A Year Of Skies {2018 Edition}

A Year Of Skies {2018 Edition}

Last year, I finished off my first year of blogging on Dreaming of Guatemala by showcasing the photos I took of the sky in 2017. It was a beautiful way to wrap up a year full of so many wonderful memories, because one of my absolute favorite things to do is photograph the sky.

It doesn’t matter what day it is, what time of day it is, or what’s going on at that point in my life. If I’m outside, I look up from time to time. Sometimes I smile, sometimes I stare at the cloud formations, and sometimes I whip out my phone and capture some of the most extravagant sights I’ve ever seen.

Continue reading “A Year Of Skies {2018 Edition}”

Going Biking With Joshua

Going Biking With Joshua

Hello! I hope you’re having a fantastic day. ❤ It has been a loooong time since I shared a post with pictures from a road trip, which is why I’m excited to have an experience to write about today!

Ever since I finally became more comfortable with driving again, I’ve been going a lot of places with my siblings. While I’d still rather not brave the interstate just yet (metro Atlanta is NO joke!), there are plenty of places we love to go that are off from back roads and state highways!

Related Post: First Drive Since February

Today, I’ll be sharing pictures spotlighting the outing Joshua and I went on early last week! We both had a great time – you’ll see why in the pictures below. 🙂

Continue reading “Going Biking With Joshua”

A Year of Skies

A Year of Skies

There are few things I love to photograph more than the sky. I never cease to be amazed by its vastness, beauty, and extravagance – it reminds me of my Lord and Savior, Whom I love so much. ❤ It is both of these loves that has inspired this post! I went back through all of the pictures that I took in 2017 and found twelve different photos of the sky which were taken over the months. With these pictures, I found scripture from the Psalms to accompany them. ❤ I hope you enjoy!


“So will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.”
– Psalm 63:4

“Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplications.”
– Psalm 28:6 

“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it, the world and they who dwell in it.”
– Psalm 24:1

“For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your works; at the deeds of Your hands I joyfully sing.” – Psalm 92:4

“Your name, O Lord, endures forever, Your fame, O Lord, throughout all ages.”
– Psalm 135:13

“May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His work … “
– Psalm 104:31

“May my mediation be sweet to Him; as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord.”
– Psalm 104:34

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.” – Psalm 103:19

“O give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name,
make known His doings among the peoples!” – Psalm 105:1

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let Your glory be over all the earth.”
– Psalm 108:5

“The works of the Lord are great, sought out by all those who have delight in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever.”
– Psalm 111:2-3

“The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory.”
– Psalm 97:6


Thank you for reading! Have a blessed weekend ❤

Cultivating A Joyful Life | An Introduction

Cultivating A Joyful Life | An Introduction

Cultivate is one of my favorite words. It is a beautiful way to describe keeping and nurturing plant life, but the way I love to use it most is in an analogy.

Have you ever heard those inspirational quotes that refer to our hearts as a garden?

We each have a garden within us.

It’s the place where we keep all of our best memories – and our worst nightmares; a place where we grow positive attitude attributes – as well as traits we wish we didn’t have. In our gardens, we cultivate beautiful things that add joy, love, and peace to our lives … and in that same garden is an assortment of weeds, plants we wish weren’t there anymore, dusty stones in that cobblestone path that has been the main walkway in our hearts for years. It’s different for each and every person; not one garden looks the same, and that’s okay! For just like we differ as people, what we cultivate in our hearts, minds, and souls is different, too.

I often ponder what is in the garden of my own heart. Seldom have I mentioned it, but I absolutely love analogies, parables, metaphors, and everything else that’s nice (haha) – really, I love comparing things with one another by using verbal illustrations to show how, even though two things are completely different, they are, in essence, the same. Even though I have come up with few unique analogies myself, I take to heart each and every one I come across that touches me. I enjoy reading, seeing and hearing what others have come up with, and I also love the wisdom found through parables in the Bible.

Jesus’ favorite way to teach was through parables. There are many to be found in the four epistles (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and I love them all. Each one beautifully illustrates whatever point the Son of Man is making – which makes sense, for He has infinite knowledge, so He would be the One to come up with the perfect parable for each lesson, every single time, haha!

When I was pondering posts I’d enjoy writing last week, this was one of the title ideas that came to mind. That is, ‘Cultivating A Joyful Life.’ What exactly does that mean, you might wonder? I’m not even completely sure myself yet. But the aspects that I’ve thought over in the days since then have made extremely excited to write out this series, as it will be a great learning experience for me, and anyone else interested, as well.

