Thursday, December 26, 2013

the best of times; the worst of times

“Yes,” said Queen Lucy. “In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.” - C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

 photo IMG_9549_zps5bf7fb84.jpg

Christmas was hard this year. It was my first Christmas away from my dad, and the fifth without my mom's sweet, gracious presence. I was at the mercy of the traditions of others. I didn't get to read the Christmas story from Luke 2 first thing in the morning. I didn't get to each my aunt's good, southern food or fall asleep on my grandpa's couch. I didn't get to bundle up and go see a movie with my dad.

It was hard. At one point, I went in the back room and just cried.

But there were good things, too. Even though my sister, dad, and I had already exchanged presents, my sister went out and bought me a new outfit so I'd have something to open Christmas morning. I got to cuddle up with a hot cup of wassail and watch The Time of the Doctor with my nephews. (Matt Smith, you will be missed.) I got so many sweet texts from so many sweet friends.

And the main reason the day ended up being okay? It's so obvious and simple, but so life-changing and important. The birth of Christ. When focusing on traditions and warm, fuzzy feelings, the holiday can take one of two routes: happiness or bitterness. Those who are in good situations greet the day with a smile. Those who are suffering do their best to get through the hardest day of the year. Though I fall in to that last category this year, I'm thankful the day is worth more than its traditions. It is a day in celebration of the most life-changing, history-altering event to ever happen (in tandem with what happens on Easter). For the first time in my life, I think, the day was totally about Christ's birth for me. It couldn't be about anything else.

I'm thankful for what He did. And I'm thankful for my family.
Here's to the upcoming new year.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

cozy christmas playlist

To make up for my recent absence (I had a paper to finish...then I got a monster strain of the stomach flu. We won't go in to that) here's a cozy Christmas playlist.  

I hope you all are having a splendid Christmas season. Mine has been quite different so far this year, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been good.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

white winter hymnal

 photo 200F4611-C98E-4040-A9AC-ABE26D8B583B_zpsiiisdwx0.jpg photo 4F7B0E97-5157-4C12-B818-C20BE2667DED_zpsximhvexo.jpg

I couldn't sleep last night. I knew it was supposed to flurry, so I crept to my dorm room window, to find the biggest flakes of snow I've ever seen floating outside my window. I fell asleep with a smile on my face, thankful I would wake up (very early, I might add) to a world covered in white. I wasn't disappointed when I dashed to my car, sans jacket. The sun was just starting to come up. The world was clean, and new, and cold. (Quite different from the muddy, miserable, freezing world we experienced a few days prior.)

Most of it had melted by the time I got off work. Snow is a rare thing in the South, so when it happens, you really appreciate and respect it (and perhaps curse the other Nashville drivers who can't handle a measly inch of snow).

Lately my life has looked a lot like this:

 photo 6630AE10-3546-4F2B-859D-185E24EA23D7_zpsewy99gym.jpg

It's been the most stressful semester of my college career. Thankfully, 22 pages, four days, and five finals from now, I'll be done.


Monday, December 2, 2013

new in store

 photo lovely_zps82f92620.jpg

I've recently added quite a bit of art to my Society 6 store.  Support your local starving artist. :)


Saturday, November 30, 2013

time has not touched it

 photo IMG_9494_zps2c02227f.jpg  photo IMG_9484_zps012e7ee8.jpg  photo IMG_9488_zps317d3470.jpg photo IMG_9454_zpsd4232b14.jpg  photo IMG_9447_zps6e0285b7.jpg photo IMG_9458_zps79e2fd0d.jpg photo IMG_9463_zps600551e3.jpg photo IMG_9467_zps27a51613.jpg photo IMG_9473_zpseb113223.jpg photo IMG_9474_zps1c467914.jpg photo IMG_9488_zps317d3470.jpg photo IMG_9502_zpsa0c4ea40.jpg photo IMG_9506_zpse988495d.jpg photo IMG_9507_zps50e87f0c.jpg photo IMG_9505_zps126c42e5.jpg 

 Though time may wear down wood and metal, I refuse to let it change my memories. They can be immortalized in ink and paper, in bytes of data. 

