Finding the Christmas Spirit

There's something about the holidays that makes everything a little something special. There's the lights, the movies, the red lipstick, and the Christmas carols (links all posts from this month). I know that for me the break seems hardly long enough for me to get all of the fun Christmas traditions done. I must make sure that I bake lots of cookies, purchase and wrap every present, watch many Christmas movies, go to all of the Christmas parties, and somehow also rest in Christ.

The task of Christmas is almost too much for me.

The load of accomplishing every Christmas joy weighs on me sometimes. I want to do everything this Christmas break and made a very long list of the things to do. But with every passing day, I don't do all that I thought that I should do. Things take longer than expected, and new events come up that I didn't plan on. How can I do everything when these little "nothings" keep taking up my time? How can I celebrate Christmas just like I want to when it is only two days away and I still haven't done everything on my list? The pressure of making Christmas extra special makes me feel a little bit empty. The need to get everything done ruins my joy.

I remember that as a little girl, I loved the "Christmas Spirit." I loved ohhing and ahhing over the glossy American Girl catalog. I loved dancing around the house and taking lots of pictures when we put up Christmas decorations. I loved making gift lists and baking cookies, assembling gingerbread houses and seeing my whole world dress up in lights. And of course, I loved opening presents!

But as I grew older, I found the "Christmas Spirit" harder and harder to feel. I lost the wonder and the childlike joy, and so I just kept trying and trying to get it back. I would do all the more Christmas crafts and traditions, and I listened to Christmas music galore! But it didn't always work. Granted, sometimes it did, and the happiness that came with those treasured Christmas memories still makes me smile. But many other times, I felt disappointed at how I grew too old for the "Christmas Spirit."

Do you ever feel that way?

Something occurred to me this past week, though, something that changed the way I thought about Christmas and timekeeping in general, and something that sounds a lot like the title of my blog.

I may not be able to do everything this Christmas, but in everything I do, I can be with Christ!

And that, my dear friends, is the real Spirit of Christmas. It is Immanuel, God with us!

Because, let's face it, we can't go back to the way Christmas was, and we can't control the way Christmas is. Joy can't be forced, and peace isn't necessarily a clean schedule. Christmas is so much more than we give it credit for.

It is Christ with us!

And this changes everything!!!! 

When we live with the Spirit of Christ, we can have joy even in the mundane car rides and bumper-to-bumper traffic. When we visit with Christ, wrapping gifts and making cookies takes on a new meaning and joy! When we walk in obedience and love of Jesus, the One born for us, true peace and community form in even the most difficult places.

Guys, I think we've found the Christmas Spirit! And it is Jesus!

And so, as Christmas waits for us in two days, let us embrace the Christmas Spirit. Let us embrace Jesus! Talk to Him, be with Him, for He is always with you! He has come! Immanuel!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I love y'all so much!

Princess Hannah


Christmas Carols

 When I think about Christmas, I think O Holy Night, 
how the stars were brightly shining. 
And I look at the skies, seeing all the bright lights, 
And their shining is still reminding.
Reminding me gently of the Joy to the World, 
how heaven and natures sings. 
They sing to the Lord who is come down to us,
that we may receive our King. 
This King that has come, so tender and mild, 
Upon a silent and holy night. 
With Him comes a dawn of redeeming grace, 
He's Son of God, love's true light. 
He gives us all victory, vict'ry over the grave
To ransom captive Israel.
Rejoice all ye people, he's come now to thee, 
His name is Emmanuel

There's something about Christmas music that speaks to my soul. And I feel another poem coming up...

It's the classic tunes that I wait all year to hear. 
It's the gospel truths proclaimed in every store. 
It's the lilting melodies that make my heart rejoice. 
It's the Christmas spirit, which is really the spirit of Christ. 

Make that two more poems...

Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel, let earth receive her king. 
Born is the King of Israel, let heaven and nature sing. 
God and sinner reconciled, a newborn King to see. 
Oh come let us adore Him, oh come, fall on your knees. 

The stars are brightly shining, join the triumph of the skies. 
Star of wonder, star of light, dancing in the night. 
Joy to the world, the lord is come, silent and holy night. 
Glory to the newborn King, Son of God, love's pure light. 

There is just so much truth and grace in Christmas carols! I just... They are just... Well, how about you listen to a few of my favorites! Without further ado, I present to all ye readers with not one, but TWO Christmas playlists made by yours truly.

Playlist Number One: Classic Christmas Joy

Oh how much I love the songs on this playlist! I didn't follow a particular pattern for these songs, only that they represent the classic Christmas spirit so dear to me! My absolute favorite Christmas songs are the ones centered on Emmanuel! Oh how much worship can happen to the well-known songs of O Holy Night, Joy to the World, and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (my current favorite)!

Many of the artists I chose appear more than once on the playlist, and my go-to Christmas album is the David Crowder Band Oh For Joy album. Seriously, go and buy it! I also sprinkled in some classics, some Charlie Brown, some a cappella, and some upbeat twists! And we can't forget about our good friend of Christmas music, Mr. Michael Buble!

Playlist Number Two: Soft Christmas Melodies

These artists are not artists that I usually listen to, but after exploring some new music, I found that I loved the acoustic vibe and gentle Christmas melodies found in these songs! My favorite is Oh Come All Ye Faithful by Jonnyswim (that song actually made it to both playlists). I must credit Abbie and her Christmas playlist for a couple of these songs!

Let these songs envelop you this week in worship of Emmanuel! Shout them out and whisper them in your heart. Let them sick in deep and come out with joy. Be still if need be, and dance around if need be. Just don't pass up the truth and joy of Emmanuel this week. Don't forget to rejoice in the Lord who is come!

Merry Christmas and much love to you all,

Princess Hannah


YOU Can Wear Red Lipstick

Is is okay if I live in red lipstick this month?

It is? Well then that's splendid, because I already used up many a red lipstick day and feel many more will arrive in my near future!

