Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 18th, 2017

The Legend of the Blue Feather

In the first days of mankind, when people were learning about life in all its complexities and splendor, there was a very shy boy named Kuko. He was very much in love with the daughter of the chief of his tribe, but was too shy to say anything to her. Instead, he would leave a White Flower at her door each morning and then walk past her house later to see if his gift had been accepted. 

The White Flower was a rare and beautiful blossom that could be found only at the top of the highest mountain. Each evening, Kuko would climb the mountain to search for the elusive flower and he would not return to his village without it. To him, it represented the rare emotion that had blossomed in his own heart. 

Every day, his heart rose when he saw that the flower no longer lay on the doorstep. He imagined his beloved would understand that her own beauty was reflected in the exquisite loveliness of the White Flower.

 Then one day, a delegation of strangers came to the village. They brought an offering of marriage from the son of a neighboring chieftain. Donkeys laden with gold, chests filled with precious gems, and baskets filled with grains, vegetables, and fruit accompanied the proposal of marriage.

 Poor Kuko! His heart sank when he saw the ostentatious procession and heard the admiring exclamations of the villagers. All he had to offer was the simple White Flower. In fact, as the delegation entered the home of the village chieftain, their heavy boots trampled Kuko's offering into the dust. 

Kuko could not imagine that the girl would prefer him to the son of a wealthy chief. He was a poor shepherd boy who owned only a couple of sheep and two chickens who never had laid a single golden egg.

In despair that evening, he went to the Spring of the Goddess to think. It was a favorite spot of his, a place he often visited when life appeared darkest. According to legend, the Harvest Goddess lived in the lake and granted the wishes of deserving individuals who sought her aid. Kuko imagined the Goddess to be as compassionate as she would be beautiful, and he poured his heart out to her in the twilight, speaking of his dreams and hopes, his disappointments and his struggles. Ordinarily rather inarticulate and shy, Kuko found he was able to speak freely to the Goddess he could not see but whom he sensed to be ever-present in the sparkling waters of the Spring.

That evening, when he finally fell silent, he was surprised by the appearance of an exquisite blue bird flying across the sky. The bird circled overhead three times, then dropped a feather into his lap. The feather was long and iridescent, and Kuko never had beheld anything quite as beautiful.

Kuko was startled, but even more astonished when the bird actually spoke to him.

"I am the Namimoto bird, who makes her nest in the very lap of the Goddess," the bird sang. "She bids me tell you to take heart. Give this Blue Feather to the girl you love and if her heart beats true for you, she will be yours."

Kuko bowed low to the sacred bird, thanking her for the rare gift. He then returned to the village, feather in hand, and laid it upon the doorstep of his beloved. He could not sleep, however, and was at her door at dawn to see if the feather remained where he had left it. Much to his joy, the feather was gone!

As he stood there, the chief of the village, his daughter and the entire delegation of strangers came out of the house, and the village crier began to ring the bell, calling the villager to a meeting. All the villagers congregated in the Square, pressing forward to hear the news. Poor Kuko was afraid suddenly that it would be an announcement that the Chief's daughter had agreed to accept the offer of marriage from the neighboring Chief's son.

Instead, he beheld his lady love stepping forward with the Blue Feather braided into her golden hair.

In a clear voice she declared, "I will marry only the man who can tell me where the bird to which this feather belongs lives."

Her father then spoke. "Three days from now, we will have another meeting and at that time, we will hear the answer to my daughter's question."

Kuko realized that the Chief intended to give the neighboring Chief's son a chance to discover the answer to the girl's question. The next three days passed far too slowly for poor Kuko, who knew the answer himself, but did not know if his rival would be able to stand forth to give the correct answer as well.

After three days had passed, the bells rang out again and the villagers collected in the Square. The delegation returned and this time, the neighboring Chief's son was with them. Much to Kuko's consternation, he was a handsome lad, but with arrogance stamped in his features. His bearing moreover denoted one accustomed to having his own way in everything.

