I'm thankful I made it home safely on the slick roads last night after work.
I'm thankful for my warm coat and warm house that protect me from the cold.
I'm thankful for books.
I'm thankful for the very simple things that make me happy.
I'm thankful that my current employment situation enables me to enjoy two of my favorite things: photography and working with kids.
I'm thankful for oatmeal with apples and brown sugar.
I'm thankful for my friend who is helping me with a photography job next month.
I'm thankful for music.
I'm thankful I'm able to care so much for others.
I'm thankful for the many ways we have to keep in touch with the people we love.
I'm thankful for forgiveness.
I'm thankful for the many creative abilities God has blessed me with.


I will try to _________

I don't think I've ever made a New Years resolution.  For some reason it seems kind of counterproductive.  You make a resolution, a promise, to do something or not do something.  It's your goal and accomplishing it will be epitome of the new year.  And what likely happens?  You don't keep the resolution.  You fail.  And then you feel bad and crawl off into a hole to hide.  Why?  Because you told everyone of your resolution and can't bare to face them or the reality that you failed.  Sounds like you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.
Even though I have never made a resolution, I'm going to do something similar this year.  I will make a list titled "I will try to _________".  This will be a list of things I will strive to do throughout the year.  But they are not resolutions.  Just little things I can work on that will in some way improve my life or give me a sense of accomplishment.

I will try to _________

1. Take more photos.
This one might seem a little silly since I'm a photographer.  You're probably thinking, "She must take photos all the time.  Why in the world would she want to take more?"  Truth is, it's very easy to just let your camera sit in its bag on its shelf and not touch it at all between jobs.  That happened too much last year.  So this year I will try to take more photos.  I will try to challenge myself, learn new things, create projects for myself, and put more effort and thought into my photos.

2. Take better care of my hair.
I was blessed with beautiful, thick, and unruly red hair.  It curls, waves, and does whatever it wants.  The last time I had it cut the hairdresser exclaimed, "Whoa, you have like three times as much hair as a normal person does!"  Yep, I have a lot of hair.  And it tends to be quite dry and coarse if I don't care for it properly.  Trying to get my mane to behave is a constant battle.  Unfortunately I can't just let it dry after a shower and it magically falls into place.  It takes a bit more work.  This year I will try to take better care of my hair and find less destructive ways to make it behave.

3. Grow my hair out as long as possible.
This one could almost go with the previously listed item.  I'm curious to see how long my hair can grow.  It's already grown quite a bit since I had it cut this past fall.  During OAFC New Years one of my friends told me that my hair was getting so long.  I didn't really realize the truth of this until I got home and was looking in the mirror one day.  "Wow!  My hair really is getting long!"  I had kind of a shorter haircut last year so it would curl naturally with a bit of mousse and drying with a diffuser.  It doesn't curl as well by itself when it's longer, but still, I will try to grow my hair out as long as possible.

4. Eat breakfast every day.
Not eating breakfast is a bad habit I got into when I started college.  I didn't even go to college away from home but somehow there just didn't seem to be enough time for breakfast in the morning.  It's unhealthy to skip breakfast.  As they say, it's the most important meal of the day.  Usually my breakfast consists of a cup of coffee or tea and maybe some toast.  Skipping breakfast probably doesn't help any with my weight.  If you go by the Body Mass Index chart, I would be considered underweight or almost underweight.  I'm very light and slender.  But I don't starve myself or have an eating disorder.  I eat when I'm hungry and eat until I'm full.  Except for this habit of not eating breakfast.  I'm hoping to change this.  This year I will try to eat breakfast every day.

5. Wake up earlier.
Honestly, this might be the hardest thing to try to do.  I'm very much so a night owl.  I'm not a morning person at all.  I don't move very fast in the morning nor am I in a rush to get out of bed.  But there really are so many benefits to waking up early and it's a good habit to have.  So this year I will try to wake up earlier.

These are the only items on the list for right now.  We'll see if I add any more as the year goes on. :)

next time

It is good to care, help, and give.  But it's also good to be careful.
Have you heard the phrase "guard your heart"?  It's something I heard growing up and it was usually used in reference to dating and relationships.  I thought it sounded corny and I didn't quite understand what it meant.  I think I do now though.  Sometimes you have to make mistakes and get hurt before you can understand certain things.
My mistakes have been caring too much and giving too much to the wrong people at the wrong time.
I like to think the best of people, give them the benefit of a doubt, trust until they give me reason not to.  Might not sound like the smartest way to live, but I think it's better than being a pessimistic recluse who loves and trusts no one.
But it's this disposition that make me naive and oblivious to red flags.  There's nothing wrong with focusing on the good, but we should still be aware of the negatives in life.  Ignoring them doesn't make them go away.  If anything, ignoring bad things just makes them worse.
Another part of this disposition is that I can't stay mad at people.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  Yes, I can certainly have a temper, spout off snarky comments, and get mad at someone.  But it doesn't last very long.  It burns hot, fast, and then quickly goes out.  Holding grudges and staying consistently mad at someone isn't possible for me.  Example: One of the guys I dated, he ended the relationship in a not so gentlemanly manner.  I had every right to be mad at him, and I was.  For a day.  Maybe a day and a half.  But after that day and a half I was concerned only for him and how he was feeling.  I wanted to make sure he was ok.  I couldn't for the life of me stay mad at him.
Caring too much, giving too much, and ignoring red flags does not make for lovely relationship experiences.  Hopefully the next time around I can use what I've learned and thereby avoid making the same mistakes again.



