Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Exciting News!

Friends, I am like . . . beyond excited right now. You won't believe what came in the mail yesterday!
But oh, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's take this one step at a time and start way back at the beginning of this whole adventure.
As some of you can no doubt remember, I took nearly the entire month of March and almost all of April off the Internet last year. It was a hard challenge for me, but definitely so very worth it. 
You also may recall that since I've returned, I've hinted time and time again at a "special project" I had in the works. 
Yep, you guessed it. Now is the time to break the news and reveal to you all just what I've been up to since March of 2019.
Are you ready for this???? *throws confetti* *dances around* 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Holding Onto Truth In a World Filled With Fear

Hello all!! Ellen here, reporting to you live in her St. Patrick's Day attire (green shirt and grey sweat pants). While her family is not one to celebrate the holiday, Ellen's siblings have made it a tradition to pinch whoever isn't wearing green on March 17th. Hence the shirt that she only wears once a year.
Okay, time to get back into talking first-person. XD
As you guys are well aware, the coronavirus is e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. It's on the news. It's in people's homes all around the globe. It's made us shut down restaurants, theatres, schools, and libraries. It's even succeeded in changing Walmart's hours, which have been 24/7 for as long as I can remember. It's emptied the shelves of sanitizers and Lysol wipes. It's closed the door to gathered worship with more than 50 people.
There's no escaping this "state of emergency." It hangs over us like a dark shadow, threatening to steal our peace and replace it with anxiety. 
As we watch everyone around us get hysterical, load their carts with toilet paper, and take off to quarantine themselves at home, our faith can begin to sway. We can begin to doubt. We can begin to think, What if my family catches this? Our newborn baby? Would half of us end up in the ICU?
In the midst of all this fear and panic, we need to remember the One in Whom we've placed our trust. We need to cling to His truth and His promises. We need to let things go. We need to surrender our whole lives to Him. 
He still has us, even if the world around us feels like it's whirling out of control.
Psalm 91:2-6 holds such a deep, comforting assurance from our Savior, one I think we all should reflect upon, especially now. 

I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I trust." For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. (emphasis mine)

As you walk into Target today and see the bare shelves and large crowds, remember this. As you read headlines, remember this. As you start to doubt, remember this.
The coronavirus may be big, BUT OUR GOD IS ALWAYS BIGGER. <3
Praying for you all!!

Blessings,
Ellen S.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Unexpected Hamster Adventures: A Search Party at Four In the Morning

Yes, I think the title just gave away everything this post is about. 😂 I recommend you keep reading, however, as this is a musing you surely won't want to miss . . . 


***


Those of you who are Andi fans probably know about Mrs. Marlow's story Overgrown Kitty. (And if you haven't yet read that story, but would like to, you can find it HERE.) 
Why am I bringing that up, you ask? Well, today's events (which are featured in this post) reminded me of this one scene from her story:

The next morning, Riley and Andi stood in front of the enclosure. The empty enclosure. Riley yanked a broken plank from the top of the cage and sighed.
"Our curious cougar cub is on the loose."

Today
, at approximately 4:40 AM, I awoke to someone jumping on me and saying, "Ellie, you gotta wake up." 
Somewhere in my sleep-fogged mind I thought, What time is it? Have I overslept? 
I decided to play it cool and act like I'd been awake for a while. It wouldn't do to have my family think I'm a sleepyhead. 6:30 is our usual "get-up" time, and I'm generally downstairs by 7:15 after having done my devotions and restored some sense to my bedraggled hair.
Okay, yes, now I'm digressing. Sorry. Back to the story . . . 