When I think of "home" my mind wanders down wooded paths to my family's tiny cabin, nestled in the Ozark Mountains. It would take about a twenty-minute drive in any direction to reach any sort of civilization. The parcel of land was given to my family by a very close friend. My dad designed and built the cabin himself (with some help from my grandpa, mom, and siblings, of course).

We would spend countless hours at the cabin. In the summer, we'd take a picnic, sit on the back porch, and sketch. In the fall, we'd spend every Thanksgiving here. We'd go down the night before, eat soup, play trivial pursuit, and read old copies of National Geographic. The next day, our extended family would pile in. There was no parade-watching or football. Only family and the woods around us. 

I remember dad hunting here. I remember hiking to the far ridge with my brother. I remember popping over to the closest cabin to visit with old friends. I remember my mother decorating with fresh-cut evergreen, filling the entire cabin with the fresh scent of winter.

I remember.

My sister and I went down last Wednesday, the five-year anniversary of my mother's death. Her presence lingers at the cabin. An old and faded evergreen arrangement, turned brown by the passage of time; an old coffee grinder placed carefully on the shelf; dried wax from candles long gone on the mantle. Each was a remnant of her. Each a reminder that this had once been her habitat. 

We stood in the kitchen and cried. As much as you try to convince yourself that you've moved on, grief finds those quiet moments and makes itself at home. 

I'm thankful for the time I spent with my family this last week. We all have a shared grief that binds us together, perhaps more than the common blood in our veins.


Friday, November 15, 2013

the words always come

 photo IMG_1431_zps66b86042.jpg

I don't write poetry much, not really. My emotions are better expressed through prose or pictures. But there are some events in my life that I feel must be immortalized in some kind of verse. It's been five years. Today, I finally found the words for that exact moment.

And finally, in one quiet shudder,
The November wind has blown out
The one kind flame that sought to heal so many ills. 

A sterile death is an expected one.
Each minute a dagger to the hope of life. 


change is good

 photo IMG_3760_zpsf49d12ef.jpg photo IMG_4481_zps790cfbf2.jpg 

I crave routine and change equally. I don't really understand quite how this plays itself out in my life, but I know it to be true. (Am I really making a new hair cut/color a lesson on philosophy? Guess so.) Anyway, I feel like a new woman with my Christmas hair.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Christmas break - reading list

 photo fry8620-R1-E031.jpg

As much as I love being an English major, I hate that I don't really get to read for leisure during the school year. I'm usually too bogged down in 17th century prose or detailed accounts of the Norman Conquest to read any modern fiction or classics outside the realm of whatever time period I'm currently studying. I think that's one reason I love semester break so much. Not only do I get to spend time with my family, celebrate the holidays, and sleep in my own bed, I get to read whatever I feel like reading. So here's a list of the books I'd like to read while I have the chance:

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Vampires in the Lemon Grove - Karen Russell
The Shadow Lamp - Stephen Lawhead
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
A Hemingway novel. (I know. As an English major, it's a crying shame I haven't read any Hemingway yet. I'm still debating over which book I'd like to read first. I like the plot summary of The Old Man and the Sea, but I've been obsessed with John Donne lately, so For Whom the Bell Tolls seems appropriate in that regard.)
The Song of Albion trilogy - Stephen Lawhead
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

I know this list seems a bit ambitious, but some of these I've already started, others I've read before (like the Song of Albion trilogy, which, if I remember correctly, was amazing. Stephen Lawhead is such an underrated author.) I also devour books. I used to get in trouble as a kid for reading through my books too quickly. I would have to take five or six books on road trips. Once I'm sucked in to a book, I won't stop for anything. It's probably not healthy.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

november days

 photo IMG_8968_zps6422ad25.jpg  photo IMG_8963_zpsa8fbc20a.jpg 

I fell in love again with a place I had forgotten,
A place your shadow once darkened.


