Tuesday, October 12, 2021

An Update of Sorts

*ruefully counts how many impromptu, unannounced blogging breaks I've taken over the past few months* 


*wonders who even reads these random musings anymore*

Sooo, hello, all! I haven't forgotten about this little nook of the blogging world and hopefully you guys haven't, either. At some point, I'd love to get back into posting regularly w/ book reviews, devotions . . . anything other than updates. But for now, this is my season of life, and I still enjoy hopping on here occasionally to give you all a glimpse of what I've been doing. (Especially since my writing assignments for English class always have to be formal, formatted in MLA, and checked over thoroughly for typos/grammar flaws. Writing informal, life update blog posts is a breeze compared to that. 😉) And because you're reading this right now, I guess you're continuing to enjoy my (somewhat disorganized) musings. 😜

The past few weeks were BUSY, to say the least. With my final math exam and last writing assignment in sight (session A of my semester @ Regent ends Saturday), things are finally beginning to wind down. Then . . . guess what. As it turns out, Regent has a limit of 7 credit hours per semester for early college program students, and I've already used 6 of those hours. So, after Saturday . . . no more school until January, 2022! *confetti* 🥳🥳🥳 I hope to pour my free time into doing ministry activities, like volunteer work, facilitating a Bible study at our church, and babysitting for a family we know with 4 kids ages 4 and under. And, of course, I want to do plenty of helping out @ home w/ chores and school for my sibs. Maybe now would be the perfect chance for me to finally apply myself to learning how to cook something other than eggs or cookies. 😁

My family and I spent a weekend visiting Connor @ college (we couldn't wait for Thanksgiving break to see him again 😄). He gave us a thorough tour of campus. We walked 5 or 6 miles one day, and it was great. The weather was absolutely beautiful, we all went out to dinner, and the younger kids, especially, clung to Connor and were upset when we left for home. It really helped us mentally to get to see him and know where he lives and what he does on a day-in, day-out basis.

Then my sweet, dear Ethel Mae turned into a biting, scratching kitten who didn't like to be held and could be violent at night (she liked to pounce on my face) and when she played. So, we unfortunately had to take her back to the rescue center also. 😢 They let us swap cats again, and we came home with a 12-week-old tabby I named Shalom, which is the Hebrew word for "peace." As of right now, she seems to be very promising: gentle, sweet, playful, and she loves loves LOVES to cuddle. Third time is a charm, right?

Isn't she beautiful? 😍
I'd love to know: what have YOU been up to?

Ellen S.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Monday Musings // Kittens, Classes, and a Home Hair Cut

So, sadly, Heidi just wasn't fitting in well here. After we cracked through her shy persona, she became a little too aggressive with her biting and scratching to the point that I was scared to have one-year-old Ruby go near her for fear of what Heidi might do. Heidi also liked to run away when I went to pick her up, so she wasn't exactly the cuddle bug I'd envisioned. Plus, she and Juniper didn't get along together at all, which was a real bummer. Through the experience, my parents and I learned that there is a very valuable question to ask when adopting a pet from a rescue center: "How long was he/she out in the wild?" In Heidi's case, she'd been out in the wild for eight weeks . . . which explained her sometimes-shy, sometimes-belligerent personality. We had to take her back. 😢 Thankfully, we were allowed to swap her for another kitten: this one an eight-week-old with an absolutely endearing personality who'd been rescued by the center at ten days of age. She has a gorgeous brown/black coat and soft green-blue eyes. I named her Ethel Mae, after the character from the I Love Lucy television series. 😊

Ethel Mae and me 🥰
I LOVE her eyes. 😍
She's super playful and can provide hours of entertainment . . . 
. . . but she also loves to snuggle. 💗 I came back from my jog the other morning and didn't have time to freshen up before she was again at my feet, wanting to be held ⬇⬇⬇

Besides adopting a new kitten, my days have been filled with college classes (I'm LOVING the English, but the math . . . not so much 😂). Also, my hair was getting really long and straggly. I finally learned how to messy bun it using two rubber bands (bobby pins are too much work 🤣) but the length of my hair when it was loose could still get frustrating. So, my mom gave me another one of her famous home hair cuts (evidenced through the pictures in this post), and I love how light and fresh it feels!! 

So, tell me about you! How's school going? Are you excited for fall? It's just around the corner!

