Fair Trade Friday

27 million.

The last time I wrote about this number, I explained how 27 million people live in slavery today, if you can call that living. Enough people to hold hands then encircle the globe are chained to a system with no hope or light. If you didn't read my first Freedom Friday post, I urge you to read it and watch the video that accompanies it here.

Slavery holds a darkness that I fear and do not like to think about, but to not think about the problem only allows it to grow, and I cannot stand that! So, in order to restore beauty to this ugly situation, I present to you a way to get involved in the freedom story, and trust me, you will like this way.

Mercy Shop and Fair Trade Friday.

Instead of me trying to explain Mercy House and the Shop and monthly Fair Trade options, let's watch this short video found on the homepage of their website:

Mercy House

Okay, I'll admit it; I cried during this video. This organization does so much to empower and uplift women who are endangered to slavery and a life of lowly manners. And not only do they help these women, but these women help us! The shop is full of beautiful pieces of jewelry and home decor that I love! My family receives the Earrings of the Month, which I very much enjoy because all of the earrings are unique and special! This pattern of upliftment bring joy to my heart, and I pray that it does to your heart as well!

So, I invite you to become a freedom fighter! I invite you to join the story of hope and restored beauty all around the world! And it's not hard! The featured Mercy House gives you so many options!

~You can buy one of the lovely items in their shop.

~You can subscribe to their Earrings of the Month Club.

~You can also subscribe to their Fair Trade Friday Club.

~But there's more! You can donate to their movement here.

~Do you think I've finished? Nope. You can also meet a specific need by giving through their gift catalog.

And, as always, spread the word! Many people do not know about the global horror of modern-day slavery, and it is up to us, fellow freedom fighters, to educate those around us to stand up to this darkness. God has given us so much freedom, and that includes the freedom to fight for others' freedom. It starts with one, and that one turns into seven, and that seven turns into seventy-seven, but more on that next Freedom Friday!

Princess Hannah

(p.s. This Saturday I perform one final time at American Academy of Ballet! I can't believe that it's over already!)


Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Today I bring to you my go-to breakfast recipe. It is so easy, fast, healthy, and unique! And it tastes amazing! (Note: Gluten-free options available.)

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes, with a sandwich version illustrated. 

I am not a morning person. I never get up and make my own breakfast, but I have made these pancakes more times than I can recall. That tells you a lot about these pancakes! They make you get up and make them, but even then they don't take long, and for me, I make a batch and eat them over the next couple of days as well. 

Now, I did not come up with the original recipe, I found it on Pinterest. The original recipe can be found here. But I have changed the recipe somewhat and have completely done my own thing with the topping, making it into a pancake sandwich. But the original recipe looks amazing too! 

Here is what you will need to make your mornings a little brighter: 

-1 banana- preferably ripe to overripe
-2 eggs
-1 tbs of flour (optional. Flour substitutes suitable as well)
-1/8 tsp of cinnamon 
-1/4 cup of oats
- Cooking spray or butter for greasing the griddle (optional if your griddle is non-stick)
-1-2 tbs of peanut butter for sandwich filling. Other butters work as well. 
-Honey for drizzling 
-Granola for topping (or a Nature Valley granola bar if you don't have granola on hand, like me.) 
-3-4 strawberries for topping

Step One- 

Blend the banana, eggs, flour, and cinnamon in a blender, and make sure to blend it well! I add the flour because I think that it makes the texture a bit fluffier and less likely to stick to the pan when cooked, but I've also made these pancakes without the flour and they turned out good! 

For the cinnamon, I usually just sprinkle a little over the blender, but it evens out to around 1/8 to 1/4 a teaspoon, depending but on how much cinnamon I feel like that day. As you can tell, is is a customizable recipe! I have also added vanilla and brown sugar right here to add a bit of sweetness and flavor. Play around with it! 

Step Two-

Add the oats to the mixture and blend lightly. I like to have a bit of texture to my pancakes, so that is why I blend the oats after I blend the rest of the ingredients. If you want a smoother pancake, just add the oats with everything else. 

Step Three-

Warm up your griddle to medium/low and then grease it with cooking spray or butter. I don't always grease my pan, but I find that it ensures clean pancakes. Greasing it with a bit of butter also makes the edges of the pancakes crispy and increases the flavor! (Hint: to grease the pan with butter, take a cold stick and smear it around the pan. You then get just the right amount of butter!) 

Spoon out 1/4 of a cup (or less if you like small pancakes) of the batter onto the griddle. I usually cook about six pancakes. 

When the center gets bubbly and the edges look dry, flip them over. This usually takes a minute or two. And then cook them for about a minute on the other side. 

