Facebook is kind of ridiculous sometimes.  Most of the time, actually.  And in many different ways.

The layout changes almost constantly.  I've lost track of how many times they've reformatted things since I got on Facebook more than three years ago.  Yeah, you eventually get used to the changes, and sometimes they are better than what was there before, but it's still annoying how often things change.

Those silly chain statuses.  Right now there's a "number" thing going on.  "Message me a number and  I'll put it on my status and tell you what I think of you."  Ok... what is the point to this?  Then there are ones with this kind of logic going on: "97% of people on Facebook are too afraid to say they're a Christian.  Will you be part of the 3% that aren't afraid?  If you believe in God, post this as your status."  You know those statistics are made up, right?  And there are much better ways to show your love for God than by following silly trends in Facebook statuses.  "If you have an amazing mother/father/sister/brother/cousin/friend, post this as your status, because it's national amazing mother/father/sister/brother/cousin/friend day!"  That's most likely made up too, it being a national day for such people.  Nothing wrong with letting people know you love them and care about them, but there are better, more meaningful ways to do that than with a short blip on your status.  Then there's the people who publish their every move, their entire schedule on their status.  "I'm about to go to biology class, then meeting up with friends for lunch at Panera, hitting the gym across from school before going to work at the theater, can't wait to get back to the apartment for movie night!!"  Did you know that's a good way for someone to stalk you?  And I'm not talking about just the friendly stalking we do to each other on Facebook, but malicious stalking, someone possibly following your every move in order to find the best time to hurt you. Don't think it's silly.  It has happened.

I'm not really big on computer and video games, so maybe that's why this annoys me.  The people who play several different games on Facebook, post the updates on their profile, and send requests to every single "friend" to join the game.  Thank goodness you can block games from your newsfeed and block the requests.  I would go insane if I couldn't do that.  I use Facebook primarily for keeping in touch with people, not for the mindless entertainment provided by the games on there, so I don't really care to hear about imaginary farms, cafes, and other such things.

I love looking at photos on Facebook.  It's another way of keeping in touch, and being a fledgling photographer, I'm interested in them from a photographic and artistic aspect as well.  What I don't like though is when people post every single photo they've taken.  I'm not talking about posting a billion photos, because I do that too.  What I'm talking about are the people who don't take the time to weed out the blurry, grainy, pointless, and just plain bad photos when they upload.  If you can't tell what something is in a photo because of distortion due to blurriness and such, then why are you putting it up there?  If you have two similar photos of the same subject but one is better than the other, then just upload the good one, there's no reason to put the bad one up.  Or if there is a nondescript photo that is distorted but meaningful to you, at least put up a caption explaining what it is.  I used to be the person who would upload every single photo, bad and good, but I've learned to be more selective, and part of that is because of my photography classes.  So it's probably due to my photographic experience why this annoys me.  But think of it like this: If you wouldn't buy a print of a photo due to blurriness, grain, overexposure, underexposure, bad use of flash, or just because it's a bad photo, why would you upload it for the whole world to see?

It's very easy to acquire a lot of "friends" on Facebook.  The "best friend" you had in high school twenty years ago, the kid you sat by and joked with in that one class last semester, the person you met at the grocery store, your third cousin twice removed who you met at the reunion five years ago and haven't spoken to since.  How many of your "friends" on Facebook do you keep in touch with currently, on a regular basis?  Do you comment on each other's things constantly, more than the little random "That's cool!" or "I agree." comments?  Do you send messages back and forth, actually inquiring how the other is doing, updating each other personally on what's going on in your lives?  I've recently started sifting through my list of "friends" every week or two and removing people.  If I haven't heard from you in the past year or two and we hardly talked the last time we saw each other, you're most likely removed.  If you're the friend of a friend and I've never actually met you in person, you're most likely removed.  Two or three weeks ago I had 427 "friends", now I have 396.  It's nothing personal, it's not being mean or anything like that.  But if we don't keep in touch, if we're not friends in real life, not more than "friends" on Facebook, then...

Check. Your. Spelling.  Didn't you learn anything about that in school?  There are dictionaries on the internet.  Did you know that?  You're already on the computer, so you might as well pop up an online dictionary while you're at it if you're not sure how to spell something.  "Congratulations" is not spelled with a "d"... seriously, people.  I'm the kind of person who writes text messages in complete sentences, so you could say I'm a stickler for grammar and such at times.  But you know how people say that when you post something on Facebook, the whole world can see it?  That's pretty much true.  So do you want the whole world to see your bad spelling, punctuation, and grammar?  That's not putting a very intelligent image of yourself out there.  What if  a future employer or one of your professors were to see that?  I know I goof up sometimes and don't catch incorrect spelling and such in my own postings, so I'm certainly not saying that I'm better than everyone else.  What I'm saying is that it doesn't hurt to check your spelling and grammar, especially when it's painfully obvious you don't know what you're doing.

Facebook.  Some people love to hate it and others hate to love it.  Technology has been infiltrating our lives for numerous years and Facebook has seeped into our everyday happenings.  So no matter the frustrations and ridiculousness, I doubt Facebook will be disappearing any time soon.



One of the little boys at work took a spill today: tripped, fell, and bit into his lip.  He was such a little trooper though.  I pulled a chair up to the sink to clean him up when he asked what the red stuff was on his hands.  I told him it was nothing as I gently washed them with soap and water.  He'd been sobbing very hard when he came to me but quickly calmed down.  I carefully wiped off his face and asked him to open his mouth so I could make sure he wasn't still bleeding.  It pained him to, but he cautiously did.  Thankfully, mouth injuries tend to heal quickly.  All cleaned up, no more tears in his eyes, and an ice pack on his lip, he was once again the bright-eyed little boy I know and love.
Thank you, God, for brave little boys who grow into strong young men.


a light in the dark room

The semester is winding down, and there's a bitter-sweet feeling to it.
I'm excited to be moving closer to no longer being in school, but I've had the same teachers and some of the same classmates two semesters in a row now, and I'm going to miss them.
Mr. Vaughn's soft voice and combination of brilliance and absentmindedness.
The special "homeschooler" comradery  and shared interests with Nathan.
Kaley and I helping each other with assignments in the digital and film classes.
Katie's quirky creativity and frequent swearing.
Jason being so quiet and under-rated.
The smell of dark room chemicals.  The lights.  The magic and time involved in developing and printing your photos "the old fashioned way".  When will I ever step foot in a dark room again?
Mr. Johnson's booming voice, vast knowledge, and tendency to get on a soap box and share his own philosophies and theories on everything from life to buying software.
Weiser being so funny and entertaining.
Franco being off-the-wall and intelligent at the same time.
Rachael's ego.
Every classmate bursting at the seams with their own unique sense of creativity and how they see the world.
I'm going to miss being surrounded by so many talented people.
There is some light ahead though.  In the spring I'll have Mikey for advanced photoshop, the same teacher I had for the beginning photoshop class.  I know how he teaches and I really like how he runs his class.  So I'm looking forward to being in one of his classes again.
I'll also be taking a marketing class in the spring.  Figured it'd be a good thing to try since I want to start my own business.  Getting an introduction on how to market myself as a photographer will come in handy.
I'm sad to move on, but happy to move forward.  I have experiences and memories to cherish for the rest of my life... and two binders full of prints from the dark room.  :)


new route

I read Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austen, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Lauren Willig...
I listen to Queen, Jason Mraz, Skillet, The Beatles, Adele, Patrick & Eugene...
I go through phases of wearing makeup and then thinking it's the worst thing ever.
I don't think The Cosby Show will ever get old.
My cat is deaf.  I talk to her.  She likes to climb door jambs.
Getting my hair to lie flat is an accomplishment.  Keeping it curled or wavy how I want it is impossible.
I play guitar, but my repertoire of songs is pathetic.
One of my dreams is to start a small photography business.
Another dream is to travel to Ireland and the Isle of Man.
I would love to be more independent and live on my own, but I wouldn't like living by myself. I'd be too lonely.
I'm realizing how self-centered this is all sounding and wondering why exactly I started writing this.
I should write about other people instead.


My parents are amazing.  They're so supportive and loving.  I'm very thankful to have such great Christian parents.

My sister is crazy.  I don't know how her husband puts up with her.  But she's caring and thoughtful, and her husband is smart and funny.  I love them both.

My brother gets on my nerves.  But what brother doesn't bother his sister?  He's growing up so fast.  He's so smart and has big ideas.  Point him in the right direction and he'll go far.

My exchange student sister is so sweet and creative.  I've always secretly wished I had a little sister, and now I do.  She is such a blessing to our family.

My boss is such a great Christian woman.  So caring, organized, business-minded, and fun to be around.  I doubt I'll ever find an employer as wonderful as she is.

My dearest friend.  We've never lived very close to each other, and we don't get to see each other often.  But in the four years we've known each other, we both feel like we've stuck closer together than our other friends have stuck to us.  We've both had to deal with friends not being great friends, and friends growing apart.  Even though school and other things in life make keeping in touch hard, we have a special bond.  I hope God blesses you in all you do and that we remain close friends for many years to come.

We are still fairly new additions to each other's lives, still learning and growing.  But it's so great!  I certainly can't do the wonderfulness of it justice in this one small sentence, but I can't wait to see what God has in store. :)


listen in

A glimpse into my iTunes library.
Enjoy. :)

Ingrid Michaelson - Breakable

U2 - Vertigo

Matt Nathanson - Come On Get Higher

The Clash - London Calling


ache to remember

"I miss the sound of your voice
And I miss the brush of your skin
And I miss the still of the silence
As you breathe out and I breathe in"

Sometimes I get irritated by sappy songs.  Sometimes they're just too sappy.  For instance, I'm not a big fan of Taylor Swift's music.  (I know a lot of people aren't going to be happy with me about that, but oh well.)  Sometimes I hear sappy love songs and I think, "Ok, seriously? Grow up a little bit.  Be a little more realistic."  It's all part of my internal struggle to not give in to the "hopeless romantic" notions that seem to be so engrained in my subconscious.  I try to be practical and think clearly, but that doesn't work very well most of the time...  So I might as well hang up the white flag and surrender to my subconscious instead of continually fighting it.  Accept how I am and live with it.

Sometimes a sappy song perfectly describes what is happening in your life...



"You stupid person!  Don't be so selfish!  Good grief.  Think of others before yourself.  That's what love is about, putting someone's needs above your own.  Who cares if you don't like the situation.  Just because you're not getting anything out of it doesn't mean he isn't.  I really expected more of you."

I get mad at myself sometimes...

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesian 4:2



Proverbs 31:10-31
10  A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

*God, please help me to be a woman like this...*

The verse that strikes me the most in this passage is verse 30.  "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."  So many times we base our value on our outside appearance.  We base our value of other people on their outside appearance.  That is not right.
So many things in the world tell us that we must look like this, dress like that, have this body type, be that size, have this hair, have that complexion.  It's maddening and useless.  
I think women more than men deal with this kind of pressure.  But then men see these messages too and think that these kinds of supermodel women actually exist when in reality they're an airbrushed fantasy.
Things like hygiene and exercise, taking care of your body, that's one thing.  I think that if someone can show they know how to take care of themselves then that better shows they're able to take care of other people too.
But when someone is so concerned about outside appearance to the point that if they or someone else doesn't look a certain way that it counts against their character and personality, that's not right.  It should not be that way.  Beauty and looks only get you so far.  It's good character, confidence, and talent that will take you far in life.  
Beauty doesn't last either.  We're all getting a little bit older every day.  Your smooth skin, shiny hair, and fit body aren't going to last.  We're all going to be old and wrinkly someday.  It's inevitable.
The way the world sees beauty is shallow.  It all has to do with the outside, with looks, appearances, and largely with sex appeal.  The world doesn't value good character, strong morals, bright personalities, kind spirits.  No, none of that matters.  If you don't have the looks, you're worthless.
I know many people who wouldn't be considered "beautiful" in the eyes of the world.  But you know what?  They are some of the most beautiful people I know.  They are beautiful because of their hearts, the love they share with others, their joy, their dispositions, their talents, their faith.  That's what makes them beautiful.  And when you're gorgeous beyond belief in that sense, does the outside really matter at all?


curl up

Some songs are just so perfect.  You can't help but listen to them over and over and over...



