Jay Proposed

Thursday (May 30th 2013), Jay asked me to be his wife  :). I am ecstatic! Definitely on Cloud Nine, haha…

Ring

WARNING: long blog post. If you want to skip the story, there are pictures at the bottom of the post  🙂

Before diving into the story, here’s some context: For a while now, I’ve wanted to go on a picnic. School was out, it was warm, and I just love picnics. So Jay made us sandwiches, packed some cookies and drinks, a wee bit of salad, and we headed to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. It’s a really pretty place with woods, a lake, paths to walk on, hiking trails, etc.. Jay and I have gone a handful of times during the span of our relationship. We even have our initials carved on a tree somewhere out there…  😉

Another thing you should know: He wasn’t planning on proposing on Thursday. He’s had the ring with him for a month (I had no idea!), and was just waiting for the right time. Apparently he’s been keeping it in his car, and I never noticed! He knew how badly I wanted to be surprised, so he was being ultra careful to make sure that happened. He knew I would be suspicious if he had planned something.

Okay – on to the story!

We arrived at Middle Creek sometime around 3:15, I think. We ate our food, talked, goofed off, laughed, etc.. Normal stuff, haha. I had my camera with me, which was sort of rare – I haven’t been in the habit of taking my camera with me places, and I don’t know what made me decide to bring it along that day. In fact, I don’t even remember deciding to the bring it. It was just sort of there, haha. So I was taking pictures, having a good time, talking to Jay, stealing a couple kisses here and there (feel free to roll your eyes)… Little did I know that in about an hour, I would be more grateful than ever that I had brought my camera along.

Eventually, Jay asked if I was thirsty. I told him yes, I was. He said he had water bottles in the car, and that he’d go get them. I offered to go with him, but he said he’d get them and be right back. I was completely unaware of the fact that it was then that he decided it was a good time to propose. So, he got the water bottles – and the ring – and came back.

I was happily oblivious.

I continued to take pictures, until he said, “Stop taking pictures, and come be with me.” I was having a fun time snapping away, but of course I put my camera down, and joined him by the lake. I don’t really remember much of our conversation leading up to the proposal… But he eventually asked me, “What’s your favorite part of the view?” Sounds like a dorky question, but it’s sort of normal for us. We ask each other what our favorite parts of things are all the time – mostly what our favorite part of the day was. So I turned around (his goal), and started talking about the trees across the lake, and the shadows that the clouds were casting. He said, “Mmm, yeah.” But it sounded like it came from much lower – not the normal 6’2″ that I was used to hearing his voice from. I suspiciously turned around, found him on one knee, holding the ring.

I gasped, brought my hands to my face, and smiled hugely (typical). He said, “Blythe? Will you marry me?”

My response was less than romantic. I said (maybe shouted?), “For reals??” and then, “Of course!” I then rambled on and on, asking over and over if he was being serious, if I was dreaming, if he really wanted to marry me, etc.. He assured me that yes, it was real. No, I wasn’t dreaming. Yes, he wanted to marry me. “Will you do me the great honor of being my wife?” he asked.

I was so excited. I jumped up and down, and wasn’t sure of what to do or say. He said, “Just say yes!” So, I did. I said yes, very happily. He put the most lovely and perfect pearl ring on my finger – which he got custom made – and I just smiled and laughed. Somewhere along the lines we exchanged a big & very happy hug.

It’s funny, because for the past six or so months, I was struggling with being content with where God had me. I was frustrated that we weren’t engaged yet, and I had a terrible time with jealousy. A lot of my friends – most haven’t been dating as long as Jay and I – were getting engaged, others were getting married, and I was jealous. I worked on it, though – or rather, God worked on my heart. He broke me of that, and I noticed how much I was improving in that area. I was able to be happy and excited for my friends, instead of battling feelings of bitter jealousy. I was being victorious in Christ!

I was telling Jay this, and he told me that one of the reasons he had waited to propose was because of that. If I was still dealing with jealousy when he had proposed, guess what? I would have found something else to be jealous of. I am so thankful to be marrying a man who is mindful of the state of my heart, and values my relationship with our Father over our relationship <3. That’s super attractive, haha  :).

The rest of the day was pure bliss – except for the very end of the day, which I’ll get into later… I called my parents right away, then my best friend, Em[ily]. Her reaction was so loud, the phone was about 5 inches away from my ear during the whole phone call  ;). Needless to say, she was thrilled. On our way back to Jay’s house, we phoned his best friend Tony. Not quite as loud of a reaction, but happy nonetheless  :).

The next hour was very fun – breaking the news to his parents, some friends, brothers/sisters, etc.. Not a single reaction lacked happiness, and it was all so joyous!