Step Five- 

While the pancakes cook, you can start slicing up your strawberries for the topping. I like to slice mine pretty thin so that I feel like I get more strawberries than I actually get! 

Step Six- 

Once the pancakes are finished cooking, grab two of them and spread peanut butter over one of the pancakes. Then place the other pancake on top of it to form a sandwich and repeat that on all of the pancakes leftover. 

Step Seven- 

Drizzle a generous amount of honey over your pancake sandwiches. I like how the honey makes the pretty stripe pattern, but soon no one will notice the honey! 

Step Eight-

Place your strawberries over the pancake sandwich. And then sprinkle the granola (or in my case crushed Nature Valley bars) on top of the strawberries.

And then dig in!

I like to eat these yummy sandwiches with a glass of milk and some additional fruit, but do what you prefer. Man, now I want to eat one! I hope that you want to eat one too, and if you make this recipe please tell me how it turned out! As I said before, these are customizable, so add some vanilla and brown sugar to the pancakes, blueberries instead of strawberries on the top, or honey roasted peanuts instead of granola to add a crunch.

Make your morning a little brighter and yummier by making these pancake sandwiches! But make it even more joyful by talking to Jesus!

Have a great week!

Princess Hannah 


The Adventure of Home

Today I share with you something new, something that I've mentioned but never posted about before: my writing. 

I have always loved to write. I remember writing a story as a young girl about a kitty looking for his whiskers. Then I wrote the beginnings of many a fairy tale remake. Then came medieval adventures. And now I work on a fantasy trilogy. But this little story comes from a different place, a place full of quirky mishaps and heartfelt words. It feels quite different than my other writings, which maybe one day I will share with you, but I love this story! In fact, I entered it in a short story contest this spring and await the results. 

Enjoy! And comment below what you thought! 