Be patient, not frustrated.
Be understanding, not judgmental.
Be helpful, not hurtful.
Be thankful, not wanting.
Be loving, not hateful.
Be giving, not taking.
Be to others how you want them to be to you.
Be the kind of person you want to be with.

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10


missing piece

Even if you know it's only temporary, even if you know you're going to see them again, saying "goodbye" is hard.
It's like there's a new piece inside of you.  And even though it's new, it fits so perfectly with the rest of your pieces, like it's been there all along.  But when you say "goodbye", that piece is torn, ripped out, and it's painful.
I guess the pain is a good indication though.  I would rather feel sad and broken when the piece leaves than feel happy and free.  If I was happy when the piece is torn out, that would not be good.
So yes, saying "goodbye" is hard.  The pain is not enjoyable.  The piece is temporarily missing, but it'll be back.
Just hold on.



He called to say "hi"
To catch up
Said things were going great
Really turning around
That she's amazing
And he's changing
I certainly hope so
For her sake


Hesitance and holding back
Wanting to go forward, but not sure
Unequal feelings
Head still reeling
Will this be anything more?

Missing you forever
Missing your touch
Wanting reassurance
That you miss me that much
Do you?


Does she know who you were
Does she know what you've done
You say you're different now
But that hasn't undone
The actions that are final
That can't be taken back
The actions that forever
Taint what honor you had


Uncertain regard
For someone so dear
Someone who cares
For you unrestrained

"Take it slow, take your time"
"Don't make mistakes"
"Don't do things you'll regret"

But you must say
How you intend
To share your affections
No matter how small

Any affirmation
Not matter how faint
Would replace the world
Into her hands

For you are her world
And now it all depends
On your regard
Your caring embrace

The empty facade
Will you abandon it
And finally show
The truth inside
For her alone




The weather today was so gorgeous.  Bright and sunny with a breezy coolness so that the temperature stayed quite pleasant all day.
My Mom, my Grandma, and I enjoyed the loveliness by eating lunch on the back deck today.
While sitting there, eating and enjoying each other's company, part of the conversation ran like this...

Grandma: *looking at me while the sun is shining on me* Oh, Laura. Your hair...
Me: What?
Grandma: It's so pretty!
Me: *smiles* Yeah, I know.
Grandma: *turns to my Mom, jokingly* She's conceited, isn't she?

Nothing wrong with being a little conceited. It's good to be confident in yourself, whether it be in your abilities, character, appearance, etc.  Just make sure your confidence is well-placed and you don't flaunt it constantly.  :)


be be your love

I really love this song.
Be Be Your Love by Rachel Yamagata.

If I could take you away
Pretend I was queen
What would you say
Would you think I'm unreal
'Cause everybody's got their way I should feel

Everybody's talking how I, can't, can't be your love
But I want, want, want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real
Everybody's talking how I, can't, can't be your love
But I want, want, want to be your love
Want to be your love for real
Want to be your everything


Everything's falling, and I am included in that
Oh, how I try to be just okay
Yeah, but all I ever really wanted
Was a little piece of you

And everybody's talking how I, can't, can't be your love
But I want, want, want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real
Everybody's talking how I, can't, can't be your love
But I want, want, want to be your love
Want to be your love for real

Everything will be alright
If you just stay the night
Please, sir, don't you walk away, don't you walk away, don't you walk away
Please, sir, don't you walk away, don't you walk away, don't you walk away

And everybody's talking how I, can't, can't be your love
But I want, want, want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real
Everybody's talking how I, can't, can't be your love
But I want, want, want to be your love
Want to be your love for real

And everybody's talking how I, can't, can't be your love
But I want, want, want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real
Everybody's talking how I, can't, can't be your love
But I want, want, want to be your love
Want to be your love for real

I want to be your love, love, love


jar of hearts

This song resonated with me so deeply when I first heard it back in June.  I should have heeded its warning at that time, but I waffled and as a result ended up floating in murky waters for a while.  Things are clear now though and headed in the right direction.  I like where God is leading me.  He knows better than I.


roll over

Been in kind of a slump lately.  Kind of a dreary place in my brain.  Not feeling enthused about anything.  No creative processes going on.  Not really putting effort into things.
But recent events have changed that.  It's like a switch has been flipped.  I feel alive and happy.  Like I have a purpose, a goal to work towards, something to do that gives me worth.  There's new energy flowing through my brain.
I like this.  I don't want it to end.


remember september

It's the third day of September.  The weather is lovely and cool and I have class today.
Been fighting off a cough for the past three or four days, but I think it's finally clearing up.  Just in time for what promises to be an exciting weekend. :)
My current music obsessions?

