Once again, I am making a blogging platform switch. I’ve come to prefer Blogger over WordPress just for overall ease of use, though I do love some of the things you can do with WordPress.

I realize I have not been very active blogging here, which is one reason I’d like to delete my WP and free up my hosting. I have to check on whether I can transfer the current blog address (maidensofvirtue.com/blog) over to the Blogger blog, but for now, the blog address is back at the old blog where I first started:

http://thegirlhoodgazette.blogspot.com/.

I will no longer be posting here on this blog – all posts have been transferred over to the other site. This one will remain up for a while as I still have comments to transfer over, which, unfortunately, have to be done manually. (Ugh!)

See you over there!

UPDATE: Enter to win a free product from Lilla Rose HERE!

We recently heard about a company called Lilla Rose – they make beautiful hair accessories and jewelry. Their specialty is their flexi hair clips, a figure-8 shaped clip with an attached bar. The bar has notches in it to hold it securely in place. I was surprised to find how tightly it held my hair!

They also have decorative bobby pins, hair sticks and headbands, along with necklaces, earrings, glasses holders and badge holders.

Get free shipping through March 6th! Click here to start shopping!

Enter to win a set of pretty floral computer desktop calendars over at my photography blog, kathryngracephotography.blogspot.com! Two winners will be chosen, and if there is a high number of entries, three winners will be chosen.

Hurry – it ends at noon on January 31, 2011! CLICK HERE to read the rules and enter!

I am so thrilled to announce the winners of the first ever Maidens of Virtue Photography Contest! All in all I received nearly 100 entries, which was far more than I had expected! In fact, I had such a time trying to narrow it down that I decided to award not just one prize, but 1st, 2nd and 3rd, plus finalists… plus honorable mentions. :-) I know you are itching to see who won, so scroll on down to see the wonderful photos that placed, along with what I loved about each one. On some I am including what the photographer said about their photo. Amazing work, everyone!

1st Place: Laura A.
What is not to love about this incredible photo? It’s absolutely gorgeous. I loved how crystal clear the water is – just solid blue the whole way. The composition and lighting are beautiful and of course the action captured is amazing.
Laura wins a Blogger design from Prairie Rose Designs and a free Fracture frame!
2nd Place: Wendy H.
I loved the soft colors in this photo and the beautiful light coming on to the mother’s face. The sweet, pure love between mother and child is just precious. This photo is so genuine and unposed. Beautiful!
Wendy wins a Blogger design from Prairie Rose Designs!
3rd Place: Kamirin C.
This is such a unique photo. I was intrigued by the interesting composition and crop, and I loved the restful feeling. The colors are beautiful as well, and I like how your eye travels across the photo, finally resting on the bride. Wonderful work!
Kamirin wins a custom header, banner and button set from Prairie Rose Designs.
Below are the finalists that came SO CLOSE to making it in the top three! Outstanding work, all of you!

Laura A.
Gorgeous lighting and colors in this… such a sweet picture of innocence.
Erica B.
Freshly fallen snow! What could be more pure than that?
Laura L.
The love between daddy and daughter… precious. Loved the color and light coming through her hair.
Allison M.
Great composition and focus, and I like the contrast of the pure pearls against the dirty rock.
“Purity also reminded me of pearls. As you know, oysters make pearls by coating bits of sand with soft layers. What a great analogy for us to use when we get irritated! Soft answers to others, relinquishing our ‘rights’ to One Who laid all His down, and the list goes on! By putting a few pearls on the dirty stone step, I wanted to visualize how we are to look to the world around us. Remaining pure in God’s sight, regardless of the dirt of sin that surrounds us, and thus pointing the way to the Savior Who can cleanse us of sin.”

Laura L.
Beautiful splash of sunlight coming through the flower petals!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
Even though this picture is of a flower, the focus is the light shining through it. It reminded me of this verse about the light and purity of God.”

Wendy H.
God’s creation is marvelous. Love the vibrant blues and greens in this one.
And, just because I was having such a hard time deciding which photos would make it into the finals and win the top 3, I’d also like to feature some honorable mentions, who exhibited creativity in using theme.

Elizabeth A.
Love the beautiful pink in this and the dew/rain drops.
Savannah L.
Very neat! I really like the sparkles in this.
“Those who are pure don’t hide themselves away from the world but must live amongst this impure world. We are to be “in the world, but not of the world” and this photograph illustrates that. These beautiful tree buds are in the world but yet protected and kept pure by a thick layer of ice. This can represent our family and church and God, protecting us from harm and corrupting influences.”

Allie R.
This has great focus and I liked the heart pendant she used to highlight the word!
Kathryn I.
Very clever! Great pure, crisp reflection.
Hannah B.
Good clean soap! I liked how the bubbles are coming out of the bowl.
Congratulations everyone! And a big thank you to our sponsor, Fracture! (And Prairie Rose Designs, but that’s my business so it hardly does to thank myself. :-) )
What did you think of the contest? Did you enjoy it? Should I do another one in the future? Leave a comment and let me know!

Well, folks… I’m still amazed the year has gone by so quickly. There are only 2 more days left of December and then we enter 2011. You know what that also means… yes, the photography contest is ending!

I’ve received some beautiful entries thus far and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes in at the last minute. You are free to submit as many photos as you like before midnight on December 31, 2010! (Ok, and I won’t turn you away if you happen to get your entry in at 12:01 am on January 1, 2011! :-) ).

Remember, there is no entry fee and you could win a free blog makeover (for Blogger) from PrairieRoseDesigns.com and a free photo frame from FractureMe.com!

Click on the banner below to read the rules and enter your photos!

Photo Contest Banner

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Sense & Sensibility Patterns. If you do not follow their website frequently, however, you may not know about their Dollar Downloads, which are downloads of period articles on fashion, etc. that are actually from the era. There are a lot of early 1900′s and 1940′s-50′s available. These would be very interesting for anyone who loves historical fashion, especially for use in research if you are making an authentic gown. Each one is only a dollar! Check it out!

P.S. Like historical sewing and old fashioned things? Check out this new blog (and leave her a comment!): A Lass of Yesteryear

Photo Contest Banner

Time is running out for the Maidens of Virtue Photography Contest! The deadline for entries is December 31, 2010… that’s less than 3 weeks away! You can enter as many photos as you wish for more chances to win our great prizes! Click on the banner above to visit the contest page.

Please pass this on to your friends!

The Runner from RavensheadI just had the opportunity to watch The Runner from Ravenshead, a feature film by Little Crew Studios from the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. The movie won the Audience Choice award and was runner up for both Best Feature and Best of Festival.

This film features an all-child cast, ages 9 down to 2, and there are only 5 kids in it. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much. This was the family’s first attempt at film-making, and besides, how good could a bunch of kids be at acting?

Well… was I in for a surprise. The movie was FANTASTIC! It was extremely well done, well acted, and well written. The storyline is similar to Pilgrim’s Progress. Sam has escaped from Ravenshead Prison and is running away from her warden, but no matter how fast she runs or how she tries to outwit him, he is always right behind her. Meanwhile, the City of Refuge Guide Service has run out of trained guides to help escaped prisoners reach the City of Refuge, so they send their cleaning boy, Henry, to help Sam.

The movie is humorous and endearing. Henry runs into all sorts of trouble and had me rolling on the floor. The youngest two kids are absolutely adorable. All of them are wonderful actors especially considering their age. I wish I could act that good. :-)

The filming quality was great and very professional and there were some great stunts involved too. All the sets were perfect – all kids’ size! There are also several scenes where the same actor will be playing different roles and talking to himself, or where there is a crowd of people, but it’s all the same 5 kids. Very impressive!

The music was phenomenal; they hired a professional orchestra to play the soundtrack and it lends a lot to the movie.

This film gets a 5-star rating from me – there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it! Great for the whole family – if you’re looking for a good, clean, wholesome Christian film, this is it! You can watch the trailer and buy the DVD at Vision Forum.

I’m very sorry for posting another advertisement-style post, but I’d like to ask for your help. I’ve entered a toddler’s bedtime story contest, and in order to win the contest, I need to get people to vote on my story. In short, I am trying to catch up to some people with over 2,000 votes (haha, I know… well, I can at least try). So I’m asking that if you read this, you would take a second to vote. AND if you are really nice, you’ll come back and vote multiple times – you are allowed to vote once every day! All you have to do is visit the link below and click the “vote” button. I’d also appreciate it if you would share this with your friends and/or family if you think of it. Thank you! :-)

http://www.naturemadesleep.net/stories/285

(End of commercial).

It is a delightful Autumn day today… the sun is shining brightly, and the air is crisp with the scent of falling leaves. Every year I am reminded how much I love fall! I think I may love it a teensy bit more than spring. I have been very (very, very, very times 10) bad about posting here and haven’t posted any really meaty posts in a while. So here’s an attempt… :-)

Communication crisisLately I have been thinking about the developments in technology and how it’s changing the way we communicate. I’m not on Facebook and I don’t intend to get on, but pretty much everyone I know IS on Facebook. People joke about how they are “addicted” to it… but I wonder if they ever really think about whether that is true or not. Facebook (and Twitter) is accessible 24/7 now with its availability on phones. Some people will update their statuses all the time with trivial information. A friend of mine was saying how she had blocked so many people on her Facebook because she just didn’t need to know that they have smelly feet or that they ate pizza for dinner. A while back my mom announced she was deleting her Facebook account, and she got a message from a friend who said, “But… how will you communicate?? This is how people talk now.”

Is it? What happened to picking up the phone, or writing a letter? Or better yet, having someone over for lunch just to be together and chat? I don’t mean to say that Facebook and Twitter are inherently evil or wrong. They’re not. But if it becomes such a priority in your life that you can’t imagine what you would do without it, and you must be able to check it everywhere, all the time, something’s not right there. Texting is right up there with FB and Twitter. All these avenues of “convenient” communication teach us to disregard basic rules of communication, like spelling (wht’s sp nywy?). :-)

And another thing about texting, and social networking on phones. It’s distracting. Both for the user and the people they are around. Apparently nobody realizes anymore that it’s rude to be in the middle of a conversation with someone, and suddenly whip out your phone, and start typing away, acting as if you are ignoring your companion (whether you are really listening or not is not the point). The other person feels as though you don’t care to talk to them, and you are just too caught up in checking your texts to listen and hold a conversation.

Some of my friends tell me, “You should get a Facebook! I can keep up with my friends so much better on Facebook!” Hmmm. I’m not so sure that Facebook really helps you keep up with your friends. After all, there isn’t much that’s personal about Facebook. You type what you are currently doing at the moment in that little box, hit “share” and it’s visible to everyone that calls themselves your “friend” in the FB world (and that could be hundreds of people!). Of course, it is still fun… why else is half the world on Facebook? One reason I’m NOT on it, is I know I would like it too much!

It seems like there is a lot more worldliness in Christian circles than there used to be. Conversations revolve around secular topics – movies, sports, and politics. I have a feeling this is related to Facebook… teaching us to value the things that don’t really matter. We don’t talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives anymore. We just talk about little nothings, hardly any different that what we talked about the last time we saw each other! And again, I don’t have a problem necessarily with talking about movies or politics… but when it seems like that is ALL you talk about, there’s a problem.

This is an introductory post to a series of posts I would like to do about writing letters… why we should and how we should, maybe with some fun tutorials thrown in as well. Make sure to come back!

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