My Summer Reading Goals

AuthenticVirtue.com Spring Reading List

Ah … reading. Isn’t it the best? Last year I made a goal to read more and finished a total of eleven or so books. To some of you reading folk that number is laughable. But to me it’s progress.

This year I’m setting my sights higher. I’m already beginning to plan my summer-break reading list to include these great copies above as well as I few I’ll need to borrow from the library.

I’m a big believer in balance. During my early-twenties I over-taxed my story-loving heart by indulging myself in too many big theoretical reads and sermons. And while they did me a world of good they also burned my love for reading. So now, I aim for balance. I’m okay with reading heavy material as well as light-hearted novels or educational reads.

What are you reading this summer? Are you a lover of books or does the thought curl your toes? What’s the title of your latest read? I’d love to know!

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Celebrating Us with Carnival Cruise + Eastern Caribbean

Hey sweet folk!

Three weeks ago my Darling Man and I flew south and embarked upon a glorious, fun 2nd anniversary trip (which isn’t actually until March 7th!). We just loved our seven day Carnival Cruise in the Eastern Caribbean. I only wish I had enjoyed it more! (And for you’re enjoyment click on the picture to see them up close.) 😉

We loved starting our trip by visiting wit Dalton’s aunt and uncle … they were so awesome and dropped us at the St. Louis airport at the crack of dawn (3 am!). We’re so thankful for you, Bob and Judee!

Oh, I also have to mention “Clubby,” the one-footed pigeon in the Fort Lauderdale airport; we loved being greeted by a tourist friendly bird. 😉

The ship was so beautiful. We sailed on the Conquest which housed … I think up to 2,000 visitors from all over the country. It was hard to choose what to do with the many pools and hot tubs, water slide, giant movie screen, live entertainment and music, and several restaurants.

We were so excited to get a suite — we decided that we were willing to pay to have a view! There were no regrets. Our room was beautiful and we really enjoyed our sweet room attendant, Aileen, who made our bed, turned down the sheets and always had our ice bucket filled up. I especially had fun squealing over her towel-animal creations; she was so talented! It was fun feeling like royals for a week! 😉

We sailed the first two days, and then visited one of the ports on Grand Turk (the capital of Turks & Caicos Islands). Such a lovely place! We went on an excursion where we snorkeled over a reef and then went to Gibbs Cay where sting rays were swimming around. I didn’t touch one but it was fun watching other’s squirm with them!

Before our trip was over we also spent a day at Amber Cove on the Dominican Republic and Nassau, Bahamas (which was my favorite).

What was our personal favorites on the ship? I know I enjoyed the coffee bar and since Dalton worked out at least 2-3 times a day I’d wager he enjoyed the gym. 😉

It was so special to spend my 26th birthday at on our cruise. Early in the morning we got a knock on our door where someone delivered Dalton’s surprise gift to me — a yummy chocolate cake and rose! He is SUCH a sweetheart! It was a lot of fun to spend the rest of the day docked in Nassau. We walked several blocks of the old, downtown area … I especially wanted to visit their library and my dear Dalton went to take me but we got lost among the old buildings!

This is where I have to stop and say how much more I wish I had enjoyed this trip. I had been feeling queasy most of our vacation (due to sea sickness, I think) but the day of my birthday ended with me spending several hours sick to my stomach. (What a waste of a perfect birthday cake!) 😉

Because of that I was a real party-pooper most of the trip. I’ve got to brag on my Man because all through the trip he continued to bless and encourage me despite my grumpiness. One of these vacations I’ll learn to take full advantage of it! 😉 Anyways, I have got one great man! Hearts!

IMG_4062I loved seeing D all dressed up for the elegant dinner on the 2nd day of sea. He’s such a stud!

I’m pretty sure all eyes were on us during the trip because of our (fairly) conservative appearance. More then once we were asked if we were Mennonite and which colony we came from! Haha!

I think that’s why I loved our “dressing up” night You can’t see it here but I had a beautiful, colorful hi-low skirt on paired with a black top and D looked super cute in his dress jeans, button up and black vest. We must have looked like very stylish Mennonites. 😉

p.s. I just have to ogle Dalton’s gorgeous beard! I love it when he can grow it out since work requires him clean shaven. Hahaha … oh, are you uncomfortable? But just look at how GORGOUS his manbeard is?! Okay, okay, I’ll stop. 😉 😀

IMG_4165

Overall, it was a splendid trip and I’m so glad we were able to go. Since we try to go on a big trip with each other every year I’m looking forward to next year’s anniversary itinerary. Next week I’ll have a packing list of what to bring on a cruise from my point of view.

