Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reading Old Things in a New Light

Through a recent blog find, I came across this blog post from Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin at I've enjoyed reading their posts in this past year and am encouraged by their faithful example.
The post was entitiled: How to be a Better Daughter to Your Father and I must confess that when I first read it a year ago, I didn't really take much of it to heart. I thought it was geared more towards a different audience, one that didn't include me (I was very wrong).
I would encourage you to begin reading their blog if you haven't already, and if you are a young (or older) woman seeking to honor your Dad in each way that you can, I would highly encourage you to read that post.

Here are a few of the sections that I found to be the most helpful and challengeing (all emphasis mine):

"Your father isn’t the only one who’s not perfect… Let your father know that you desire his help and prayers for your character, and be humble enough to tell him what faults in particular you need help with. …and ask him what he thinks you need help with."
"Build the kind of relationship with your father that involves a lot of comfortable communication between the two of you.
Develop habits of talking together about everything.
So many problems daughters have with their fathers could have been solved by talking freely, deeply and frequently all along — by talking about issues before they become “issues.”
Go ahead and initiate the communication yourself. Our father says it is often difficult for men to know how to reach their daughters, and it’s helpful when their girls come to them with a seeking heart. As Deuteronomy 32:7 says, 'Ask thy father, and he will show thee.'

It’s a father’s duty to tell, but it’s our duty to ask."

"We should begin by wanting to really understand who our fathers are and why they do the things they do and think the things they think.
Develop an interest in the things that are important to them, and the battles they are fighting."

Consistently communicating with my Dad is something that I have been burdened with this past year, so it was so nice to be reminded of it again. I really appreciate the clear and straightforward way that the Botkins have in their writing and I found this article to be especially helpful.

This is such an important lesson, not only for now with my Dad but also someday with my husband. I am truly blessed to have the Dad that fears the Lord, who humbly studies the Word, and who takes his role as our father seriously. Also, we have a wonderful relationship, that is open and by God's grace is ever growing. I have much to be grateful for, I know of many girls who either don't have God-fearing Dads or they have a strained relationship.
So, even though I have things that I am working on (as does everyone), there is so much to be thankful for!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Mica!

Happy, happy birthday, from all of us to you, we wish it was our birthday,
so we could party too!
Happy 17th birthday Mica!
We all are very thankful for you, and you are very special to us!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thoughts on Growing Older

I am usually a person that embraces change; I love going someplace new, meeting new people, without holding very much back :) I think this is mostly to do with my Dad; when choosing between something, most often times he will go with the one that he has never done, and he highly encourages us to do the same.
And most of the time we love it. just yesterday we were out shopping and had to choose between La Madeline, Chipotle, or a Mediterranean grill that we had never heard of before, and needless to say we went with the medi grill. Caro was not too happy about our choice, she is highly picky about what she chooses to put in her mouth; but there was yummy, warm pita bread involved so she consented.
And we loved it.
It wasn't like what we had eaten here in Houston before and everything tasted to authentic and delicious. Dad wasn't able to eat with us that time but we plan to take him there again in the near future.

Another time when I was seven or eight I still had training wheels on my bike. I knew how to ride without them; I had gone around on friends two-wheeled bikes perfectly fine.
Honestly, I liked my training wheels, not entirely for the security that they brought
but because I was convinced that I could go faster with them.
You see there was this "really big" hill in my neighborhood; Mica and I would spend entire afternoons going up and down, and up and down again, almost never coming in until it was dark. And it was my firm belief that I could never have as much fun on just two wheels. So I held on to training wheels as long as I could until my best friend took off hers; then something had to be done.
So came the day when I told my Dad to take off the beloved wheels, and Mica and I started up the "hill" together (Yes, we walked our bike up then rode down--it was a pretty big hill, especially when your seven).

I let Mica go down hill first, then I went down and found out

that I loved it--go figure.