Since April, I have been keeping up with my Making the Change series. At first, it was a weekly thing that I did, but now I do one at the end of most months. The day before I was going to make the first post public, I was really second-guessing myself on how well the series would be received. It was good for me to write that post, and I knew that it was quite possible that I could help others overcome whatever obstacles they’re facing … but I worried that people wouldn’t like me anymore because I would be revealing the fact that I was dealing with anger. Being so vulnerable and open frightened me, but I went ahead and posted it, and the response the series has gotten as a whole has blessed me so much!

Every one of you who has commented on the posts in my Making the Change series has truly added to my life and helped me to stay focused on fixing the behaviors that have bound me for too long. It hasn’t been easy at times, and I greatly appreciated everyone’s feedback, and hearing you guys’ stories blessed me, as well. ❤

This series, Cultivating A Joyful Life, will be in some ways similar to Making the Change, but instead of looking to fixing specific behaviors, it will focus more on better understanding ourselves, on how we can be joyful and at peace with who we are, where we are, and also who we are with.

It’s a work in progress, but this is only the beginning. I can’t wait to continue with this series!

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May Third, Two-Thousand Seventeen

May Third, Two-Thousand Seventeen

I spent today at the zoo with my brother!

My mom, brothers, baby sister and I all went together, then split up once we got inside the gates, Joshua and I going together, and my mom taking Samuel and Elizabeth with her. 🙂

The first thing Joshua and I did was buy ourselves some churros. Apparently, they’re a type of Mexican treat (that’s what Joshua told me) – they’re soft dough sticks rolled in cinnamon in sugar. He suggested we take a selfie with our churros, so we did!

They’re definitely one of my favorite treats now: they’re very sweet, but not oily like most pastries, and they’re served warm. Where can you go wrong?

We had our lunches at the zoo cafe (sub sandwiches our mom packed for us, as well as some fries we split the price of), then continued walking around the zoo. We looked at the monkeys, pandas, different birds, and I stopped to take a photo of these flowers that bordered the kangaroo exhibit.

We went back up to the front to the gift shop because Joshua was wanting to buy some candy. While in there, we came across a beautiful bracelet while passing by the jewelry counter. The band matches my new watch, and the wooden design looks like Tafiti’s heart from Moana! ❤ We didn’t have very much money left, but Joshua insisted that it looked great with my watch and that he would help me pay for it because he wanted me to have it. Joshua doesn’t usually show me such sweet gestures, so I decided to buy it. 🙂

While Joshua ate his candy and I admired my new bracelet, we walked back to the reptile house. I love taking pictures of all the interesting creatures in there, so here are my favorites from today!

Also, this monitor lizard below is a Guatemalan … something-or-other, I can’t remember! But I loved finding another animal that’s native to one of my favorite countries (there’s a King Vulture on the other side of the zoo that’s native to Guate!), so here’s a picture of him/her.

My mom was ready to go by the time we finished walking around the reptile house, so Joshua and I made our way up to the front. Along the way, we passed the meerkat photo setup that we’ve taken pictures at over the years, but I found a new way to photograph ourselves this time: via selfie.

 

I hope you enjoyed following along on our little trip to the zoo today. I sure enjoyed being there; getting to spend quality time with my brother is always a joy to me. 🙂

 

Have a great evening, everyone!

How was YOUR day?

— Maggie

Memory Profiles: Zoo Atlanta

Memory Profiles: Zoo Atlanta

Recently, I had a fun idea for a new type of posts, and I got the inspiration for it from the topic that I’ll be talking about today! So here’s my idea:

What if I were to write posts about different places and activities that I’ve loved going to and doing over the years, then find pictures of me as a kid doing those specific things? I think it’d be fun to compile together, talk about, and let all of my readers see how I looked as a kid. It might be humiliating sometimes, but hey, we all went through those awkward stages. (At least, I think we did … lol!)

So, here’s a bit of information for today’s post:

  • It’s one of my all-time favorite places to go.
  • Because I live so close, I usually go multiple times a year.
  • My dad helped build one of the new exhibits.
  • I can’t remember the first time that I went.