Michael Buble


Ingrid Michaelson

It's chill music with an original sound.  I like it.
Enjoy the beautiful weather today!


sister o' mine

Today is my lovely sister's birthday.
She's created a blog for her soon-to-exist page on the newly popular website http://www.etsy.com/.
Here's a link!
She's an awesome, beautiful, and sometimes zany person. I'm proud to claim her as my sister.
Happy Birthday!


fatherly love

To be treasured, loved, cherished.  That's what so many of us look for in our lives.
It's easy to look for that in the people we know.  In friends, family, and significant others.
But we're not perfect.  We let each other down.
Very true, we love each other, but our love is not perfect like God's love.
He cherishes us no matter what.
He's not superficial.
He doesn't drop us the minute we do something wrong.
Instead, He lovingly forgives us and continues to love us.
It's very important to remember this not only when the people in our lives let us down, but all the time.
We're not perfect, but He is.
That's so comforting.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18



It kind of hurts when friends grow apart.
It can be painful.
You see it happening, you feel the separation, but there's nothing you can do about it.
Somehow your lives don't match up anymore.
You used to talk all the time and see each other at every opportunity.
Jokes shared, laughs blossomed, you comforted each other.
But it's not the same anymore.
People come and go, and we're better for knowing them.  But the separation hurts when it's still fresh.
Maybe they've changed or found someone they have more in common with.
Or maybe it's you that's changed.
Either way...
Change is inevitable in all of our lives.
But that doesn't always make it any easier to deal with.



I know a lot of people feel the same way about music as I do.  It's such a sweet escape sometimes.
Helps you calm down and think things through.
When the perfect song comes along that describes exactly how you feel, it's like finding the missing piece of a puzzle.
Often, when I get comfy and ready to sleep, I'll pick something soft to listen to on my iPod as I drift off.  Blocks out any other noises going on and helps me fall asleep faster.
I usually pick something loud and fun to listen to while I'm driving though.  I do a lot of driving during the school year, so it breaks up the monotony of driving the same roads several times a week.
You can tie memories to certain songs or kinds of music.  Whether they're good memories or bad, it helps you hold on to the past.  You can reminisce about sweet times or be reminded of mistakes that don't need to happen again.
I think a lot of us would be lost without music.  I thank God so much for giving us the gift of music.  The world wouldn't be complete without it.

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:19-20

My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Psalm 108:1



Growing up and starting over.  Forgiving and forgetting.
Working things out.
Having patience and helping each other.
Doing things correctly this time around.
This could be the beginning of something beautiful.


broken and beautiful

We've messed up.  Made mistakes.  Made unwise choices.  We haven't been careful.
We're both broken.
And on the road to recovery.
Maybe we can help each other get better?
MySpace Photography at CharmRoyal.com
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11


sleep tight

"You look cute today."
"Oh, thanks! This is my 'I Need To Go To Bed Earlier So I Don't Sleep Through My Alarm Clock' look." *I grin sheepishly*
"You look cute."
Yep, that was the conversation between my boss and me this morning.  :)  I'm so blessed to work for such a lovely Christian woman.  I enjoy my job.
It is true though.  I do need to go to bed earlier.  But I really love staying up late.  Not sure why, but I do.  Alone time maybe?  After spending all day around kids, it's kind of refreshing to have time to myself to just breath and do things.
Last week on Monday when I got home from Summer Training, I started working on my photos right away.  I worked non-stop from about 8:30 that night until 2:00 in the morning.  I got a lot done!  I guess that's another perk of staying up late.  Gives me time to edit and work on photos if I need to.
I do need to learn to recognize when my body is tired though.  My brain keeps wanting to go, but my body screams for sleep.  When I finally do make myself lay down, I fall asleep almost instantly.  It doesn't take long.  I'm super tired and don't even realize it.
Sleep is good.  I love sleep.  I need to go to sleep now... hopefully I will. :)
Good night!
MySpace Photography at CharmRoyal.com



time travel

Poor, little, neglected blog.  I haven't been taking very good care of you.  So many other things have been demanding my time.  And my brain seems to be empty of things that need to be written about.  Does the world really want to hear my small insights anyways?  Maybe they don't, and maybe they won't care if I don't write anymore.  I probably shouldn't be spilling my personal thoughts for the whole world to see.  Who knows who reads this.
You know what's frustrating?  When everyone lives so far away.  Friends, family, everyone.  Granted, this may be due to the fact that nearly everyone I know is in OAFC, and so the majority of them live in a different state.  But still.  It kind of sucks.  I don't really "know" many people locally.  I mean, I know their names and a little about them, but I don't "know" them.  I'm not close to them like I am with other people.  Also, it seems like any sort of potential relationship interest that comes along deals with major distance.  It's like, "What the heck? Aren't they any nice, Christian men around here close by?".  But considering I'm in "hickville" area, probably not.  Maybe a long distance relationship is the only option for me at this time.  I've done long distance before and would rather not do it again, but maybe I'll have to.
This feeling of distance is probably due to the fact that I just got back from OAFC Summer Training.  I miss everyone so much.  I feel like such an alien on a foreign planet when I get back from OAFC.  I'm thrown from one environment to another, and they're completely different from each other.  I miss the atmosphere at OAFC.  Monday was the last day of Summer Training when everyone (except the Travel Teams) went home.  I woke up at my host home that morning and for a split second thought I was home already.  I almost cried.  I didn't want to leave.  I want to press a rewind button and experience Summer Training all over again.  I miss my team, my friends, people I just met, people I've known for forever, people I'm getting to know again.  I miss them all.  I want to go back.



Here I am again.
So many things to think about, so many things to do.
Summer Training is next week. I've planned Bible Time lessons for my fill-in at work and written up my packing list. Need to buy a few more things before I'm entirely ready for the trip. Not to mention finish putting together the slideshow of photos from the entire forty years OAFC has been going on.  That project has taken so much time and energy, but I like how it's turning out.  And I think a lot of people will appreciate the hard work that went into it. I do think I have too many photos though. Once I have it all put together I'm going through it all again and taking out some photos just to whittle it down some.
Any ways.
Maybe having a specific purpose for a blog is over-rated... not to put down the people who have blogs like that. I just don't think that sort of thing is for me. My brain has too many things going on to tack it down to just one subject or thing. This is my outlet. Like the title says, "a place to spill my thoughts when they have nowhere else to go". That's what this blog is for. Spillage.


pick a day

Yep, I need to have a specific purpose for this blog.
It needs to be about a certain something.
Or I need to write something on some kind of regular basis.
Like, once a week.  Pick a day of the week and write something on that day.
Maybe that will work.



