity.

Veronica A.


Falling Back Into Austen

Aren't they so lovely? Let's just enjoy them for a moment. Now I want to watch the whole movie over again. Is that so wrong? {source}     
       I had a Jane Austen phase. A big one. I made my own regency gown and bonnet, which took extensive research on YouTube. I'd watch any film related to Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Lost in Austen, or Becoming Jane. My grandmother caught on and bought me anything Austen related. It lasted for a year or two and I then moved on to Harry Potter and action movies. But my grandma preferred to encourage my Austen addiction.
      Recently, one of my teachers assigned Northanger Abbey and I fell back in love with Jane Austen, but not only because of the romance and riveting plot, but because of  the sheer genius of her precise descriptions. She understands women and their ways. I'm again enamored with Jane.

I'm feeling quite victorious here.
Sewing back pleats is exhausting.
"In addition to what has been already said of Catherine Morland's personal and mental endowments, when about to be launched into all the difficulties and dangers of a six weeks' residence in Bath, it may be stated, for the reader's more certain information, lest the following pages should otherwise fail of giving any idea of what her character is meant to be, that her heart was affectionate; her disposition cheerful and open, without conceit or affectation of any kind-- her manners just removed from the awkwardness and the shyness of a girl; her person pleasing, when in good looks, pretty-- and her mind about as ignorant and uninformed as the female mind at seventeen usually is."                                                                                                ~Northanger Abbey, Chapter 2

                    Veronica A.