Free Amazon giftcards? There must be a catch!

Well, there isn’t  when you use Swagbucks! It’s an online search engine that you can earn “swagbucks” with. Once you’ve earned enough swagbucks, you can “buy” prizes, like amazon giftcards! And it works! I’ve already gotten over $20 worth of giftcards!! So check it out at swagbucks.com.

From the Archives

King Alfred the Great’s Accomplishments
King Alfred was a extremely accomplished man. As a boy he learned to read in a single week! His mother showed Alfred and his brothers a beautiful book. She told them that whoever  could read it best by the end of a week would win it. Alfred found a tutor and at the end of the  week he won the prize. After that week he loved to read. Throughout his whole life he kept that  love and read whenever he could. In Alfred’s early reign the Vikings terrorized the entire country by raiding and sacking  villages, monasteries, and churches. He gathered a large band of men and defeated them, forcing  them to accept baptism and be under his rule. Then he set about rebuilding his tattered country  with the help of his nobles.  Charlemagne was Alfred’s hero as an adult; he admired him tremendously and sought to be like him in many ways. They also loved and strove for many identical goals; one of these  goals was education. He reestablished monastery and public schools that the Vikings had  destroyed. He also trained many teachers to help rich and poor alike learn.  Alfred helped many  people to love education. Though he had many faults King Alfred is a great example of initiative and ambition. He  is the greatest king ever to be on the English throne; during his reign the title Great was given to  him- and he is the only English king yet to wear it.

Wow, I wrote this a long time ago!!!!

Savoring

I love Karis! She’s always saying adorably cute things. And since I’m going South Carolina in 1 day {!@$^%^*%^%$#@#$%&*)(*&^%$@#} I’ve been hanging on to these and trying to stuff them into a box so I can have them for the two weeks I’m going to be gone.  But it made me think; why don’t I always savor the sweet things she whispers or to me, or the welcome she gives me when I come home? Maybe because I’m taking for granted that she is there and not remembering that I’ve already had her for two/half years and the Lord may see fit at anytime to take her. I want to hang onto these moments all the time. Not just when I know I’m going to be gone and miss them. So I want to be conscious, grateful, and never take for granted.

Neglected

That’s what describes this blog. Neglected. I have musings all right, but taking the time to put them up here when I could put up pictures on my photography blog is a little hard. So I’m going to start again. Telling what’s happening around here.  Sharing my musings. And pictures. of course.

Have You Ever Thought About How Much Your Background Affects You?

Have you ever thought of how much your background affects you? I grew up in a Christian family. My parents loved God and always taught me to obey Him. I was very young when I learned that the Bible said that I was a sinner.

But I don’t think I understood the extent of my sin. I tried to be good and please my parents, but I wasn’t really trying to please God. I just knew that Mom and Dad would be disappointed if I wasn’t. Plus, my Dad was a pastor so I kind of felt a need to live up my place as the pastor’s daughter. Even when I did get into mischief. I only was sorry that I had gotten myself in trouble, not that I had grieved God.

Since then, God has shown me through teaching & my own study of His Word, that when I disobeyed my parents I was guilty of more than just disobeying my parents. I was guilty of sinning against a holy God. The same God that created me and keeps me alive. He has complete control over everything that happens to me. Since the Bible showed me that the punishment for sin is death I was headed for an eternity in hell, a place of torment that lasts forever.

But thankfully the Bible doesn’t stop there. God loved us so much that he sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for us so we could be saved from that punishment. He came down and humbled himself by becoming a man, living a sinless life on earth, dying on a cross, and rising again three days later. Since Jesus lived a sinless life he could become the payment for my sin. All I had to do was accept that payment by putting my faith in Him alone.

When I did put my faith in Christ alone, God no longer saw me as a
sinner because Jesus’ payment had paid for my sins. I no longer need to fear the punishment that was coming for me because God forgave my sins and when I die I will be with him in heaven forever.

But putting my faith in Christ does not mean I never sin, because I still do! I hurt my brother, get angry at my family, tease my sister, I could list things off all day! The difference is, now I am sorrowful that I have sinned against a holy God. And this time I have hope because if I ask Jesus to forgive me he will!

I loved going to church when I was little, it was fun to see my friends and lots of people I knew, but now I love to go to church because I get to fellowship and worship with other believers!

Even though my background might be complete different than yours, you can be in God’s family too! Would you like to know how? Just let me know!

 

From the Archives

I wrote this sometime in 2009: now I’m reposting it so you can read it again.