One of my first red lipstick days this holiday season came when my family and I went to a Christmas tree farm. I love going to the Christmas tree farm, a place which actually grows Christmas cheer! I thought that I'd dress up for the occasion, and since I live in the South, a place that doesn't know the definition of the word "winter," I decided to sport some holiday cheer by donning some red lipstick paired with a simple knit dress and vintage accents. And I topped it all off with a hat! 

Many people I know fear the power of the red lipstick. In fact, many women live their whole lives under the impression that they can't pull it off. It feels too bold. It could easily go wrong. They can't find the right color. 

Let me give you some encouragement: 


It's not that hard. It doesn't look too harsh when styled correctly. And you can find a good shade for your face, even as you search for the elusive perfect shade. 

I don't pretend to be the expert of red lipstick, as I've only worn it for a couple of years and seem to have trouble actually spending money on makeup, but I do have five little tips that will help you to pull off the look effortlessly! 

Red Lipstick Tip #1: Be Confident 

I really believe that the most attractive thing about red lipstick is the confidence boost it gives a girl. Somehow the bold color emboldens us to walk with a bit more spring and smile with a bit more gusto. So even if everything else goes wrong with your red lipstick, wear it with confidence and most people won't even know! 

Red Lipstick Tip #2: Find a Good Shade

Notice that I didn't say "Find the perfect shade." That's not possible for the normal human being. But finding a shade of red that compliments your skintone and eyes can make wearing red lipstick much more fun! So far, I haven't found a shade that I don't like on my skintone, but I tend to go for a shade somewhere in the middle between an orange shade and a pink shade. 

I combined two colors for these photos: 

Rimmel London Kate Moss in 001. I love this shade because it is not too orange or pink but a poppy red. I goes on smoothly and smells like roses! 

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella. This color is darker and deeper. Although I love the color, I'm not sold on the matte consistency, which dries up eventually. That said, it does last a long time. 

I also just received Bite's Mix and Mingle Lipstick in Pomegranate/Polimino. I haven't worn the pink shade yet, but I love the red! It is much more pink than my other red lipsticks and very creamy! In fact, my lips feel like I just applied lip balm, and I haven't reapplied for about three hours! 

My favorite makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge, made a video solely on red lipstick that is very informative and helpful for both find the the right shade and applying the lipstick. 

Red Lipstick Tip #3: Pair it with Simple Eyes and Face

Just because we put on red lipstick doesn't mean that the rest of our face needs to don loads of dramatic makeup! I find that the simple route is oftentimes best. One way to pair red lipstick is the do a simple eye, a dramatic eyebrow, and just a hint of cheek definition, as shown in these pictures. I believe that filling in your brows balances out the red lipstick splendidly because it creates a structure to your face while not drawing attention away from your red lip! 

This is not to say that we can't pair red lipstick with more dramatic makeup looks, and I plan on doing a golden smokey eye with a red lip sometime soon. But do not feel that because you want to wear red lipstick that you must apply a lot of other makeup. 

When wearing red lipstick, I do want to say that you should also wear foundation. The red of the lip can make your face appear more flushed and pink, so you want to create a smooth backdrop to your festive lipstick! 

Red Lipstick Tip #4: Be Careful

I know that I spent this whole post debunking fears of red lipstick, but I do want to offer a friendly warning. Check your lips periodically when wearing red lipstick, especially when eating. I once forgot about my beautiful lipstick when I ate an apple straight from the fruit, and let's just say that didn't end well. The lipstick smeared onto my chin and made a mess everywhere! So pull out your phone or ask a trusted friend when wearing red lipstick and eating at the same time! 

This page contains tips on how to apply red lipstick and make it last. I haven't followed every rule, but I do like to conceal my lips in nude beforehand, and the finishing powder also seems to work! 

Red Lipstick Tip #5: Keep Exploring 

The most exciting thing about red lipstick is that you can wear it in so many different shades and in so many different ways! I don't pretend to know everything about applying and wearing red lipstick, and that is just the point! I have so much fun wearing the bold color even though I don't know everything and haven't watched twenty YouTube videos about it. And if I can do it, I know that you can too! 

So embrace the holiday season this year with a little bit of red lipstick! Be fearless, be fabulous, and be fun! 

Much love and holiday joy (with more Christmas posts coming soon), 

Princess Hannah


A Little Something Special

There's something about December that makes everything a little something special. The way the world shines a bit brighter and sounds a bit more cheery. The way friends and family connect over traditions done every year and yet different each time. The way the house wraps itself in holiday colors. The way Christmas coffee cups start off the mornings with a bit of festivity.

But mostly, Christmas lightens up our souls because of the way Christ comes to change everything about our lives. The way the message of joy seeps through the artificial happiness sold at half-price at Target this weekend. The way the Story of Jesus is proclaimed and natural to talk about. The way the world unites together to celebrate something bigger than all of us. That's what makes December special.

And I love it all!

I love Christmas time and I cannot help but squeal a bit when my favorite holiday traditions come around each year! The familiar events and the loved ones sharing them with me makes my heart smile from the memories of the past and the ones forming now. I love the way that Christ makes everything a little something special. And so, I want to share with you some of my favorite Christmas traditions in hope that you rejoice in the little and big things alike this month. God is the giver of good gifts, and this year, like every year, He gives the gift of Christ with us, Christmas. Let us rejoice!

12 Ways to Make Christmas a Little Something Special: 

1. Decorate the Whole House

I love decorating, but Christmas decorations are a step above the rest. In my house, we go all out, covering every surface with Christmas figurines and swarming our tree with as many ornaments as we can fit on the branches! In my room, I use white lights, a little silver tree, and pink Nutcracker-themes ornaments and figures. The day during which we put up the tree is simply wonderful because it just feels like Christmas as we unpack the numerous boxes and dance around the house to Christmas music!

We also love to craft some decorations, and I've made this wreath (I used an embroidery hoop and real pointe shoes) and these ornaments last year! I think I want to paint some canvases and make a pinecone garland, but I love new Christmas craft ideas if y'all have any!

2. Listen to Christmas Music

This simple act can change any day into a little something special, and look for my Christmas playlist coming to the blog soon! (Hint, it contains David Crowder Band and Micheal Buble.)