Love, blessings and coffee!

Frannie

If I Was, I’d Be

It’s a great day for a little bit of coffee, relaxation and fun. The sun is shining and, as a blogger, I need a little silliness to lighten my load. One of my favorites shared this little bit of fun and her answers made me smile.

So, I’m carrying it on.

If i was…

a month: November

What other month has the excitement of upcoming holidays, first snows and winter coats?

a day of the week: Monday

It’s time to start. Plans, coffee, to-do lists and opportunities await. Let’s go.

a planet: Earth

It’s full of beauty, noise, life, quiet and God-made things. 

a sea animal: Sea Lion

They’re soft, cute and like to flop on each other. Plus they can swim … and all I can do is doggy paddle.

d91287ba73c0c2d50ab7c1bc0270282da piece of furniture: Front porch rocking chair

These pieces of furniture always offer comfort.  You can sleep, talk, and relax in these beautiful creatures. I’ve seen a lot of porches but the best have rocking chairs.

a gemstone: Aquamarine

This is my Beloved’s birth stone which makes it my most favorite. Plus, it is a delightful blue.

a flower: Morning Glory  

Because there’s nothing better then waking up early in the morning and facing the sunshine. Plus, Morning Glories come in all sorts of soft colors.

a kind of weather: Sunshine and soft breezes

Not hot, just warm enough for late afternoon walks with my Darling Man.

a color: Cornflower blue and buttercream yellow

These colors were the theme of my mom’s beautiful, Alaskan kitchen wallpaper.

an emotion: Rest

Peaceful contentment.

a fruit: Apple 

With nutty peanut butter.

a sound: My Keurig buzzing with fresh, hot brew in the morning

Yum. Is there anything better then this sound? It’s busy, quiet, soft and full of delicious promise.

an element: Water

Because I am both flexible and solid, quiet and loud, transparent and occasionally turbulent.

a place: Sitting on the trampoline looking at blue skies, white clouds and sunshine through Alaskan birch trees

This is my most impressionable, sensory-rich memory and it fills me with so many good thoughts.

a taste: Warm banana bread with butter spread across it.

Yum. Yum. Yum. YUM! 🙂 

a scent: Good, fresh black coffee 

Hello, morning. Is there anything better? I can’t think of anything more alert and welcoming?

an object: A chalkboard freshly washed or yellow paint

These things hold so much creative promise.

a body part: Probably a nose

A freckled, slightly upturned nose.

a song: Currently, this and this.  

a pair of shoes: flats, please.

Because nothing is cuter then a pair of flats with a flowy skirt. Right?

If you were, what would you be?

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Hello 2016!

Currently Series with Authentic Virtue Blog

We all celebrate milestones differently. Me? I light candles, pour coffee and snuggle in; especially now as I reflect over what the Lord did in 2015 and what He may do this coming year.

It’s been a blessed, beautiful, adventure-filled year.

First, we celebrated our 1st anniversary and went on our postponed honeymoon to Las Vegas (baby!). We absolutely loved being able to afford our first nine day vacation with each other. We walked the strip (a lot), swam in our resort’s lazy river every day and thoroughly enjoyed our friendship and recalling our first year together.

Las Vegas! Las Vegas! Me and my Darling!

We logged hundreds of hours on our local interstate visiting family and making memories with the folk who really make our life tick. I’ve got to say that we really love Dalton’s 3-day weekends! We’ve been to Branson, Missouri with both sides of our family, surprised parents, and spent a lot of time in my mother-in-law’s salon. I’m so thankful our dear family are only 3 hours down the road.

What a silly group of folk

I began last year substituting in a local Christian school and then accepted an official, part-time position this school year as librarian and p.e. instructor. I’ve learned so much from accepting this position. I’ve helped put together a book fair, discovered how to prepare usable lesson plans, spent hours decorating my space and countless time loving (and being loved) by awesome kids and staff. It’s a challenge I’m so glad I accepted.

I even hosted my very own brunch! 😉 Only one soul was able to attend but we sure had a delightful time and I finally branched into hosting!

Hello, brunch!

This blog has also grown! I feel like Authentic Virtue became an adult this year when I moved from my beloved BlogSpot space to my own domain and WordPress! 😀 I enjoyed the excitement of having one of my articles featured by To Love, Honor and Vacuum and felt the thrill (and freakout!) of branching into an actual Facebook site and Periscope channel!

Speaking of the blog, here are 2015’s top five posts of the year! (I still can’t believe #1 got 1,752 views! I also can’t believe I wrote about such a controversial topic!)

