Sunday, March 24, 2013

little house

love books. :)

before painting...

the staircase, from below

blurry light.


nothin' like listening to classic songs on a record player while you fix up an old house

modeling the pre-church ensemble... 


the barn

I love the feeling of moving into a new-old house.(aka, new to us, but old because it has history). There's something about the empty rooms with the light coming through the windows and the natural feel of the wooden floors that is just so peaceful, so clean, and so exciting to make into a home. This new house we have is soo beautiful - nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, built in 1808, tucked away in the forested hills and a rambling creek going through. I absolutely love it.
The feeling of history is so neat - on the wall, someone wrote some dates, as early as I think around 1918, and the later owners wrote their later dates. One of them was Dec 7, 1938 - before December 7th was Pearl Harbor Day. So cool.
It's going to take a lot of work to fix up -There's nothing like listening to old jazz era music on a record player as you sand and paint and varnish the cozy house. The work is so rewarding, and it will be even more beautiful than it is now when it's done :)
I'm so grateful for such a beautiful home, in such a beautiful place. One thing I've learned from moving  so many times to so many different places is that home is where your family is - where the people you love are. I'm lucky to have so many awesome homes. Again, I'm just so grateful for the beautiful place we can move into, and that we can make this house a home :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

kittens, bookstores, & service


the frog in the bookstore


from the heart

kitty in the bookshop


those days when you wear a cute outfit that you've always owned, but have never worn. yesterday was one of those days.

that awkward moment when you take a picture, and find out afterwards that you were holding the book backwards....

I simply love bookstores. Yesterday was a gorgeous, sunny, windy day - it was much too pretty to stay cooped up inside. So I decided to dress up a bit - in those stylish long skirts that have been trendy lately, and are sooo comfortable - and walk around downtown to take pictures. So I walked and was enjoying the cozy buildings, but it got a bit too gusty for a bit, so I ducked into a cozy little bookshop on the corner. It's a perfect little bookstore - with the big windows looking out onto the street, the light coming in onto the shelves of books, and the interesting wooden knick knacks and gadgets and chessboards. The children's section has these whimsical shapes hanging from the ceiling, and they had a kitty-cat running around the store. It was so cozy! I was browing the books, and found a gem - Dispatches from the Heart - a collection of love letters from the front line, from the War of 1812 to WWII. Aaaand it was on sale. So, of course, I had to get it. And it's been really sweet reading it. :)

life has been so good recently. there's been way too many things to write about - and, honestly, I've been hesitant to keep writing so much about my life. I absolutely love writing, and photography, which is why I keep a blog. but I've started thinking - is it a bit self centered to have a whole site dedicated to writing about my experiences? to constantly talk about myself? that is not my intent; I suppose I just like sharing thoughts, and sharing photography - and keeping in touch with family & friends. and I hope some people who read it can be uplifted & helped. and writing has brought about some really good, interesting conversations with friends. so I suppose it's been a good thing. those thoughts have been in my mind a lot lately - just realizing how self absorbed I've been sometimes, and so wrapped up in my own little bubble of life and problems. I'm beginning to realize that losing your focus on yourself in your devotion and attention to others helps you have the greatest purpose and meaning in life - and that dedication to service and being aware of and helping other people brings the greatest opportunities for doing important, meaningful things in life. 
also - I'm starting to learn that looking for ways to serve, and finding ways to make the world a little better - even in my little spot in it - makes my problems seem so much smaller, and not quite so scary as I thought they were, and that things are really going to turn out okay, with whatever comes. as one of my favorite heroes, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, says: It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life story will develop. The greatest man who ever lived gave his whole life to serve others. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). I hope I can be more like that in my life. 

See how the masses of man worry themselves into nameless graves, 
while here and there a great,
unselfish soul forgets himself into immortality
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

healthy schmealthy & all that jazz

Today I bought a blender.
This past week in health - (yes, I am still taking health in college - I think I've taken this class like 4 times now, from middle school 'till now. But, I digress...) we watched this flick about a man who went on a juice diet for 60 days. He didn't eat one tiny morsel of food, but instead drank juice made from fruits and veggies. I watched him talk in wonder as he talked about how much energy he had, and how great he felt, and how healthy his body became, and I wanted to try it so badly! So I went home and did some research (aka looked at delicious recipes & health benefits online).
This research was promising, so I went to Walmart in search of a college-student-budget-I-can-afford-this blender or juicer. The lucky blender-finder odds were with me, and I found a snazzy little one that works wonderfully! It's not only steel, with blending food action, but the top blender part also comes off, so I can just blend my breakfast, flip it upside down, take the blender part off, and it becomes a cup! With a lid!
So cool. I love handy kitchen gadgets.
Of course, I couldn't simply just buy a blender - one must buy ingredients too! And once you start buying ingredients, you can't just choose one. There are so many delightful options! My cart quickly filled up with bananas, strawberries (frozen - their cheaper), spinach, yogurt, and pineapple (canned - cheaper, & the juice is delicious). 
So, when I came home, I made my first smoothie - and it was drink every single last drop good! 
Mmm, mmm, mm. It tastes like the Naked juice, which is almost four dollars for a tiny bottle. 
Great deal. 

Okay, enough of the blender smoothie schpeal... I am so excited for it (:
And I do still want to try a juicer someday soon.
Summer makes me so happy. The beautiful weather - the hints of spring coming and the warmth coming again - make me want to be healthier for some reason, and make me want to be outside constantly. 
It's so fun exploring Lexington with friends, and just walking outside just for the joy of the fresh air and sunshine on your skin and in your hair. 
I am so excited to run more this summer - I'm thinking of training for a half marathon, again. 
And to ride horses.... summer will be positively lovely. (: and my delicious new fruit smoothies will be too. yum.
in honor of the delicious fruits & veggies, here's a cute song that I adore. feel free to listen

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Okay, I know this clip is a little cheesy.
But guys.
This drives me crazy.

Ever since that one time, way back in high school, when the guy I liked was holding my hand
and texting his ex.... at the same time. 
Oh, awkward dating memories. 
Anyhow, please, please, please don't text on dates. Guys or girls, asker or ask-ee.
Honestly, if it's needed for part of the date, or an emergency, of course that's completely fine.
But other then that, put the phone away!
Put it on silent or turn it off & stick it where it won't distract you.
Have fun with your date, the great person giving part of their precious time to you. 
I promise it will make your date happy, and you'll have a better time.

And, that's all I have to say on that.

Oh, dating.

Here are some great sites on the subject - their completely entertaining, and have some fun advice & insights.
because, yeah, I sometimes read stuff like this in my free time. (:

And here are some lovely quotes I found, which are just fantastic.

"In a dating and courtship relationship, I would not have you spend five minutes with someone who belittles you, who is constantly critical of you, who is cruel at your expense and may even call it humor. Life is tough enough without having the person who is supposed to love you leading the assault on your self-esteem, your sense of dignity, your confidence, and your joy. In this person's care you deserve to feel physically safe and emotionally secure." 
- Pres. Jeffrey R. Holland
read his whole talk here. It's awesome.

Also, there is this

One of the grand errors we tend to make when we are young is supposing that a person is a bundle of qualities, and we add up the individual's good and bad qualities, like a bookkeeper working on debits and credits. 
If the balance is favorable, we may decide to take the jump [into marriage]. . . . The world is full of unhappy men and women who married their mates because . . . it seemed to be a good investment. 

Love, however, is not an investment; it is an adventure. And when the marriage turns out to be as dull and comfortable as a sound investment, the disgruntled party soon turns elsewhere for adventure, . . . 
Ignorant people are always saying, "I wonder what he sees in her," not realizing that what he sees in her (and what no one else can see in her) is the secret essence of love. 

Entering a marriage calmly and rationally is like dancing a bacchanal calmly and rationally; it is a contradiction in terms. It takes into account everything except what is important--the spirit. 
["Love and Marriage,"Deseret News, 18 October 1977]

quoted from Pres. Hinckley's talk, which you can read here.

And, last of all, here's my favorite one.

What really matters is that he will love you, that he will respect you, that he will honor you, that he will be absolutely true to you, that he will give you freedom of expression and let you fly in the development of your own talents. 
He is not going to be perfect, but if he is kind and thoughtful, if he knows how to work and earn a living, if he is honest and full of faith, the chances are that you will not go wrong, that you will be immensely happy.

- Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

Monday, March 4, 2013

two am musings & break (:

Sooo, this past week of freedom from school may or may not have started with a bang...
I got more sick then I have been since probably the fifth grade. Bleh.
There's nothing quite like rolling out of bed every hour or so to run to the bathroom so ya don't get sick on the floor.
Isn't it grand? I am just so glad my mom was there - you know your mom loves you when she pulls your hair back when your leaning over being sick, and comes out to help every single time, for the whole night.
Man, am I grateful that's over!
Anyways, it finally ended - and I've finally recovered with a whole day of sleep, & another day of just reading Jane Eyre (what a great story. love Jane.) & watching Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Darcy.... no need to say more) and I feel okay eating more then a few saltines & a can of diet coke :) life is definitely better!

Besides that oh so exciting beginning, we've gotten some exciting news this break! We're getting horses again!!! :) For my & my sister's birthday! I am soo excited!! My heart is so happy. This summer is going to be SO fun - I can't wait to ride & explore & have all sorts of adventures with my horse pal :) In our new house, in beautiful Virginia.... does life get much better then that? I don't think so :)

Which reminds me, I turn 20 in .... 23 days. That's a pretty great, and pretty weird, thought. When I was little, I thought 20 sounded like such a glamorous age...
We'll see what changes in 23 days, but I don't think it will be quite how I expected it to be, haha.
I think it will be an absolutely lovely year though (: and who knows what will happen!

My brain is bursting with all sorts of things to write about... sometimes that happens, and I simply have the hardest time pinning down exactly what I want to write. Right now the swirling topics are dating critiques & tips (from personal experience...), why I love DC (which is something I've written about a bazillion times before... ), a post about a little dream house I have (with all sorts of typical lovely pictures from pinterest, haha) , awkward stories (they never cease to amuse & slightly horrify me.. oh, life), and something about great/inspirational people in my life (past & present).... but it's almost 2 in the morning, and my bed is callin' my name. So those musings will have to wait for another day.

However, this week is gonna be a good one.
Family time, relaxing, watching movies, painting.... sleeping...
and tomorrow, I think I'll go reconnect with the lovely city of Fredericksburg.
Maybe get some froyo, get a haircut, & head up to Quantico to take a peek at the Marine Corps Museum.
Last time I went (almost a year ago, I guess - wow) I didn't get to finish exploring it, and it is suh-weet.

Yup. spring break is great :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

my family, & a grateful heart (:

It's Friday night, and I'm sitting at home, with my family around me, just feeling so happy, and so content. (:
I love being home. I love my family; they mean everything to me. The ones I get to see often, and the ones that are far away. family, and friendship and love, give the meaning and the joy to my life.
it's so weird - coming home today, it felt different then it usually does.
I walked in the door, tired from driving & visiting the doctor. I dropped my suitcase on the floor, and my little brother opened the door, and I was so excited to see them. and they were happy to see me, too :)
and I immediately felt so content, and comfortable, and warm and happy.
and a little sad, because my brother & sister & daddy & mom, who I miss.
but  I just feel so grateful that I can have my family, forever.
they are the best. every single one of them.
they have helped me so so so much.
we've been through alot together,
and we still have alot to go through.

even with all the mistakes we've made along the way,
I woudn't trade them for anything in the world. and I am so grateful that God put me in the family I'm in. they have helped make me who I am, and have taught me so much, and I love them. So much.

the thought that sticks out to me most right now, is that having a family is having a place where I am safe. the idea that I have a place with them where I am just me, and they really love and accept and understand me, even with my weaknesses and awkward quirks and the mistakes I make. they see the good in me, and they love me :)

and I just feel so content to be home.
being grown up changes how you see your family, I think.

I had a lovely conversation with Adam - my 8 year old brother.
He said, "Whitney, it's so weird to think about growing up! I don't know what's going to happen!"

Adam, I agree.
Maybe we never grow out of that stage, ha. But one thing I do know, is that whatever happens, as long as I have my family, and follow my Savior, Jesus Christ - the best that I can, even though I fall short - whatever happens, it's going to be good.

thanks, guys. (: love you.

and, pictures from a long time ago. (: excited to have time to take more, & paint, during spring break (: