Silent suffering.
Are you a silent sufferer?
Do things bother you but you don't tell people because you don't want to burden them with your problems?
Or you don't feel like you have permission to talk about it?
Or you don't want to hear the questions and criticisms you know are bound to come out of their mouths?
Are you a silent sufferer?
How do you deal with it?
Is it healthy?
The answer to that is "no".
Do you pray a lot?
Do you confide in a select few?
Do you suck it up and pretend nothing is going on?
Ignoring things doesn't make them go away.
It just puts them on hold for a little while.
Are you a silent sufferer?
If you are, just know this:
You are not alone.
There are many more just like you.
And they're willing to offer help and support.

For where two or three come together in My name, there I am with them.
Matthew 18:20



I certainly don't agree with everything that goes on in the show "Glee".  The morals and plots are questionable, but you can't deny that they have amazing talent on that show.
The mashup of two Adele songs last night was beautiful.  I actually got a little choked up when I watched it.  I already love Adele's music so this was just too perfect.  They put the songs together so well and I love Naya Rivera's (Santana) voice.

The songs speak to you on a personal level.  Whether you've been in a relationship exactly like what's described in the songs or something a little different, you can still identify with the mixture of anger and hope expressed.  I think that's what got me the most.



It's way too easy to over-think something and let it scare you.  Sure, it's really exciting at the beginning, but then you get down to the nitty gritty, figuring out the details, making the tough decisions, and it almost makes you want to run in the other direction.
And it's really annoying when you get to writing and then somethings happens that totally blows your train of thought out of the water.  Now I'm frustrated.  Like I didn't have enough to think about already.
Anyways, I guess what I was getting at before is that even though something may be scary or complicated, God put it there for a reason.  You may not think you're ready to handle it, but He thinks so, and that's all that matters.  Dawdling and putting it off won't get it done and won't help you grow.  You just need to buckle down and do it.
This seems to happen to me a lot.  I get started on something and then get scared and think I can't do it, that it's too hard.  You would expect me to finally learn to just blast through the challenge and not worry about it.


paper or plastic

I am such a mixture of my parents.
Dad is cool and calculated, logical, and good at solving problems.
Mom is sympathetic, emotional, sappy, and charitable.
I constantly bounce between these two temperaments.
My brain is a fun place to be when these two sides get to arguing with each other.



Does modesty still exist?  (No, I'm not talking about clothes. But do keep reading.)
I'm not really one to "toot my own horn" as the saying goes.  Case in point: Nearly everyone at my church had no clue that I could play guitar until we hosted an OAFC weekend last month and I played guitar during the Sunday services.  I don't brag about or flaunt my abilities.
Or do I?  Yes, there is a difference between modesty and shyness.  Consider this though: You might not verbally share something about yourself, but does that stop you from posting or Tweeting it?  When you think about it, everything you put out there is something you think is important enough for the "whole world" to know.
This train of thought leads me to social networking for businesses.  Self-promotion, more specifically.  Sure, making face-to-face connections with potential collaborators and clients it still the best way to promote your business.  But online social networking is now a given for businesses and freelancers who want to stay on top of things.  It's a new and convenient way to make connections.
The question floating around in my mind is this: How do you balance self-promotion and modesty?  Is this even possible?  Are modesty and humility still traits to be proud of?  How many times can you post something about yourself or your business before you come across as being arrogant, prideful, and annoying?
I ask again, does modesty still exist?



Stupid artistic insecurities.
I don't like how you pop up out of nowhere.
The smallest things set you off.
I don't like you, insecurities.
Go away and don't come back.

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” - Carlos Casteneda



It's been a while since I've written on here.  Nearly a month.  And I can tell.  Writing helps me stay balanced and focused.  I get a bit scatterbrained when I don't take the time to sort out my thoughts and write.  I do want to continue writing on here from an introspective point of view, but right now I'm kind of just free writing and dumping my brain.

I'm still plugging away at starting a business.  Had a photo shoot last week and have another coming up next week which means things are certainly picking up.  But my computer died and I had to buy a new one, so that doesn't help any with my income and expenses.

Sometimes I wonder if starting a business would be easier if I lived in a bigger town or a different state.  Is it normal to try to start a business in a podunk town like this one?  But I would probably have more competition if I lived in a bigger place or one more attuned to photography and creative pursuits.  Competition isn't necessarily a bad thing though.

I get frustrated with online social networking.  I know it's a good way to gain "followers" and drum up business, but does it really work?  Do people really pay attention to it?  Taking time to post things for my business and then for myself personally seems frivolous, time-consuming, and redundant.  I know there are other ways to get the word out, but I'm no social butterfly and find small talk boring, so it's hard to make myself employ those other strategies.

Another thing about social networking: it gets annoying.  People post stupid, meaningless things, complain about others complaining, take it all way too seriously, or say things that should be kept private.  That's another peeve: everything is so public and open for everyone to see.  I know there are settings and whatnot for what gets shown to who, but it can still be overwhelming.  For instance, consider relationship statuses.  A break up is painful enough to deal with personally in real life and seeing everyone's comments and input online doesn't make it any easier.  It's good to be honest and accurate with your information, but I don't like how people make it their own business to be involved in the business of others when they have no business being in their business.  (Did you get confused?)  Some people think there must be something majorly wrong if you don't list a relationship on Facebook.  Well that's their problem if they want to think that.  Not everyone wants to plaster their information all over the place so the whole world can see it.  What happened to privacy and decency?