3. Make Gingerbread Houses

Again, I love to decorate for Christmas and make crafty things, and so let's just say that I take my gingerbread house seriously. My family buys the pre-made package that comes with five little houses so that we each decorate our own, and each year they get better and better! Making gingerbread houses is a fun activity to make any day a little something special (especially if you listen to Christmas music)!

4. Wear Christmas Colors

I've planned it out, and I will wear something Christmas-y to church every Sunday from Advent on. Although I don't wear much red and green during the year, it makes an day a little something special during Christmas. And I'm falling in love with red lipstick, so also expect a post on that coming soon!

5. Use Christmas Household Items 

How do we make breakfast, texting, and driving a little something special? Use Christmas things! We have so many Christmas dishes at our house that it's a bit overwhelming! But the festive plates give each meal a little something special.

Lately, I've really liked Christmas wallpapers for my phone! I'm currently using She Reads Truth's scripture memory prompts as my lock screen and this simple one as my homepage.

6. Go Christmas Light Seeing

This tradition is one of my favorites, although I will say that about every tradition! My family will go Christmas light seeing at least once a year, but we don't just go and see lights, we must dress in our pjs, listen to Christmas music, and eat ice cream on the way home! The quirky feel of this tradition makes it a little something special!

7. Christmas Baking

Seriously, what is December without cookies, cupcakes, and chocolate! Okay, Jesus makes it special regardless, but holiday baking is super fun! We love to decorate cookies every year. A couple of years ago we made these cookies from The Pioneer Woman, and this year I think we will try our hand at some Royal Icing techniques.

My favorite Christmas cookie recipe is our great-grandmother's sugar cookie recipe. I think I might do a post on that as well!

8. Watch Christmas Movies

I crave Christmas movies this time of year almost as much as I crave desserts. Every year we watch at least Elf (the funniest), a VeggieTales Christmas movie (what is Christmas without talking vegetables), and an old Christmas movie (Christmas in Connecticut this year). But I want to organize a Christmas movie marathon full of sappy Hallmark movies and cheerful classics!

Another great Christmas movie is Nativity, a movie which reminds us all of the power of the Christmas story!

9. Make Christmas Cards

As many of you know, I love to make a good card, but nothing can compare to a beautiful, homemade Christmas card! I try to outdo myself every year, but this year I think I may go for the simple approach. Last year I did several different kinds, but I made a couple that looked like these and loved them! Do you guys have any card ideas?

10. Buy/Wrap Christmas Gifts

It is pretty exciting to walk into Target and buy a gift for someone! I love when I get something that the other person wasn't expecting too! But I don't just buy a gift, I must wrap it, tie it with a bow, and make sure all of the wrapping paper matches!

11. Receive Gifts

My family never did Santa, and I'm perfectly fine about that. I love being able to thank my family for their love shown through gifts! We open our gifts of Christmas Eve for a couple of reasons. One, we don't like waking up early in the morning. Two, it leaves Christmas day free to spend worshipping Jesus!

12. Focusing in Immanuel

I do not put this last because it is the last thing that I thought of, but I wanted to show everyone how God's grace can intertwine with every aspect of Christmas. Yes, I love spending time doing an Advent study (this year I'm going through She Reads Truth's study and last year I read Ann Voscamp's book The Greatest Gift), but putting Jesus as center is more than the few minutes of time we read His Word.

It is decorating the house with reminders of grace.
Listening to music that shows us God's holiness,
Using creativity to honor God,
Wearing colors that point to joy,
Involving Jesus in everything we do,
Marveling in His light all around us as we see the lights of houses,
Taking part in the yummy food all around with thanksgiving,
Watching movies and identifying how God's Story is in them,
Making cards that give encouragement,
Giving gifts that send love,
Receiving gifts with gratitude and joy, knowing the the Greatest Gift of all is Jesus!

Join with me in celebrating the little things this December and embracing the traditions and festivities that we love! And let us keep each other accountable to not forgot why everything is a little something special this time of year: Jesus!

Comment below your favorite Christmas traditions and what you want to try this year! Also, do you have any Christmas craft or card ideas? What about your favorite Christmas movie?

Merry Christmas, and expect many more Christmas posts in the future!

Princess Hannah



Gratefulness. I know that Thanksgiving was last week, but a lifestyle of giving thanks never ends, and since the ever-lovely Grace from Totally Graced nominated me for the Gratitude Tag, I want to continue to think about gratefulness.

So let's see what these five questions and my rambling mind will reveal about gratefulness!

1. What is your favorite quote or verse that reminds you to be grateful? 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 are go-to when it comes to verses about thankfulness.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 

2. Who are you grateful for? 

Oh, I am grateful for so many people! But I remember thanking God for my family on Thanksgiving, as I do many times, but this time the thanks bloomed a bit more inside of me. I heard the laughter coming from the living room, coming from the joy of togetherness. I thought about how safe and loved and excited I feel about spending time with my family, and I just started crying. What did I do to deserve such a life? How did I earn so many blessings?

Just a moment ago I had felt discontent with life; I felt it to be petty and consumer-oriented, ruining Thanksgiving. But this moment of truth, the moment in which I thought, what if life didn't look like this, changed my day. For I suddenly knew that God gives good gifts, that He is the good gift, and that right here and right now hold so many blessings, blessings that I, in my self-righteousness, would have missed.

So I am grateful for my wonderful family, but mostly for God who reveals Himself to us in little and big ways, turning around the binoculars through which we view life, so that instead of just seeing one spot, we can witness that big picture or His Story all around us!

3. What life events are you thankful for? 

I'm not sure if I ever told this story to the blog, but a few years ago, Dad started a church. He had big dreams and we had great hearts, but for some reason, it didn't work out. For two years, we met in coffee shops or apartment meeting rooms, never more than 40 people, very rarely anyone near my age.

It was a hard time, because I felt isolated. I was home-schooled and now I went to a home church? I didn't give up, but I often wondered why God didn't move the way I thought He should move. I prayed almost every day for those two years that a girl my age would come, be my friend, and encourage me in the faith. But God answered in another way, and we stopped the church and started going to an established church where I learned much but still didn't make friends.