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Lorenzo Ghiberti, a famous sculptor of the Early Renaissance, was born in Florence , Italy 1378. His father was Bartoluccio Ghiberti a trained artist and goldsmith. Though he trained his son in the gold business Lorenzo became famous for his sculptures and metal work. Lorenzo went to work in the shop of Bartoluccio de Michele where his father had also trained. When the Black Death struck in 1400 He moved to Romagna where he helped complete a series of frescoes in a castle.  Lorenzo is remembered mostly for his two sets of doors that he designed for the cathedral in Florence. He built the first set in 1401. While executing this project with the help of many skilled workers Lorenzo reinvented the Roman art of “lost wax casting” which was used in the process of bronze casting. The door itself consisted of ten panels depicting scenes from the New Testament cast in bronze. Interestingly enough if you look closely you will find, in one of the small portholes in the doors, a self portrait of himself peeking out!  When this first set was completed and set up in the Baptistry of the cathedral Lorenzo was commissioned to make a second set for another doorway! This set was to be of the original plans for the first set but once again he designed ten( not 28) panels of a completely different style and perspective. Michelangelo later dubbed this set “The Gates Of Paradise”!  Though these doors were his main projects during his life Lorenzo completed many other statues and sculptures including a bronze likeness of St. Stephen for the Arte della Lana. He was also a historian and a humanist! Lorenzo died December 1, 1455 at the old  age of 77.

 

Notebook Paper

I have this strange annoyance: all the normal notebooks come with this paper that has straight edges and neon lines.

I like the other kind! Rounded edges, nice light colors and it look cool!

So, there’s your weird fact for the day 😀

 

Pizza

My siblings love pizza. really love pizza. When Mom reveals that pizza is on the menu there is cheering, jumping up and down, and lots of commotion.

By pizza I don’t mean the kind you get delivered, I mean the frozen kind we pick up at the store.

The kind that tastes like they accidentally used cardboard for the crust {I don’t like them as much as my other siblings}.

But the boys, and Karis, love them. Especially when there is pop.

So we set the table

And then we eat.  This is what happens when we eat.

And this all happens in a time span of about two minutes. I’m serious, we could have a magic act called “The Disappearing Pizza.”

{I just realized that one of the pictures had pepperonis on it and the rest are of cheese 😀 Well anyway, you get the jist of it right?}

Did I mention we go through three of these every time we eat them?

My siblings love frozen pizza, but you should see their faces when they find out we are having homemade pizza.

But maybe you don’t want to. I’ll leave it up to you, OK?

Chris just came down and was like “Is that pizza? Can I see the pizza picture?” He took a look at it, sighs with bliss. “Yummmm.”

That sums it up pretty well, along with the fact that they pore over the pizza ads we get in the mail. But I must admit, those ones look pretty good.

The Button: A Literary Analysis of Turn Homeward Hannalee

The Button

 

In the book, Turn Homeward Hannalee, Patricia Beatty uses a persimmon-seed button as an important part of the plot. It is used as a symbol of several things; her promise to Momma, her home in Georgia, and most of all, a reminder to Hannalee of where her heart is.

We’ll take a look at how it is a reminder of her promise, but first let’s find out what that promise is. In the very beginning of the book when Hannalee and her brother are taken from home by the Yankees, Momma and Hannalee are saying a tearful good bye when Momma does something very strange. She takes a button from the top of her dress and gives to Hannalee, and then makes her promise something very important.

“Then she [Momma] did something mighty strange. She jerked one of the persimmon-seed buttons off the top of her dress and gave it to me. She told me softly, “They won’t shoot you and Jem. I just know they won’t. But I think they’ll take you away from here, God knows where. Wherever you go, keep this to remind yourself to come home. Turn your heart to me. Turn homeward, Hannalee! Promise me!’

‘I promise you Mama.’ I [Hannalee] took the button into my hand”

The button reminded her of that promise while she was away. There are three places we will look at. First of all, the moments when she is being taken away from her hometown in Georgia. As the soldiers are taking all the mill hands out of town Hannalee spots Momma waving and cries back: “‘Indiana, They say we’re goin’ to Indiana. I’ll be back. I’ve got the button. Watch out for yourself and the baby.’…As my soldier put his horse into a canter, I turned around to look back at Mama. She wasn’t waving. She had her hand over the top of her dress where she’d pulled off the button I had in my pocket. She was weeping and so was I.”

Second, when the mill hands are being held in Marietta until a train comes to take them to Indiana, Hannalee wants to escape right then. But her older brother’s sweetheart, Rosellen, who is a mill hand too, says no.  “But I promised Mama I’d go home” Hannalee protests. But Rosellen is resolute.

Even though she submitted and got on the train to go to Indiana, her promise was not forgotten.  “I was still set on keeping my word, though. The persimmon-seed button was deep in my apron pocket. The promise was deep in my mind.”   The button motivated her to start forming a plan of escape.  With some ingenuity and Rosellen’s help she was able to keep her little brother with her so it would be easier to escape.

When Hannalee discovers that Rosellen has changed during the time she was working in “Yankee land,” the button is a comforting reminder that didn’t change.  “A cold feeling came over me. I could see that Rosellen had changed up here in Yankee land. It wasn’t just her new clothes. She was different in ways I couldn’t put my finger on. I slid my hand into my pants pocket to take hold of Mama’s persimmon-seed button. As always, the feel of it gave me comfort. It didn’t change”

As she endeavors to find her brother and return home,  the persimmon-seed button is a  reminder of home, of Mama, and the good days before they were kidnapped.  “Touching Mama’s button in my pocket, I asked, “Miz Burton, do you think you could help Sally or Rosellen write a letter home to Georgia to let their folks know they’re all right?”