How do you define closeness with someone?  When does someone go from being "a friend" to "a good friend" to "a close friend"?  Where are the lines drawn?  How do you know when certain milestones or checkpoints are passed and you enter a new level of closeness and friendship?
What makes someone a close friend?  Is it how much you have in common?  How often you talk to each other?  How often you see each other?  How long you've known each other?
What if you consider someone to be a close friend, but they don't feel the same about you?
It's been many years since I've really seen or legitimately talked to the kids I grew up with as friends.  We've all grown up and changed so much.  Sometimes I wonder if I hadn't moved away, would we still be close to each other?
Thanks to my involvement in OAFC, the majority of the friends I have live anywhere from an hour away to in a completely different state.  I have friends stretching from Colorado to Texas to one who's deployed overseas at the moment.  If closeness in friendship is measured by how close you live to each other and how often you see each other, then I must not have many close friends.  Some I see only twice a year.
But I don't think it is how close you live and how often you see each other that really defines closeness between friends.  How often you hear from each other certainly has bearing, but even then I think there's something that transcends regularly communicating with a friend.
It's not distance in miles, years of history, or constant Facebook messages that define closeness.  It's something more, something special.  It's the something that enables two people to be close friends even when they're polar opposites.  It's the something that makes months of not seeing each other feel like only a day.  It's the something that lets you know what the other is thinking even when neither of you have spoken a word.  It's the something that gives you the selflessness to do anything and everything for them, and knowing they would do the same for you.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  Proverbs 17:17
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Romans 12:15
God gives us friends, He gives us each other, so we can love, help, and support each other.
I may not get to see my friends, my close friends, very often but I know they are there.  Between the times we get to see each other, we're able to stay in touch.  We can reach out to each other in times of happiness and times of sorrow.
God gives us friends.  He gave me friends who I'm very thankful for.  And I look forward to seeing them again. :)



Wrong words can be forgiven.  But does that mean their effect on you goes away?
Something you've never thought of was brought to light, and even though the concerns were wrongly based, they caused you to think about things differently.
Now the smallest mentions and comments run through your mind in ways they wouldn't have before.
If you're criticized once, who's to say it won't happen again?
And when someone gives you a genuine compliment, how do you take it?
I'll tell you what I did.  I blushed with embarrassment at the reaction I received.
I knew the dress I was wearing was pretty, but I never thought I'd receive such strong compliments about me being pretty.
Later on a good friend asked me, "Do you feel pretty?"  I thought for a moment and said, "Yes, I do."  He told me, "Good, because you look pretty."
I was never one to lack confidence in my appearance, but at the same time I was modest and didn't parade around proclaiming to the world that I thought I was pretty.
The smallest of words can break that confidence.
Fences can be mended and words forgiven, but for some reason the effect still stays.
It's not there all the time.  Most of the time I don't think about it at all.
There are days when it's present though.  Like the day my friend asked me if I felt pretty.
Should physical beauty and such words of affirmation be important?  No, not really.
As the saying goes, "It's what's on the inside that counts."
But honestly, who doesn't like to be told that they look nice?
This isn't the first time I've written about this.  And I doubt it will be the last.
Physical beauty is such an integral part of our culture and society.  Especially in the photography industry.
In one way or another, the subject of a photograph is to be aesthetically pleasing.  Whether it's so strange it's beautiful, or so beautiful it's strange, the subject is supposed to capture attention.
How does this affect our everyday life and how we think of ourselves and others?
To each his own.
Everyone is different and therefore affected differently by the supposed push to be considered beautiful.
How am I affected by it?
I've always said that I don't want to be like anyone else.  I want to be myself.  That also means I want to be pretty in my own way.
Do I always think of myself as being pretty?  Most days, yes.  But not in a self-absorbed, conceited sort of way.
If we are God's precious creations made in His image, then what are we saying about Him when we don't like ourselves?


To be loved and treated rightly.
A connection that's simple and natural.
For things to be the same on both sides.
No questions, no doubts.
Just togetherness.
That would be nice.

i don't want it

I don't want to get hurt anymore.
I don't want another broken relationship.
I don't want to give my all and then realize it was a mistake... again.
I want to be careful.
I want to tiptoe.
I want to be quiet.
But getting hurt is inevitable, isn't it?
We can't escape pain.
There is sin in the world which means there's also pain.
We can't escape sin.
We can't escape pain.
But we can hope.
We can love.
We can be careful.
We can pray to God for wisdom and strength to do the right thing.
To know the right thing to do.
I don't want to get hurt again.


How do you know if you are doing something for the right reasons?
Or the wrong ones?
How do you know if your motives are true?
What is the reasoning behind what you are doing?
Are you trying to justify something questionable?
Are you afraid of losing something?
You try your hardest to not let go even though that's probably what needs to happen?
Do you know the good thing to do?
Do you know if it's time to step away or keep trying?
How do you know what to do?
And what if it's not the first time you've been in this situation?
Will you step away only to be pulled back in later on?
And if you get pulled back in, were you wrong about your motives being wrong in the first place?
What do you do?
Are there other people involved?
What are they doing?
Is their behavior influencing your thoughts?
Is it something they are or are not doing that's making you question the situation?
Are you giving of yourself and they're not returning the favor?
Are you sure but they're not?
How long can you wait?
How much can you give before it's too much?