It's taken me a while to be truly thankful for that time in life, and I'm still not completely there yet. I don't regret it, and I trust God's story, but I've realized lately that I haven't thanked God much for that time in my life.

But I should.

Because during that time I learned, or rather, God taught me, so much. He taught me how to trust Him. He taught me how to let Him be my friend even when I didn't have many other friends in my life. He taught me how to be myself independent of a crowd of friends.He taught me more about the church's mission. And those lessons, those two confusing years, shaped me and brought me into this next part of God's story in my life, college.

And so I'm grateful for the two years where we didn't have control and couldn't see the end because God taught me that He can see the end, and that His plan is best.

That was a long answer.


4. What is something that you are grateful for but oftentimes don't think about? 

I could say the obvious answers like health, food, and housing, but I actually do think about those things, and so I'll go a bit deeper.

Lately I've been very thankful that God is a God who reveals Himself to us. The ability to know God's character amazes me, and reading C. S. Lewis' book Till We Have Faces, made me appreciate a known God even more. Even more than that, God's character never changes! And so who He was in Genesis is the same today. The God who parted the Red Sea led Dad to start a church. The God who rose back to life by His own power is with me!

5. What are you going to do to show people that you are grateful for them? 

Tell them so.

In the form of a lovely little Christmas card, of course! I love making cards (see my go-to way for DIY cards), and this Christmas I want to make lots of cards for everyone in my life! The outside of the card is fun to craft, but the inside is where I love to pour my heart out and remind that person how much they mean to me and to God!

But I have another idea too! I want to show gratitude to everyone who reads this blog, because I truly am thankful for y'all! And so, to everyone who comments on this post or regularly comments on the blog, check your inboxes, because I will write you a little virtual Christmas card just to say hi and get to know all of you a bit more!

So comment below and make sure to let gratefulness bloom a bit more inside of you today! Have a splendid rest of the week and good luck on any tests and finals coming up!

Princess Hannah


Thankful For Now

I love breaks, but in a way, they stress me out. I almost prefer the regular rhythm of life then the chaos of trying to decide what I want to do with my "free time." Because, let's admit it, time is anything but free.

Yet at the same time I yearn for a break that I might do all of the things that I don't have time to do during the school year. And trust me, the list is long. It calls to me during the busy times and offers me much fulfilment when the next break comes around.

But what I first think to be "plenty of time" turns out to be "not long enough." And I must inevitably face the fact that I cannot do it all.

I avoided that realization this week until Wednesday night when I sat on the floor in my room, exhausted from staying up until 2 in the morning for the past several days in order to fit more into these 24 hours. I prayed to God while Patches walked around me, distracting me with her fur. And I realized that wanting to do many things is a good thing, as many things can give God glory. But being discontent with my current activity because I'm anxious about having time for the next activity doesn't glorify God or produce thanksgiving.

And so I'm on a new mission, and it isn't to do as many things as possible before Monday. It is to be thankful for now and to take joy in one task at a time, trusting Jesus.

When I think about it, there were probably some things that Jesus wanted to do but didn't have time to do. Like the time that He went to a place to pray and rest but ended up feeding thousands of people. Or maybe when He grew up there came a time when He wanted to practice carpentry and also play games outside and He had to decide.

Even Jesus had to decide to let some things go in life because He left His infinite God-form, completely independent of time, and chose to live within the limits of time because He loves us! He did all that He came here to do, yes, but He was limited by time and had to make decisions on how to use time like every other human being. And we too live within the limits of time, and so we too must decide.

And I choose joy.

I choose to know that I won't be able to do everything but that doesn't mean that I cannot be thankful for the chances I get right now to live, love, and create. I choose to work hard at whatever is in front of me or whatever I've decided to do instead of second-guessing myself or inwardly scheduling my day to fit everything in the limits of time. I choose to be thankful for now. 

I choose to put my hope in eternity, an eternity of time to praise God just how He has created me to praise Him. An eternity of time to revel in the joys of life and the beauty of Jesus! Oh, how our hearts are made for eternity! Our souls are created for more than hours and decades but for eternity, and a conflict erupts from the friction between our souls and the world around us. But Jesus is bigger than this conflict, for He is the bridge between time and eternity, the infinite God come as mortal human. And that is all that we need.

Come. Be thankful for now with me. Choose joy over stress. Use time wisely but do not let it rule over you. Put your hope in eternity, an eternity that is coming soon.

Anyway, it's time for me to enjoy my family! Comment below how your Thanksgiving break is going so far! How did you enjoy the time given to you this Thanksgiving? I'm super thankful for all of you reading this post, and I truly mean that! Every comment makes me smile a bit!

Princess Hannah


Little Tunes Playlist

There's a spot in my backyard that my first dog, Bonnie, paved in the grass. She paced up and down that line so many times that the grass never grew back the same, even ten years after her death. It was the well-worn path, a comforting way, and I smile a bit every time that I see that path.

On a completely different note that will connect in just a bit (I promise), I've never considered myself a music person. Don't take me wrong, I've always loved listening to music, but I never knew what to listen to. I'm too cheap to buy music I don't love and too busy to find music that I love, so I used to just stick to the good ol' worn path. I listened to the same albums over and over until I knew every word and in which order the songs will play.

But then something happened: I started (with the help of the amazing Amazon Music app which you should check out right now if your family has Amazon Prime because it is FULL of free music) to listen to... wait for it... new music.

I shocked myself a bit too, so if you need to catch your breath right about now, I understand.

Yes, I left the well-worn path and ventured off into the grass beyond. (Am I taking this analogy too far?) And I loved what I found! Well, mostly. There were the few songs that talked of cannibalism or screamed the whole time that I didn't want to think about again, but I found so many playful songs, wonderful artists, and joyful words!

But that didn't mean that I left the well-worn path all together. Instead, I've been working on a playlist that contains bits and pieces from the new and the old to make something even more beautiful!

Here are some new discoveries and well-worn comforts:

Favorite Artist Discovered: 

Ben Rector all the way! Something about his whimsical songs, soothing voice, and charming lyrics make me smile every time I listen to him! In fact, my favorite song of the moment is his song "I Like You." He's the new age of romantic songs that make you feel happy to be alive!