I don't remember going any faster, but it certainly wasn't any slower than before; and I could take turns sharper and do all sorts of figure eights in the street (things you really couldn't do with training wheels).
The point was that I didn't want to go back to training wheels again; they were fun while they lasted but now I enjoyed riding without them.

I could go on about the countless times in which we did something different or changed something about our life. Moving to Germany and to California brought its own challenges and discoveries (Like always order your water "without gas" when you want tap water, mineral water tastes very different.) But in each place we have gone, whether a new beach, country by train, or even a new eatery, we have always tried our best to take in as much as we can while we are there.

Naturally, I've learned, that change comes with it's own difficulties and pains.
Moving to Germany was hard because we knew very little about the country previously, knew next to no German, and didn't have a car, phone, or much internet while we were there.

California presented many of the same challenges, but in a way that only Southern California can do.

And I don't know how many scrapes, scars, and bruises I got from taking my training wheels off.

I've been thinking about all of this lately because I see so many areas in my life that will soon bring change. And when I say "soon" I mean, "in the next five or ten years" soon.

For example, there is a sweet family that I enjoy babysitting for. And this past week they were considering asking me or Mica to stay the night and watch their children the next morning. Mom said, "Well, Elena can't because she has her nanny job in the morning, but Mica would love to go over..."
And that got me to thinking that, Lord willing, when I marry, how that will all change.
At first I felt so very sad.
That is one of the aspects that I love most about staying at home; I love being able to leave at a moments notice for whatever reason. There have been times where we had something else planned as a family, but an emergency with a friend arose and I was able to go and watch their children. And in those few moments, I thought about how all of that would change when I have a husband and a home. I brought these concerns to my parents when we were talking later that evening. That's when they brought it to my attention that yes things would change, but that doesn't mean certain things would just stop.
And that is the beauty of it.

Sure, I probably won't spend weekends at other peoples houses when the parents go out of town, people would bring their children to me if they want. And my Mom pointed out that these ladies would probably stop being her friends, but will probably become my own friends on a different level.

I love everything that I am doing now for my family and for different families that we know.
And yes, things would be different but thankfully, in this case, things wouldn't change.
I'll still have friends and family, only that I will have different desires and priorities.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I am wonderfully accomplished on my bike and I enjoy many off road rides, especially different ones.

Picture Credit: "High Dive" by Norman Rockwell,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Birthday

Dear readers,
Well, Mica is "sixteen, going on seventeen" and will be in six days (14, December),
unfortunately I will not be here on her actual birthday.
(Yes, she is a bit sore and I don't think she will ever let me forget it)
Seventeen is a nice number;
it has a great song that goes along with it, and I remember seventeen being a good year for me...that was before braces...
Anyway, please remember to comment and wish her well, tell her she is a jolly, good fellow, and give her some piece of wonderful wisdom that you have learned.
I know she will appreciate that.
Picture: Mica and Caro. Thanksgiving 2002


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Verse of the Week make-up

So, I haven't really kept up with the Verse of the Week lately. Things have been busy at the Marques home and I don't always have time to post a verse.
I've been reading through Isaiah these past couple of weeks and I thought I would share some of what I read this morning.

In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord GOD of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth.
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: "O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. And the LORD of hosts will wield against them a whip, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb. And his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt.
~Isaiah 10:20-26

Monday, November 30, 2009

19 Thankful Thoughts from Elena

This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving prints, and I can't even remember the name of the artist. Ah well, thank you, Unknown Artist :)

19. Peonies,
Yes, peonies :)
There is just something about this delicate, beautiful flower
that makes each room brighter.
A vase of tulips, as cheerful as they are, just wouldn't have the same effect.
18. The healing and soothing lavender
I discovered my great love of it last week when 1/4 c. of boiling oil
jumped out of the french fry pan.
Now, my hand looks almost as good as new :)

17. Good Books
It's been said in very many wonderful quotes that a man is
moulded by the books he reads (And if you happen to know of a good quote pertaining this, please comment!)
I firmly believe this is true. What a person chooses to read has a tremendous amount of influence over that persons thoughts and ideas, yes, even in the midst of films and entertainment.
Which is why I am thankful for the wonderful amount of inspiring authors, who articulated themselves and their thoughts very well.
Speaking of inspiring authors...

16. Corrie and Betsie Ten Boom
1900 to 1948 is one of my very favorite time periods in history,
particularly during World War's I and II.
And even I must admit that this can be one of the most depressing periods to read.
So, I was very happy to read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom; it is dreadful and sobering to read her story, and it puts things into a different perspective. But amidst all of her sorrow and pain, each of her cries of anguish is followed by a praise of God's sovereignty.
Reading her and Betsie's story made this dreadful time
period have a sense of hope and peace in Him.
(Number 15 comes from on of my favorite parts in the book)
15. That there are no "If's" in God's kingdom
Through different things that have happened in the past few months, I have come to hold this truth very dear: God is sovereign.
There are no questions or gray areas when it comes to His hand in our lives.
Everything has a purpose, no matter how difficult or stormy the time of your life may seem.
He knows and is in control.
14. It's A Wonderful Life
This time of the year would be lacking without some good old Christmas movies.
Every year we make time to watch this one, whether we are sewing or ironing, it's so fun to watch the wonderful James Stewart in this classic Capra film.
13. Music
Particularly Bach's cello concerto's, Frank Sinatra, Soundtrack music, John Mayer, Mozart's symphonies, Martha Wainwright, music from Sovereign Grace Ministries, and Ella Fitzgerald.
12. Scones
With or without a hot cup of tea, scones are yummy.
11. John Piper
He is another one of my new favorite authors and I have really enjoyed each of the books I've read, including: Desiring God, A Hunger For God, The Dangerous Duty of Delight,
and Future Grace.
He has one consistent and powerful message.
10. His tender Mercies that are new every morning

9. Turkey and Cranberry Sauce

8.Cooler Weather
So, I have never been a fan of hot weather; most often I would rather be too cold than too hot. And I think growing up in central and western Texas has a lot to do with my opinion.

6. Godly Examples

Like the Beach family

5. Warm biscuits with butter and honey

4. The Church
And this isn't limited to Grace Family Baptist but to the Body of Christ as a whole. It has been so neat to me to witness and be apart of the instant bonding you have with complete strangers, and all because you are both believers.
There is a sweet warmth and familiarity that comes with meeting other believers.

3. Supportive family

Including but not limited to the sweet Apodaca Family

2. The Webbs

1. Mom and Dad

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Girl and the Beanbag

I would like to announce two things:
First, the beginning of an art blog that I have recently started called,
Please head over there for more information, but to put it briefly, I started this blog strictly as an art blog for a future shop on, and I am very excited to be posting different recipes, show you a few of my projects, and be able to share what it is that I am doing at home!
Also, a thought provoking video by Joshua Harris.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Passionate Housewives: a book reccomendation

This past week I have been reading Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald (Available online through Vision Forum).

I was first interested in it because of the interesting title and because I have been interested in reading something of Mrs. Chancey's. Although I've seen her featured in Return of the Daughters, and read one of the books she has edited, I haven't read anything she has written yet. And I must say that after reading this book I really enjoyed and was convicted by what she had to say.

I was also interested in the questions that this book addresses about Biblical womanhood and feminism.
And even though I'm not a wife and mother, I found several parts of the book to be helpful and encouraging. Not only for the future but even things I can be working on for now. Honestly, it was a bit more than can fit in one post, but here is a quote that I love from the book,

"You see, homemaking isn't about the house itself or the things it contains.
Being keepers at home is about focusing upon the Lord in all the everydayness so that our houses become centers of hospitality, forgiveness, training, business, welfare, charity, shared mourning and celebration, and-oh, yes-lots of tracked-in mud, crumbs under the chairs,
and everything else that goes with human beings.
We must not lose sight of the fact that our homes are God-given tools to bless other.
They aren't the end goal; they are simply, one of the means to the end.
And what is the end? Dying to self, laying down our lives, serving others that
Christ may grow His kingdom and transform the world and ourselves as we do things His way."
Any thoughts or helpful, encouraging books that you would reccommend?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A quote from a book

"To know a soul's proportions you need to know its passions. The true dimensions of a soul are seen in its delights. Not what we dutifully will but what we passionately want reveals our excellence or evil."
-John Piper, The Pleasures of God

Monday, October 19, 2009

And the winner is...

...well, to be quite honest we had a difficult time "randomly" choosing a winner. Each persons story made us laugh and we enjoyed reading your favorite quotes!

Our special favorite story was from Becca,

"For my comical memory: One day our neighbor gave us a great big stuffed monster. It was about six-feet long and orange with big purple polka-dots. It was stuffed tightly with little Styrofoam balls. Mama said we must throw it away because it might pop and make a mess. So we put it in our garbage dumpster, but it didn’t fit! Its head stuck out and made it look like Oscar the Grouch. Later, our other neighbors’ cleaning ladies saw it. They squealed and took it away!"

And our favorite quote was from our friend Joseph,

"There is no disgrace in a failure, only in a failure to try."
-Theodore Roosevelt

In the end we decided for Mom to pick names out of a hat, and she pulled out...
Laura Pedersen from We the Pedersens!
Thank you for reading and commenting Laura! We loved reading your entry!
You will be hearing from us about getting your special, mysterious prize :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Email

Due to some technical difficulties, our old email wasn't quite doing its job. So if you have emailed us at anytime during the past year and we didn't respond, it's probably because we didn't get it. We're so sorry about this but are happy to report that The Pickwick Portfolio has a new email! You can now contact us at
Thanks again for reading our blog!
In Christ,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brazos Bend Camping Pictures...

Some would call it crazy, others would call it cool or scary , and some say interesting, but yes, we did go camping to Brazos Bend State Park. Being in charge of the camping pictures, I, after much thinking and hard decisions, present the camping pictures.

Day one:

Our campsite.

Elena and Lisa on the trail.

We saw this snake on the side of the trail and it was eating a dead frog.

Up on the Observation tower, looking at the view.


Ms. Lisa and Isaac.

These spiders were everywhere along the trail.
These are called Golden silk orb-weaver spiders, or I have heard that they are also called banana spiders.
There were several of these nests in the ceiling of a covered little balcony that is on the side of the trail which overlooks one of the lakes.

As we were drove into our campsite coming from a long walk, we had our first encounter with our charming neighbors: the raccoons.

Day two.
Laura helping to swing John.

A blue heron.

Can you find the alligator? Its tail and head?
Well, you can see that Ray Wade was very close to it.

Family picture with Ms. Lisa. :)

The Pedersen family all in a row.

Going home, wet and cold.
But I have to say it was pretty fun. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Big 200 and a special giveaway!: celebrated mostly in pictures.

Well, we have done it; after starting this blog in August of last year, we have come quite a bit from our first few posts. It has been so fun to be able to share each of our different trials, lessons, and joys. It's wonderful to be able to look back and see the maturity and growth in each post.
Here are some pictures taken this weekend.

Thank you so much for reading and contributing to our blogging experience! Each of us enjoy posting and

We hope that the Lord will continue to be glorified in future posts and that you would continue to read and comment!

In celebration of this goal reached and an expression of our own excitement at writing 200 posts, we would like to send someone a special surprise! To enter this giveaway please write us one (or more) of the following:

~Your favorite quote

~Most comical memory

~Unique way you are being industrious in your home

You have until midnight of the 17th of October (or this Saturday) to send us one of the above! Then we will announce the winner that next Monday. So hurry and get your contributions sent in before midnight on Saturday!

Isn't this exciting? :)

*Correction: please leave a comment to enter the giveaway; our email address is temporarily unavailable.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin