Saturday, May 25, 2013


Okay, just kidding.^_^
I am still blogging. I just needed some fresh inspiration and an entire new blogger account. hah! From now on, I will be posting at my new place..follow me at the link below, if you'd like! :)

Minstrel of Grace

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Departure from the world of blogging...

I have mused quite awhile on whether I would continue posting on this blog. However, due to the amount of pursuits I am currently investing in, I feel it is best to end my postings on this blog here. I am thinking of starting another blog at some point, perhaps when I have more clarity on exactly what I want to chronicle and share. I have had so many things on my heart as of late and, in time, would enjoy being able to express them. My Father has been instructing and growing me in so much. Yet, for now, I must draw this blog to an end. I began it nearly 3.5 years ago as a way to connect with others and share personal things that I was learning through life. It truly was therapeutic for me, as well as beneficial to my writing! I will continue to keep it up for awhile only to have access to previous posts that I made.
Thank you my fellow blogger-friends! :)

As a side note, my only current blog will be the one for my essential oil journey/business, Ancient Essentials via this link. Please follow me through there for those who are interested in alternative/natural health.

Ancient Essentials

Love and blessings!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What I Wore...for my February wedding!

Allow me to indulge in some girlishness for a moment. 
Selecting what to wear on your wedding day is the most delightful process ever! 
 While I have been planning my wedding for years, Nolan and I began the planning process with very similar tastes and a shared vision. We wanted it to have a Rustic, Bohemian, Elvish (from the Lord of the Rings)-inspired feel to it! It was such a wonderful process to include all these details to our day. While I could carry on about every aspect of our wedding, I want to narrow the focus on what I put together for my bridal look, mostly to give a Shout-Out to the wonderful shops/people that helped complete my look!

In March 2012, just weeks after Nolan and I began courting, I stumbled (yes, I stumbled - no, I wasn't seriously wedding dress shopping) across one of the most beautiful bridal gown designs on a wedding blog I had been following for some time. The dress was the Allison Bridal Gown. I remember that I almost internally exploded when I saw this dress online. It took everything in me to hold it in and be patient in spilling the news to my sister (who is always the first to hear of such grand news!). I have always dreamed of an empire-waist wedding gown, but, in regards to the details, I had no other image in my head to go by until I saw this one. Custom designed by Rebecca Cheek, this gown is made of pure silk and, as the description from her page puts it, "an ideal choice for a girl who is an undeniable romantic at heart..." Everything in me said, YES! The only thing that made me a little scared was the price-range. However, in my usual manner, I quickly calculated how much I had in savings and how much it would take to make up the rest. Easy. No one was going to tell me No on this one. I quickly contacted the shop-owner/designer, Rebecca, for more details and, by August, I placed the order (yes, about a month before I was engaged - awesome, right?). As she and I discussed the details of the gown (what colors I wanted for the ribbons running down the back and around the waist), I felt like I was corresponding with a friend. She's the sweetest lady ever!! I definitely would recommend Schone Bridal to any brides-to-be who would love a romantic, vintage feel to their gown. While waiting for my gown to be made, I was a little nervous about how much I just spent on a wedding dress; however, the day it finally arrived made it worth it all! I am so thankful I was able to wear such a breath-taking gown and I know I will find an occasion to wear it again. In fact, that's what I love about this dress. It's more than just a wedding dress. It's an heirloom. It's a gown to wear to a regency ball. It's a dress to wear to the opera or symphony. And, it's simply something beautiful to wear for an epic photo-shoot! Yes, I will be sure to get a lot of mileage out of this one.

 The flower wreath I chose for my gown came from an adorable Etsy shop by the name of Gardens of Whimsy. Originally, I had wanted to make my own bridal head wreath, but when I realize how cheap the flower and materials were from Hobby Lobby and Michaels, I decided to spend the extra money and order one made by a professional. It was worth it! This ivory flower head wreath was absolutely stunning. It matched perfectly with my gown and it really tied in that bohemian-influenced look I was trying to capture!

 About 8 years ago, my sister, cousin, and I declared that we would all wear Arwen's Evenstar on each of our wedding days. In the story, the Evenstar is a symbol of Arwen's love to Aragorn, as well her devotion to living a mortal life with him (since she is an Elf). As devoted fans of the Lord of the Rings, we promised to see this through! In fact, my cousin wore her necklace at her own spring wedding last May. As for me, I had yet to purchase my own Evenstar necklace and, due to quickly running out of money (haha), decided that it would be best to borrow my sister's Evenstar necklace for my day. Nevertheless, my cousin and sister had other plans! They went as far to buy me my own Evenstar and blessed me with it on my bridal shower! I couldn't believe it! Having received it as a gift from my two sisters means the world to me! I will forever treasure my Evenstar.

  While it wasn't captured in detail in many of the photos, I wore earrings from The Jubilee Market, a nonprofit organization to help victims of sex-trafficking. Every item on their website is hand-made by the beautiful women they reach out to help from around the world. The earrings I wore had a very ethnic feel to them with a slight hint of lavender and silver.

I am not a big "shoe" girl. Just give me something simple, cute, and functional. So, I found my sandals at Payless Shoes for $20 and was very happy. They matched with my rustic theme and they were easy to walk in throughout the wedding day. I purchased some ivory flowers from Hobby Lobby and my mother sewed them to the top center of the sandals to really make them pop! And, they did! They were hidden underneath my dress most of the day anyway, so I didn't want to go out and buy something ridiculous expensive that would barely be seen. They were probably only seen during our foot-washing ceremony, the dances, and several times that I would walk around and the wind blew through my dress.

The sweater I wore during the post-ceremony time was from a seller in China through Ebay. I cannot remember the name of the place, unfortunately. I did a search online for ivory sweaters and found this one, which was most affordable.  It served its purpose well - the weekend of our wedding was pretty cold! Well, cold for us Arizonans. ;) It was around 60 degrees, but thankfully it was sunny!

 The pendant around my bouquet was a gift Nolan bought for me in April '12, which was before he moved out here to AZ. He found it at a shop in Santa Fe, NM and gave it to me the week after we became engaged in August '12. On the back of the pendant he wrote Proverbs 31:10. I knew I wanted to display this significant gift on our wedding. :) It matched well with the engagement/wedding ring that Nolan personally designed for me (more about the ring here).

All the lavender at our wedding and for the bouquets were purchased through Mount Madonna Lavender. A wonderfully affordable alternative to fresh flowers. While I adore fresh flowers, I really desired a more rustic feel from the dried lavender (which was equally, if not moreso, fragrant!), tied together with ivory lace from Hobby Lobby. The meaning behind Lavender is love and devotion. It's also associated with purity. For Nolan and myself, this holds true. I love that Lavender represents Devotion because that is what we desire our relationship to reflect - Pure Devotion to Christ and to each other. 

All the photography was done by the amazing Casey Graham at I Do Photography! What a pleasure to work with someone with so much joy and radiance for what she does! 

And, thus ends my girlish squeal. ^_^

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Essential Oils Goodness!

 To all those who love alternative paths for medicine and healing, I would love to invite you all to learn about the pure, therapuetic grade quality of Young Living's Essential Oils and EO-infused products and supplements! If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in becoming a member and learning how to save money through this endeavor, please check out my blog/Facebook page or email me at: 
 I want to share all the joys and benefits I have experienced with these oils - whether applying them topically, taking internally (because Young Living's EOs quality is pure and safe enough to do so), or diffusing them at home. In one of the start-up kits, you even receive a $40-coupon towards any one of their beautiful diffusers.
 My journey with these oils continues to expand as I learn more every day about them. I love the vast opportunity they give you to grow in knowledge and which oils work best for what. I even use them in homemade cleaning products! I love the versatility of them and how they are gentle and safe enough for kids and pets because of their pure quality! Please, consider learning about them today. Thank you! :)

Ancient Essentials on Blogspot

Ancient Essentials on Facebook

Thursday, March 14, 2013

And almost a year later...

 I am now a Mrs.! After a wonderful year of courtship, I married the love of my life this past February amongst an intimate setting of family, friends, tall trees, and peach blossoms. In chronicling our love story, and now beginning our new life together, I am in awe of the Lord's faithfulness and grace surrounding us.
 I am not quite sure what I am to do with my Blog or blogging in general. I still have a desire to keep it and continue sharing posts, but I find that it is not as high of a priority in my new married life. But, while I'm transitioning and figuring out this new life, I'll keep it in the meantime. I am definitely feeling freshly inspired in this new season! :-)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

From one season to another...

2012 is a strange year for me. So unlike everything I could have ever imagined it could have been. With each passing month, I come upon new discoveries about myself, others, and this fleeting vapor we call life. I feel like I am passing through from one day to the next, trying to take in everything that is coming at me in this season of my youth - so many joys, so many sorrows! My heart is full as it is heavy and, yet, free and happy to just be! I adore the quiet stillness as much as I revel in the loudness! I want to embrace it all - every thorn and every jewel - to offer it up back to Him, the One to whom I belong, in one word of thanksgiving. But, there's so much. Life is so full. How can I possibly be thankful enough? How can I possibly learn enough? How can I possibly laugh enough? And weep enough? Oh, He knows. He knows. That is the source of my comfort. I am so glad Yeshua holds me heart when I feel so overwhelmed. 

And, due to this very reason, I am taking a long break from blogging to live to the fullest this gift called Life that I have through Him. I do miss blogging. I haven't made a decent post in months. However, I have found it increasingly difficult to keep this blog, which is very sad considering that blogging has always been therapeutic for me. And, I do miss perusing the endless streams of blogs that I follow. Yes, I'm quite addicted to photo and food blogs. One cannot try to maintain a blog AND obsessively explore other cute blogs while trying to juggle the many demands of a busy life!! It's just not realistic. hehe! But, while I may not be blogging regularly right now, I will keep my eyes open for breaks along my future path that may allow for it. Perhaps, at that point, I may start a new blog. Who knows but Him. Right now, I'm just absorbing what He is teaching and showing me. And, I am so enjoying this walk with my Lord from one degree of glory to another. 

And so, for now, I must depart with a poem shared with me by my dearest friend. 

Our lives, discolored with our present woes,
May still grow white and shine with happier hours,
So the pure limped stream, when foul with stains
Of rushing torrents and descending rains,
Works itself clear, and as it runs refines,
Til by degrees the floating mirror shines,
Reflects each flower that on the border grows,
And a new heaven in its fair bosom shows.
~ Joseph Addison

Friday, April 13, 2012


‎The Lord knows very well that you cannot change your own heart and cannot cleanse your own nature, but He also knows that He can do both. ~ Charles Spurgeon

Be ready for the violence of grace. It will do what it needs to do to rescue you from the one thing you cannot escape; YOU. ~ Paul Tripp

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
(Romans 7:18-23 ESV)

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:12-18 ESV)

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth...For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(John 1:12-14, 16-17 ESV)

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)

Monday, March 5, 2012


When I am confronted by the depth of my own weakness and the impurity of my own heart, it feels as if I will be shaken senseless! Sometimes, it seems unbearable, but then a word illuminates the darkness that imparts a gentle support. You will not be moved. You will not be shaken. You will be as mount Zion, which abides forever. Stability is a word that continues to ring through my mind in the ups and downs of life. Stability is something I have never been. And, it's certainly not a word I would ever use to describe myself or dare to hope that I could ever be. But, it's something I long for, something I cry out for daily! I am drawn to that very attribute in my Lord and it is what holds me in His presence. His faithfulness and His stability...these wonderful parts of His character are so comforting and reassuring! When my own nature is fragile and brittle, He is the stability of my days!

The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is Zion's treasure.
(Isaiah 33:5-6)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I am so moved by the wonderful images that come to mind when pondering the word Pilgrim from Hebrews 11. I found this good, visionary layout of the Pilgrim-mindset in a blog from It's strangely comforting to consider how the Gospel takes wretched sinners, comfortable and perfectly nestled into the brokenness of this world, and transforms them into strangers, aliens, and pilgrims of this world. We are, to put it simply, otherworldly.

In September of 1733, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon called "The Christian Pilgrim, Or, The True Christian's Life a Journey Toward Heaven." It was based on Hebrews 11:13-14:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Let his vision shape yours.

Pilgrims are not diverted from their aim.

A traveler . . . is not enticed by fine appearances to put off the thought of proceeding. No, but his journey's end is in his mind. If he meets with comfortable accommodations at an inn, he entertains no thoughts of settling there. He considers that these things are not his own, that he is but a stranger, and when he has refreshed himself, or tarried for a night, he is for going forward. (Works, Banner of Truth, p. 243)

Pilgrims are to hold the things of this world loosely.

So should we desire heaven more than the comforts and enjoyments of this life. . . . Our hearts ought to be loose to these things, as that of a man on a journey, that we may as cheerfully part with them whenever God calls. (243)

Pilgrims become like what they hope to attain.

We should be endeavoring to come nearer to heaven, in being more heavenly, becoming more and more like the inhabitants of heaven in respect of holiness and conformity to God, the knowledge of God and Christ, in clear views of the glory of God, the beauty of Christ, and the excellency of divine things, as we come nearer to the beatific vision. - We should labor to be continually growing in divine love - that this may be an increasing flame in our hearts, till they ascend wholly in this flame. (244)

Pilgrims will not be satisfied with anything less than God.

God is the highest good of the reasonable creature, and the enjoyment of him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. - To go to heaven fully to enjoy God, isinfinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows. But the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean. . . . Why should we labor for, or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness? (244)

Pilgrims are not grieved by their arrival at the journey's end.

To spend our lives so as to be only a journeying towards heaven, is the way to be free from bondage and to have the prospect and forethought of death comfortable. Does the traveler think of his journey's end with fear and terror? Is it terrible to him to think that he has almost got to his journey's end? Were the children of Israel sorry after forty years' travel in the wilderness, when they had almost got to Canaan? (246)

Pilgrims ponder what they pursue.

Labor to be much acquainted with heaven. - If you are not acquainted with it, you will not be likely to spend your life as a journey thither. You will not be sensible of its worth, nor will you long for it. Unless you are much conversant in your mind with a better good, it will be exceeding difficult to you to have your hearts loose from these things, to use them only in subordination to something else, and be ready to part with them for the sake of that better good. - Labor therefore to obtain a realizing sense of a heavenly world, to get a firm belief of its reality, and to be very much conversant with it in your thoughts. (246)

Pilgrims travel together.

Let Christians help one another in going this journey. . . . Company is very desirable in a journey, but in none so much as this. - Let them go united and not fall out by the way, which would be to hinder one another, but use all means they can to help each other up the hill. - This would ensure a more successful traveling and a more joyful meeting at their Father's house in glory. (246)