I kind of miss my college classes.  I enjoyed challenging my creativity with the assignments and getting to interact with people who share my interests.  It's harder to do that when you're not required to be at a certain place at a certain time.  Time management.  Something I'm learning to do.

You know how you trust someone but then something happens, there's a hiccup or blip between y'all, and then you don't trust them like you used to, but you don't really tell them?  Do you ever wonder if they know?  If they suspect something has changed?



It's going on seven years that I've lived in Illinois.  Looking back it seems to have gone by so fast, but I still remember how hard of a change it was to deal with.  I suppose there's a certain degree of trauma when you move no matter how old you are.  Those young impressionable teenage years sure make it difficult though.  Leaving everything you know, everything you grew up around to go to a new place is scary.
There's still something that cracks me up though after almost seven years of living in Illinois.  When you get to talking to people around here, you almost always hear the statement, "Oh, I'm not from around here," come out of their mouths.  You ask them where they're from and 90% of the time they say, "I grew up in *insert name of the next little town fifteen minutes up the highway* but moved to *insert name of current town* after we got married because my husband/wife is from here."  My brain screeches to a halt and I think, "So, if you're not from around here, but you grew up fifteen minutes away from this very town, then I must be an alien or something since I grew up in an entirely different state pretty far away from here."
Living in Texas, it seemed like everyone was from somewhere else.  There weren't a lot of extended families living close to each other. Cousins didn't grow up going to school together like they do around here.  Everyone had grown up in a different state, a different country, or at least an entirely different part of Texas (down south, up in the panhandle, etc.).  But even though there weren't groups of families around, everyone was still so friendly and helpful.  It's like we became each other's extended family.  Gotta love good ol' southern hospitality.  :)
I see different kinds of pride in both states.
In Illinois there's a lot of loyalty to whatever town you grew up in.  These little towns love having their own schools and they're very proud of them.  The towns really try to distinguish themselves from each other.  They don't want to be lumped together.  Lot's of homegrown pride.
Texans have pride for their entire state.  It's like their attitude is, "Yes, we're Texas, and we're awesome!"  Phrases like, "Don't Mess With Texas" and "Everything Is Bigger In Texas" make that a hard fact to miss.  Maybe it has something to do with Texas being its own country at one point in history.
Both states have their perks.  I miss Texas (especially the warm weather) but haven't been back for a visit the entire time I've lived here.  And on the other side of the coin, I've just begun exploring the country roads out here where we live in Illinois.  In many ways I still feel like an outsider.
I guess "pride" could be translated as "stubbornness".  :)


body conscious?

There's a lot of talk about being healthy, losing weight, and eating right.  Some even get the impression that "Being healthy and thin will make you happier (or closer to perfect than you were before)!"  There certainly are advantages to eating healthy.  Your body works better, your brain can efficiently function, you don't get sick as easily, etc.
But what about the people who are already healthy?  What about the people who aren't classified as being "over weight"?  What about those who are naturally thin?  What does being bombarded with these messages do to them?
I'm thin.  I'm small-built.  I don't weigh a lot.  But I'm around people who are concerned with weight, eating healthy, or losing "just a few more pounds".  What does hearing all of this do to my psyche?  I'm not sure.
I supposedly don't weigh as much as I should.  My BMI number isn't classified as "healthy" for my height.  And if I'm going to be completely honest, I've supposedly lost weight since earlier this year.
I do eat healthy, but I don't try to lose weight.  (I just finished eating a grilled ham, cheese, and bell pepper sandwich on 12-grain bread with a glass of milk.)  I don't starve myself, but sometimes I get wrapped up in what I'm doing and don't eat as regular or as much as I probably should.  I am guilty of hardly ever eating breakfast.  I'm not athletic but I'm thin.  I was actually tested for a thyroid disorder towards the beginning of this year to see if that had something to do with my low weight.  (I've been jokingly told I should eat more ice cream so I'll gain weight.)
My weight isn't something I think about a lot or that I'm terribly concerned with.  I eat 'til I'm full, I eat healthy, and I figure that's fine.  I'm still alive, I'm still breathing.  I certainly don't think I have an eating disorder of any kind.
But I still wonder what all these messages about losing weight and being healthy do to the people who already are healthy, whose lives aren't threatened by excessive weight.  I'm sure they're affecting even myself somehow, but I haven't figured out how yet.



Do you tip-toe around some people?  Are you walking on eggshells?  Are you careful to not upset them?
It's one thing to be sensitive and caring.  But it's another to avoid voicing your opinions simply for fear of creating conflict.
Why are you avoiding conflict?  Why are you afraid of upsetting them?  Maybe you're seeking approval.  Maybe you're wanting to stay close to them.  Maybe you unknowingly did something to upset them before.  Maybe they've cut you off in the past and you don't want it to happen again.
But if you can't comfortably give your opinions without fear of them blowing up emotionally, is that a healthy relationship for either of y'all?  Is that honesty?  Are you really being yourself?
Not everyone agrees.  It's a fact.  We were all created individually.  We have our own unique thoughts.  So yes, conflict is inevitable.  But we should handle those disagreements with grace and intelligence.  Getting wrapped up in emotions or mental kerfuffles and neglecting to seek out a peaceful compromise is not the way to go.
It's not our similarities that make us beautiful people, it's our uniqueness.  Having friends with different points of view is a blessing.  We can learn to understand concepts foreign to us.  We can balance each other.
So don't be afraid to be yourself.  It's fine to not agree with everyone all the time.  Let there be contrast in your relationships.  And if someone does get all bent out of shape because your thoughts don't match their thoughts, then maybe you ought to find someone else to share your time with.

(Totally off-topic from what this post is about, but when I came up with the title for this it reminded me of that one part in Lord Of The Rings when Gollum is sneaking around and Sam gets after him about it:
Sam: What are you up to? Sneaking off, are we?
Gollum: Sneaking? Sneaking? Fat Hobbit is always so polite. Smeagol shows them secret ways that nobody else could find, and they say "sneak!" Sneak? Very nice friend. Oh, yes, my precious. Very nice, very nice.
Sam: All right, all right! You just startled me is all. What were you doing?
Gollum: Sneaking.



I want to...
create things that touch people.
move them.
make them angry, make them sad, make them happy, make them laugh, make them cry.

I want to...
be honest.
move people.
make them feel.
make them feel together, bring them together.

If I can be honest, if I can create things that make people feel.
If I can move them in ways they haven't been moved before.

I want to...
make them feel things they haven't felt before, feel the things they're afraid to feel.

I want to...
touch them.
help them.
be honest.

I want them to be honest.

I want to touch people with the things I create.
God, grant me the talent to do so.


in the mean time right now

Growing up I was surrounded by women who were mothers, teachers, nurturers.  I was homeschooled.  (Yes, that is one word.  Stop underlining it in red.)  The majority of my friends were also homeschooled.  We got together with our homeschool group in the spring and fall for "classes" on Fridays.  All the moms (and some of the dads) were teaching or helping teach all sorts of classes.  They were teaching their own kids, their kids' friends, and kids they didn't know.  (This is how I learned to sew when I was eight years old.)  It was a very family-oriented environment and I gained a lot from growing up that way.  Lots of time spent with family, lots of time spent with other homeschool families, lots of learning, growing, and playing.
Being raised in such a nurturing setting put my mind in a certain frame of thought.  I began to form certain expectations or qualifications for how my life was going to be, what I was going to do, who I was going to be.  "Get married and have kids.  Homeschool my kids.  As soon as possible."  That's pretty much what it was.  I felt that my purpose was to have a family like mine, raise my kids like I was raised (with a few changes, of course; not everyone wants to be exactly like their parents), and that was it.  There weren't really any notions of having a career or a job.  Sure I thought, "Oh, I could do this.." or "I could be this..." but it was all secondary.  It took a backseat to what I felt was my duty: Having a family.
This way of thinking was firmly engrained in my brain for quite a while.  It wasn't until much later (into my college years, actually) that I began realizing, "Oh, I have options?  I can do other things?"  I realized that I could have a career, a job that I truly enjoy, do other things I love.  I didn't have to get married right away.  I didn't have to have kids right off the bat.  (And, dare I say it, I didn't have to homeschool my kids?)  My mind was blown away by this realization.  Suddenly the "need" to get married as soon as possible disappeared.  My mom and sister were both married before they were the age I am now.  That's not for me though.  God has something different in mind.  He wants me to wait and He's giving me other things to do in the mean time.  Everyone has a different purpose, different gifts.
Families certainly are very important.  Don't think for a minute that I'm bashing families.  Society and life as we know it couldn't exist without them.  I still happily look forward to getting married and having kids.  And who knows, maybe I will be able to homeschool my future kiddos.  What I'm saying is that all of this doesn't need to happen right now.  The sense of urgency I used to feel about this no longer exists.  I'm young.  I have time.  I can do other things before settling down.  What's waiting one, two, three, or four more years going to do?  If anything I'll be more mature and more ready for marriage at that point.
Since there's no longer an urgency to get married and have kids, does that mean dating and relationships are out the window for now?  Not necessarily.  It just means there's more time for dating and relationships.  There's no need to rush.  I can take my time.  (We can take our time.)

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:3-8


are you something?

The little girl asked her mother, "Do you think the people we're most afraid of losing are the ones we care about the most?"

"Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained."
— C.S. Lewis

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13

I think it's better to risk caring and feeling than to not care at all.



I look around at the people in my age group and I see a lot of different things.  This one's engaged.  That one's married.  They just had a baby.  This one's in college.  That one just graduated.  She's going to be a missionary.  He's in the military.  She's not in school.  He isn't either.  We're all so different.
I remember kind of feeling like a failure for not planning on going through four years of college like a lot of people do.  I felt out of place.  But no, I was just being myself and I still am.  While most other people my age are going into their fourth year of college, I'm trying to start a business.  I'm not saying one of these options is better than the other.  Just pointing out that we all have a path unique to each of our lives.
There's no one-size-fits-all plan.  Going to college immediately after high school (or going to college at all) isn't for everyone.  We're not all ready for marriage at the same age.  Some people want to have lots of kids, others want only one or none at all.
What's most important to remember about all this is that we make sure to follow God's plans for our lives.  He's used my many mishaps to tell me, "Slow down, you're not ready for that yet.  It'll happen later."  We need to remember to be quiet and listen.


late at night

Even the simplest of things seem to affect me differently than they affect other people. These things mean more to me or I'm more sensitive to them or something.

I don't like the prospect of someone disappearing and never hearing from them again. I like hearing from people, keeping in touch. Saying "good bye" is not acceptable. I want to make the most of the opportunities I have to spend time with people.

In certain situations I feel like I need to be an example, a role model, especially for those younger than me. Sometimes though I get tired of that. I get tired of enforcing the rules and trying to be "perfect". Opportunities to relax and be myself are greatly appreciated.

Being upset feels unnatural to me. Oftentimes I have to sit down and really think to figure out what's upsetting me and why. There are times though when being angry and upset is completely justified. Sometimes it actually does a lot of good to allow yourself to be mad. Just don't get carried away.



Why do I feel this way?
Because, once again, I care too much.  <<click there for more....
Still trying to find the best way to manage this.



How much of our lives are run by routine and regularity?  What are the things we do every single day?
Some things we do every day by default for our own health or well being.  Brush your teeth when you wake up.  Brush your teeth before you go to bed.  Put on your seatbelt when you get in the car.  Take a shower.  Eat your meals.  
What about the things we choose to every single day?  Go to work.  Go to school.  Take vitamins.  Exercise.  Pray.  Watch a certain t.v. show.  Go to a certain restaurant.  Do certain things.  See certain people.
Is there someone you talk to every single day?  Someone you make sure to keep in touch with?  Are you constantly texting with someone?  The day isn't complete for either of you without hearing from each other.  Is it your significant other?  A close friend?  A family member?
Out of all the things we do every single day, do we take the time to really keep in touch with each other?  When we ask, "How are you?" are we looking for more of a response than, "I'm good"?  Do we consistently keep in touch with the people who matter the most to us?  Do we take time out of our routines and schedules to really care about each other?  Do we communicate beyond Facebook chat, comments, and  "likes"?



How our minds cling to memories.  The past springs on us without warning.  In the blink of an eye we're reminded of our triumphs and our failures.
I don't know if anyone else's mind works like this, but my brain attaches memories to many different things.  Music, movies, food, colors, places, smells, sounds, etc.  It works like this:  *this is my brain talking*  "Oh!  I know this song!  It was playing in so-and-so's car when we were traveling to so-and-so place during such-and-such month of last year.  And we did..."
Sometimes the memories are more potent.  I can't listen to a certain genre of music without thinking of a past relationship.  Every time I hear a song by one of my favorite bands, I hear a certain person's voice singing along.  Several movies (and the quotes and songs in those movies) bring to mind one certain person, either because we watched them together or they're both of our favorites.  A card game reminds me of an awkward-ish day I spent with a friend.
My mind doesn't stop there though.  It doesn't bring back just the one memory of the person or instance and leave it at that.  Next it begins replaying every interaction, conversation, and moment inside of or concerning that memory.  My past is laid out right in front of me with the mistakes blaring "I told you so!" and the achievements whispering "Congratulations!"  The "I-wish-I-hads" and "I-shouldn't-haves" crowd my vision. Regrets and rewards bounce around in my head.  My common sense is momentarily confused and I begin to question what I'm presently doing, worried if my past is going to repeat itself.
Push forward but don't bury the past.  It's good to keep the past close at hand so we don't make the same mistakes twice, but don't dwell on it.  Wallowing in remorse over things you or someone else has done is no way to live.  Memories are precious, but strive to live in the present.


turning the page

Feeling a little sad tonight.  Why?  I'm leaving my job.  After four years of working at the daycare, I'm leaving.  Why am I leaving?  It's time for me to move on to something different.
Even though I'm excited about my new journey, I will still miss the kids terribly.  "My kids".  :)  I know they're not biologically mine, and I'm certainly not trying to take them away from their parents.  But that's what I've come to affectionately call them.  "My kids"  "My Bible Time kids"  "My girls"  "My boys"  "The crazy children"  :)  I'm going to miss them.
Just to think that I've seen most of these kids nearly every weekday for the past four years, it blows my mind.  I've watched them grow up.  I remember their first days at daycare, their first days at preschool, their first days coming after school.  Singing with them, playing games, bandaging boo-boos, holding and cuddling them when they're upset.
I've done very well about not crying about leaving the daycare.  Not anymore though.  The screen is blurry right now.
I'm going to miss them.  Today one of the little boys was fighting to stay awake during rest time.  I sat by his cot to try to quiet him down and get him to lay down and at least close his eyes.  (I knew he was going to be super crabby the rest of the day if he didn't sleep for at least a little bit.)  At one point he was lying half on the cot and half on my lap while I rubbed his back.  And even though he had been so naughty trying to not fall asleep and was then draped over my lap, his eyes half-closed and his little mouth drooling on my leg, I couldn't help thinking, "I'm going to miss this."
I'm going to miss my co-workers too.  We've kind of become a pseudo family of sorts.  Even though we get stressed sometimes and occasionally get on each other's nerves, we still work splendidly together and support each other.  We're not just co-workers, we're more than that.  We help each other get our jobs done and we take care of each other.
God certainly blessed me with being able to work while going to school.  I'm very thankful for Him giving me the job at the daycare.  This is a difficult change to deal with and I know it's only going to become harder the closer it gets to being my last day at work.  I will miss my co-workers and my kids a lot.
But what's the new adventure I'm diving into?  I'm going to do what I went to school for.  Photography.  :)


fix me

Have you ever wanted to fix someone?  Help them?  Heal them?
Have you ever wished someone would fix you?  Are we to be forever broken and imperfect?  A work in progress that never reaches completion?
Something to think about.