Princess Hannah 

“I swear, this road gets longer every day.” Mr. Freddie Gabby picked at his uniform as he drove down the Texas road. The open side of his mail truck let the early summer air blow through, and he started to hum a song, although his manager didn’t like any noise coming from the delivery vehicle. No one could hear him out here.
   “Finally,” Freddie thought as he came to his last mailbox of the day. The couple here always moved around during the summer, so he checked the box out of habit. Only, as he put in the box a single piece of mail, a promotional flyer, did he see the boy standing by the mailbox. The flyer fluttered to the ground.
   “I thought you wouldn’t come,” the boy said. “You know, one notices much more around oneself when one pretends to be a box.” The boy looked around seven, with sandy hair that stood up everywhere and a pair of round glasses on his nose. A large, square sticker stuck to his forehead with a blue crayon spelling Johannesburg on it. Freddie wondered if kids usually wore stickers on their foreheads nowadays; it had been so long since he felt young, and he never had any kids of his own, so he didn’t know much about the younger folks. Once he thought that he would have kids, but that day vanished on that day. But he vowed never to think of that day again, so Freddie turned back to the boy.
   “Ah,” Freddie stammered. “Do you have a letter?”
   “Not exactly.”
   “Okay, then.”
   No one said anything except the mockingbirds who flew overhead. The boy picked up the flyer.
   “A new pizza joint,” he said. “Too bad I won’t get to try it, I like pizza, except for when they put too much sauce on it; that just kills it for me.”
   “Yep.” Freddie turned to his vehicle. “Are your folks back?” he asked.
   “Oh, I don’t have any folks,” the boy said. “Just me. Sure, I go from house to house, but I prefer to think of the houses as hotels. Except I have to make my own bed. And usually I have to do the dishes, watch the children, help with homework, and sweep the floors, so they don’t resemble hotels much at all, do they?” Foster Care, Freddie thought.
  The mockingbird sung another solo.
   “Aren’t you going to ask about the sticker?” the boy whispered.
   “I feel quite proud of it, you see, as I wrote it in my best handwriting. I just thought to myself, I sure would like to get away from this life, see the sights that I always read about in books. I love to read, you see, especially big books. And ever since I read Cry, the Beloved Country, I wanted to go to South Africa.”
   “You want to what?” Freddie didn’t think he heard right.
   “I think that five dollars should cover shipping. How many stamps will that buy?”
   “But what do you plan to ship?”
   “Myself, of course.”
   “Uh, I don’t think that…”
   “Mr. Mailman, I know that you will say something smart and grow-up-like, but nothing will deter me. I need to go.”
   “Where are the people who take care of you?”
   “No one takes care of me, Mr. Mailman; I take care of myself. But if you refer to the system’s people, they left days ago after I tricked them into thinking the system would pick me up.”
   “So, no one watches you?”
   “As I said before, mailman, I learned long ago to watch myself. And now, if you would be so kind, let’s go. We can’t stand here all day!” The boy started towards the truck, and Freddie didn’t stop him but began to think.  
   “Do you like the neighbors?” Freddie asked. They seemed best to take care of the boy until the couple’s return.
   “Your plan won’t work,” the boy said, smiling. “Start driving.” Freddie sighed and backed into the driveway to turn around, all the while thinking some more. What would he do with the boy that wanted to mail himself to South Africa?
   After fifteen minutes the boy started up again.
   “My name is Jamie, but call me James. I don’t like the name Jamie, because it could be a girl’s name. In fact, two of the system’s couples actually expected a girl when they signed up for me. They were the worst. You see, sometimes the system sends me to decent families, and if I’m lucky, they ignore me most of the time. But other times the houses try to break me. They either promise me good things but only give me endless spankings and stale leftovers, or they give me everything I want only to take it away from me when a real child comes along. That’s why I’m going away.”
   “I see,” Freddie said. He knew he shouldn’t, but he already started to like this boy. The inner
corners of his heart reached out to his bright eyes shaded by a sticker. Thoughts of that day came up again, and this time, Freddie couldn’t stop the memories from pouring in. He remembered his wife laying in the white bed with machines hooked into her veins. He could almost smell the antibiotics mixed with flowers that filled her room. The machines echoed in his mind, slowly fading as her heart stopped beating. But she still smiled at the end. She always went away strong, victorious or not, and Freddie knew that he must too, for her if not for him.
   He knew what to do. He never made rash decisions, but today, he knew. He could almost feel her presence in him pushing his heart towards a new start. Live again, she seemed to tell him.  Love again.
   Freddie turned to the boy who smiled.
   “It sure is a long way to Johannesburg,” the boy said. “Are we lost?”  
   “I thought that we could make a small detour on our way,” Freddie said.
   “Now, Mr. Mailman, I already told you that I will not take any side trips!”
   “What about to home?”
   “I don’t have a home.”
   “What if you came home with me?”
   “You have a home?”
   “How can you almost have a home?” the boy asked.
   “Well, I own a house and furniture with all the proper things inside except for, well, hominess.”
   “What’s hominess?”
   “I believe it’s pictures hanging on the walls of fun days in the past and a calendar showing a busy life ahead. It’s laughter and crying, hugs and meals. But if I remember correctly, home contains something more, the feeling of belonging and… something else.”
   “What else?”
   Freddie sighed at the memory. “Love.”
   “Sounds great and all, Mr. Mailman,” James said, “But I prefer South Africa. How do I know you can give what you promise? How can a home beat Africa?”
   “I guess you don’t know,” Freddie said. “Tell you the truth, I don’t know we could do it either. But I know, I know that without a home, one cannot truly live in this world. So, you’ve got to make a choice. Come and be my home or go and explore the unknowns of Africa.”
   The boy didn’t say anything as Freddie pulled into the mail office. Freddie opened his truck and pulled out the mail for the day, motioning for James to follow. In his heart, Freddie wondered if he made the right decision. He felt so foolish for thinking that he could start over and leave his empty life behind him. A home seemed impossible.
   But this boy seemed to believe in the impossible. Freddie had one more idea.
   “Here is where the packages stay,” he told James after entering the mail room, a small, dark cube of a room. “We will ship you to Johannesburg tomorrow.”
   “Okay,” James said. He settled himself among the boxes and lifted up his chin, smiling and making Freddie wonder if he knew the boy as well as he thought.
   Freddie cracked the door and started back towards his truck. He inched down the hallway, each step feeling heavier and farther away from a glorious hope. Soon he would have to go and bring James to the Foster Care system, unless… unless James chose to come home.
   One more minute, Freddie thought as he came to the door. A tear rolled down his cheek. Time ran out.
   James came running from the back, and flew into Freddie’s arms. Tears from James’ face fell on Freddie’s shoulder.
   “I think,” James sniffled, “I think that Africa can wait.”
   “Are you sure?”
   James nodded, and then, in a moment of finalization, he took the sticker off of his forehead and tore it in two.

   “Let’s go home,” James said, and Freddie took his hand and led him to a greater adventure than either of them could ever dream of, the adventure of home. 


I'm An Adult

I guess it's official. 

I'm an adult. 

I turned eighteen recently, and with all of these other "adultish" things going on in my life as well as added responsibilities, life isn't the same as it once was. I can't just hit pause and go back to playing Barbies while waiting for Dad to come in my room and tell me it's bedtime. I can't just shrink obligations and look to my parents for everything. I can't put everything off until "later" because "later" has arrived. 