Monday, November 4, 2013

a new view, part two

 photo october_zps533bdb24.jpg

Man. It's hard to believe this series is four years in the making. I posted about this last year. Each picture really does represent a new era in my life. New priorities, new friends, new fears, dreams, hopes, and goals. I like that this year's photo (the farthest to the right) stands out in contrast to the previous two. I like that there are rainy, cold, overcast days mixed in with warm, bright, sunny ones.

In a word, this year's picture represents hope. I have so much hope for the future. Truly, that hope is in Christ. If I've learned anything these past four years, it's that I can truly, only, rely on Him

This series has been fun. While I'm sad that it's over, I'm excited for what's to come.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

the g family

I got to photograph the sweetest family last week. I was a bit nervous, because I hadn't done a real, honest-to-goodness shoot in a while. I think it was a great step back in to photography. Families with small kids are the best to shoot, because there's no pressure for things to be perfect. Kiddos don't care if the angle isn't quite right, or if the sun isn't quite low enough yet. This just want to get everything over with so they can go back to playing.  And I absolutely love the playfulness that comes through in their portraits. And aren't these kids SERIOUSLY the cutest? I can't get over it!


Friday, October 11, 2013

nobody told me

Nobody told me it would be this hard.

That forsaking everything in the name of obedience would mean forsaking some truly good things.

That some decisions would be harder than others.

That it would require a lot of hard work. A lot of hard work. Giving up trips with friends to stay on top of class work. Spending less money because fundraising will have to start soon. Trying to get more rest so my body can heal and recuperate.

It's starting to sink in that in nine months, if all goes well, I will be on a plane to another continent, half-way around the world. I'll be gone from my friends, my family, my comforts and necessities for an entire year. I'll be in a culture that is completely and totally different from my own. One that holds different ideals, traditions, and standards. I'll be teaching (something I never thought I would do!), and reaching out to students.

I don't think it will be easy. I'm not sure I can do it.

But this is what my heart desires. And I believe it is what God desires for my life. Though I haven't met these people yet, they have my heart. God has seen it fit that this cause would be deemed worthy in my eyes to forsake everything I have and own here.

I am not the worthy one, though. My endeavors are not worthy. They are pitiful, whimpy groanings of a depraved and evil soul. But the Lord sees beyond that. He sees those small desires of my heart, those small sacrifices of my body, and He uses them. He draws them to Himself, and He amplifies them. Without Him, any sacrifice or desire I might have is totally worthless. All would be vain.

It won't be easy. I can't do it without Him.

But I have His promise to never forsake me. And those who He calls, He equips. It's cliche, but I fully believe it. All of my life--every choice, every circumstance, has been preparing me for this.

I don't feel ready. The timing doesn't seem right. But will it ever?

It's funny how faith is simultaneously the easiest and hardest choice.


Saturday, October 5, 2013


How to roast a perfect marshmallow: set it on fire. photo 1157534_10151868168307086_1164837245_n.jpg Shadow, the gentleman cat. photo 1237064_10151840009587086_1088303720_n.jpg 

It would seem that fall is finally here. I've been looking forward to the month of October for a while now. Here's a short list summarazing why, in chronological order:

  • Missions Conference at my school  
  • One of my good friends coming in from Texas
  • Potted Potter! (Two guys perform all 7 HP books in 70 minutes)
  • The Avett Brother's new album!
  • Fall break
  • Hayrides & pumpkin patches
  • Allegiant (can we talk about how good the Divergent movie is going to be?)
  •  Project Pumpkin
I'm ready for the temperature to cool down (it's been nearly ninety the past few days). There's nothing quite like bonfires, falling asleep with the faint scent of woodsmoke still in your hair, happy from your last adventure.

Fall is for new beginnings.