You are not inferior.  You are yourself.
Don't wish you were like someone else.  You can't ever be someone else.
Because you are you.  That's how God made you.
Don't wish you had the talents and abilities of someone else.  And don't try to have them.
Embrace your own God-given gifts and abilities.
Don't be scared.  You'll be surprised at what you can do when you stop trying to measure up to other people and start cultivating your own talents.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Dr. Seuss



I'm in the middle of switching over to Gmail for my e-mail.  After importing all my contacts, I began sifting through them, correcting names and deleting out of date information or people I am no longer in touch with.  Coming to a certain category of contacts, I realized, "Wow, I haven't kept in touch with any of these people for quite some time!  I could delete this entire category without a second thought."  It was mind boggling to think that these people I grew up with, who were once so close to me, now feel like complete strangers.  We've grown and changed so much over the years, it's like we hardly know each other anymore.  It makes me wonder what's going to happen in another almost ten years to the friendships and relationships I currently cherish so dearly.  I deleted probably more than half the contacts in that certain category.  I'm going to hold on to the rest for the time being...



Change can be a difficult thing to deal with, whether it's involuntary or not.
Our relationships with people can change in the blink of an eye, without any explanation. All of a sudden there's an impenetrable wall between you and them. You try to reach out and help, but the wall doesn't give. It seems like you will never be able to climb over the wall or break through it.  Waiting to get through the wall is hard. Sometimes it hurts a lot and you ask yourself if you could have done something differently. Sometimes you wish things could be as they once were even though you know that will never fully happen. So in the end you sit at the bottom of the wall and wait patiently for them to throw over a rope or break down the wall on their own and let you back into their life.
Choosing to make a change could be an even scarier experience. You wonder if it's the right thing to do, if you're making a good choice, if you'll be able to handle what you're about to jump into. But sometimes it's just time for a change. Things have been one way for too long and it's time to step in a new direction. It's exciting and daunting at the same time. Thinking and procrastinating won't make it happen, so you have to take a breath and jump in with both feet.
In either of these situations, we can cling to God for strength and guidance. We can have comfort in knowing that He has something new in mind for us and it's even better than what we had before. He can pull us out of the most painful and dreary of situations and give us a new start.

Isaiah 43:16-19
16 This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.



"Is it possible to care too much? Where and how do you draw the line? When it starts to affect your daily life? When it becomes all you think about? When people don't respond?"
I've been thinking about this all day. Trying to determine if this quality is a fault or a blessing. Looking for answers.
Then I come home from work and going to the movies afterward with my dear friend to find the answer posted on my Facebook wall.

"Some people care too much, I think it's called love.
A. A. Milne
Winnie the Pooh"

The same dear friend I went to the movies with had posted this on my wall much earlier in the day. I was flabbergasted. Yes, that was the one answer to my many questions.
God created me to be an open and loving person. He made me soft and put lots of extra doses of love in my heart. Sadly, this also means that I burn easily when people hurt me or aren't receptive to the love I so freely dish out. But...

Me: It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, right?
Dear Friend: Right. A life without love is no life at all, and we can rejoice in our heartbreaks in the end knowing that in some way or another they led to something better.

I love my dear friend.  I love my dear family.  And even though I seem doomed to live a life where not everyone will be able to understand or appreciate how freely I care about people, I think I'm ok with that.
Now I'm just hoping God will bring along a special guy for me to be with who is just as open and caring as I am.  I don't think I'd be content spending the rest of my life with any other kind of person.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourself.
Romans 12:10

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12



Anticipation.  Nervousness.  Waiting.
Seems like we're all constantly waiting for something.  Waiting to go somewhere.  Waiting for something to happen.  Waiting for someone.  Waiting for things to change.  Waiting for things to move on.  Sometimes it's excited anticipation.  Sometimes we're biting our nails worrying.
But honestly, what's with all the waiting and the worrying?  Why not just enjoy where you are now and let things happen by themselves?  Instead of being filled with trepidation, we should be filled with contentment.  Instead of trying to figure out what's going to happen next, we should be enjoying the moment.
Trying to figure out how people are going to act, what's going to happen, worrying over what to do won't help anyone, especially yourself.  If you've already done all you can to help the situation, it's time to give it up to God. He can handle it better than you anyways.
Excited anticipation, enjoying the present, having peace that God is in control.  That's a better way to live instead of worrying all the time.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Luke 12:25



I'm soft and impressionable.
I bruise easily and care too much.
Even though I have a hot temper, I eventually cool down and want to help those who hurt me.
I would like to gain allies instead of create enemies.
We all could use more friends and allies.



How we treat each other influences us more than we might realize.
Encouraging words can make someone so incredibly happy.
A careless insult can crush someone's spirit.
How things are said (or not said) means more than the actual words used (or not used).
The ways we communicate say more than what's communicated.
Behavior and actions definitely speak louder than words.
Sometimes silence hurts more than any of the harmful things someone could say.
We're constantly interacting with each other, influencing each other.
It's how we take those influences, how we handle them that matters.
You can take good out of the bad, learn from negative experiences.
What have I learned?
I've learned a lot more about my value, my self-worth.  I think that's a very important thing to know.


your turn

To know the right thing to be done, the next step to take, and for it to not be up to you is frustrating.  The ball isn't in your court, it's not your move, and you're not even sure if the other person wants to make the next move.  You don't know if they understand what's going on or the importance of it.  Maybe they don't know how to handle these kinds of things.  What you do know though is that this next step is vital; you both (and those connected to y'all) will greatly benefit from it, be able to breathe easier.  But does the other person know that too?


aloe therapy

My nasty sunburn is beginning to peel.  I'm terrible at remembering to put on sunscreen and it doesn't seem to help much anyways when I do.  We're outside a lot the first week of summer hours at work, so every year it's inevitable that I will get burned.  The raw skin is a little painful.  All this peeling, stinging, and healing makes me think of something though.
Sometimes we think it's better to hold onto certain feelings, certain experiences.  We bury ourselves in angst, pity, jealousy, guilt, and other bad feelings.  For some reason we think doing this will make us feel good, maybe give us a purpose.  But that's not true.  Harboring thoughts and feelings like this only wounds us and those around us.  What's better is getting rid of these feelings.  Forgiving, apologizing, making amends, putting things to rights so we no longer have these feelings inside of us.  Then the healing begins so healthy skin can grow.  The bad feelings can be peeled off and we have a new beginning.
It's important to be healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically.  So take care of your emotions, your friendships, your relationships, and remember to wear sunscreen.  And if you're forgetful like me, aloe lotion works great on sunburns.  :)


One of my new favorite songs.  Set Fire To The Rain by Adele.