Monday, March 9, 2020

The Sunshine Blogger Award



Hi friends! I was nominated for this amazing tag by Rosy @ Rosy's Writings. I believe it's the first "award-themed" tag I've ever done, so that adds even more to the fun. (yay!)
Here are the rules for this tag:
1). Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog
2). List the rules and display an award logo on your blog post
3). Answer the 11 questions the blogger(s) asked you
4). Nominate 11 other bloggers to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts
5). Ask the nominees 11 new questions

All righty, let's begin! Rosy's questions:

Coffee or tea? Well, in all honesty . . . neither. Although, if I have to choose (and I'm assuming I do, because it's one of the questions), I'd go with coffee, simply because I know tea makes me feel sick. (But then, on second thought, I have never sat down to enjoy a full cup of coffee before, so who knows if either my belly or I would really like it that much?)
Pens or pencils? Ohhhhhhhhh, definitely pens. I LOVE my pens!!
What books are you reading right now? Along with The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which I'm reading for school, I'm rereading a few favorites. :-)
Do you wear a watch? ABSOLUTELY!!! I have one on ALL the time. *glances down at wrist* *gasps* Oops, spoke too soon. I don't have my watch on now. I forgot it to put it on after my shower. *cringes* (Sorry about that!) *hurries to grab it*
Do you like to wear jewelry? For the most part, yes. I have a purity ring from my daddy on my left hand, and a gorgeous birthstone ring (from my mama) on the right. They're the only two pieces of jewelry that I wear on a regular basis and almost never take off. I also own lots of necklaces and bracelets, but it's harder to wear those when you're jiggling toddlers and newborns. :D
Do you know how to paint? Yep, I do. Do I always do a good job at it? Uh . . . no.
What meal did you have on your last birthday? TACOS!!! I always, always, ALWAYS have tacos on my birthday.
What's your favorite style of shoes? Flip-flops and sandals. :-)
Penguins, dolphins, or peacocks? Dolphins!
Favorite movie? Hmm, I'm not really the movie type of girl, but three movies I do like would be "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "The Apple Dumpling Gang," and "Anne of Green Gables." (Please don't make me choose between those three!!)
What was your favorite of all the above questions? Probably the meal-on-your-birthday question. :-)

Okay, time for the nominations! I nominate Ellie and Sandrina, as well as anyone else who happens to be wearing something that's yellow, pink, purple, or green. :-) And if you don't have a blog, feel free to answer the following questions in the comments below. :D

My Questions:

1. Hot or frozen cocoa?
2. If you could travel to another state (or country), which would you choose and why?
3. If you could eat only one meal every day for a straight week, what would it be?
4. Do you prefer writing or reading stories?
5. What's your favorite Bible verse, or a verse God leads you to most?
6. If you have a blog, who was your first follower?
7. Do you consider yourself to be a tidy, organized person?
8. On a rainy day, would you rather curl up inside with a book or shrug on a jacket, grab an umbrella, and hurry outside to splash in the puddles?
9. What's your favorite color?
10. Has a book ever made you cry before?
11. What's one childhood memory that always makes you laugh?



Look fun?? Go ahead and award yourself this tag. ;-)
Can't wait to see your  answers!

Blessings,

Ellen S.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Servant's Heart

Today's post is centered around something we can never quite get enough of, something very valuable and worthy of attention.


I don't know about you all, but there are times when I may feel overwhelmingly grumpy and worn out. On these days, I prefer just to curl up in bed with a good book and forget everything else. 
I don't want to think about changing a diaper, laying out clothes, or catching up on all that pesky school work. 
Needless to say, this is not the right attitude. Not by a long shot.
So, how can I get the right perspective? How can I be Christ's servant and love the work He places before me to do?
I have to ask HIM. I have to bring my heart and pour it out at His feet. I need to seek, so I can find. I need to knock, so the door can be opened. I need to humble myself before Him and ask for help. 
I need a servant's heart.
A heart that doesn't grumble or complain. A heart that longs to do nothing more than bring God glory. 
A heart willing to serve.
And if I ask my Savior, I know He'll provide the strength, the willingness, I need to keep pressing forward.
I encourage you to make this your goal as well. Every morning, before you begin the day, whisper one request, "Please, God, give me a servant's heart."
He truly answers prayers, and He will give you what you need to move on. 
By ourselves, we are nothing. But that's okay, because He wants us to rely upon Him and let Him be our everything. <3
Praying for you all!!