To be honest, I've forgotten why I made this blog.  What was my plan?  My grand design?  I don't remember.  I don't remember my intentions, what I was setting out to do.  What is the purpose of this blog?  Why did I make it?
Did I think that the simple going ons of my life would interest anyone?  Was I going to log my day-to-day activities?
Or was it for reflective purposes?  To sort through the jumbled mess my brain turns into at times?  A place to organize my thoughts?
Was it for a cause?  Was I going to "change the world" one blog post at a time?  Was there something important I wanted the world to know?  Something I'm passionate about?  Something bad that needs changed?
People who drone on and on about their supposedly pathetic lives, complaining about every single little thing as if the sky was going to fall, they annoy me.  FML?  Why the heck do you think you have the right to use that expression?  "I just stubbed my toe! FML!"  Really?  There are people who have it much worse than you do.
I don't want to be like those people.  I don't want to complain about how sad and pathetic I might think my life is.  Who would want to hear about that?   No one.  That's not what this blog is for.
But what is it for?  I still don't know...
Was I going to record the occasional profound thoughts that sometimes pop into my head?  If so, that wouldn't be very often.
Again, why did I make this blog?  I don't remember...



Seems like whenever I think of something really good to write about on here, I either don't have time to write it or I'm not at home.  It's kind of frustrating.  Maybe I should carry around a little notebook and constantly jot ideas down in it.  That's an idea.  Now if only I could remember to do that...
Any who.
A shout-out to my six followers on Blogger:  Thank you!!! Seriously, thank y'all so much for following me on here.  I know so many other blogs have so many more followers than I do, but I appreciate each and every one of you six people.  You make me happy.  :)
Here's some videos for y'all to enjoy.  I got two CD's for my birthday: Family Force 5 and Patrick&Eugene.  This first video is Put Ur Hands Up by Family Force 5.  I got to hear them live at Agape Fest on the 1st of this month.  It was so awesome!!!

And this is Patrick & Eugene.  They' from the UK and not very well known.  One of their songs is on a Laughing Cow Cheese commercial though.  :)  I like their music.  It's fun.

I'm going to try that notebook idea.  Maybe then I'll write about more interesting stuff.
Thank y'all again, my six followers!


and what a beautiful mess this is, it's like taking a guess when the only answer is yes

Tomorrow, I turn twenty years old.  Tomorrow, I am no longer a teenager.  Shortly after midnight tonight, I will be older.
One of my friends is just two days older than me.  So yesterday, like what everyone else does on Facebook, I wrote on his "wall" and told him "Happy Birthday".  I added, "In two days, we'll be the same age again!"  We thought it was pretty cool when we found out how close together our birthdays are.  With the exception of two days every year, we'll always be the same age.  :)
Tomorrow is also my last day of school this semester.  I've really enjoyed all my classes so much.  This is the first semester where I'm actually kind of sad that classes are ending.  Today was the last day in the dark room and I took my digital photography final.  Tomorrow I present my photoshop final, and then I'm done.  I'm going to miss my teachers, my classmates, the dark room, the learning.  Probably the only thing I won't miss is the insane amount of driving to and from campus.  Bittersweet feelings.
Growing up, getting older, taking on more responsibility.  It happens to everyone.  Seems like everyone (not literally EVERYONE, but you know what I mean) around me is graduating, getting engaged, getting married, and having kids.  It makes you sit there and think, "What? Really? They've grown up so fast! I remember when..."  And someday, when those things happen to me, people will think the same things about me.


my empty

Here is my photo essay for my digital photography class. Sorry it goes outside of the little blog box thing. I couldn't get it any smaller.

Here's a link to my YouTube account: http://www.youtube.com/user/thecalmafterthestorm.  There's an explanation with the video there.


so many questions

What to type. What to write.
Let's just ramble.
Ramble, ramble, ramble.
I was super nervous today about presenting my photo essay in my digital photography class.  My heart was beating so fast, I thought it was going to burst out of my chest!  But I managed to keep my voice pretty even when I did a short little intro before my teacher played the video.  I probably should've said more, but I didn't want my voice to start shaking.  I was so anxious.  Would people like it?  What would they say?  What would my teacher say?  Well, no one really said anything.  They all looked at me and clapped when it was over.  I'm pretty sure my face turned bright red.  Having everyone's attention directed at you is kind of nerve-wracking.  Any who.  I survived the presentation and left right after my teacher said we could go.  And now I've uploaded the video to Facebook.... oh Facebook.  I'm nervous again.  Will people like it?  What will they say?  I don't know.
Ramble, ramble...
I went to Agape Fest on Saturday.  It was insane!!! So much fun!!! I finally got to see Skillet and Family Force 5 live.  It was so incredible!  My legs are still sore from jumping and dancing around like crazy.  I was totally intending to go to church Sunday morning, but I was so wiped out I didn't make it.  I slept until 11:00 on Sunday.  Oops!  I think the next band I'd like to see live is Flyleaf.  Now THAT would be quite a concert.
*wracking my brain for things to write*...
Mm, yeah, so, I want to get started in the photography business.  But what I'd really like is to sit down and chat or e-mail with a photographer and ask him/her some questions.  I want to get started in this business, but I've still got so many just basic questions I need answered and I want to see what I'd be getting myself into before I dive into that crazy world.  Photographers are such busy people though, I'd hate to take any time away from their work or families.   But these questions aren't going to answer themselves.  I could probably find some of the answers in a book somewhere, but books just don't compare to people.  I'd love to intern with or job shadow a photographer, just to see how they do things.  If they could kind of take me under their wing and "show me the ropes" sort of thing.  I don't know if that's common practice though or if any photographer would do that.  So many questions to ask.  So much research to be done.