The lyrics are amazing and I can definitely relate to them.  Plus her voice is phenomenal.  :)  I love both of her albums.

Photography Graphics, Tumblr Photography



Staying up late writing when I should be getting to bed at a decent time so I can wake up with enough time to get ready for work.  I should do this more often.

Friends, acquaintances, the people you know.  And the people you thought you knew.  How many different types of friends and friendships are there?
The people you work with.  You see them every day, but hardly ever outside your work environment.
People at church.  You know their names but don't really socialize with them.  Or they're friends of your family members or friends of friends, so you carry on casual conversation when needed but don't really feel close to them.
People you sit by in class for a semester, chat with, and then never see them again.
People you get along with really well in school and try to keep in touch with even after you've gone separate ways and don't have classes together anymore.
People you know through involvement in one organization or another, so you don't see them except for at events involving that organization.
People you see only one or twice a year because they live far away and/or they're part of that organization you're in and you only see them at the national events.
People who live in different states but you see them every few months when they come visit family nearby.
People you grew really close with during the high school years of your life, and now you don't see each other as often, but do your best to keep in touch.
People you thought you knew really well, you thought you could depend on them.  But then you realize that's not true.  The day I realized I had lost a friend that way was one of the saddest days I've ever experienced.
It was easier to maintain friendships when I lived in Texas.  We were homeschooled and part of a big homeschool support group.  I got to see kids my age all the time, kids with the same interests and family lives.  Things got harder when we moved to Illinois.  It's a different economy, a different culture and society.  Homeschooling isn't as big here as it is where we lived in Texas.  No support group, no kids my age that were also homeschooled who lived close by (try about two hours away instead).  It was the middle of my freshman year of high school when we moved.  I decided to remain  homeschooled through high school.  My sister went off to college less than a year after the move.  I was sort of left to try to cultivate a social life on my own.  Involvement in OAFC made that a bit easier, but I really only saw those people once a month and they lived too far away to get together with regularly.  I was not part of the high school cliques in the youth group at my church, so it was hard to try to make friends there.  I gave up eventually and went to the adult Bible class instead.  I didn't go to the public high school.  I didn't sit in classrooms with the same kids for four years.  I didn't get together with friends after school to do stuff.  I didn't help classmates study and they didn't help me. I didn't go to prom or attend sport events or any other public high school activities.  I was an outsider.  I was a class of one.  I wasn't part of the seclusive high school social life that went on around me.  And I was fine with that for the most part.  I had friends in OAFC and I figured that if the kids in town weren't open to being my friend that it was them who were missing out and not me.  I look around now though and kind of wonder.  Most of the people I know live an hour or more away from me and a lot of them are in a completely different state.  I'm not really close to anyone who lives close to me.  I don't have a pool of friends from high school to draw on to do things with like go to the movies or hang out or help each other with things.  And there's not many people around here close to my age that I can be friends with.  They're all off at college and whatnot.  I'm not joking when I tell people I don't have much of a social life.
So what does all this mean?  I wish I had more friends that lived closer to me.

Z myspace graphic



Ever since about the middle of September I've been romantically attached to someone in one way or another.  (And if I'm going to be completely honest, it's gone on for even  longer than that.)
Why?  Why am I constantly in a state of attachment?  Why do I feel the need to be attached, accepted, approved of?  Is it due to lack of confidence in myself?  Lack of faith in God's love for me?
Yes, I like to be told I look pretty.  For as long as I can remember, my Dad has told me nearly every Sunday when we get dressed up for church that I look pretty.  Doesn't everyone like to be appreciated and loved?
During the course of our conversation, someone I know said that he doesn't care about what people think of him.  I responded by saying that I try to not care and he quickly cut in with, "But you do!"  I said, "Yes. That's why I said I try not to."
It's true.  I do care what people think.  And I really wish I didn't.  "What are they thinking?"  "Should I have not said that?"  "Should I have done something different?"  "If I say 'no' what will happen?"
I like to be different.  I don't want to go along with what everyone else is doing.  I don't want to follow the crowd or the trends.  I have my own thoughts, my own beliefs, and they're not the same as everybody else's.  I shouldn't be afraid to be myself, to be different.  But sometimes I am.  Because I want approval.  My want of acceptance overrides the need to be myself.
At this time I'm not attached to anyone.  And it actually feels really great.  My want of approval and fear of rejection is in the back of my mind.  I need to be myself by myself for a while.  Yeah, I've said this before.  And this whole post is sounding sort of familiar.  I guess I need to constantly be reminded that I don't need to be attached to someone all the time.  That being myself by myself is very good for me.  Gives me a chance to focus on other things: my relationship with God, my family, my friends, my passions.  I can work on things like building up my self-confidence, not craving the approval of others, becoming stronger in my faith.  I need to be healthy mentally and emotionally before I enter another relationship endeavor.