After dinner, we went to Prince Street Café to meet up with some friends, and ended up running into tons of people we knew. How convenient  :). It was really exciting to be able to share the news in person with so many people! Everyone’s reactions were so happy and excited, and I felt so blessed to have so many supporters. Even a complete stranger congratulated us!

After a grand time of hanging out with friends, Fiancé & I headed back to our cars. This is where the “not pure bliss” part of our day comes in… As we approached the cars, I noticed that Jay’s passenger window was broken. I pointed it out, and said how sorry I was that someone broke in, that I hoped nothing was stolen, etc.. As we got closer (we were about 4-5 feet away from the car), I noticed a man still sitting in Jay’s car. My heart dropped, and said, “Jay, he’s still in your car.” Right away, Jay pulled me back and stood in front of me. The man just stared at us blankly – he looked very stoned. Not a word came from his mouth, nor did his expression change.

Fortunately, there was a policeman & policewoman right around the corner that we had passed while walking to the cars. We ran over, and Jay told them someone was in his car, and that they had broken in. By the time we got back to his car, the man had left. He had taken nothing, praise the Lord. He was clearly searching for something, though, because Jay’s car was a wreck. Stuff was strewn everywhere!

We gave the police as much information that we could supply, they gave Jay the info he’d need to give the insurance company, and told us they’d look for the guy. They left, leaving the two of us in the parking lot, feeling very grateful for God’s protection. Things could have been much worse, in many different ways.

We were just about to part, when two more police cars pulled up, and told Jay they thought they found the guy. They needed him to go with them to verify whether or not it was him. Also, Jay had found the man’s cell phone in his car, so he gave it to the police. At that point, Jay just told me to go ahead on home, so I did. He left soon after, and we are obviously now safe and sound.

So, that’s the story. Pretty wild ending, huh? As Jay’s sister Kelly put it, “That’s a story to tell the grandkids.  ;)”

Picture time  :D!

First, our picnic. Simple, nice, ordinary, and fun  :).

Engaged!

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Look at this handsome man of God  :).

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Two butterflies made an appearance, and one of them was showing off for me  :).

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Very soon before he proposed, I happened to take a picture of my watch…!

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He drew this on a rock with some charcoal, that little sap  :). Haha, I love him!

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And this is him, saying, “Come be with me!”, standing at the spot where he would propose in just a few minutes…

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About 10 minutes later, I was picture-taking, of course! I love my pearl engagement ring, with the two teeny diamonds on either side. It suits me well  :).

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engaged!

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The day before, I painted my nails this way not knowing I would be engaged the next day. I love how it worked out!

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Dr. Bigley and his wife – two people that Jay has been taught by at Lancaster Bible College – were the first people we ran into. They were ecstatic for us, and Dr. Bigley offered to take pictures of us. I’m so glad!

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Well, that’s a wrap! I’m not going to apologize for how long this post was, because I’m not sorry  :). Thanks to all of you who read the whole thing! Your support and love for us as a couple is overwhelming, and really special. It means SO much!

On Cloud Nine,

Blythe Elizabeth

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Peace In The Present

Recently, so many things were up in the air for me. There were several options open to me that I could take, decisions that needed to be made, waiting for one job to start, wondering about things like marriage (everyone is asking me about it, so I figured I might as well not act like I don’t think about it  :P)… Needless to say, my mind was busy, cluttered, disorganized, and at times felt overwhelmed.

I was displeased, frustrated, and impatient. So many things were in line, ready to just happen – but why weren’t they happening? What was the hold up? Thankfully, through lots of conviction, prayer, and surrender, God brought me to a place of contentment and joy. Now, I’m enjoying my present, rather than comparing it to the future. Sure, I still think about the future at times, but it doesn’t cause me feelings of angst. I’m not freaking out about the switch in jobs. I don’t feel worried about the lack of income. There aren’t nearly as many sad feelings about my bare ring finger. I’m also not struggling as much with jealousy, and am able to rejoice with my friends who are entering into engagements & marriage.

I guess all this can boil down to three things:

  1. An obedient heart is a delight to the Lord. He answered my prayer for a change of heart so quickly!
  2. When your eyes are set on the things from above, eternity becomes much bigger and more realistic to your eyes. The things of now seem more minuscule.
  3. Your future is gently & firmly held in the mighty and caring hands of our God, who promises to provide for you. Who are we to worry about it? Worry is a rejection of God’s promise to provide. We may have plans, but they don’t always unfold like we envision. We must know and trust that no matter what, God will provide if we seek his righteousness and kingdom. It’s his promise to us.