danced both edges of the knife

The Swell Season is amazing.  Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard make up this little duo based in Ireland. Glen is the lead singer for The Frames and Marketa is a classically trained pianist and vocalist from the Czech Republic.  They starred together in the lovely movie "Once" and won an Oscar for the song "Falling Slowly".  I just bought their album Strict Joy and their self-titled album is in the mail on its way.  The music they make together is so wonderful.  The instruments are beautifully played, the lyrics are simple but powerful, and their vocals are astounding.

"You were restless, I was somewhere less secure, So I went running to the road, And so now there's a long list of places I was, I quit my rambling and came home. Cause Maybe I was born to hold you in these arms."

"I know we're not where I'd promised you we'd be by now, But maybe it's a question of who'd want it anyhow... Ok I'm not what I promised you I would become, I know we're not what I promised you we'd be by now..."

"Well I never heard the warning, I haven't got things right, Yet the sun came out this morning, and filled my room with light. So go on now, you are forgiven, Let's put it down to life, The story of two lovers, Who danced both edges of the knife."

"And rest your head, In my lap, And I'll lead you out of your own trap, And I'll show you how much, You have missed through the, Time we weren't right"

Those are some bits and pieces of a few of their songs.  I really do enjoy their music so much.  I'm actually using one of their songs in my video photo essay for my digital photography class.  I might post it on here when it's all put together.  That won't be for two or three weeks though.
(This picture is from their MySpace page.)

(New profile picture courtesy of one of my classmates, Nathan!)


oh bother

Concentration is impossible right now...
Can't think about anything except...
...Oh dear...


future/present dreams

Busy, busy.  Been so busy and distracted and scatter-brained lately.  Thinking of a million things I need to do, forgetting to write them down so I'll remember them, and then spending my time trying to remember what I was going to do.  It's comical in a frustrating sort of way. :)
The biggest most exciting thing that's happened recently is that a few of my photographs were accepted into the student art show at my school.  I am so psyched!!!  I submitted a print from my film photography class and then three photos from my digital photography class.  The film print and two of the digital photos were accepted.  I couldn't believe it when my teacher told me my pieces got in!  I was so flabbergasted!  The opening reception for the student art show is this Sunday at the Jacoby Arts Center and the pieces will be on display until May 9th.  I'm terribly excited!  I've never been in an art show before!  I haven't ever really taken art classes like this before either, and I'm definitely enjoying them.
I've been trying to sort out in my mind the steps to starting my own photography business.  It's going to be a lot of hard work, but I do think that's really what I want to do.  I need to chat with some local photographers and see if I can pick their brain as to how they got started and see if they have any tips or advice.  I have a notebook that I'm keeping track of all this stuff in, but remembering to do research and such is hard.  I'm thinking about just pinning a huge piece of paper to my wall and writing on it what I need to do.  If I can see something, then I'm more apt to remember to do it.  I need to figure out my rates, turn around time (time between taking the pictures and having them ready for clients), watermark/logo (I'm a bit paranoid about people stealing my work), and so many other things.
I would like to continue shooting film outside of school and selling the prints as art, so I was asking one my teachers about the best labs to send my stuff to for processing and printing and such.  I need to ask him about matting and framing too.  If I can mat and frame my own photos, that will save money.
The thought has entered my mind recently to possibly go to art school after I've gotten my photography certificate at the community college I'm at now.  Either go to art school or some four-year college that will have a more extensive photography program than what I'm in now.  The only thing that scares me about that is going into debt.  Art school can be expensive.  Starting out in a photography business can be expensive at first too.   But there are scholarships and ways to save money.  It might happen, it might not.  Have to wait and see what God wants me to do.
So yeah, I've got a million things running through my mind that I need to sort out, not to mention I'm still in the process of scanning and archiving photos for the OAFC reunion in June.  Good grief.  At least when this semester ends that will alleviate some of the pressure and give me a bit of down time before the summer hours start at work.  I'll be working eight hours a day over the summer, Mon-Fri, so that will be nice.  I need the hours and the money.  I think I'll definitely fall into the category of "starving artist" for a while. :)
Right now music-wise I'm checking out Jack Johnson, 3OH!3, and Flight of the Conchords.  I've loved Jack Johnson for a while (Banana Pancakes is one of my favorite songs), so I've checked out one of his CD's from the library to listen to.  I checked out 3OH!3 from the library too because I kind of like one of their songs and I thought I'd check out some of their other stuff.  So far I'm kind of iffy on it, but we'll see what happens.  A few of my friends are absolutely in love with Flight of the Conchords, and I've heard some of their stuff, so I'm looking into them some more.  Music, music.  It's awesome.  I don't know what I'd do with out it.
Well, time to hit the hay.  I've been getting decent amounts of sleep last week and this week, but I've been so tired still all the time.  Sleepy, sleep.  I'm coming.