Today, I’ll be talking all about Zoo Atlanta!!

~~~~~~~~~~~

{A Bit About It}

Zoo Atlanta is an absolutely wonderful zoo. It has a large variety of animals, good-sized exhibits, very nice staff members and volunteers, and the way the whole park is laid out … I could go on and on about how much I love it!

Because my family and I live less than an hour away, we’ve had a membership most years, which is so nice. We’re able to spread out what animals we’d like to see over the course of a few trips instead of trying to pack it all into one day!

As I mentioned a moment ago, the park has an epic layout, and that is by habitat or country, so there’s a place for the African animals (lions, meerkats, zebras, warthogs, etc), a place for rainforest animals (gorillas and other monkeys), a place for Australian animals (kangaroos, kookaburras, etc), a place for Asian animals (pandas, sun bears, etc.), and so on. There are also animals that don’t come from a specific geographical places, like different birds and domestic animals (i.e. the petting zoo), but for the most part, it’s very easy to figure out from the map where each animal is located.

The first time I ever went was in 2002, and I don’t remember it except through pictures because … I was two. (That’s the featured image of this post!)

{When You Get There}

The first thing you see when you get into the zoo are the flamingos.

2010 (10 and 6); me and Joshua with the flamingos
And honestly, that exhibit has seemed so boring to me after going to the Birmingham Zoo last year, because their flamingo exhibit is designed so that you can feed the birds out of your hand!

2016 (16); hand-feeding a flamingo at Birmingham Zoo
Sorry, I couldn’t help including that picture, haha. Alright, back to the Atlanta Zoo.

The exhibit that excited me even more (if that was possible!) than the petting zoo was the unveiling of the budgie exhibit in 2010. I was legitimately soooo excited, you don’t even know.

2010 (10); feeding a parakeet by hand
I’m pretty sure the picture above was of the first time a budgie trusted me to eat from the food stick I always had with me when walking around that exhibit. Such a fun experience! (But I found out when we went to the zoo a few weeks ago that the exhibit is now permanently closed so that they can expand the elephant exhibit. 😦 I understand why they’re doing it, but I’ll always miss it.)

2012 (12); feeding a parakeet
#RIPParakeetExhibit

After checking out the flamingos, there are two different ways you can go; the first, which is also the one that most people take, is the path to the African exhibits, starting with the elephants, then leading to the warthogs, meerkats, and so on; and the second way is to the playground/Treetop Trail, which then leads to the attractions: a carousel, rock climbing, and this curséd climbing thing.

2016 (16); crazy rock climbing/bungee/slide thing
Back in September of last year, I decided to climb up the inside of that thing with my brothers … and instantly went into survival mode. Not only did I have to figure out how to get myself to the top, but I also helped Samuel (5) and Joshua (12) find their way up, as well. It was strenuous, stressful, and a huge struggle. Hah! I don’t recommend this contraption for any ages.

2016 (16); playing the drums at the playground
They recently shifted the playground around to the back of the area where it has always been because of the all-new [disappointing] Treetop Trail, which is set up right above the playground area! The most also disappointing thing about the playground growing up was that they don’t have any swings; just different things to climb on.

If you continue on through the park, you’ll see that the carousel is fairly close to that awful climbing thing. lol

2016 (16); riding the carousel
I’m pretty sure that all of the carousel animals can be seen at the zoo – for example, in the picture above, the three of us were riding a trio of pandas! Our main goal on the carousel is to find the animals that ride the highest for maximum fun. hahah

Once you’re done checking out the attractions, you can check out the birds, Australian animals, and the petting zoo.

2002 (2); brushing a goat at the petting zoo

2004 (4); riding the wooden horse

2010 (10); petting a goat at the petting zoo
I already shared some photos of me with the goats, so here’s one of me “riding” an old wooden horse that used to be there. I think that’s a SpongeBob Band-Aid on my knee. xD

Once you’re done there, you can head over to the Wild Planet Café.

2016 (16); Wild Planet Café
Heads-up: it’s not really a café – think more along the lines of “cafeteria”!! Our favorite things to get there are the pizza and the fries, but they also have a nice selection of other lunch foods, as well.

Continuing on through the park from there, you can visit the pandas and other animals from Asia, and then head over to the rainforest animals area, which mainly consists of the gorilla exhibit.

2003 (3); posing on the gorilla statue
Haha! Who knew I could be so stoked about gorillas. My favorite time to visit the gorillas are when there are babies; they love coming up to the thick glass panes of the indoor viewing area and playing around with the children watching them.

Now, if you’ll remember from the beginning of this post, I mentioned that my dad helped build one of the new exhibits. That’s because he works in construction (he drives a concrete truck), and they needed a lot of concert when they built the new reptile house!

In all honesty, I love the old reptile house from the 70’s way more. But the new one has some really cool animals, too.

2016 (16); some of the animals in the new reptile house
To anyone who’s scared of snakes: I’m sorry if the pictures above disturbed you. These were very chill snakes; nothing vicious, I assure you 😀 (But then, I’ve always had a thing for snakes.)

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what your favorite parts about Zoo Atlanta are if you’ve ever been.

What’s YOUR favorite zoo? What do you love about it?

— Maggie