Monday, September 23, 2013

hectic days

If I could pick one word to describe this semester thus far, it would be hectic. Though I'm only taking sixteen hours, they're mostly upper-level courses. As much as I enjoy them, I have something due every single day. It's amazing to me that I'm just now experiencing that with school. I guess I didn't realize just how easy I had it these past few years.

I know I've been rather absent for the past...year or so here in this space. Honestly, I've had to step away from photography for a while. Trying to finish up my undergrad, I just haven't had time to devote to it, or to this blog. I'm one of those people who either gives all of their attention to something, or none of it. I just can't do things half-heatedly. I've missed photography. I've missed writing things that aren't school related. I've missed blogging here. Hopefully, the future will hold more time for me to devote to the things I love (not that I don't love studying English and Ren. Lit, because I do). 

So here's to hopefully investing more time to this space in the future. I make no promises. But I look forward to whatever happens.


Friday, September 6, 2013

feels like fall

 photo feelslikefall_zpsc6878a05.jpg

 I am not a season stickler. I like to listen to Christmas music in July. I crave pumpkin-y things in March. I eat popsicles in February. And I stock up on Reese's Easter eggs to eat year-round. It's also no secret that fall is my very favorite season (with winter taking a close second.) So, though it's still 95 degrees with nearly tropical humidity outside, my heart is pondering fall. I'm ready for long hikes with leaves beneath my feet, steaming hot coffee to ward off the chill of frosty mornings, and pumpkin flavored anything and everything. So, with that spirit in mind, here are a few songs that just put my in an autumnal mood. While most of these songs aren't directly related to fall, they just feel like those cozy mornings that October and November bring. What songs make you think of fall?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


 photo IMG_3754_zps8a93e3bf.jpg

Life is moving very fast. Twenty-two comes in less than four months, graduation in less than eight. And after that? Only God knows.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fair Weather

 photo IMG_8690_zps2f17a3ea.jpg  photo IMG_0370_zps24e65c60.jpg  photo IMG_4208_zps3eb445c1.jpg  photo IMG_1001_zpsed4b0acf.jpg  
  Okay, so I have a confession to make. Before last night, I'd never been to a real county fair. Sure, growing up we had the Tri-County Fair, but it consisted solely of livestock, a rodeo/tractor pull, and little old ladies selling quilts. There might have been a few rides, but I obviously wasn't allowed to ride them (hello shoddy upkeep.) So I was pumped to visit one of the best fairs in the entire nation: Wilson County Fair. It was so. much. fun. My friends and I were most concerned with finding the best fair food. We settled on polish sausage, corn dogs, funnel cakes, and fried oreos. We also drank more sarsparilla than I care to admit.

Some of our other friends made fun of us for spending most of our time in the poultry and bunny tent. But look at that rabbit. It was all I could do not to buy it.

Visiting the fair was the best possible way to say goodbye to summer! I move back into the dorm tomorrow. It's crazy that this might be my last year of college. ( I refuse to admit that I will probably not graduate on time.) Anyway, it's going to be a hectic week getting all the new freshmen and transfers settled in before we start school next week. It seems like just yesterday I was a terrified college freshman with the whole world at my feet. Crazy to think I'm now knocking on the door of real life.