can't compute

It's amazing how you can know so perfectly, so surely how you feel about things and people, what you think of them, your opinions and beliefs.  And there are songs or Bible verses that so accurately capture how you feel, think, and believe.  It's so beautiful and good.
Then it's gone.  Something changes, something leaves, something breaks.  And you don't know anymore.  It's a mess and it can't be sorted out.  Sometimes you see it coming, but other times it strikes out of nowhere and that makes it even worse.
You want to understand, you want to make sense of it all.  You don't know whether to blame yourself or someone else, whether you should be mad or have pity.  You don't want to get all cliche' and say, "God, why me?" but that's how you feel.  Why me?  Why this?  Why now?
God doesn't mean for us to understand everything that happens, everything He does.  At times it's easy to accept that.  Other times you just really wish that you did understand, that you did know why something happened.  You want to be able to make sense of it all.  But maybe He doesn't tell us everything for a reason.  Maybe He doesn't mean for us to understand something for a reason.  Maybe He knows we wouldn't be able to handle it or comprehend it.  Maybe He hides certain things from us because He loves us.
I don't know everything.  I don't understand everything.  And honestly, I'm glad for that.  My brain wouldn't be able to handle it.  My brain can hardly handle complicated things like math.  It would explode if I tried to understand everything that happens, why Goes does what He does.  I might not understand it all, but He does.  And that's just one of the many reasons for me to believe in Him, trust in Him, and praise Him.



A great song they play on the radio.  Thank you to my dear friend who reminded me of it last night.

Here she talks about the story behind "Blessings".


i will love you for you

who will love me for me?
not for what I have done or what I will become
who will love me for me?
‘cause nobody has shown me what love
what love really means, what love really means

I will love you for you
not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you

I will give you the love
the love that you never knew



Friday I turn 21.
My sister was married a few months before she turned 21.  My mother also got married when she was young.
Me?  I'm not really anywhere close to getting married.  Yes, I do have a lot of interest in a certain someone, but there's no rush.  I told myself a while ago that I shouldn't feel pressured to get married young just because my mom and my sister did.  I'm a different person than they are.
Why all this recent thinking about my future and getting married and having kids and such?  I'm not sure.  But I suppose it's good to think about your future.  As long as you don't plan out exactly how you want it to happen.  It is nice to hope for things, but God will have things happen when they're supposed to.
Lots of thinking about God leading my life lately too.  I suppose that's something I need to work on.  Sometimes I try to do things by myself or have a "don't care" attitude and just let things happen.  I should care what happens in my life but I shouldn't try to control everything.
So yeah, I'm turning 21 on Friday.  What do I have to show for my life so far?  I've worked at the same daycare since my senior year of high school.  I'll be receiving my certificate in photography this summer since completing all the required classes.  I want to start a little photography business but don't really have the means to do that right now.  I'm highly involved in Ongoing Ambassadors For Christ on both a local and national basis.  I'm still living with my parents, which I'm fine with.  I would have a small place of my own if I could, but I know I can't afford it.  This summer promises full-time hours at the daycare and lots of lesson planning for me to do for my Bible Time class with the K-6th grade kids.
There's other things in my life besides work and school, more important things.  Mistakes and triumphs.  New ideas explored.  Friends made, friends lost, and some friendships repaired.  Really good relationships, some that get put on hold for a bit.  Flawed relationships.  Things I'm not proud I did.  I say that these are more important than work and school because I think it's experiences like these, the things we do and mess up and learn from that more define who we are than our social or educational or financial status.
I think what's most important of all though is that I've grown.  I've learned from mistakes and cherished the happy moments.  I've learned to be honest, to forgive, to stand up for myself, and to talk to God and the people I love more.  I'm continually learning to rely on God more than I already do.  We'll never learn everything, we'll never be perfect, we'll never be totally amazing Christians who don't ever mess up.  Life is just one big learning process.  And we have the greatest Teacher ever to guide the way.
I also like to think that life is a dance and God can guide us through all of the steps.  :)

i'm not a mom

As one of my co-workers was going home Friday evening, she wished us all a Happy Mother's Day.  The wish was accepted and echoed by my other co-workers.  I quietly (and humorously) said, "I'm not a mom..." (This co-worker is a good sport with a great sense of humor, so I knew she would have fun with it.)  She goes, "Oh, well, Happy Pretty Girl Day then," and laughs.
Three of my co-workers are mothers (One of them is having her first child this month!  We're all so excited to meet the sweet little girl!) and two of my other co-workers are mothers and grandmothers.  Then there's three of us who aren't close to having children any time soon but still care for the kids so much.
My mom pointed out to me today that even though I don't have any children of my own, I might be more of a mom to the children at the daycare than I realize.  I agreed.  "To some of those kids I might be the closest thing to a mom they've ever had."  Daycares, babysitters, and nannies certainly are not replacements for mothers.  For those children though who are without a mommy kind of person at home, they can provide some of the love and stability they so desperately need from a mommy-like figure.
I really look forward to the day God blesses me and my future husband with children.  Before I started working at the daycare I used to say things like, "I want to have like five kids and then adopt three more and be a foster parent or something!"  Taking care of the kids at work put into perspective what it would be like to have that many children.  "Ok, maybe like two or three kids would be good..."  One day I told a co-worker, "I hope I have at least one girl so I can braid her hair like I do for the girls here."  She said, "Oh, I wanted a girl too.  I ended up with three boys though."
You know what?  I don't know how many children I'll have or whether they'll be boys or girls.  (There's even a chance I won't get married or for some reason won't be able to have children.)  God knows though.  He knows how many children my future husband and I will have (if it's His will that I'll get married), He knows if they'll be boys or girls, He knows if we'll adopt kids or not.  Best of all, He'll bless us with however many children we can handle.  That's very comforting.  So if I do end up with seven kids or something like that, I know that God knows I can take care of them.
Thank God for all the mothers and grandmothers out there.  And thank Him for all the women who are mothers to children who aren't biologically theirs.


