To My Beautiful Kindred Spirits

Well, ladies, it’s been awhile! I don’t want to come back on here and say, “hey we all should force ourselves to make time to write in this blog again,” because I know we all lead different lives and this was created as a space for us to get away from the craziness, not to add to it. I wish I could say I have come here often for a breath of fresh air, but I haven’t. However, I wanted to come back on here to remind myself of the memories we have made and to give you some encouragement. So, I hope this post reminds us all to be okay with not always forcing ourselves to create for the pressure of our check-lists, but to create simply for the joy of it.

I finally reached a point in this slow-but-still-so-busy season of my life to find joy in writing letters again. I was dealing with a lot of emotional pain for various reasons and it was hard to reach out to anyone more than I had to, even to simply just write a sweet “hello” letter. One of my good friends who lives several states away from me got my first letter this year, and boy oh boy did I want to burn it! She is the sort of friend you write your whole life out to and know she will do the same. It was pages long and definitely not my most creative letter, but it needed to be done. It was therapy for me. I have been feeling so much better — writing gives me perspective. Although I write in a journal, writing a letter that would land in safe hands was very much needed.

Thankfully, I am not writing the same letter to you gals! Hahaha I am just writing a page or a few, simply thanking you for the inspiration you all have given me over the years. This week I was able to breathe and actually enjoy writing you girls (I still have a couple more to write). I tried forcing myself to write you months ago but you and I both know sometimes forced creativity just to look like you are being creative is never our best. In fact, it’s horrible. Yes, there are many times we need to push and challenge ourselves! Yet, when we throw out authenticity and vulnerability just to check off the check-list, well…. Well, we really are doing no one a favor, especially ourselves. Sometimes we need to heal, renew, start over, get a new perspective, throw away the junk, and/or be still. It is from here we grow the most and our creativity shines out the clearer.

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Watching Melanie’s video while creating some of your ladies’ letters!

Anyway, today, I watched Melanie’s first YouTube video with her friend as I put together some of your letters! Wow, so inspiring and refreshing, but also challenged my thinking. I strive to capture beauty as well as demonstrate it, but sometimes I get carried away with focusing on what others believe is “perfect” beauty instead of what truly is beautiful. I was really encouraged to focus on God’s truth that speaks about who I truly am, including an elevated perspective about the world around me, rather than all the varying opinions thrown at me. Thank you, Melanie, for stepping out and doing something different! Keep up the good work.

It has been so wonderful seeing all of you ladies grow in your creativity. I know we all go through dry spells or frustrating challenges, but, seriously, you all have developed so beautifully in your own way! Sarah, you are an imaginative author and astounding artist that puts smiles on children’s faces! Nikki, you have such a brilliant eye for design and heart-felt art that oozes a love for life! Bekah, you have an impeccable taste for style and your search for loveliness in the every day reflects your rare beauty! Nat, your delightful perspective for vintage treasures and nature shines from your heart to across the world! Melanie, your refreshing and tender contemplative thoughts are truly reflected in your every photo and every word! Lauren, your brilliant fondness for style reminds us that every day is a day to follow our dreams! Jackie, you are truly a creative and it represents the love you have for your family and life! Naoma, your inspiring words and positive perspective constantly produce beauty inside and out!

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Once again, thank you kindred spirits for all you do! You truly are treasures from another world.

~ Christiana

The Abandoned Field

Hello dearest Kindred Spirits!
I’m doing this post in honor of Melanie, who encouraged me to do a post about my morning walks in my quaint and rugged town.


I found this abandoned field (it’s not fully just a field, but that’s what I call it) not too far from my house about a year ago, near the elementary school that is in the middle of Devore, my hometown. I walked there yesterday morning with the family dog, Champ. He is my main focus when I take pictures with my iPhone on our walks — he is the absolutely best model! I don’t consider myself a photographer (maybe some day I’ll pursue it), but rather an iPhone shutterbug. And some of you know, I do use the hashtag #withalicemyiphone on my Instagram page for all my somewhat efforts in artistic capturing. This field has been a big inspiration for me! It does not yet have a name and maybe after you ladies grab some tea and soak in this beauty of creation, you could give some ideas on what I should call it?

Yesterday morning started off later than I had wished, but I decided to tell Champ that we were going for a walk and he could have cared less what time of the day it was, he was just so excited to even go. It has been awhile since I’ve last seen the abandoned field.