Yes, it’s been a beautiful year. I’ve become more adultish. I’ve had to schedule my own doctor appointments, successfully completed a sugar fast (twice!), read more, made friends (hey! it’s a big deal for an introvert in a new city 😉 ), and pushed myself to work harder for my goals and dreams.

(I’ve also failed my sugar fast, gained a few pounds and cried a lot over little things … all things in moderation, right? 😉 )

Soon I’ll be penciling plans and dreams into a new calendar. Ordinary, day-to-day tasks will need to be inspired and revamped. I’ll need to find new ways to keep my home better and do small things with great love. We’ll need to organize our priorities as we discuss what we think God desires from us in our mid-Western town. Should we begin a Bible study? Should we get involved with the Boys and Girls Club? Should we look into renting the adorable house up the street?

There’s also the possibilities. Will I get pregnant? Will Dalton apply for a promotion? Will we stay in Jefferson City?

(I’ll also turn twenty-six in eight days … I’m getting old, ya’ll.)

So many possibilities, so many opportunities for God to reveal Himself through our lives.

What has your year looked like? Care to share some of your 2016 schemes and dreams?

I know one thing about 2016; we’ll sure enjoy our 2nd anniversary Eastern Caribbean cruise … 😉

Love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

Currently in December (Plus a Giveaway!)

Currently Series with Authentic Virtue Blog

Crafting: Lots of Christmas gifts! This year I’ve enjoyed working my hands over several loved one’s gifts. I’ve so wanted to do several DIY’s for you but that would give away surprises. 😉 Let’s just say there’s been a lot of Hobby Lobbying happening round here.

Dreaming: Of sweet babies! I recently had the most lovely dream of us having twins, a boy and a girl. And while it was just a dream I’m clinging to the promise that sweet children are in our future, Lord willing. <3  

Anticipating: Dalton and I’s 2nd anniversary trip!! Woot, woot! I’m not announcing our destination yet but let’s just say I’ll need to pack sundresses and I’m ordering this cute (and modest!) swim bottom. 😉

Planning: My sweet sister and brother-in-love’s second baby boy’s arrival! (Well, I’m not planning that but … you know.) I’ll soon be spending time with their growing family — a trip I am very much looking forward too.

Smelling: Warm, wintry candles. I’ve been keeping the candles lit from dawn until dusk lately; they just add such a peaceful, homey feel to our little home.

Eating: Lots of salads and baked potatoes. This is the month of delicious, light meals and I’m very much enjoying it.

Celebrating: My Periscope launch! I had a few friends encourage me to branch into live Periscope moments with my readers and I’m so glad I took the leap. Of course, chatting live is very nerve-wracking and I’ve miserably flopped a time or two but overall it’s been a great challenge and a lovely way to connect more personally with readers.

If you have a smart phone look me up with the app Periscope (@FrannieAnneDuncan) for weekly bits of coffee and conversation.

Listening to: Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas channel or this great song.

Enjoying: My new exercise routine! My certified personal trainer (aka Mr. Duncan 😉 ) and I are having a lot of fun as he helps me/gives me pointers in weight lifting (itty bitty weights) and other exercise routines. He’s got some really great ideas and makes working out not as dreadful as it normally is for me. 🙂

Reading: I’m pushing through Elizabeth Prentiss’ Stepping Heavenward. Honestly, after God’s Word, this is the one book I’d recommend to all Christians. Theology and life lessons are beautifully tucked into a fictional story and there is both edification and encouragement wrapped within the chapters. Do check this old classic out.

Pausing: My three post-a-week blog schedule. 🙂 It seems like I’ve entered a season of life where writing requires more focus than normal; this discouraged me at first but I’ve come to a place of thanksgiving and gratitude. I love this place and if writing requires more effort then that’s what I shall give — but I’ll do it in a way that promotes growth and grace and less stress in meeting my self-made deadlines.

Giving: I love the quality, life-giving items Worldvision shares and would love to pass these two beauties on to two separate readers. The first is a gorgeous, cross over purse with lining and zipper and the second is a beautiful, silver-lined bracelet with vineyard carvings in it.

 

Leave me a comment below to be entered into the drawing which will end January 13th, 2016! Also, for extra entries share the fun (on Facebook, Instagram or your blog) and leave me a comment with your link below. This is open to any sweet soul so feel free to share. 🙂

What does your world currently look like? I would love to hear about it. Leave me a comment below! With love, blessings and wonderful, black coffee,

Frannie