When she finds her brother and they escape towards home together she shows him her motivator.  “I want to show you somethin’ I been keepin’ secret.’ I reached into my pants pocket and brought out the persimmon-seed button. Jem knew it by sight. He cried, ‘It’s Mama’s!’ ‘Yes and I’m takin’ it home to her. She gave it to me and told me to fetch it back to her. But I’m bringin’ her more’n that. I’m fetchin’ you too. We’ll both take it back to her.”   As Jem and Hannalee walk up the road to their old home Hannalee’s thoughts wander back to the day they were taken away.  “Turn homeward,” Mama had asked me. I’d said I would, and Hannalee Reed always kept her promises.”

When they finally reach home Hannalee finds out that not only did the button motivate her to return home, it kept the ones at home hopeful too.  “Now I handed the old women the persimmon-seed button and said, “Miz Sanders, I’d thank you kindly if you’d give this to the Widow Reed. Tell her that her girl has brung somethin’ home to her again that she gave her last summer…. She [Mama] opened her hand to show me the persimmon-seed button Marilla had given her. Smiling, Mama went on, ‘I reckoned I’d see this again someday–that my pretty older daughter would be bringin’ it home to me.”

Though the button returns to Mama unchanged no one else does. It dawns on Hannalee that everyone, including herself, had changed because of the war, but the button was an important symbol that kept her heart turned towards home.

 

{P.S. I’ve updated my reading list, be sure to take a look}

Turn Homeward Hannalee

I thought I would give you a preview of the book I’m examining in my literary analysis, which is in the editing stage right now.

The name is Turn Homeward Hannalee and it is a half true, half fictional story of a girl during the Civil War who finds herself drawn into it in a way she can’t stop.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

The copy we borrowed from the library has a much better cover than this one, the new one makes the book look like a comedy, but it isn’t, its story of a girl who strives to turn her heart homeward, even when it is difficult.

 

I hope you’ll read this book! I’m looking forward to reading the sequel!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I wish I knew how to put together words to make them look more beautiful then they deserve.  Sometimes I want to be a writer, to put together words for a living; but I always end up using my camera to capture memories instead.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes I feel like they’re worth even more.

They do something no words could ever do. They let you relive the memory that you captured. They let you see how things looked, even though they look completely different now.

Even though my little sister is growing up, I can always look back and see what she did look like.

Oh yes, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words, and sometimes, even more.

I like to write… but

I like to write, but when it comes to something I’ve never tried before, well, then I start to be a little hesitant 😀

 

 

This week we’re supposed to write a literary analysis, and I’m having fun! Even though a couple of days ago I didn’t know what it was!

Happy [Belated] Birthday

I just realized that my blog had it’s first birthday about a month ago.

On January 14 2010 I started this blog.

Happy Birthday!

Story

Sorry about the glitch there with the story. I deleted 1.3 but all of the content is on 1.4.  I hope you enjoyed reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Remember to let the Lord lead today!

A Goal or an Idol? {1.4}

Her Dad nodded, looking confused, and Alyssa ran upstairs to her bed. She knelt down and asked God to help her decide what to do about this new problem. A couple of minutes later she got up and dialed Aunt Z’s number.  After some earnest conversation she picked up her birthday envelope and walked downstairs again.

“You guys, I think the Lord has already provided the money!” she said as her family looked at her.  Alyssa gave the envelope to Mr. Sunton who opened it and looked at the check inside.

“Alyssa!” he looked at her in disbelief. “Do you know how much this is?  Where did you get this?”

As the rest of the family stared at Alyssa in confusion something suddenly dawned on him.

“Did Aunt Z. give this to you as a birthday present so you could go to school?” He looked at her intently.

“It’s yours Dad, for the business.” Alyssa stammered, looking down.

“Then Aunt Z. did give it to you didn’t she?” Mrs. Sunton declared.

“Yes,” Alyssa reluctantly answered. “she did, but I want you to have it so that we can start our business. I’d love to be the secretary and I have lots of experience with cleaning houses!” she continued, looking excited to be able to help, rather than hinder, her family’s plans.

“No!” James Sunton looked determined as he handed the envelope back to his daughter. “You were given this for art school and we’ll do just fine without you. God will provide the funds, I’m sure of it.”

“But Dad, you don’t understand. I already talked to Aunt Z. and she agreed that this would be a wonderful use of the money. I’m staying here.” Alyssa pushed the envelope back at her father and sat down.  John and Carson looked at each other in amazement, this was not the sister they knew! But they sure wouldn’t mind the change! After thanking the Lord for provided the money so quickly they started planning the Sunton Family Business in earnest.

Several weeks later, school had started and their cleaning business was in full swing. Alyssa was finishing her math work by the phone so that, as the secretary, she would be able to answer any calls that came for their cleaning business. After a couple of minutes the phone did ring and Alyssa answered it confidently.

“This is the Sunton Family Cleaning Service, can I help you?” After confirming the date for some  work she hung up and recorded it on her open laptop.

“Oh Lord,” she prayed. “I love this job so much! Thank you for changing my life! I haven’t regretted my decisions once! I know for sure that following Your leading and staying home to help my family is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

 

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