December 4, 2015

an end...

The last while this little place has been quite quiet. The reasons for that are studies, Thanksgiving vacation, house projects and more. But it has also been becuase of questions I have had in my own life.

What is the place of this blog? Is this really what I want to be doing? Do I really love blogging? I love the connections but is this what I am suppose to do? I am so blessed by many blogs out there. I love writing but is this my place? I struggled with finding my place. Blogging was robbing my joy and more time. Time. What is best for me with my time? A blog like this is something I know I won't be able to keep up for many reasons in the future. So was it best for me?

I have been thinking, praying, discussing with others and going over lots of pros and cons. In the last year I have been encouraged (by my husband and others) to find some things that make me come alive. To find what it is that makes me refreshed and ready to engage. It's a journey but a few things have become clearer. And one of those interests is photography.

but a beginning....
A dream that I have had for a long time has begun to be awaken again. Delving deeper into photography. There's still lots to be figured out, lots of questions to answer and much work to be done but already it is so much more enjoyable. I don't know what all is going to happen and where it will lead (or not lead. :) ) It is a slow process for me but one I am quite excited about.

It's scary. It's freaky and I have a long ways to go but I am also quite delighted about it.

So to the few of you who have left sweet comments and encouraged me here, thank you! May God bless you in your journey of discovering His grace in life!

**if you follow me else where on the internet world there will be announcements eventually about what is happening - keep your eyes open for more info on Charis Elisabeth Photography (Like I mentioned about it will be a slow process). And if you need a photo shoot, I would be happy to oblige as for a limited time I am doing free photos of any who is willing. :)

November 14, 2015

grateful I {November 2015}

// this post was meant to go out earlier this week but alas it has set unfinished in my drafts. In light of the Paris tragedy, I hardly have words. I weep for the senseless pain and sorrow that the Enemy causes in our world. I weep for longing for a world to know the life and peace of Jesus. I find myself pausing more to stop and be grateful for today. To be alive. To accept the gifts of today. //


We know it makes us happier. We know the Bible says to give thanks. We know statistically wise it makes us healthier. We know it makes life better.

But far too often we stay busy and hurried, never stopping to pause and give thanks. To stop and soak in the moments. To breathe that praise to God. To give thanks for the big and the small.

It's the holiday time leading into my favorite time of year. Not only does Thanksgiving remind us to be grateful but Christmas should too. (So I can put out my Christmas decor and no one gets upset, right? :))

So for a few posts this month I want to just list a few things I'm grateful for as a reminder and encouragement to keep on giving thanks.

Today I look back at some things from this last year....I am not always grateful for these things but I am grateful for what they are doing in my life.

- jobs for both Kenneth and I in AR
- a home in AR
- direction for the next step of our lives
- a large scholarship for school
- a home in NW PA
- several great opportunities to travel
- summer days at the lake
- opportunities for lots of growth
- the work of Jesus in my life
- redemption
-the persistent pursuit of Jesus
- introductions to new books, authors and blogs
- beginning to see change as a positive and not negative

What is something you are grateful for from this last year?

November 5, 2015

currently {November}

Crisp leaves, warm soups, holiday anticipation, Christmas music and decor, time to reflect over the gifts God has given us...ah, November. The month that ushers in my favorite time of year. Can you tell I'm excited?

cooking // Soups and stews. Trying to do a few new recipes but sometimes in the midst of school and the surrounding activities, I find quick meals happen more often. 

planning // How to start pursuing some dreams. How to get household projects done. What is going to happen in the next few months - welcome to the holiday season!

smelling // pumpkin spice - my favorite fall smell! I have a candle this year that gives off this delicious fall smell.

appreciating // the many gifts God has given us this year. When things are discourage and I step back to see the many ways God has met us in our needs this year I am humbled. I hope to blog a bit more about that this month. We have so much to be grateful for.

anticipating // this holiday season! Pulling out the decor, holiday related activities, special goodies, time with family; there's lots to look forward too. Oh and peppermint mochas!

What is something you are planning for this month?

Thanks to Anne & Jenna for this awesome linkup!

October 27, 2015

5 things I'm learning in marriage...

Blessed beyond measure. These are the words that come to mind when I think of my husband and our relationship. Getting to wake up with my best friend, going through our days together, laughing, questioning, struggling and learning. 

I know so many people who have had rough first years of marriage and it makes me wonder why God has blessed us so. And just so you don't think we think life is perfect, there have been other very hard struggles and lessons, both personally and externally.

These are a few of the things I'm learning along the way.

1 // It's okay to be amateur.
Neither of us were ever married before. So that makes two of us on a new adventure. We both have a lot to learn, grow and be redeemed in. But the cool thing is that's okay. We are in this together. We don't have to be perfect (well, I'm learning that too...). We don't even have to know how to do it all right.