Ellen S.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Monday Musings // Heidi May

Well, my family just adopted a second kitten, and the best part about it is that she's mine 💜 (yes, I can sense your shock through the screen, and yes, it's true I went from avoiding these four-legged creatures to loving them in the course of two months 😂) My Heidi May is soooo super sweet, very shy, and really tiny. She's currently sleeping in the crook of my right arm, but I'll have to move her to my lap in a moment as it's hard for me to type fast one-handedly 😄

Bringing her home 🥰

The story of how I got Heidi is an interesting one, which I'm sure you're all dying to hear (er, read) 😉
My younger sis and I tagged along with Grandma and Pop Pop over the weekend hoping to find a cat for Grandma, but in the end I was the one who came across a kitten I absolutely adored. Mom and Dad had already said I could have a cat, although we certainly didn't think it would be quite so soon! When I returned home, Mom took one look at my face and knew we had to get her. So, we drove back to the pet store that very afternoon (within the hour!) and signed the papers. Mom had said she envisioned me with a black cat, and she was right 😃
At the time, my new kitty had already been given the name Wendy, which I initially decided fit her perfectly. But then we brought her home, and, as I got to know her more, I reconsidered it. Her name didn't suit her meek, timid personality or the obsession she seems to have with hiding herself (especially behind doors or in my bookshelves). As I debated new names for her, Mom suggested Heidi. I jumped for it, and not just because it described my kitten well. When Mom was pregnant with me and went for an ultrasound, she couldn't see me. Everyone seemed to think something was wrong, but then, thankfully, they discovered I'd just been hiding. Mom later joked that she wanted to call me "Heidi" 😁 When pressed for a middle name for Heidi, I chose May, my birth month 😊
Mom, Dad, and I have a deal, and that is that I do four years of college online (starting next year) and don't court or get married until the end of that time. Now with a cat all my own to love on and take care of, I'm even happier with the arrangement 🙂

Doing schoolwork together 💗

Okay, while Heidi is continuing to sleep comfortably on my lap, I'll finish up this post by listing off a few other important events that have taken place in the last two weeks. 
We moved Connor into college, and he's doing really well, which we're glad for, although we all miss him a lot. He's been able to call us several times, however, and I chatted with him for almost an hour and a half one night (it was definitely worth staying up till a quarter to midnight 😊)
I commenced taking dual enrollment college classes through Regent University on Monday, August 23. It was a little hectic at the beginning, with orientation quizzes and deadlines I hadn't even been aware of, among other things, but I'm feeling better about it now. All my assignments for the week are turned in, right on time. (yay!)

So, how are you all? What have you been up to? Comment below, I'd love to hear!

Ellen S.
Can you spot the kitty in this picture? 😄

Monday, August 16, 2021

Monday Musings // Changes Ahead

And Monday Musings are BACK! (Well, for this week, anyway 😂)

Over the weekend our church had a "duck race," in which members of the congregation both decorated ducks for a contest AND raced plain plastic ducks in gutters with straws. Afterward, everyone cooled off with a bowl of ice cream and talked. That was lots of fun, even if a storm came upon us suddenly (meaning we had to rush home through rain, wind, and lightning) and my legs got eaten up by bugs. 

I chose to decorate/enter a duck in the "Biblical character" category of the contest. Comment below if you think you know what "Biblical character" my duck is dressed as!

The upcoming two weeks are going to be ones of change. We're moving Connor into college, which is taking a toll on us big time. Lots of packing, planning, and giving into or suppressing emotions. A couple of us, especially, aren't looking forward to saying "good-bye." Prayers for our family (particularly Connor as he embarks on this newest journey, and Mom, who's struggling with giving up her firstborn) would be appreciated. (If you want to know more about the college he's attending, read this post.)

Connor and me . . . buddies since day one.
Love you so much, big bro 
Go be amazing and serve where God calls you!

Next Monday, Lord willing, I'll start dual enrollment college classes through Regent University, and I'm feeling a little nervous about that. *sucks in deep breath* God is teaching me Spirit-reliance instead of self-reliance, but I still have a lot more to learn!

So, just a quick glimpse of what's going on my life right now.

How are you all doing? Also, a head's-up: it appears Feedburner took their "subscribe by email" gadget down from my blog, so I doubt those subscribed will be getting emails for my blog posts anymore. If you want to keep receiving notifications when I post, please contact me at butterflyellenann[at]gmail[dot]com. 
Have a very blessed week!

