more than one more day

I have just finished Joan Didions' nonfiction book, "The year of magical thinking". She is writing about the grief of when her husband passed away. At the time I picked up the book to purchase, I honestly had no idea what it was about but knew I wanted to dive into Didions' work as she had been on my radar on who to read next. It is beautifully written and terribly sad, it shakes the reader into an unwanted reality of death; that it is present and true for everyone. An absolute must read for everybody on this planet, especially to those that have ever lost someone dear to them, although we all will eventually. As her husband John would say, "it all evens out in the end".

This book talks about grief like never before and puts into words what is often difficult to do for those who have lost someone - suddenly or not. It gives you a look into someone, if not all's life after we lose someone. I think especially your spouse, or significant other. Finishing the book, and even throughout reading it, it painfully brought me to the truth that one day, i hope long and far from now, but one day I will not have Hayden with me, or my mother, father, brother and sister and even Gordy. Thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes. This book is solely about her husbands passing and the habits and comfort that passes along with him. Maybe all wont take it the same or think of the same person, of course. Maybe some will think of some other relatives or friends in their life. Maybe I think of Hayden because he is the closest i've ever been with another human being and I cherish our relationship deeply. As he is, just as John in Joan's life was, my partner in life. Who I share all my ideas with, my dreams, my stories, my thoughts. Who I laugh deeply with, and cry fiercely with - letting all my guards down and being completely vulnerable with. Who will go to Goodwill with me, run errands with me, scout locations with me, and entertain all of my however silly or outlandish ideas they are. Who encourages me, reads my writing, edits my writing, and gives me solid advice. Who looks and admires my hard work in photography and believes in me wholeheartedly.

I am in shock of the pain of just thinking about losing him one day, and everyone I hold close to my heart. This book made me see the everlasting beauty in marriage, in family, and in loving the life you create together. It points directly away from everything this society and day and age says about love, life and relationships. I fell in love with Joan Didions' writings after this book. She writes how I think; open and candid, raw and unapologetic. But she does so with great understanding, and an ease to it. A book to keep in everyone's home and to reread it often and in times of some leaning one. A great writer she was, an absolute classic.. and now I am off to read the rest of her work.

Houston, Texas

It's been about four months since I've written anything on here.. so much has happened i don't even know where to begin. I guess I've been waiting to write something until my life has settled, but what I'm starting to realize is that maybe life never really does settle. 

Hayden and I moved back from Boston to Houston in August. He graduated from Berklee College of Music! We spoke about where to move to after he graduated for awhile and we decided the best option was for us to move back to Houston.. for now anyway. 

To be completely honest, coming back to Houston has been extremely hard. Houston (or what i associated with what Houston was; really just Sugar Land) is sort of where I left all my disappointments. Actually, thinking about it now, I left a lot of things here that I never really learned to deal with. I sort of just dropped everything here and ran away to Boston, forgetting my problems and leaving them in the dust of Houston. I really never thought I would be back.

But during this last year in Boston, something was sitting heavy on my heart telling me to go back to Houston because there were things here I needed to address.. with myself. And I was right. 

Hayden & I and Gordy drove all the way back from Boston in a Penske truck filled with all of our belongings from the past 3-4 years. It was the most wonderful road trip I have ever taken.. despite how awful it might sound. The whole time we drove all we did was talk.. talk about life, art, politics, beauty, God, and the whole world around us. It was a great closure and good time we needed before we actually hit Houston. I don't know about Hayden but i definitely needed that road trip.. i needed time to muster up some courage to return to the place where I associated everything bad that ever happened to me. 

Since returning to Houston, it's been extremely difficult to adjust. Coming from living with my boyfriend and my bby pup Gordy to living with my parents again is a stark contrast to say the least. We are still in the process of looking for an apartment (although I think we just found the one!). I guess in my head I thought transitioning would be a lot more easy and glamorous, I didn't think so many mixed feelings would come with it. 

In Boston I was used to doing real estate part time and doing my photography full time. In Houston, I needed to get a job.. and I didn't necessarily want to transfer my real estate license here because it’s basically a completely different job altogether. (And its not what I want my career to be anyhow.) In Boston, I was finally getting recognition for all my hard work in photography and I was starting to build a reputation. But in Houston, no one knows or cares about my photography. 

I got in a really bad funk during all of this. I found a good paying job as a leasing professional, and I do enjoy it. But it felt like I was giving up on my other dreams. I started to reconsider photography because I didn't want a job that was superficial. I "quit" Instagram so to speak... I still have it, I just deleted it off of my iPhone screen so Im not tempted to go back on it for awhile. I won't get into that on this post, because I have way too much to say about it, but It was starting to conflict with certain views I was realizing. 

I am coming around though. For starters I am realizing Houston is completely different than Sugar Land (lol). Its amazing seeing all the different parts of Houston I didn't even know existed. I am slowing getting back into photography. I am slowly starting to write again. And I think I decided I want to go back to school for psychology. 

I guess what I've been realizing is, life is ongoing and forever changing. There is no "perfect" state of life.. and your life will never always be put together like you once dreamed it. We have to embrace change and all the unknown and imperfections that come with it. I was afraid to not have everything put together in Houston because I was afraid of what people would think of me, of us. I was afraid they would all think I am a failure or that I didn't make it. But who are "they"? And who are they to judge anyway? 

I don't regret going to Boston, in fact I cherish it. And I don't regret coming back to Houston because I know God put it in my heart to come back here for a reason and slowly i am starting to understand. There are things here that I need to see, and uncover and understand. 