clear for takeoff

Have you ever seen those bumper stickers or t-shirts with the phrase "Jesus Is My Co-Pilot" on them?
Load. Of. Crap.  (Please pardon the language.  It's due to disappointment with myself.)
He's not the "co-pilot".  He's THE pilot.  The only One.
I think we forget that sometimes.  Myself more than anyone.

No, I'm not catholic.  But I thought this was a nice picture.  And it's the only even slightly Christian-themed one I could find.



Sometimes we run from God.  We run from His plans for us.  We fight with Him.  We resist what He's trying to do in our lives.  I'm guilty of that.
I've been told that I should be a pastor's wife.  Not recently and not just once though.  I was 17 the first time someone told me I should be a pastor's wife, that I would be great as a pastor's wife.  Since then different people at different times have echoed that same thought (fact).  I haven't told many people about it and when I do I say it jokingly.  It never fails though: every time I tell someone I've been told I should be a pastor's wife, they quickly and heartily agree.
At times I've done a good job of running in the opposite direction of this sentiment.  I've used my interests, my attitude, the people I've dated, and other things to point myself in a different way.  It never lasts long though.  I bounce from one end of the spectrum to the other.  I lean towards God's will and then quickly jump away.  Back and forth, up and down.  I get myself so confused as to where I am spiritually and mentally.
You'd think all this jumping around would get me so exhausted that I would finally just throw my hands up and say, "Ok, God.  I'm done fighting.  Let's do this."  I'm stubborn and sinful though.  Even the times I do almost give up control to God, I turn away again.  I make myself open to the possibility of God wanting me to be a pastor's wife and then get scared.  I close myself up and ignore Him.
We use petty excuses for ignoring God's will.  "I'm not good enough to be a pastor's wife."  "That would be too hard, I wouldn't be able to handle it."  "There are other women better suited for something like that."  Those are some of the excuses I've used.  And those excuses show that I'm not trusting God with this.  If I think I'm not good enough, that I can't handle it, that's like saying God doesn't have the ability to see His will through, to help me handle it.
I'm still not 100% sure if God's calling me to be a pastor's wife, I'm not able to give up control quite yet.  There's a lot more praying to be done.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11
(A Bible verse that's used probably way too much, but it really is true.)


near to the rhythm of love

More music time.  :)
Here's Near To You by A Fine Frenzy.
(I like how they have the lyrics in this video but not the cheesy clip ins of images.)

Now for something a little more upbeat.  Rhythm Of Love by Plain White T's.  I really love this song and was very excited when I finally found out who sings it!  Some of their other songs are also favorites of mine.  :)


she's got to be friends

She's Got You High by Mumm-ra

We're Going To Be Friends by The White Stripes

Music makes me happy.  :)

tumblr photography at charmroyal.com



Here's something I've been thinking about: music in church.
I really do love the "good ol' Lutheran hymns" we use in church.  I grew up singing and listening to them, so they hold nostalgia and spiritual significance for me.  The lyrics are really great and very poetic when you take the time to really pay attention to them.  But that's what I'm kind of caught on right now.  The words are so beautiful and perfect for worshiping God, but I find that I'm more concerned with singing the notes correctly than with what the lyrics are saying.  Maybe this is because it seems like hardly anyone in my church actually sings the hymns so I feel like I have to sing out more to make up for it.  Some of the hymns are difficult to sing, especially if you're not musically inclined to being with.
Last month I went to a Chris Tomlin concert with my now boyfriend and a couple other friends.  You can read about it here.  No hymnals, no notes to follow, just a whole bunch of people worshiping God by singing songs we've listened to on the radio and following the words projected on the screens.  The words were simple and taken directly from God's Word.  It was a much more free version of worship than what happens in church.  I wasn't concerned with singing the songs correctly and I certainly wasn't the only one singing.  I grew up going to traditional church services so I've always been a little wary of contemporary services.  I guess because they're different from what I'm used to and I was influenced by very anti-contemporary worship mindsets which gave me a negative view of contemporary worship.  But at the concert I found myself thinking, "Man, I wish going to church could be like this."  No holding back, no half-empty church, no one mumbling the words to the songs.  It was just completely free worship of God and it was beautiful.
I do like going to my Lutheran church and I do like the hymns, but sometimes I feel restrained in worship.  And if I'm supposed to praise God with everything I have and give Him my all, how can I do that when I feel held back?

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble
Psalm 59:16

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works.
Psalm 9:1



To be cherished and treasured just the way we are.  That's how God loves us.  We are the most sinful and imperfect people ever, totally undeserving of His grace and love.  But God continues to love us unconditionally.  And when He brings someone into our lives who sees us the same way God sees us, it's beautiful.  We shouldn't be criticized or told to change how God has made us.  We should love, encourage, and care for each other.  To be cherished and treasured.  That's how it should be.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

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

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8

Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10