Kuko's rival stepped forward then, as if he and he alone had the right to speak first. 

He declared loudly, "Here is my answer to your question: I have sent men to every corner of our land, and no one has seen a bird with feathers like this. I therefore declare with confidence that the bird is foreign to these parts, and must be from a land very faraway."

"Yes!" agreed the Chief happily. "That must be so. We have our answer here."

"And yet," said the girl. "That is no answer at all. It does not tell me where to find the bird."

Kuko stepped forward then. Much to his surprise, when he spoke, he did not stutter as usual. His voice was firm and melodious as he said, "I have seen the bird you seek. This bird will not be found anywhere in our land or in any other, for she makes her nest in the very lap of the Goddess. She is the Namimoto bird, favored by the Harvest Goddess above all others."

The villagers were amazed, not only by Kuko's words but by his transformation into a confident young man who had neither hesitation nor fear.

"How do you know this?" the Chief demanded with a frown.

"The bird gave me the Blue Feather," said Kuko. "It is a symbol of true love, for the man who offers this feather to a girl declares: 'My heart flies to you, even as a bird flies to its nest. I wish to dwell in your heart forever.' That is the message of the Blue Feather and that is why I offer it to your daughter. I am your humble servant, sir, but my heart has the highest of aspirations, to belong to your daughter forever."

Every one was captivated by the boy's words and even the Chief could not maintain his stern disapproval, although the thought of losing all the advantages that an alliance with the neighboring Chief would have provided was disappointing. Even so, he loved his daughter and her happiness was more important than riches.

The Chief's daughter looked at the son of the neighboring Chief, then at Kuko.

"I always loved you," she told the young shepherd. "Each morning, I would watch from my window as you brought a beautiful White Flower to my door. I always hoped you would speak to me one day of your love."

 She took his hand then in her own and announced, "I accept your Blue Feather and your heart. From this day forward, let the Blue Feather be a sign of eternal love for every man and woman who wishes to marry."

And so it came to pass that the 'Blue Feather' became the symbol of love and accompanied every proposal of marriage through all the centuries.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October 19th, 2017

When you're up way past your bedtime & are struggling to finish the rest of that movie... ๐Ÿ˜ด

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 18th, 2017

Pretty proud of myself for getting my incredibly thin hair into two mini buns today! It actually looked pretty decent, too. :)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October 15th, 2017

We finished our birthday board this afternoon! ❤️๐ŸŽ‚ I am so in love with how it turned out! It was a lot of hard work, but it definitely paid off in the end. Mike says he smiles every time he walks into the kitchen and sees it. I agree. :) 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 14th, 2017

Originally Mike and I had planned to head to our favorite little apple orchard in Woodstock, however the stormy weather didn't seem to want to cooperate with us! Instead, we decided to do something fun at home. We were feeling crafty, so we thought a little DIY project might be fun. I had seen these completely adorable birthday boards on Pinterest the other day, and when I showed Mike he instantly decided that we had to make one ourselves!

We headed to Hobby Lobby to buy supplies...and ended up having a ton of fun browsing around and being silly. :) We found some cute little circle and heart chips to use for the birthdays and anniversaries, hooks to hang the chips together, and letters to use to decorate the sign. For the sign itself, we headed to Home Depot to get a board and some stain.

Back at the house, Mike handled the sign while I prepared our chips. He cut the board to size, sanded it, and then stained it. I painted the letters white for "family", "Gembara", and "Donelson" while Mike wood burned all twelve months into the sign.

One I was finished, I resumed painting the chips while Mike glued on all the words. Next he started drilling holes for the hooks, both in the sign and the finished chips.