Monday, August 5, 2013


 photo IMG_2621_zps0d0b87df.jpg  photo IMG_2552_zpsb39ba6bf.jpg  photo IMG_2554_zps69eb95fa.jpg
 photo IMG_2571_zps1a8d7fdf.jpg  photo IMG_2580_zpsbf09e224.jpg  photo IMG_2583_zps7ee80f3a.jpg photo IMG_2585_zps71fc182d.jpg photo IMG_2588_zpsb9d9d22b.jpg photo IMG_2591_zpscd538a72.jpg photo IMG_2592_zps54370ced.jpg photo IMG_2593_zpse7f0db74.jpg photo IMG_2595_zps4faba5ee.jpg photo IMG_2598_zpsc903a822.jpg photo IMG_2599_zps0fe85f60.jpg  photo IMG_2602_zps50efd095.jpg  photo IMG_2604_zps17a78b01.jpg  photo IMG_2610_zps145cbd57.jpg photo IMG_2612_zpse13d8096.jpg photo IMG_2613_zps4a8d708d.jpg photo IMG_2615_zps01d18c80.jpg photo IMG_2619_zpsc2d0c67b.jpg photo IMG_2624_zps7377d31e.jpg photo IMG_2625_zpsb42c678d.jpg photo IMG_2633_zps30f9e327.jpg photo IMG_2658_zps606ee53c.jpg photo IMG_2661_zps5c2cd210.jpg photo IMG_2666_zps88f54e0e.jpg photo IMG_2673_zps224e5595.jpg photo IMG_2680_zps4a914699.jpg photo IMG_2681_zps0518414f.jpg photo IMG_2693_zps953de18a.jpg photo IMG_2696_zps663945f1.jpg photo IMG_2697_zps69af3913.jpg photo IMG_2700_zpsf53c9ec7.jpg photo IMG_2706_zpse86aa838.jpg photo IMG_2710_zpsfbb03ea4.jpg photo IMG_2713_zps3f345a61.jpg photo IMG_2717_zps173a9e6f.jpg photo IMG_2749_zpsfcb671e1.jpg photo IMG_2750_zps48b39e40.jpg photo IMG_2765_zps1931d0bb.jpg photo IMG_2782_zps7ec5f212.jpg photo IMG_2787_zps99892410.jpg photo IMG_2791_zps42529571.jpg photo IMG_2792_zps7e559898.jpg photo IMG_2796_zps08b54d03.jpg photo IMG_2797_zps5fe23107.jpg photo IMG_2802_zpsa58c356e.jpg photo IMG_2803_zps29ee57b7.jpg photo IMG_2807_zpsca862707.jpg photo IMG_2808_zps47e6eaaf.jpg photo IMG_2811_zps71c6ae67.jpg photo IMG_2815_zpse9ca2863.jpg photo IMG_2816_zps69f64e9e.jpg photo IMG_2817_zps2c80567b.jpg photo IMG_2820_zpsf665d42b.jpg photo IMG_2824_zpsa7a48298.jpg photo IMG_2832_zps12af4fda.jpg photo IMG_2834_zps2fb31977.jpg photo IMG_2836_zps03afbb6b.jpg photo IMG_2838_zps2ae9db39.jpg photo IMG_2840_zpsc1837b17.jpg photo IMG_2853_zps6b207419.jpg photo IMG_2857_zpsaa857e98.jpg photo IMG_2862_zps4f005acd.jpg photo IMG_2864_zpse1964cdb.jpg photo IMG_2861_zps014d24ae.jpg 

 Goodness. Looking back through these pictures from Morocco has been an emotional roller coaster. Morocco was the hardest place; the farthest outside of my comfort zone. I've spent my entire life safe and cozy in the Bible belt. To trade steeples for minarets was incredibly difficult. To be one of the only Christians in an entire nation? Heartbreaking. 

We couldn't witness in Morocco. Not in the traditional sense. While it isn't illegal to be a Christian in Morocco, it is illegal to proselytize, as well as convert from Islam to Christianity. Our witness and testimony was in our actions and love. We separated in to small groups and stayed in Moroccan homes.  We walked around the city and prayed. We prayed so hard. 

I didn't get many pictures in Morocco. It rained nearly the entire time, and I was cautious to use my camera as many people begged me not to take their picture any time I had it out. Many were wary of us as Americans already. I didn't want to make matters worse for us, as we were in an already precarious situation. 

As hard as it was in Morocco, I truly did enjoy my time in Fez. I felt as if I were walking the streets of Aladdin. It was absolutely beautiful. We stayed in the Old City, which was quite the cultural experience.  It was also really neat to see the Volubilis.

You can read a more comprehensive overview of my trip here.

Pray for the people of Morocco, that they would be open to Christianity, to what Christianity truly is, as their perception of Christ is incredibly skewed. Pray for open hearts. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...