The shooting in San Bernardino has been in small moments a lot for me to take in, especially since I had been only ten minutes away in a library when the scene occurred. It can be so easy to let such terrible tragedy cast dark shadows on one’s spirit, but I’m learning to remind myself that God already has my days numbered and being anxious is not going to help me any, that He has a whole beautiful world ready for me still to see and enjoy no matter how crazy the world has become. So I made a choice to do just that.

I have been so sick over this summer and part of the fall, as I explained in my last post — read here. Thankfully, I’m feeling so much better and stronger. However, the setback didn’t allow me to do my walks with Champ because where we live there is huge steep hills and windy roads, plus high altitude. It’s at the most three miles to the abandoned field, but it can take a lot out of you especially if you have been sick like me for so long. It was way overdue that I gave it a visit and I have been building my strength slowly to get to this morning.


This street winds around until it takes me to the field. I love this barn on the hill — I always imagine that on Christmas baby Jesus is born here.

It was quite a windy day but it seemed to carry with it reassuring peace and encouragement, as it carried away my anxiety that I didn’t even know strongly existed. I was so rejuvenated to be out amongst my town’s trees, fences, houses and barns, dogs barking hello, and the street that always leads me without fail to my favorite field.

Getting closer to the abandoned field!

What is so wonderful about this field that when I come to visit it always keeps its purity of newness — I always see, find, and learn something new about it every time! And it’s not big at all, just a couple of acres. As we got to the field across the street, Champ was already pulling at the leash to cross. He knew exactly where we were going.

Once we got there, it felt like home. I let Champ off his leash and he trotted around happy. After breathing it all in, I got my iPhone out to capture it — part of my way in enjoying the details that I don’t always pay attention to with the naked eye. Champ always gets dragged into posing for me for a few minutes, but he’s is so good at it that I just can’t let him not do it.


Champ with a sour face, waiting for my que to model for the capture. Modeling is hard work.


The results — moments like these captured just makes me all giddy. Isn’t Champ a pro or what?

I feel like Pocahontus with Grandmotherwillow with these gorgeous trees.

 The real field part of the abandoned field is near its neighbors who grow and sell live Christmas trees. They also have a field behind it, which is the part that shares a fence with the abandoned field, that holds a pair of extremely friendly donkeys and a rude llama and alpaca.

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 This was taken the day I first met these cuties. Those ears, eyes, and soft nose… Ahhhh! They melt my heart.


There are many other lovely creatures neighboring by. Since I take care of some of the town’s animals when people go on vacation, I get to meet some cuties. Just last week I took care of this lovely girl, Blueberry.


Last month I took care of this beautiful mare. I have been giving care to her and the other barn full of horses she lives with for some years. When I use to have my own horse, I use to ride over during the days I was assigned. I really enjoy this side work.


One of my favorite things is how the abandoned field always looks different! This was taken a year ago and look how orange the surroundings are! This year the colors are more a bright yellow.


So this is where I love to walk to, my lovely abandoned field. Yet, it really isn’t abandoned since I come visit and hope to do a lot more of it. On the way back, I was sure I would be exhausted. I reached home a little tired but not even close to exhaustion! It was a great feeling. Sharing with you this beautiful place and a small part of my life encourages me to take none of it for granted. I cannot wait to visit soon, with Champ excitedly by me.

~ Christiana

 

A Journey to Health

Have any of you been through a season where you felt like you were constantly ill?

That was me this past summer. It was probably because I was way too busy and never allowed myself some time of resting to recover. Also, I never took the time to see what nature had to offer in healing. I never gave health a top priority in my life.

I just had my surgery earlier this week, which would have never been possible unless my health had risen to the level of wellness I am today. I knew this ahead of time and was very concerned a few weeks before that I would have to cancel the long awaited appointment with my doctor. However, my friend, Jessica, invited me to stay with her and her family to attend a Young Living Essential Oils meeting and day of learning. I am so glad I went! Not only did I learn so much about the joy of being healthy and how I can receive natural nourishment through what God made in so many beautiful plants and trees, but Jessica even gave me two of my very own essential oils!! Now, I am a proud owner of Lavender and Lemon essential oils. She gave me a firm stepping stone towards a priority in my health.