Brand New
Buy his newest album on Amazon here

Favorite Well-Worn Artist:

David Crowder. I think that loving David Crowder is in my genes, but after listening to him as long as I can remember, he still brings talented, truth-filled, moving melodies that point to Jesus and make me want to dance! I've actually seen him in concert three times within the past year, including a time when he came to our church! (Oh, and you NEED to listen to his Christmas album! I could listen to it all day long!)

Oh For Joy
Start the holiday spirit right by purchasing Crowder's Christmas album here

Favorite New Vibe: 

I really like acoustic all of a sudden. Just a hint of country. Some singer-songwriter themes.

Favorite Familiar Vibe: 

Worship music. Worshipping Jesus while listening to music, what can get better!

And so, without further ado, my Little Tunes Playlist, a combination of the well-worn path and the newly-explored frontier!

Now that I've started this business of discovering new music, I'm always looking for more! Please comment below your go-to artists, be they a classic staple in your music tastes or a new favorite! And how do you like the playlist?

Have a happy Thanksgiving break! Try something new and embrace the well-worn paths!

Princess Hannah


The Kingdom of Love II

Look around you right now.

Do you see love?

When I look around my room right now and see the soft lamplight illuminating dishes that I haven't picked up, the blankets folded about my legs, and an invalid kitty reclined on the bed, I don't think love. When I think love, I think about hands touching and lips meeting. I think about soldiers dying and mothers crying. I think about Paris. But the truth is, the Kingdom of Love is everywhere, even in my pink bedroom on a Wednesday night.


Because the light of Jesus' resurrection shines everywhere. His love shines in my room and in the classrooms. His love pours forth at the dinner tables and in the movie theaters. And, in ways we do not understand, His love is working in the city of love, Paris.

The trouble is, we have a hard time seeing that love. We can't feel it. We can't touch it. We don't understand it. And so, like the little humans we are, we often avoid searching for the true meaning behind God's love. That doesn't mean that we don't love to sing "How He Loves" every other Sunday, but those words struggle to take meaning to our lives.

Last post I talked about the foundations of God's love, and I encourage that you go back and read that post, because I will build upon it today. I wrote about how God is the definition of love and how He chose to love us. But because He loves us, He hates sin, and something needed to clear the sin from our lives. This is where the greatest act of love ever comes in: Jesus.

But what now? Jesus' love covers us and separates our sin from us as far as the east is from the west, but how do we respond?

We get to love God back! 

We live in a culture where "love" is everywhere and anyone can "love" another person, even if they shouldn't. Think about all of these chick flicks where adultery comes into play or the new hot topic of homosexuals. At first, the ability to love God doesn't seem out of the ordinary because we feel entitled to be able to love anything. But look a little closer.

Examine the creation of the world. All of creation, before sin, glorified God, for God created it. But when God made human beings, He did something different. He enabled us to love Him and each other. Which also means we can also hate God and others. Which means that we can choose. Which ushered sin into the world. (See my post about the first sin and the grace found in Genesis 3 here.)

And this ability to chose, this ability God's given us to love Him back, is also the very way we respond to His salvation and love. "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love." (John 15:9) "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)

But how do we love a God we cannot see, touch, or talk to like a person on earth?

We obey Him.

Many times where I see the command to love God, it is so closely tied to the command to obey God that I have trouble separating the two. The above verse in Matthew talks of obedience to God while it talks of loving God. John 15 also connects obedience to loving God when it says in the next verse, "If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love..." We love God, and so we obey Him. And we obey God in order to express our love for Him.

I oftentimes forget that to obey God is to love Him and to love Him is to obey Him. I make things complicated and try to do everything, know everything, and feel everything. But acting in obedience, even if I don't feel it or know exactly what I'm doing, is love towards God. And love towards God spurs obedience.

But I must ask, how do we obey God?

I didn't put this point on the infographic, but I should have. The last point I shall discuss in this foundation of the Kingdom of Love is the act of obedience to God in love expressed in how...

We love others. 

1 John has a lot to say on this subject!

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:11-12)

"And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister." (1 John 4:21)

Do the dishes for mom. Share God's grace with those in darkness. Bake cookies for the neighbors. Spend time with your siblings. Make Christmas cards for the people in your life, from your grandmother to the mailman. Stop the gossiping going on behind you in class.

There are so many more opportunities to love others than we know, and we only need to open our eyes to see them. For not every chance to love someone is big and glamorous. It oftentimes looks like work. If you, like me, have trouble identifying ways to love others, let Paul lead your thoughts as he defines what love does in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

"Love never fails."

God's love never fails. And it rests and moves in us! Oh how I forget that so many times, and I hope that you are reminded of the power, simplicity, and work of God's love and how we get to love Him back!

I would like to do one more post on God's Kingdom of Love soon, and in that post I want to answer any questions that y'all have on love! Please comment below your thoughts on today's post as well as any questions you want answered for the next installment in this series!

Love you guys,

Princess Hannah


The Kingdom of Love I

I've been thinking about love lately. Not the romantic kind of love, but the all-encompassing love of a lifestyle lived for Christ. I've been wondering, in this world which glorifies love, what love really means. Is it just a feeling? Is it expressed in roses and hugs, kisses and midnight conversations? Can it be destroyed by hate, just as terrorists destroyed some of the city of love, Paris, last week?

Basically, what is love? 

And as I've read the Bible the past few weeks, I've discovered something freeing and wonderful: God is love. And His Kingdom is not just a city of love, but a kingdom of love that can never fade away.

These facts seem so basic, so elementary. Duh, God is love; everyone loves to talk about that. But the reality of this love gets lost in translation, and we can miss the crucial elements of God's kingdom of love. We can overlook the simplicity of God's love and how we should respond to it. We get caught up with the whirlwinds of time and the struggle of life that we forget the center of our existence and the starting point of the circle of life.

And so I'm going to remind you of some of the basic truths of God's love. You've probably heard these truths put more elegantly than I will write them, and many of these things seem so simple. But I believe that we all need to remember the foundation of love upon which we stand. So, let me share this infographic with you to illustrate what I've been thinking about:

First, God is love. 

Stop. Stop right now and think about that this really means. It doesn't just mean that God loves. It doesn't mean that God is soft and cuddly. It doesn't mean that God always acts how we think a loving being should act. It means that God is the definition of love, the determining factor of love, and the measuring stick of love. If something is in agreement with God, it is love. And if something is in disagreement with God, it is not love.

1 John talks a lot about God's love and our response to it, and I will refer to many verses from this book. It's not very long, so I recommend reading through it this week and seeing the big picture that I'm trying to write about in John's words. Anyway, in 1 John 4:16, John writes: "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."

Next, God loves us. 

We all know the words of John 3:16, but they are true! God, the starting point of love, the maker of all creation, and the holy King ruling over all love us! "This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us..." (1 John 4:10). God didn't have to love us. He didn't have to extend His character of love into our lives, BUT HE did.

And this is the signature truth of Christianity. In no other religions does God begin the love. Others believe that people must earn God's love. Those who killed hundreds in Paris believed that they would then earn God's love. They believed that they would first love God, and the God might love them. And so they did whatever it took.

Is that love?

I don't think so. It is rather sin living in us that perverts God's true love into something ugly and despicable.

God hates sin. 

This is the part many people like to skip over, but I cannot ignore it. In Sunday School this morning, the teacher pointed out that to truly love, you must hate. To truly love the people of Paris right now, we must hate the destructive sin of terrorism. To truly love my cat Patches, I must hate the curse of injury which inflicted a torn ACL on her little kitty life. To love one thing we must hate anything that tries to destroy our love.

And so God, being the definition of love, if also the definition of wrath. For God to truly love us, He must hate sin, which kills us. And so, God's wrath and just condemnation of sin is not separate from His love, but an extension of it. In fact, He hates sin so much that He cannot be in the presence of it, which then introduces a problem, because we chose sin and cover ourselves with it from the inside out, making ourselves distant from the love of God. But this didn't change God's love for us.

So Jesus Came. 

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9)

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." (1 John 3:16)

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1)

Enough said. I really can't top John's words here that describe how God's love for us and hate for sin met on the cross and paved a new way: a way of grace. For grace is the meeting point of love and wrath. It is the sacred place where God's wrath for our sin poured upon Christ, leaving His love to shower us with undeserved life!

And this grace changes everything! (cough, cough, Grace in Everything.)

It is bigger than any terrorist.

It is better than any relationship.

It is stronger than any temptation.


I didn't realize that I had so much to say on this simple topic, but that illustrates how magnificent is the basic love of God! These rediscoveries as well as the ones that I will disclose in part two (and possibly three) cleared up the direction I need to go in life. The simple truth of love changed how I thought about God, myself, and others. I hope and pray that you better understand the foundation upon which we stand, but I pray for more than understanding but for greater love for God!

Please comment below what is on your mind lately! And how do you think about God's love? I would love to hear any illustrations that you've found helpful! Also, let us continue to point to the only cure for the curse of sin that destroys so much: God and His love.

God's grace be with you,

Princess Hannah


Liebster Award

Y'all, something new happened to this blog last week. Something quite fun.

I got nominated for my first award!!!! 

The lovely Madison from Minnie Muse nominated me for the Liebster Award! I love Madison's fashion blog, and in fact, it inspired my fashion-forward week a bit ago. She is such a refreshing breath of authenticity in the fashion-blogging world, and her vintage style makes me want to go thrift shopping and start sewing all at the same time! 

So, needless to say, I'm very excited about this post, and won't wait any longer to get into the questions! 

1. What is one of your favorite birthday memories? 

Starting off hard, are we? After contemplating this question and consulting Mother, I think that I've decided. A bit before my seventeenth birthday I went to see my favorite stage performance ever (and I've seen quite a few by now): Swan Lake. I remember riding home from the magical experience and telling my Mom, "My dream is to be a swan. I don't want to be a professional dancer, but I want to be a swan." 

And guess what? As detailed in this post, I got to be a swan this summer. It was a short excerpt and not very glamourous, but I danced in the corps de ballet as a swan. God works in mysterious ways! 

2. Are you a planner or spontaneous person? 

Planner all the way. In fact, I need to not freak out when something unexpected (be it good or bad) shakes up my pre-existing ideas of how my day should turn out. I deal with planning every aspects of life to such an extent that I named this habit: to-doism. (See my posts about to-doism here and here.) 

3. What is something surprising people wouldn't know about you? 

I consider myself a fairly transparent person, so this question stumped me for a while, and I still couldn't think of a perfect answer, but I do think that my messiness would surprise some people. I usually have things quite put together, but when it comes to my room, I can let it simmer on the backburner for a while until it gets burnt. For example, my parents gave me a ballet barre to hang on my wall for Christmas last year, but I still haven't installed it. Coffee cups can sit on my desk for days before they find their way to the dishwasher, and I recently learned to always pick up air-mattresses because my cat thinks that they make great places to relieve herself. 

4. What is one of your favorite words or  a word your use a lot?

Lovely. I love describing things as lovely, be it blogs, people, or ideas. I may use it too much, but I can't help myself! I feel quite British and whimsical when I utter or type the word! 

5. What is one of your favorite hobbies (apart from blogging)? 

Well, this might be obvious, but ballet is my main hobby. Writing takes second place, though. I really like writing fiction; it just needs to come out of me! If I don't write regularly (cough, cough, like the past while), I feel so enclosed, like my emotions can't circulate properly. Do you writers know the feeling? (See a short story I wrote here.) 

6. What is your favorite TV show (current or past)?

This would prove very hard for me (because I'm indecisive), but for some reason, I like determining my favorites in areas like this. And so I can say with confidence that my favorite TV show is Alias, a spy drama with epic plot-twists and wonderful characters. My sister and parents watched this on Netflix two summers ago, watching at least one episode a night and starting a pretty fun rhythm of watching more grown-up shows once the twins go to bed. Sherlock closely follows as second favorite! 

7. Why did you start blogging? 

I actually had another blog before I started this one. I started that blog because I wanted to get my words out and encourage others. This comes from, in my belief, my gift from God of teaching and pastoring, because through blogging I can teach others and lead people I connect with towards Christ! 

My first blog didn't go far, though. I didn't really understand blogging, only writing. When I started this blog, I started actually reading other blogs and posting more than preachy stuff and diary entries. I wanted to show myself and others that God's grace truly can intersect with every aspect of life! 

8. Oh... what is one of your favorite quotes? 

This is going to sound weird, but oftentimes, my favorite quotes are the ones that I make. 

I like to summarize lessons that God has taught me in little quotes to remind myself of His Story in just moments. My favorite one is the title of my old blog: "I'm not perfect, but I'm perfectly His." 

9. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be? 


I know that He lives in me and that I will see Him in heaven, but for my little human, limited experience in earth, how much would change if I had a face-to-face conversation with Jesus? But oh how I forget that I can have this everyday, for God expresses Himself in His word and communicates with me all of the time if I only lean towards Him. So this is kindof a cheating answer. 

Other that Jesus, though, I don't know who to say! I could say Mary the mother of Jesus, Esther, Corrie Ten Boom, C.S. Lewis, Audrey Hepburn, Emily Freemen, or Taylor Swift. I'f be pretty okay meeting any of these people! 

10. What are three things you CANNOT live without? 

One: God's grace. This is a rather literal interpretation of the question, but I cannot even imagine my life without His grace pouring into me, giving me hope to face the future, strength to live in a world of sin, and joy to live in the moment. 

Two: Me-time. Although I am not an introvert, I do need time by myself, to think, write, work-out, or blog. Sitting on my bed doing something creative makes me lose track of time and refreshes me for the rest of life. 

Three: That being said, I also can't live without people especially my family. I really don't know what I'd do without my Mom to gush out my emotions to, my Dad to seek advice from, Rebecca to be my best friend, and the twins to be my crazy dance-party partners. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but my family rocks! 

11. What is your guilty pleasure? 

Hm... Desserts. I can't say chocolate, because I feel no guilt from eating a little chocolate, but I do feel a bit of guilt from eating a piece of cake (more on that and the accompanying insecurities later). That doesn't stop me from enjoying the gift of God in the form of sugar and butter, though! 

11 Random Facts About Me

1. The Incredibles ruled my childhood! (June 21st, 2019 will be a great day.)
2. I am almost always singing something throughout the day (currently Philip Philip's Home). 
3. I wanted to be a fashion designer for a while and made many a Paper Fashion Outfit. (If you know what that is, please send me an email, because we should be friends.)
4. I am a night owl, but please don't ask me to think past midnight. 
5. I wrote a full-length fantasy fiction novel around a girl on a journey to find the only way to defeat the supervillain. (Now I just need to de-cheesify the dialog and de-cliche the plot and I will let you read it.) 
6. I don't like the sight of blood. 
7. I constantly move my feet around, which is a combination of my love for ballet and cats. (Y'all, I truly do knead without even thinking about it. When I'm warm and content, my feet just start to move without my consent!) 
8. I talk to my sister Rebecca every night before going to bed. In fact, we're discussing this post right now. 
9. Potty humor will never get old for me. 
10. My Dad purchased Sirius Black's wand for me at Universal Studios last winter. 
11. I talk to myself all of the time!

Here are the official rules of the Liebster Award:
1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

11 Questions for My Nominees

1. Who is your favorite Disney Princess now and has it ever changed?
2. How do you style your hair?
3. What was your favorite childhood show or movie?
4. Are you a visual, kinesthetic, or auditory learner?
5. What movie are you currently looking forward to watching?
6. What is the last item that you purchased?
7. What has God said to you recently?
8. Do you like pineapples?
9. What song is on your head?
10. What is your favorite part about fall?
11. What is the first thing that you think of when you wake up in the morning?

My Nominees 

Olivia from Summer of 1998
Chloe from It's a Chloe Thing
Abbey from Miss Abbey Noelle 
Kianna from Kianna Rose Etc.
Meaghan from Meaghan Unscripted 

Thank-you again Madison, for the nomination! It was so fun to make this post, especially because I crafted it alongside my sisters!

Princess Hannah 


Five Ways to Eat Honey

I love honey.

I think that my love for honey stems for my love for anything sweet, but honey tastes so rich and sticky and wonderful that I just want to put it on everything! My family buys giant jars of local honey from the hardware store, which makes it seem even more special. And because it's natural and healthy, I don't feel bad about smothering all of my food in the deliciousness.

And so I do.

And now I get to share the love of honey with you by listing five ways to use honey in your everyday life:

1. In Coffee

I like to make my coffee strong, with skim milk, stevia, and a good drizzle of honey. Although honey is not low-calorie, just a bit provides a richness and flavor that perfectly sweetens my new morning drink, (I just started drinking coffee while in New York training for ballet), and just a lot works fine too!

2. In Tea

Another drink that I now love also tastes great with honey: tea. Somehow the addition of honey makes the warm comfort of tea go down with even more delight!

3. As a salad dressing

Though a less common use for honey, drizzling it over a salad makes a sweet dressing. It's just so simple and complementary to so many salad combinations, especially fruit salads.

4. On Oatmeal

Ditch the brown sugar, honey is here! A little drizzle of this sweetener gives a bowl of oatmeal an instant boost! Add some dried cranberries and granola and you will look forward to eating breakfast every morning!

5. On Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

Speaking of breakfast, honey tops these oatmeal banana pancakes like none of our business! I may be partial to my first recipe ever posted, but honey could replace syrup for any pancake recipe. But really, you should try these easy and healthy pancakes!

As you can tell, we love honey in our house!

So next time you see some local honey, buy it! If it's a big jar, buy it! And then I hope that you find these ideas delicious and fun as you experiment with how you like to use honey during your everyday lives! Comment below how you use honey and how you can't wait to use it in the future!

Princess Hannah


To-Doism Part Two

In To-Doism Part One, I wrote about how, in the pursuit of doing everything right and getting everything done, we miss out on the point of life: Jesus. We forget to breathe, we forget to trust, and we forget to sit at Jesus' feet like Mary because we were rushing around like Martha. If you haven't read Part One yet, check it out! 

           I don't know about you, but the Mary life sounds wonderful! I really want to live like Mary who just sat at the feet of Jesus, content even in the chaos. But here is where I get confused. Does living like that mean throwing responsibility in the wind? What about hard work? What about giving Jesus the gift of our life lived for Him? These questions pop into my head, and instead of ignoring them in order to feel free, I want to answer them in order to understand freedom

And this is what I discovered: and. 

I know, I know. I don't make sense at the moment, but hear me out. We don't have to choose. It isn't either sit at Jesus' feet or work for His kingdom. It isn't rest in Jesus or do schoolwork. There's an and in there, a while in between the two stances. We sit at Jesus' feet so that we can work for His kingdom with the right motivation. We rest in Him while we do schoolwork. We learn, however hard this is, to leave the self-driven ways of to-doism and learn a new way: Jesus. 

I'm tired of speaking in vague terms that inspire but don't transform into action. So, it's time that I gave some ideas on how to combat to-doism and start living a life seated at Jesus' feet while working for His kingdom. This is not an extensive list, nor do I pretend to give five easy steps to a joy-filled life, because it doesn't work that way. Instead, I want to show you how I've discovered sitting at Jesus' feet looks like in real life. I want to give you examples of the hard work that goes into not working so hard that you forget the point: Jesus. And here it goes, here are some things that I do to sit at Jesus' feet in a to-doism world: 

-I start my morning with a little prayer. I may be half asleep and wishing that I could be all-the-way asleep. I may just want to check my phone's notifications and get started with the day, and sometimes, I do those things instead. But I know that more than sleep, more than affirmation, and more than getting everything done that day I need Jesus. And starting the day at His feet sets a good example for the rest of the day. 

-I like to stop for a moment on my way to wherever I'm going and look around. I look at the creation that God has made and thank Him for the beauty all around. I really wish that I did this more often, because what crushes to-doism more than things that are done, ready, and beautiful all in God's timing?

I may or may not have risked my life by taking this picture while driving. Don't try this at home, kids

-I also find that doing something according to the talents God has given me banishes to-doism. Telling a story, drawing a figure, or writing a poem may not feel productive, and that's what makes them so great at combatting to-doism! These creative outlets allow me to breath, live, and refocus on the things in life that motivate me and make me feel satisfied, and when this is done right, it is all to God's glory!

Getting ready for The Nutcracker
-Finding the little quiet moments in the day to pray connects me to a God who is always with me, during "Bible Time" and "school time" and every other part of my day. Because, when I think about it, the whole day is "God's time," because He made time. And so I pray in my car on the way to school, while showering after ballet, or while brushing my teeth at the end of the day. I'm finding more and more times to pray now that I've discovered that every place can be a sanctuary, every place can be a seat at Jesus' feet. And let me tell you, prayer can kick to-doism's butt.

-When I struggled with anxiety in middle school, my dad gave me a wonderful illustration that I never forgot. He said, sometimes I'm so concerned about not worrying that I end up continue to dwell on worrying! It's like trying not to think about red by thinking: don't think about red, don't think about red, don't think about red, when I should really just start thinking about blue. Sometimes, the best cure to to-doism is simply to distance myself from the stress and do something else. That doesn't mean avoid the problem or let go of all responsibility, but sometimes I just need to watch some Netflix or read a book. A renewed mind clears a lot of things up.

-I also find it encouraging to visit with others who understand me and will encourage me. Whether that means talking to my Mom for an hour or reading a book by someone who has a heart going in the same direction as mine, this can give me courage because I know that I don't face these problems alone.

Like at a TobyMac concert!!!! I loved it because it was so oriented on the love of Jesus!

-Listening to music that gives God the glory refocuses my thoughts off of me and my issues and onto a God who is stronger than I could ever imagine. Sometimes I'm just too worn down and tired to form my own praises, so I plug in a Passion album, David Crowder music, or something else honoring to God and let the words fill my heart, replacing the to-doism that once reigned with praise to the King who will forever reign (if you get that reference, bravo).

-And let's face it, sometimes I just need to go to bed. Somehow, I get most emotionally vulnerable at night, and the best thing to do is not stay up late and solve the problem but to go to bed and realize in the morning the simple solution.

Waking up from a nap had like like...

-But nothing satisfies more than God. Nothing. Sometimes I don't believe this, and I try to live life on my own, which never works out very well. But I know that I need God, and that He is peace for my heart and joy for my soul. And so I come to Him.

How do I do that? The above ideas are great, and I find them very useful, but the most straightforward way is to read the Bible. I know that this sounds so simple, and it unfortunately can become just another thing on my to-do list, but to read the Bible is to see the truths of God! To read the Bible is the most simple way to sit at the feet of Jesus. Even if I'm busy and feel rushed while reading it, I still make sure to read some of God's Word because I know that it is better than anything else that I have to do that day and will fulfil me more than checking everything off of my list. I don't always feel the peace, but I live in it. I wrote a blog post about how to study to Bible here if you want to know where to begin or how to understand God's words.

She never distracts me from my studies... (sarcastic voice on)
Honestly, I don't know exactly what this life of sitting at Jesus' feet can really look like. I don't have it figured out not do I resist to-doism all of the time or even most of the time. In fact, I struggled this past week with to-doism, trying to get everything done and yet yearning for rest. I avoided sitting at Jesus' feet until I felt ready and my checklist allowed. I felt rushed, hushed, and generally unjoyful. And that is why I needed to remind myself of Jesus' sufficiency and grace maybe more than any of you reading this needed it. I can't do it. And that's the point. 

Keep living in the grace of God, fellow sisters, and don't let to-doism steal your joy! Let's learn how to sit at the feet of Jesus while we work for His kingdom! 

Comment below which of the ideas on the list you have found helpful in the past or can't wait to try in the future! And do you have any thoughts of to-doism? I truly want to hear them! 

Princess Hannah