Fear is a good thing.  It's a healthy thing.  Having a healthy, cautious fear is not something to be ashamed of.  Crossing a four-lane highway without a crosswalk is something to be afraid of.  Driving close to the speed limit so you won't get pulled over, that's a healthy fear.  Putting sunscreen on so you won't get sunburned, that's being cautious.
So yeah, fear is a good thing.  But what's not good is when you let fear rule your life.
What if you never tried anything new or never took any chances because you were afraid of what would happen?  What kind of life would that be?  You've got to try new things.  It's one of the best ways to learn about stuff!  And if something turns out bad after taking a chance, so what?  At least you've learned to not do it again.
I've let fear and second-guessing stop me from doing things.  After I let that happen, I sit and wonder what would have happened if I had taken that chance.  Sometimes wondering "what would have happened" is more torturous than if the chance had turned out badly.
Chances are all over the place.  School, jobs, careers, friends, family, relationships, everywhere!
Would you let a not-so-great past relationship stop you from starting a new one with a new person?  Would you try long distance again after it not turning out so well last time?  This is the biggest chance, the biggest fear I'm dealing with.  It's been quite a few years since "last time" and the circumstances are different this time.  The people involved are more mature, more alike, and closer to the same "level" "relationship-wise", if you get what I mean.  I need to get over this fear and take this chance.
Fear is a good thing.  But don't let it stop you from trying what could possibly be a great thing.



lent is my favorite

Lent is my favorite church season.  That might change if I become a pastor's wife and have to directly deal with the stress of the many church services and such, but for now, Lent is my favorite and I'm going to enjoy it.
There's more than one reason why Lent is my favorite church season, and I'm going to attempt to explain them.
One of the reasons is the many church services.  I love getting to go to church more than once a week.  Not having to wait an entire week before going back is so wonderful.
Lent really helps remind me of what Jesus did for me, for all of us.  It's so humbling to hear it all over again.  I'm having a hard time describing exactly how much this means to me.  It's deep, really deep.  Like, an immovable, totally permanent reassurance of how much God loves me and why I am here on this earth.
Music really moves me, so I find the hymns that we use during Lent to be extremely meaningful.  My Song is Love Unknown is definitely one of my favorite hymns of all time.  There are so many other hymns that I love, but I'm terrible at remembering their titles or page numbers.  Tonight at the Tenebrae service a girl did a solo and it was so perfect for the overall tone of the service.  It made me cry.
So yeah, I don't think I fully succeeded in explaining why I love Lent so much, but I gave it a shot.  It's a hard thing to put into words.




You know those days when you just feel kind of "off"?  Like you're not yourself?  Yeah, that's been me for the past week/few days.
I've been feeling tired and exhausted.  The being tired part isn't really anything new since I have a bad habit of staying up later than I should.  I can usually shake the tiredness off, but that hasn't been working lately.  I was so wiped out yesterday.  I was OK through classes, but by the time my second one ended and I was on my way to work, I was becoming so exhausted.  I battled a headache and extreme tiredness during work.  Got home around 6:00, feeling like a zombie.  With it staying lighter later into the day now, my parents have been working outside more, which results in us having dinner later.  At 8:00 I laid down to rest a bit before dinner.  I ended up falling asleep.  I fell asleep around 8:00 last night and didn't wake up until between 8:00 and 9:00 this morning.  I've slept a long time before, but that's usually after staying up super late, and in the past it's happened on a weekend, not during the week.  When I woke up it actually took me a bit to remember if I had eaten dinner last night or not.  I'm so thankful I don't have class on Tuesdays.
Been a little more scatterbrained than usual.  Remembering to do things is already not one of my strong points.  But that's become even more difficult lately.  It bugs me when I forget to do things or forget to write them down so I'll hopefully remember to do them.  I try to be efficient and create a system to get things done, but either that doesn't happen or the system I create doesn't work very well. 
I haven't really been happy lately either.  I'm not sure what the deal is.  I've kind of been listening to a lot of slow, depressing songs...  I tried listening to happy songs the other day, but they didn't strike me the way they usually do.  This is really bugging me too.  I want to be happy!  I love being happy!!  I'm usually quite a happy person.
I really hope this whole "feeling off" thing goes away.  I don't like it one bit.  I want to be myself.



now i'm afraid of silence

I have been so enraptured by music lately.  More so than usual, I mean.  I don't know what the deal is.  I've been revisiting old favorites, finding new ones, and paying more attention to lyrics.  It's awesome.  :)
The song I originally wanted to feature in this post was Curl Up and Die by Relient K.  I know the title might sound kind of morbid, but it's not.  It's really quite a sweet song.  A good friend of mine introduced me to it when I was dealing with a major disappointment last year.  My friend is so awesome and the song helped me get over what I was dealing with.  I couldn't find a decent video of the song to post, which makes me sad because I really love that song.  They don't even have it on their MySpace page.  But I do believe it's on their The Birds And The Bee Sides album.  It is on iTunes though!  I know that because I bought it from there.  :)  So yeah, hunt down that song (or the album) and listen to it.  I guarantee you will love it!
So instead of Relient K, here's an old favorite of mine by Jon McLaughlin.  It's called Beautiful Disaster.  I instantly loved this song the first time I heard it.  It has such a wonderful message and the video kind of helps put it into context.  I really like this song. :)

Music is amazing.  My world would be so quite and boring without music or people to share it with.


the seventh day

Mmm, I think it's time for my Sunday afternoon snuggle with my blankets and pillow.  There's something about taking a short nap on Sunday afternoons that's so pleasant.  Something about being cozy and comfortable.  I usually drink coffee before going to church but I like drinking it after too.  It increases the coziness (and for some reason caffeine doesn't really affect me).  I dress up for church, but then dress down into pajamas or jeans and a t-shirt when I get home.  After going to church and getting to learn more about Christ and worship Him, it's nice to take a rest.  Even if I have a list of things I need to do, it's good to slow down and take a breath before diving in.  Take a rest and get ready for the week ahead.  Resting is good.  God even rested after He created the world. :)