Natalie’s letter to me was filled with the scent of Ylang Ylang last month, and it also grew my desire to learn about essential oils! I find it so wonderful that she is doing Aromatherapy.

Lavender and Lemon essential oils.
Lavender and Lemon essential oils.

In a course of one week, I began to feel better than I had in a long time! After Jessica placed various oils on me to help my breathing be easier when I was staying with her, I drank three drops of lemon in water every day and used a drop of lavender on my legs and feet every night. The yucky stuff stuck down in my chest, that I wasn’t able to cough up before, finally was removed, while the lavender helped me fall right asleep with no restless leg syndrome issues — I was able to catch up on good sleep!

Lemon essential oil benefits are calming, ant-infection, detoxifying, stress reducing, and many others.
Lemon essential oil benefits are calming, ant-infection, detoxifying, stress reducing, and many others.
Lavender essential oil benefits are eliminating nervous tension, relieving pain, enhancing blood circulation, and many others.
Lavender essential oil benefits are eliminating nervous tension, relieving pain, enhancing blood circulation, and many others.

Soon I began to want this lovely lavender on my skin with my coconut and almond oil. My Grandma works for Blue Diamond Almonds and gives me a constant supply of almond oil. Apparently, I have her skin type because we both use to get extremely chapped hands during the autumn season. Yet, ever since we have been using almond oil, we haven’t had a problem.

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These oils have changed my health drastically in different ways.

I thought I would share with you ladies three concoctions I have perfected over time or recently for my skin! Adding the lavender recently to two of them has just made the perfect finishing touch. I went in for my surgery smelling of the beautiful scents of nature! They have made a world of difference for my skin, so I wanted to share the love.

I found these lovely glass jars at Target for $1 each! Aren't they just charming?
I found these lovely glass jars at Target for $1 each! Aren’t they just charming?

Apple Cider Toner:

Apple Cider Toner
                         Apple Cider Toner

This one is super easy — just two ingredients!

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Water

Now, it is important that it is organic and unfiltered vinegar because you want those healthy enzymes. Just add into your bottle a small amount of vinegar and a ratio of 1:1 of water, so 50% water and 50% vinegar. Add more water if you have sensitive skin, like me.

Then apply a small amount to a cotton ball and spread it over your clean face or other spots on your skin that need some clearing from blotches. Only do this a couple times a week. Keep it at room temperature.

Coconut Face Moisturizer:

Coconut Face Moisturizer
                      Coconut Face Moisturizer

I have been using this very simple recipe for some time and it seriously has done wonders with my face, and adding the lavender just blew my world. Makes me smell soooo good, too!

  • Coconut oil
  • Almond oil
  • Lavender essential oil

I use approximately a cup and a half of coconut oil, add about three drops of almond oil and three drops of lavender oil — mix together. The main thing is not adding too much almond oil, just enough to help seal the coconut and lavender into your skin. Put on your face only a dime size — a small amount goes a very long way! This can stay in cool or warm temperatures, but is best at room temperature and will last a long time either way.

Lemon Body Butter:

Lemon Body Butter
               Lemon Body Butter

This is one of my most recent of recipes and I got the idea from Pinterest. In the short time I have used it, it has shrunk my scars and lightened my stretch marks! My skin also feels noticeably softer. I surprisingly did not use my lemon essential oil for this one — you just need regular lemons.

  • Lemons
  • Coconut oil
  • Almond oil
  • Lavender oil

This one is a little more tricky, because oddly every time I have made it the coconut oil amount changes. I think it has to do with the temperature. So I just start with about 1 1/2 to 2 cold lemons, juice them, and then run the juice through a fine strainer (like one you would use for tea leaves). Then I add about 1/8 cup of coconut oil for starts and then add more when I put it in the blender. My last batch called for more than a cup! Make sure the coconut oil is at its firm state before blending; if it isn’t solid, then put it in the freezer for a minute or two. Before blending, add no more than 6 drops of almond oil and about 5 drops of lavender essential oil. Make sure you have enough coconut oil to blend into the consistency of blended butter. When you are all done blending, stick it in the fridge for about half an hour.

If the room is warm, keep it in the fridge — you want to keep it as butter or it can go bad. However, during cooler days it can stay out and will last a long time when in the right temperature.

My journey to health began with a sick summer and no priority for my well-being. Now, I am going to have a healthy autumn and the highest priority for my health! Sadly, sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to finally realize you need to learn how to fly again. Even though I have altered my diet to healthier food since the beginning of summer, I am going to raise the bar higher this season. Once I recover fully from surgery, I am going to make exercise apart of my daily schedule — no more “I’m too busy.” Every day I have the beautiful choice of choosing health and I will choose it.

I hope my story encourages you and my concoctions are beneficial. Thank you to all of my Kindred Spirits for all the kind words and prayers for my recovery!!! Also, a very special thanks to my friend Jessica, who not only gave me two essential oils but also doctored me with various essential oils. ❤

I choose health today and always.
I choose health today and always.

~ Christiana

Get Well Soon!

For all my dear friends…

feeling under the weather…and/or

recovering from surgery…rest, heal and wait patiently. This, too, shall pass.

Until then, add to your life only the essentials: Cozy Pillows,cozy homemade pillows

(A.B. Photography)

Read lots of good books…

Andrea Michelle Photography

(A.M. Photography)

Cozy up with your loved ones with lots of blankets!

sunrise coffee; LanaJenae Photography

(L.J. Photography)

Drink lots of warm drinks…

sunrise coffee LanaJenae Photography

(L.J. Photography)

Laugh…if you have to start by fake laughing (this will make you laugh; haha!!)

big smile; Simply Lovely Styled Photography

“God bless the days that are coming for you my dear.” L.M. Montgomery

Lana Jenae Photography

(L.J. Photography)

Watch the Sunset…

skyline; Simply Lovely Photography

Sunset; Country Cottage Living

EAT your GREENS!!

Annetta Bosakova Photography

and Veggies!

veggie garden basket; LanaJenae Photography

(L.J. Photography)

HOPE for Spring. This Season will Pass. “That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more Springs.” L.M. Montgomery

spring garden; Lana Jenae Photography

(L.J. Photography)

Imagine all the delightful picnics and outings you will have when you are better! Remember, “It’s really a beautiful world.” -L.M. Montgomery

picnic; Andrea Michelle Photography

(A.M. Photography)

Play with flowers while drinking tea and eating homemade cookies 🙂

hot coffee; Simply Lovely Photography

Watch the rain. Try to think…”Nothing but beautiful thoughts.” -L.M. Montgomery

rainy window; Simply Lovely Photography

Put a blanket around your shoulder and go outside. You will believe and live again…”Life is Golden & splendidly rainbowed.” L.M. Montgomery

Simply Lovely Styled Photography

Eat up; your strength will return. (or drink your smoothie!) Enjoy Pumpkin in EVERYTHING -LOL! (like these Pumpkin Pancakes).

pumpkin pancakes; country cottage living

“It will come sometime. Some beautiful morning she will just wake up and find it is Tomorrow. Not Today but Tomorrow. And then things will happen … wonderful things.” -L.M. Montgomery

“Never feel alone…I’ll always be with you…

you’ll always have a home inside of me.”

(a couple of the song lyrics in the music video; so sweet)

All photography my own except when noted: Andrea Michelle PhotographyAnnnetta Bosakova PhotographyLana Jenae Photography

Prayers for all my friends not feeling well today; You are not alone.

-Melanie

Country Cottage Living

 

Sunset Walk on Willie’s Lake Road

walkCollage1

“…all the little sweetnesses of life sprinkling the road.” L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside.

I want to share my walk with you…At Sunset I walk toward the Sun -toward the West on Willie’s Lake Road. I pass by houses, fences, fields, trees, ditches, barns, cows and even some garbage and unpleasantness. But here I will just share the lovelies that caught my eye.

SunsetWalk Collage2

A walk is very pleasant experience and a blessing (as some folks are unable to walk due to physical disabilities or unsafe areas to walk). I am thankful for walking.

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The evening light is ever-changing and the sun hides and then re-emerges. There are signs of Fall -like these ferns and signs of Summer: Mini daisies below…

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On my walk I breathe in deep the fresh outdoorsy cooler air. I smell the scents of evergreens, freshly cut grass and composting apples.

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I dream of lovely dreams and often get my greatest ideas. I pick a wildflower or two. Today I stick them in my pocket:

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I count my blessings when I am tempted to count my woes.

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I dream of a Kindred Friends Picnic here in this field (where I am now trespassing!)

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I want to frolic in this field of puffs and dreams…

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Time to turn around and go home. The light is dimming out of doors and shining ever so brightly and warmly indoors.

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My walk was a tonic but home looks ever so warm and beckoning.

Thanks for joining me on my walk. (some other time, I’ll share my sunrise walk with you past Willie’s Lake)

-Melanie

Country Cottage Living

Summer’s End

Simply Lovely Styled Photography; Anne of Green Gables

I’ve been meaning to come visit here more often -Kindred Spirits Club- and now that a new Season is upon us I hope I will make it a routine! I do so love it here with you lovely ladies!

I have already been contemplating Fall and all it’s simple, but glorious, treasures. I love the Seasons and I believe there is “…a time for every Season.”

Today, I’m celebrating Summer’s End; bittersweetness indeed!

This Summer was a big one for me as I planned several deluxe styled shoots and my photography went from amateur to professional. I’m glad I pushed myself and it was a delightful Season with many gorgeous photos to show for it.Simply Lovely Styled Photography

However, I find myself burnt out and have been pondering what my next Season of Creativity needs to look like. I am more of an introvert and gain energy for life from quiet time, walks and one-on-one get-togethers rather than large groups.

Simply Lovely Styled Photography

My next Season of Creativity needs to be Integrated with my everyday, real life. I need to Connect with my family and friends. I want to embrace the WILD of Fall. and those are my words for Fall 2015: Integrate. Connect. Wild.

Simply Lovely Styled Photography

Dreamin: -This Summer I felt that “pieces of the puzzle” were coming together for my book; Country Cottage Living; ABC’s of Summer. I collected all my photos needed and notes and began Graphic Design (just last week!). I soon realized after a couple days that this project was going to require a LOT of concentration and quiet time on the computer. I still want to do it but I think I’m postponing this project. I do not want to spend all my days on the computer. -Sometimes Dreams change. -Sometimes we change.

Dream Garden Woodworks Rustic Table

My husband built me this outdoor rustic table this Summer. I’m completely loving it and hope to use if for a variety of occasions; including more Kindred Creatives Gatherings/Workshops. (Someday, perhaps you all will join me here. We will talk of “Anne” and “Beatrix” and collaborate and drink TEA!

wildflowers foraged bouquet

and so, Goodbye Summer 2015. You have been good to me; you have taught me, you stirred in me new desires and new dreams. Hello Fall 2015! What is your theme word(s) for Fall?

(above, Sarah @hazelwoodforest, holding a bouquet of wildflowers I foraged on a nearby country road)

A Party for Sarah

I know Sarah’s book, A Party for Pepper, was published a little while ago now, but I finally ordered a copy and just received it this weekend. Therefore, a little party was in order.

It has been now over a half a year since I found Sarah through Instagram. It all happened when I posted a photo of my childhood teddy bear, Russ Bear, reading his mini Peter Rabbit book collection, which I had added with the hashtag #beatrixpotter. Through that hashtag she found my photo and liked it. Then I viewed her profile and fell instantly in love with her art work and beautiful style. We began commenting on each others photos, which led to a conversation (like a million comments) about are interests and what we do with creativity. It did not take long for us to realize we were kindred spirits.

Then this led me to meet Nikki, which then has accumulated to me meeting all of you lovely ladies now apart of the Kindred Spirits’ Club through Instagram and our blog!

Sarah, everyday you inspire me to follow my dreams, to be creative in my own original way, and to enjoy the small things. So here is a capture of the small party I was indeed able to throw for you, as Russ Bear and I celebrated the publication of your lovely book!

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To start this party, we had tea time on a picnic blanket inside because it is dreadfully hot outside and we have a summer cold. We got out Russ Bear’s Beatrix Potter mini-book set, Anne of Green Gables (of course), and our new addition, A Party for Pepper. I can proudly say we tried your “pink” tea recipe and love it immensely! It has become an instant favorite. Also, as you can see, Russ Bear is holding your lovely wood painting. I will cherish it forever, dear friend.

This allowed me to sit for a moment to realize how far we have all come in our own journeys. It has been less than a year, but each of us I do believe have been able to see each other grow more confident in our individual lives, as we continue to keep creating what is dear to our hearts.

Anyway, this is but a small little party, but I hope you know that we truly are grateful for you living your dream, Sarah, because it encourages us to keep pursuing and living ours.

Again, congratulations dearest Sarah!!!

~ Christiana