2 // Marriage is so much better than you think it will be.
"Be ready for the honeymoon to end" or "make sure you don't have expectations for they will for sure crash" and "it's going to be rough" were the many responses I received over and over when we announced our engagement. That stinks. Why do we have to make marriage sound so depressing? I wanted to ask, "why did you ever get married in the first place?" Sharing dreams, lessons, friendships, food, laughter, adventure and every day life is just good.

3  // Marriage is harder than you think it's going to be.
For me the rough thing hasn't been living so much with another person but rather having the reality of who I am be seen! There are times when you realize just how much you and your husband stink at life, love and grace.

4 // Cooking failures are not the greatest disaster.
I don't have many of these but when I do it is about the worse thing in the world! There are still tears when the occasional mistake happens (thankfully most things are edible :) ) but slowly I'm realizing that my husband's approach to seeing reason for  laughter in the disaster is good.

5 // Dating is even more fun when married.
Seriously. Mostly because there's no goodbye at the end. Though it does take more intentional time now in married life, but that's good. In the business of life it can be easy to forget to take the time to just listen and enjoy each other.

all photos credited to the fabulous Amelia Protiva

and this week I'm linking up with several great places:
Intentional Tuesdays, #TellHisStory,

October 19, 2015

our {new} life

Earlier this year, we saw God begin to open up tiny steps towards the big dream He has given us. It seemed like a million things needed to fall into place to even start on the first part but He has been faithful. It's exciting to see my husband light up as God has opened doors for his vision.

We dream of living in another country as disciples of Jesus. And that means actually working as an every day person. It has been a vision slowly coming together in the past few years as we desire to live in everyday life with people showing them the life of Jesus.

Part of starting towards that is schooling. My handsome man is pursuing a business degree (& some other exciting adventures) while I get to take a few classes here and there while trying to pursue some other interest.

Enter school life...a long road that feels a little overwhelming. Our first few years are going to be a small school in NW PA with continued college education after that. For now we are learning to explore, appreciate and learn in a rural area of Pennsylvania. We have hopes of where we want to keep going believing that God is leading our dreams.

Life in the eastern part of the US is sure a change for this Midwestern girl!

But it's good and full of adventures. 

October 14, 2015

glimpses of grace: {to thrive}

God is love. Three simple words that mean so much. How does one even begin to describe it? The age haunting question...what does it mean love?

Recently for a journaling assignment as part of a group I am in at school this year we were asked to write a picture of what we see when we say, "God is love."  The Bible tells us that God is love. But what is? and what is love? My analytic mind can go round and round. It seems like a definition way too large.

As I searched through definitions, this one caught my eye: love - to thrive in {example: the rose loves to be in the sunlight} and while we're at it thrive - to grow or develop successfully, to flourish or succeed. 

When we reach toward His face and let His grace, love, faithfulness, patience and pursuit fall onto us we can flourish. When we delight in the relationship He pursues with us, we can grow.

To thrive in. To flourish. Isn't that just a beautiful picture of God as love? When we let his love into our life, we will thrive. Become fully alive. We weren't called to survive this life, we are called to THRIVE in this life. A journey I have a lot to learn in. "I have come that you might have light and have it more abundantly."

October 10, 2015

Currently {October}

 October already?! This year keeps flying by. Crazy that one of my most favorite times of the year is here. (Right up there with winter, spring and summer lake days, of course)

Fall - the colors, the weather, the clothes, the events.

Trees showing forth a their hues of yellows, oranges and reds. Being in NW PA this year means a gorgeous display.

It's just a great time of year to be alive. Snuggles under blankets around cozy campfires. Hot drinks outside in air with the perfect chill. A hint of winter just around the corner.

Now that life is starting settle down a bit, I'm excited to get back into blogging. To start things off, I'm linking up with Anne & Jenna to say a few things that are currently going on in my life.

eating // apples, pumpkin, soups - hello fall! I feel like there are so many of recipes to try.

exploring // our new area! The little towns around us have lots of old history. Discovering new coffee shops, lovely walks, old churches and unique restaurants is our thing so there's plenty to do. Between studying, classes and house projects, I mean.

wearing // #allthefalls - Scarves, plaids, sweaters, leggings and boots. Fall and winter clothing are some of my favorites!

admiring // Settling into our new home - what is there I don't want?! but the biggest thing right now is all the gorgeous fall photo shoots. I mean seriously isn't this shoot so cute?! My husband and I really wanted a 1st anniversary shoot but couldn't get it to work this summer. Plus we aren't really a "summer" couple. Anybody else identify their moods by the weather?

collecting // ideas for beautifying yet simplifying our home. 

What's your favorite thing about fall? I'd love to hear!