It's a bit annoying when I would actually like to go to sleep kind of early but my body won't allow me to.  Between my brain being used to staying up past midnight and my stomach hurting, it looks to be another late night tonight.
Wednesday was Saint Patrick's Day.  :)  It is certainly one of my favorite days ever.  It gives me an excuse to wear green and plaid and parade around and show off my Irishness.  'Course my Dad says it's the only day all year my family doesn't have to wear green, what with most of us being redheads and our Irish last name.  But I do anyways.  I don't have nearly as much green clothing as I used to when I was younger, but I try to keep at least one green shirt or a pair of green socks in my possession.  I would absolutely LOVE to have a dark green dress or one with some sort of floral-ish green pattern.  I haven't come across one yet that I like and I don't have time to sew one like I used to.  Someday though I'll find that lovely green dress and I'll wear it every chance I get.  :)

Yeah, I like this song.  :)  I heard it on a Gossip Girl episode (which by the way, I got tired of all the drama and the really slow plot, so I stopped watching that show).  It's one of my favorites now.
No post would be complete without an awesome picture.  I'm really loving this new site I've found for pictures.



i will find a way to you

More Jason Mraz... :)
I'm kind of obsessed with this song right now.  It's one of my all-time favorites.  I "re-discovered" it recently.

And here it is in a breathtaking routine on SYTYCD.

I try not to be, but I think I really am one of those hopeless romantic types.  Couldn't you tell? :)


stop the noise!

OK, seriously?  Is there no decency left in this world?  I just saw on my newsfeed on Facebook that one of my friends became a fan of a page called "I love the feeling of taking my bra off after a looong day".  Really?  Someone made a fan page for that?  I'm sorry, but that disgusts me.  Even if you are female and enjoy being able to take your bra off at the end of the day, do you really need to proclaim it to the world?  I mean, seriously.  There are GUYS on Facebook too, and they don't need to know this stuff.  It's just gross.
This reminds me of that circulating Facebook status that was supposed to "raise awareness for breast cancer".  It was a "girls only" thing and you weren't allowed to "tell the boys".  Basically, you were supposed to put the color of your bra as your status, just the color, with no explanation.  I don't understand how plastering the color of your bra all over Facebook raises awareness for breast cancer... And honestly, it wasn't that hard for the guys to figure out.  It looked suspicious how only gals were doing it and jokingly commenting on each others statuses.  I didn't participate in that nonsense.  I don't need my guy friends or the guys in my family imagining what I look like in the color bra I'm wearing.  The state of my underwear is something I'm going to keep to myself.  I don't want the whole world to know the color of my undies.
Do people even think through these things any more?  Is there no such thing as privacy?  Because honestly, I don't want to know the color of your underwear, that you like taking your bra off, or any other personal things like that.  Keep those things to yourself, please!



I have a hard time sometimes explaining or knowing the reasons why I do things or think things.  Why I prefer one thing over another, why I want to do something, why I don't want to do something.  I'll know the "if" but I won't know the "why".  Sometimes I don't know the "why" or how to clarify it.
One example happened right after I got my new vehicle.  I had totaled my old vehicle on a icy road on my way to church.  Since then I had been afraid of driving in the wintry weather.  We went and got my new vehicle one night after I got off work.  After driving an hour in wintry weather to bring it home I was exhausted, tense, and didn't want to drive any more that night.  But of course as soon as my Dad and I got home, everyone wanted me to take them for a ride in the new vehicle.  I knew I didn't want to, and I told them I didn't want to, but I didn't know why I didn't want to.  My family thought I was just being stuck up or difficult.  I knew I didn't want to drive anymore that night, but it hadn't clicked in my brain yet why I didn't want to.  Then after ten or fifteen minutes of being overwhelmed by the requests to go driving and my refusing them, it finally clicked: I didn't want to drive any more that night because I had just driven an hour in the wind and snow, I was still scared of driving in that weather, my muscles were all tensed up and I needed to relax.  I was finally able to tell my parents this and bust into tears in the process.
A more recent predicament is spring break.  It was planned for me to go spend spring break with my sister and her husband and I would be able to hang out with Fred while I was there.  I've canceled those plans.  There are two different reasons why I canceled:
1) I would have to drive six hours by myself there and six hours by myself back.  I do enjoy driving, but I'm not up to spending that much time in the car alone yet.  I think I would get bored and/or go insane.  Since the beginning of making these plans I haven't been totally sold on the idea of driving the distance by myself.  There were thoughts of flying instead, but it would take just as long to fly and be more expensive.
2) I'm not sure if I want to get into another long distant relationship.  Now, I don't know if Fred is even thinking along these lines yet, I might be jumping ahead.  But having been in a long distant relationship before, I know it's an important factor to think about.  I was in high school during that previous relationship and the guy I was with was certainly not the greatest person in the world.  So the circumstances would be different this time around if Fred and I were to pursue a relationship.  I'm in college now,  I'm older, Fred is older, and I think Fred and I are more compatible than the previous guy and I were.  However, I'm still not totally sold on the idea.  Living six hours away is still living six hours away no matter how old you are.
So which is the biggest reason why I canceled the spring break trip?  Which has more weight in my decision?  After thinking and praying about it, I think it's the prospect of driving that long by myself.  There's still a chance for Fred and I to hang out some other time and we've got time to get to know each other.  Plus, there are a lot of things I'll be able to do by staying home.  I can work on the OAFC photo project for Summer Training, go to an OAFC event this Saturday, meet my foreign exchange student brother's sister when she comes to visit, and just enjoy being at home and not rushing to get to school on time.  I'll save a lot of money in gas this way too.  :)  As Fred and I's friendship develops, we'll get to talk about things like relationships and distance.  We'll be able to decide together if we want to try having a long distance relationship or not.  So yes, the driving has the most weight in my decision about spring break.  I'm sad I won't get to hang out with Fred and I wish I wasn't so chicken to drive by myself for so long.  He was so gracious and understanding though when I told him I wasn't coming because of the driving.  Fred is awesome.  I'm definitely not going to cut my ties with him.  I'm going to wait and see what God's got in store for us.

new picture site!