I'm an adult. 

I often wish to go back to my seven-year old life and play dramatic games outside, pretending the leaves to be lettuce and the pine cone scales to be salt (don't ask). What happened to the times when the new girl became your best friend in a matter of days? I relish the good ol' days where the most exciting things that could happen included playing on Webkins or going to get ice cream. 

But I'm an adult. 

Now I must work, decide, plan, and strive. I must figure things out and keep on top of the demands of life. Jesus. Ballet. School. Future. Family. Friends. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, and the fact that things will only increase as I grow older makes me discouraged. How will I handle it all? How can the girl who just wants to go back to the days where I watched The Incredibles every weekend survive in the "real-world"? 

I'm an adult. 

Then I remember something: 

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10) 

Two years ago, I could never imagine myself going to New York for five weeks, teaching my own ballet classes, finishing writing a full length novel, or going to college in the fall. But now these things feel natural (well, sort of natural). God prepared me for these things. He trains me, just as He trains you. 

You see, I used to think that this verse meant that God picked out special paths for us, and I still believe this. But I now see this verse as God's reminder to us that He not only knows where we will go, He prepares us for it! He not only write our story, but He trains us for our role in His story!

You see, I'm an adult. 

And God prepared me for this day. 

Even during the last year God stretched my faith, increased my trust, and destroyed some false thought patterns in my life. He prepares me. He prepares you, and what comes next, though it may scare us, will not overcome us, not if we are rooted in Jesus. This doesn't mean that hard things won't come our way, but it does mean that God wins. 

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

I'm an adult. 

Things in life move quickly and sometimes scare me. I don't know what the future holds or even if I will feel ready, but one thing I do know: my God is never caught off guard. He never finds Himself out of control nor does He ever lessen His grip on me! And with that confidence, I enter into adulthood. 

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way...The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress... He says 'Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.' The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." (Psalm 46:1-2,7,10-11)

So let's live in the growth that comes from God! Let's not fear the future but "Be still and know" that it is all about God, and that our God writes the Story! "What shall we say, then? If our God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)

I'm an adult. And I take joy in growing up because then I can exalt God even more! 

"Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

Jesus is amazing! And He prepares us for amazing things as well; let's trust Him together, take hold of his hand and follow Him into the wide world called Tomorrow, a world that often scares us and worries us, but it doesn't have to. For Jesus reigns over Tomorrow, therefore I do not need to fear, even though I am an adult. 

I'm an adult. And that scares me a bit, but Jesus is my safety and resting place, and I chose to live in trust rather than stress, in belief rather than fear, and in joy rather than worry. 

Comment below what keeps you focused on Christ when the world seems to move in fast forward around you! And remember to keep your eyes in Jesus and His presence in us!

Princess Hannah 


Yesterday- A Poem

Wake up. 
It's a new day, but it feels like yesterday. 
Sit up. 
It's a long day, just like yesterday. 
I need Him, like I did yesterday. 
Step out. 
Time to start, the same as yesterday. 

For each day here feels like the one before,
Empty yet also full.
The moments take so much time, but the days zip by like flies.
Wake up, sit up, Jesus, step out. 

Go through rhythms, similar to yesterday. 
Warm up. 
Stretching out, more sore than yesterday. 
All day long, piled on from yesterday. 
Crash down. 
Process things, like the time since yesterday. 

The days blend by and pile on, 
My body needs to rest. 
But every day I do the things that I still prefer the best. 
Prepare, warm up, ballet, crash down. 

He's the same, the same as yesterday. 
He controls, both now and yesterday. 
He's enough, no matter what was yesterday. 
He's with me, just like he was yesterday. 

For though these days are long and hard,
Jesus is always with me. 
He guided me through yesterday and He will help me today. 
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. 

Hello guys! As many of you know, I'm in New York right now training for ballet! I survived my first flight with flying colors and actually enjoyed it! (And I didn't die, which also counts for something.) My first week here at American Academy of Ballet gave me so much instruction and guidance for this art of ballet, and I love it! The people here are wonderful, and I have more time that I thought to spend time with Jesus (they have a daily siesta, whattt???). I performed my first set of shows with AAB as a swan from Swan Lake, my favorite ballet. That made my week!

I know that I don't have much time to interact here or on anyone else's blog, but I miss you guys and will keep you posted on the happenings! (Also, I thank again everyone who gave advice and encouragement on my previous post on preparing for the trip!) Keep trusting Jesus!

Princess Hannah