Ellen S.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Best News Ever

In a world marred by sin, no one seems to know whether most news being released by the media is "fake" or "real." I don't aim to make this blog a political platform, so I won't dive into examples, but I'm sure you're all essentially aware of what I'm referring to. And because of this, lines have been drawn . . . and crossed. America is divided. Families are getting torn apart. Hearts are heavy, and restoration seems a long way off. 

I want to take this opportunity to remind you (and me) of the news that is always real and never-changing - not yesterday, not today, not ever. The news of the Gospel: of Jesus' death and resurrection. Our Savior is alive right here, right now. Nothing fake about it. The cross won the war for our souls; Christ's blood gives us access with confidence into His presence. (Ephesians 3:12, 2:13) Surrounding us are people who can injure or even kill the body . . . but not our souls. We are called to stand firm in this, and not to shrink away. (Hebrews 10:39) The power of Jesus inside us gives us boldness. If we ask, His grace will strengthen us. (2 Timothy 2:1)

Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? If not, you can make the choice to do that at this very moment. Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." It's as simple as that. No works of your own required; just faith in the work already accomplished at the cross. 

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Interested in knowing more? Shoot me an email at butterflyellenann[at]gmail[dot]com, or drop a comment below. I'd love to converse with you further on this subject that's very near and dear to my heart. 

Our God is a God of divine love beyond human comprehension, and He desires for us to know and experience Him on a whole new level. There is still hope in this world, but not of this world. And that hope is Jesus. <3 (Ephesians 4:4-7)

Not only is this real news, it's also the best. news. ever. 

Praying for you all today. <3

Ellen S.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Thursday Thoughts // More Pictures & a Patio

We tore down our deck way back in May (which you can read about in this post), and last week we filled the empty space in our backyard with a beautiful patio. My whole family (including Juniper) gathered at the windows to watch the workmen pour the concrete and smooth it out. They did a great job! We're all very excited to be able to play/eat/read out there again.

These flowers popped up quite unexpectedly in the dirt patch where our deck used to be/our patio is now. 

Before . . . 

. . . after 😁

We celebrated my sister, Marah's, birthday the following weekend. So thankful for her. 🥰 Of course, I insisted she and I do a photo shoot together. 😄

(Yep, our relationship, which this pic essentially managed to capture, is pretty awesome.)

Love this one 💗

I really like both of these, even if my arm pose isn't exactly what I'd envisioned. It's a hot summer's day, but I appear to be trying to keep warm against a bitter wind or something. 😂

We're attempting to make the most of the time we have remaining before Connor leaves for college and we resume school. There was a reception for the graduates at our church, which was nice. And yesterday Mom loaded us all up in the van and took us on a field trip to the river to walk around, feed the ducks, and admire the jellyfish from a safe distance away, and then to a restaurant to pick up burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets for the drive home. 
I am so, so blessed. 💜
Ruby and me 😃

Do you have a deck or patio? What's something you enjoy doing with your sibling(s)? Comment below!

Ellen S.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Thursday Thoughts // Colds & a Cat

Well, it's been a full week. A cold started in our family earlier this month, and slowly it made its way from person to person till finally everyone had it. Mom and I were the last to get sick. I had a sore throat over the weekend, and now I'm feeling congested and tired. Because of the quarantine last year, none of us really ever caught anything in a while until now. Ruby had never even had a cold before!
Thankfully, the worst seems to be behind us, and we're on the road to recovery. But I can't wait for this congestion to let up so I can go jogging again!
Those who were well enough helped lug up schoolbooks from the basement and organize them in the main level. We'll be "getting back in the groove of things" in a little over a month, Lord willing - Connor at college, dual enrollment classes for me, and the rest of the kids still in homeschool. There'll definitely be some adjustments, and I'm feeling both excited and nervous about that. 
Meanwhile, Juniper is continuing to grow and make herself at home! She found her way into another toilet (mine) and has gotten used to the loud noise of the vacuum. The other day she was sitting on the windowsill, and Ruby came up to touch her nose and rub her fur. It was the sweetest thing. 😍 I snapped a few pictures, of course. 😉

This naughty kitty seemed very intent on getting to our fish. 😂 We went ahead and moved the poor, unsuspecting victim to the top of a cabinet where Juniper can't reach it.

How has your week been? When does school start up again for your family?

Ellen S.