It's getting late, so we decided to call it a night for now. Obviously, wenstill have more chips to finish painting. And then comes time for putting on all the names! We're going to use different colors to help identify the different families throughout the board. Our little project is coming along so wonderfully! Mike and I are so happy with how it's looking and we can't wait until it's finished and hanging on our wall!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October 12th, 2017

Light breeze... ๐ŸŒฌ

Colorful leaves... ๐Ÿ

Bare trees... ๐Ÿ‚

It must be autumn. ๐Ÿ’›

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 11th, 2017

After work Mike asked if we could head to Dollar Tree. When I asked why, he said he wanted to get more decorations. He said that, while he loved all our fall dรฉcor, he wanted some Halloween-themed stuff too! So we headed out and found all kinds of adorable things to put around the house. What I love most about Dollar Tree is how you end up picking out a cart-full of things, but when you head to the cashier you hardly break twenty bucks. :) We also stopped at Walmart afterward, where we found a cute Halloween wreath for our door!

Back at home we got right to work adding our new decorations around the house. We had fun putting window stickers all over the place - both of our huge windows, our bathroom mirror, and even on our door! We bought two cute light-up pumpkins to put in the corner and an owl whose eyes glow. After we were all done the house was a perfect blend of autumny-Halloween goodness. We were both really happy with the deals we found and how lovely it looked in our home!

I also ended up getting to spend a lot of time drawing, which I always enjoy. Mike and I both drew in our sketchbooks for a few hours! I put pictures of the pieces I finished below. :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10th, 2017

Introducing my new baby cousin: Joseph Robert Shroyer!

This little guy is the son of my cousin Raymond and his lovely wife Alyssa. He was so affectionately named after Raymond's father, my late uncle

Joseph was born this evening at 11:11 PM, weighing 8lbs 5oz and measuring 20 inches long.

Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9th, 2017

I finally turned in my dreaded project for my Typography class today! Here's how the cover/poster turned out. Surpisingly, the presentation went well and she actually seemed to like what I ended up with! Fingers crossed that I end up with a good grade. ;P

Here's to hoping the next project isn't as miserably boring as this one was.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

October 8th, 2017 *

Today Mike and I started to watch the old Pokรฉmon show (Indigo League). I used to watch this show religiously as a little kid, so I found myself full of so much nostalgia every time a new episode played! Mike had only ever seen the newer series (X&Y), so he enjoyed getting to see the roots of classic Pokรฉmon. :)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October 7th, 2017

Last night my dad texted me out of the blue and asked if I wanted four tickets to the hawks game today! Naturally, I said yes. ;) This evening Mike and I took Mitch and Jax downtown to the United Center. My dad's cousin Fron has season tickets in the 200 level, right behind the opponent's goal, row five. So needless to say the seats were fantastic. We were all really excited about that, plus none of us had attended any games since last year. It was the Hawks second game of the season, and after their 10-1 win the other day we had high expectations.

We were certainly not disappointed. The Hawks won 5-1! Kane was player of the game and my boy Corey had so unbelievable saves. We all left smiling and feeling victorious after that win. It was such a great night with all my favorite boys; I'm so glad we were able to go together!

Friday, October 6, 2017

October 6th, 2017

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that, as of today, I am no longer working with Kohl's. Due to an overwhelming school load as I near the end, I can no longer juggle schoolwork alongside both my jobs. It has been such a wonderful five years, and I'm going to miss the people that have truly become my second family. I was privileged with the opportunity to work in so many different departments across the store, and because of that I've met and grown closer to so many different people. While the work wasn't always ideal at times, the people in that building always made it worthwhile. I will remember all the fun conversations and many laughs shared with you all. Thankfully, I only live a few minutes away, so I promise to visit as much as possible! I love all of you so much and I am so thankful to have spent so many wonderful years with you all. ❤️

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October 4th, 2017

Today Mike took me to see Tangled! This makes it the second time I've seen this movie in theaters. :) Seeing this movie on the big screen is an absolute MUST. The already beautiful animation becomes a million times more dynamic and gorgeous when it is blown up on the theater screen! The lantern scene...oh my goodness, it is just stunning. I was so happy to have had the opportunity to go see it again; I'm so thankful to my darling for taking me!