Once God brought me to the place I needed to be, things started to happen, and God showed me why he took the time that he did. I found myself asking, “Why did I even doubt his timing, or get wrapped up in my confusion? What a waste of time.” Things with my jobs got worked out. My mind feels less cluttered. I think I am going to work harder on getting a photography business started. I am fully enjoying where my and Jay’s relationship is right now, learning more about each other and ourselves. Of course I so much look forward to being engaged and then married someday, but I’m loving where things are. I’m in such an interesting part of my life, and it’s so temporary. In fact, it will probably be the most short-lived stage of my life! Once things change, it’ll never be like this again.

So, I’m enjoying where I am now. I am learning more about obeying my Father. God’s training my mind and eyes to focus on the things from above. I’m resting in his perfect provision.

And it is so, so good.

Joyfully,

Blythe

Ah, Spring At Last

Well, Spring has finally showed up  :). I am so thankful! Today was in the high 70’s, and it was astoundingly lovely. I brought my camera everywhere I went today and took lots of pictures – which I’ll share with you. Surprised? I didn’t think so  :).

Springtime is good for my soul.

I ate a yummy breakfast: organic raspberry earl grey tea, a scrumptious pear, and (yes, three) shortbread cookies.

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I drove over to Janessa’s house, where we painted our nails in the warm noon sun.

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Then she & I went to market.

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Nessa treated us to some African yumminess, and sat on a bench outside to munch on the goodness.

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I love the police horses.

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Someone made origami cranes and hung them outside their home  :).

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We got back to Nessa’s house, and unpacked all the fresh produce she bought at market. Then of course we made ourselves a little springtime treat  :).

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I loved our printed skirts! I absolutely love the feeling of a warm breeze swishing my skirt around.

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I went to work after hanging out with Nessa, and didn’t get home until after dark. I lounged on my (unmade) bed, uploaded & edited all these pictures.

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My bed is now made, my window is open, and the fresh smells of spring are spilling through my open window. It’s a good night  :).

Blessings,

Blythe Elizabeth

Read This

As of late, I have been spending much time with kids. About 3 days a week, I babysit three wonderful littles – Sophia (7), Julianna (4), and Drew (1). I have come to love these kids so dearly! It’s been so fun getting to know their personalities, and being a second mom to them. I’m so attached to them. We always have much fun with games, crafts, baking, making forts, being silly, etc.. Sophia is headstrong, practical, but goofy at times. Julianna is sensitive, funny, and loves to dance/sing. Drew is adorable, skimpy when it comes to giving kisses, and loves trucks.

This week, I’ve been nannying two girls (Aja, 5, & India, 2. However, they have many nicknames, and I rarely call them by their real names) – what a joy that’s been! I love driving around running errands, walking Aja to school and picking her up, playing with India, keeping up with the household chores, making meals, etc. These two girls are absolute darlings – they say “Thank you” without me having to prompt, and they always say “May I please” upon asking for something. They have their occasional bouts of attitude, but those have been easy to take care of thus far.

After having spent so much time with kids, you begin to learn many things. And so, I compiled a list of 10 things that I’ve learned.

  1. If there are crayons and/or markers out while a one-year-old is around and you have to leave the room for more than 3 seconds, take all accesible coloring tools with you (or put them well out of reach). If crayons/markers are within reach, things that shouldn’t be colored on will soon have inky or waxy scribbles on them – both of which are rather difficult to remove.
  2. Your efforts to pick up the Duplos are all in vain. They will be dumped out again within 10 minutes of having put them away.
  3. Make sure when you say “one more time,” you really mean one more time. If you cave and give them a few “one more times,” kids will quickly learn to walk all over you and your soft heart that wants to give their cute little selves everything they ask for. It won’t take long for a kid to think that they can receive anything they want if they ask frequently enough.
  4. Cutting food into shapes and such can make all the difference. If you make apple wedges and peanut butter look like a flower (don’t forget the celery for the stem), you are a winner. Children everywhere will you think you are the bomb diggity.
  5. You can keep a 1-year-old occupied quite well just by simply repeating the sounds they make. They’ll stare in wonder, laugh at your silly attempt to speak their language, and smile at you (with their adorable 5-toothed smile and sparkling eyes).
  6. Having to change a poopy diaper right after you changed their wet one is just part of life. I think young children get joy out of making you change their diaper twice in 5 minutes.
  7. Similar to #3… No means no. Unless you come to realize that your reason for saying no in the first place no longer exists, DO NOT CAVE. But at the same time, be sensitive to their wants/feelings, and don’t cause them to feel more frustrated than they already are for not getting what they wanted. For example: “I understand why you want that, but [give valid reason why they can’t have desired thing]. Maybe some other time, but not right now,” is much better than, “Stop asking. I already told you no twice!” A stern voice is good, but not a I’m-annoyed-at-you tone of voice.
  8. Kids pretty much always want the cup that’s not theirs. Because, you know – orange flowers are much better than the pink bumblebees. Pink bumblebees are so 5 years old.
  9. To work well with kids, you need a good amount of three things: Flexibility, grace, and imagination.
  10. Messiness is something you have to accept – messes will happen, no matter what. I’m not saying that you should let your house look like 10 lumberjacks are living there, but don’t get uptight when kids spill all the blocks, crayons, and game pieces all over the floor. Don’t get irritated when they spill their water. Don’t make them feel bad or embarrassed about not making it to the potty on time. Messes happen – and they can be cleaned up. And, it’s a good opportunity to teach kids to clean as they go, and put things away before getting something else out. It also teaches them to be responsible for their own messes, and not to rely on an adult to clean up for them.

Well, this concludes my list. I could have gone on and on about kids, but I figured my list was already on the long side. If you have any comments, feel free to share. If you have tips, leave a comment. If you have disagreements, I’d like to know what they are.

Devotedly,

Blythe

Up To My Neck

So, I have been busy. I haven’t much time to blog – or relax. Thankfully, I’m leaving on Thursday for family vacation! Six days in the beautiful Adirondacks of upstate New York  :). We’ll be staying in a little cabin my Great Grandfather built – it has such character. I love it so much! When I come back, you’d better believe that I’ll have many lovely photos and memories to share with you all. I simple canNOT wait.

Oh, and did I mention that Jay is coming along? I am so happy to be able to see that boy six days in a row, and spend time with him. Conoeing, fishing, stargazing, games, campfires, swimming… It’ll be a good time  :)!

^ A picture I took a couple years ago with my dad’s old film SLR of the cabin. Isn’t it charming?

Ta ta for now!

Blythe

Anthro

Yesterday I signed up to be an Anthropologie member, and today I received this in the mail:

1: Front of the envelope with my name and address printed out in good ol’, never fail, forever classic, American Typewriter font. (I blurred it out so that my address isn’t readable. No stalkers, please!)

2: Back of the envelope with Anthro’s Philly address. I’ve never been to the store in Philly – only the one in New York City. That was a dream  :).

3. Inside there was my membership card. A super simple & eye-catching avocado green card with “ANTHRO” stamped in the middle.

Tonight I spent a bit of time on Anthropologie’s website, and picked out a few favorites  :). For example…

I’d love to wear this dress with these cute earrings:

Or one of these shirts…

…with these pants & shoes:

(1/2/3/4/5/6)

And speaking of old pictures (not that we were), here are two photos I dug up and edited this evening just for funzies:

All right, well, I realize this is a slightly dull blog post. Just think of it as a filler – it’s simply here so that my blog doesn’t get dusty before my next real post. However, I hope you found enjoyment in it anyway! I promise my next post will be more worthwhile. I’ve had many thoughts brewing in my mind for a little while, so I’m sure I’ll have a thing or two to write about soon.

With His love,

Blythe

Sharing the Wealth

It was Fourth of July (exactly 10 days ago, although it feels longer ago than that). I was at work with Janessa and Heidi, and it was a less-busy-than-usual sort of day at the dairy. Most everyone that was coming in was just there to buy ice cream with their families – it was hot, and it was a holiday. At around the time the sun is almost completely gone, there was only one customer in the store. It was quiet, and I took advantage of the time to clean up some of the messes we made whilst dipping ice cream and making milkshakes. The customer (a man whose appearance I can’t recall other than his khaki pants and balding head) approached the counter to purchase his two gallons of milk, and so I rung up his purchases. Heidi bagged his milk, and the gentleman struck up a conversation.

          “So, do you get paid extra for working on a holiday?” He asked. Heidi and I laughed politely as I replied,

“No, we don’t. I think it’s only if you work full time do you get paid time and a half.” Heidi jokingly said,

“We accept tips, though!” Without a second of hesitation, the gentleman whipped out his wallet, took out two single dollar bills, and put them on the counter. Immediately Heidi turned bright red, began insisting that she was joking, and did not want his money. I, too, told the man that neither of us minded working on a holiday, and that a tip was unnecessary. By this point, my face was also turning pink. My ears felt hot, and my mouth was stuck in a I-feel-awkward-and-am-not-sure-what-to-do sort of smile. Heidi tried handing the two dollars back to the man, but he refused. He explained,

“I worked eight hours today, and I did get paid time and a half. I’m just sharing the wealth.”

He said a few more things about how he appreciated us, wished us to have a lovely evening, and bid us goodbye. Feeling quite undeserving of his kind gesture, I somewhat self-consciously stuffed the bill in my pocket and decided to later put it in my jar of change/tips at home. Heidi declared that she was going to put the money in the offering plate at church.

That random gentleman reminded me of three important things:

  1. Small gestures can leave large imprints. So, be careful and aware of what you do/say.
  2. I shouldn’t hold onto my money with as tight of a grip as I do.
  3. As Anne Frank said,

(image made by me)

With care,

Blythe

Aye Curumba!

I am so far behind in posting pictures. I’ve been taking pictures every day – haven’t missed one yet  :)! But I have been terribly lazy about posting them on here. So, hopefully I will kick my butt hard enough quite soon, and get this done.

Love you all, and sorry for the lack of posting!

Until I get around to it,

Blythe Elizabeth

Psalm 42

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As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.

Do you really thirst for God? Do you feel spiritually parched if you skip doing your devotions? Do you feel dried out when you’re not right with Him? I’ve been asking myself these questions the past couple of days. My answers would be “Not enough”, “Usually”, and “Absolutely”.

I don’t think I thirst for God enough. If I did, I think my relationship with Him would be much better, and more radical. Right now, I’d say it’s on the better side of mediocre. In my opinion, that’s not at all where it should be. I need to spend more time with God, fall more in love with Him, serve Him more selflessly, and try more to live as Jesus did.

If I skip a day (or more) of doing my devotions, I usually feel spiritually parched. This goes to show how much I need God every moment of the day. I want to need Him. I want to feel like I can’t do anything without Him. My independence must be ripped away, so that I can be a better tool of His. All my strength must come from Him, all my decisions must be His decisions, and all my actions must be God-inspired.

When I’m not right with God, I feel dried out. Like a raison. A really ugly raison. I definitely don’t feel like a beautiful child of His – I feel dark, sinful, ugly, and uncomfortable with myself and God. Which means I need to step into the light where He is, confess my sins, be forgiven, and live in truth (read 1 John 1:5-10).

I’m not at all sure how to end this blog post. So I will just leave it as is. Goodbye, readers! Thank you for taking your time to read this. If you have anything to say concerning what I wrote, I’d feel honored if you posted a comment. I’d love to know your thoughts  :).

Wholeheartedly,

Blythe Elizabeth

 

Catching Up

At last – here I am, posting the pictures that I’ve taken the past 5 days (today’s picture will be posted tonight).
On Thursday, Jay and I went to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Fulton Opera House. Afterward, he played one of the many pianos scattered throughout downtown Lancaster. It was grand  :). This specific piano is located right by the Prince St. parking garage, which has lights in it that are continually changing color – hence the pinkness of this photo.

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This was taken on Friday, day five of my project. I went to the beach with Jay & his family  :). It was also the day that marked 9 months since Jay and I started dating. The whole day was lovely  :). I loved this boy’s hair. So orange  :)! I quickly snapped a photo when he wasn’t looking, and this was the result.

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This picture was taken at a dear friend’s graduation party. I didn’t make much effort to take any really neat photos that day, so all I have is this.

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July 3rd came along, and I went to Jay’s house for a 4th of July celebration. Afterwards, Jay and I met up with two of my best friends (Sarah and Emily) and Jay’s good friend Tony to watch the fireworks show at Longs Park. Now, I definitely didn’t want to use a picture of fireworks for today’s 365. I think it’s really cliché, even though fireworks are fascinating and beautiful. But, the day’s busyness kept me from taking pictures of anything else BUT fireworks! It turns out that I’m actually okay with that, because this one picture happens to be really lovely. Or, at least I think so. It looks like a galaxy to me. Shooting stars, planets, black holes, and nebulas… So mysteriously wonderful! (Better if viewed large… click on it!)

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July 4th! Another busy day. I went to a lake called Gifford Pinchot to spend the day picnicing, swimming, and being with family and friends to celebrate our country’s independence. Emily, Jay, Tony, and Adam came with us for the day, which provided much laughter and many fun moments  :). I’m so grateful for each of them. The only thing I took a picture of while we were there were Emily’s shoes… Despite the quirkiness of her shoes (handed down by her grandmother), it was a boring photo. So when I got home (just as the sun was setting), I grabbed my camera, tripod, matches, and some sparkles. The photo I decided to use wasn’t what I originally had in mind, but very few of the photos I took I actually liked. So, this will have to do.

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At last, I am caught up! It feels good. Now I just need to take a picture for today, and post it tonight… Off I go!

Much love,

Blythe Elizabeth