Blessings,

Ellen S.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Gratitude


Written at approx. 8:00 AM on Tuesday, March 3rd





As I sit here jiggling a wide-awake newborn in my right hand and try to type with my left, I have some of my favorite music pouring from the speakers, two more of my precious sibs spinning each other around on my desk chair, and a heart bubbling with gratitude. <3 
I can feel Ruby's belly moving as she breathes; I can look down into her beautiful sapphire eyes and press gentle kisses to her soft, round cheeks.  I can see the sunny sky outside my window and envision a walk and/or bike ride for later on today. I can hear my siblings as they chatter and laugh. 
There's so, so, so, soooooooooooo much to be thankful for, if only we would take the time to count our blessings. The fact that you're reading this post right now means God is giving you breath in your lungs and a beat in your heart. Your story is not over yet - rather, there is so much more in store for your future.

What are three things you're thankful for today?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Blogs I Follow and Why I Follow Them

Hello and happy Thursday, friends! How are you all? 
Recently I was inspired to do a post featuring the blogs I follow . . . as well as further explain why I follow them. 
I'm super excited about this. Sometimes it's good to assess your reading list and dig deeper into your reasons behind following a blog.
Let's begin!


THOSE USING A BLOGGER ACOUNT


Little Birdie Blessings

Mrs. Hickey from Little Birdie Blessings does amazing graphic design and writes encouraging posts . . . all for the glory of our Savior! I love her work and have written a series of stories based on some sweet graphics she's made. (She's also the one who designed my "Ellen's Musings" header. :D)


The Enchanting Rose

Stephanie Dudson @ The Enchanting Rose has been my mom's friend for as long as I can remember. She truly has a heart for Christ and her blog is BEAUTIFUL. Quite a few years back she hosted a tea cup exchange that my mom and I participated in. :-)


Dappled Sunshine

Sweet Izzy West is an awesome blogger and a fantastic writer. I love reading her posts and emailing with her. :-)


Andi Carter's Blog

This one's easy: Mrs. Marlow is my favorite author, and we've been corresponding via email for three years now. (I have yet to meet her in person, however . . .)

Qadash - Set Apart, for Him

Book reviews for clean, wholesome Christian reads!! Who doesn't love those?

Lilly's Tidbit

Lilly is an AMAZING blogger. Her views are very conservative and I find myself looking forward to her posts. Currently she's doing a series on modesty for girls, so be sure to check that out!

Five Shekels

Blogger Brooklyn K. simply shines. Her love for Jesus overflows into her posts. I love the pictures she shares, her writing style, and her ardent adoration for our Savior. <3

Flowers In My Basket

I first started following Laura when she was about to release her book, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, to the world. I was so excited to meet another young, self-publishing author, and I soon found that we had bunches in common, from number of siblings to certain foods we both tended to avoid.

Showers of Blessings

I've been following Brooklyne ever since our exchange of emails over our beliefs last year. We enjoyed a very detailed discussion, and we both found that we were plunging more into God's Word during that time.

Ellen's Musings

Yes, I follow myself. ;-) I like knowing what all my viewers are seeing in their Reading Lists and/or Inbox. :-)

THOSE USING A WORDPRESS ACCOUNT

Seven Billion Smiles

Well, first off, the blogger, Emma Starr, is a personal friend of mine. Secondly, her posts are SO sweet and uplifting. I love both her art and her poetry. Her posts drift into my Inbox about once every week, and my very heart smiles at her talent. :D

From the Notebook

Again, Sandrina is a personal friend. She lives in the UK and I live in the US. We've never met, but we've emailed/written to each other since early 2018. Oh, and we've had opportunites to Skype together as well. :D I sooooooooooo want to visit this girl someday!!! Anyways, her blog is wonderful. She shares tags, story snippets, and some other fun tidbits.

Annie Writes

Annie is a deeply-rooted Christian and I love, love, love the posts she does. I always feel refreshed after reading something she's written. :-)

In His Service and Loving It

Lydia shares some delicious-looking recipes, tags, Bible verses, devotionals, and more on her blog. I'm currently living dairy-free, so it was an encouragement to find someone else who has belly issues like I do and is working hard to feel better.

Rosy's Writings

Loves music? Has a bunch of siblings? Is a missionary in Mexico? Definitely following!

Did you enjoy reading this post? What are some blogs that you follow?
Let's talk in the comments below!