Sometimes I get tied up in what other people will make of my life and I think a lot of that is because I am always critiquing my life and am so hard on myself. I hold myself to an impossible standard that I don't hold anyone else to. I had this idea in my head that I would write all my posts with accomplishments like, "Hayden and I just moved back from Houston and bought a house!" Or "We just moved back and I am living out my dream job!!" Or i don't even know what. But the point is I think we all want to put our accomplishments first, and we want the world to see we have our life together. But.. we don't. And thats more real and relatable than anything else, isn't it? 

So no, I don't have my life together.. maybe I thought I did, but life will always throw you curve balls. This is just my ongoing life.. filled with small steps, U-turns, detours and journeys to get to my destination. 

I am an artist

“Art is not a thing, it is a way.”

-Elbert Hubbard

While growing up, I was always unsure of what I wanted to do when I “get older.” I was always switching from different professions like teacher, lawyer, judge, therapist, etc. I never seemed to be able to settle on one career and was gradually feeling like there was something wrong with me. Even worse, maybe there was no career for me at all! I know that sounds absurd but I truly felt this way, I thought “God, what on earth am I supposed to do with the rest of my life!?” Not having an immediate answer frustrated me for years and brought me down spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. 

This year I have been diligently trying to understand more about myself, God, and what I am meant to do. It says in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Its amazing how transparent that scripture truly is but I always somehow thought it was impossible for me to attain. I thought I had to pray a certain way (one that I thought I could never seem to figure out) for God to bless me with His wisdom. But it turns out, all I had to do was simply ask and seek for it. As I have been pursuing what’s in my heart and what’s truly in God’s heart, He has given me wisdom so freely and effortlessly. So many questions have been answered.

As I said before, I deeply struggled with the grand concept of “what I am meant to do”. I literally have had a countless number of jobs from a very wide spectrum – some I loved, some I hated. While I am fortunate to have had so much experience in such a short amount of time that shaped me into a better, more well rounded individual, I really never felt alive working any of those jobs. I have been doing photography and writing pretty consistently now for 3 years, and I am in love with it. It gives me so much inspiration and life but yet I still had this nagging feeling that I needed something more of a “real” job. Growing up in public school, I was left with the understanding that art was something people just had or did as a hobby. Public school never encouraged the idea that you could be an artist, or that some people are born artists. Everything was geared towards focusing on a more “core” styled education. The core classes (math, english, history, and science) took ultimate triumph over everything else.…unless you were a jock. Art was seen only as an elective and could easily be cut out as it was not thought of as mandatory or even necessary to one’s education. I knew I always loved dance, and writing, and for a period I really loved theatre, but as the public school and ignorant people around me so told me, I viewed this as just a hobby and something I could never do for a career… and certainly never make a living off of it. So that left me in a box with no options to stimulate my creative mind.

I tried going to school for psychology once I graduated high school, and soon hated it. While I do think psychology is fascinating, I don’t think I was meant to become a therapist or a psychologist. I stopped going to school and sort of gave up on the traditional ‘academic’ way of living – as it had not worked for me my entire life.

I think in my heart I always knew I was an artist. Recently, it finally became clear that’s what I am meant to do. While expressing my excitement and new revelation to Hayden, he was surprised but in an odd way. He said, “you didn’t already know that?” I didn’t. As we talked further into it (as we always do) I realized why this realization was so masked and hard for me to see. Society andespecially public school had such a deep effect on this subject – it manipulated me, to be frank, into believing there is only one way to live, only one sort of way to have a career that being academic and only one way to achieve that, being college.

Truth be told, if I had never met Hayden I feel like I might still be struggling. There is no doubt in my mind that God sent him to me, not only so we can be together, but so he could help me and let me see and understand that not only is there is a world outside of standard academics, but I am meant to live in it.

Hayden went to public elementary and middle school, but he always had a strong focus in drumming. He thought of himself more than just a drummer or even a musician though, he viewed himself as an artist. He auditioned for HSPVA (High School for the Performing & Visual Arts) in Houston, and naturally, got in. I’ll save his story for him to tell – but long story short, that school played a major part in his life, his art, his mind, everything. After HSPVA he auditioned for Berklee College of Music in Boston and naturally, again, got in on a full presidential scholarship.

Before Hayden, I had never met anyone like him. I had never met anyone who was so enriched in art and dripping with creativity. Hayden was bored by the “typical” idea of being a Berklee performance major and decided instead to study music business, a major that oddly enough is viewed by his peers as “stale” and “uncreative”.  He being who he is, he challenged himself to  pursue entrepreneurial endeavors as if they are art, with such creativity it blows me away. But anyways, I could go on forever about him.

What I am saying is Hayden opened me up to the idea and understanding that art is just as much of a valid path to take as an academic one. Hearing his great experiences going to an art high school and what it did for him at such a crucial age in life made me reflect and realize what a poor job public school does for all future artists. And it made me realize thats why for so long I put myself in this box that was only setting me up for failure.

Figuring all of this out clicked and made perfect sense; That I am an artist, with every aspect of my being. Not only in my photography and my writing but in the way I dress, the way I decorate, the way I think, the way I talk, the way I am. I am an artist. There is no way around that. I am so over the moon with this awareness that I have now. Because now I can really give myself and my art everything I have to offer. Whereas before I would hold back, almost saving bits of myself for this academic future that I am never going to have.

And I know, what the skeptics and the critics are thinking. Being an artist is hard, there is no doubt about that. I know it often doesn’t pay well, and that nothing is given to you. I know that the world caters easier to the academics and to the artists we are left with scraps. But I am okay with that. I don’t think I could live any other way. Because with art, for me, it goes so much deeper than money ever will. While the world on the surface caters to the academic, it is the art that makes the world go round. I have no question that this road is a challenging one, it already has been, but it has also already been a more rewarding road for me as well.

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.”

-Pablo Picasso

I am proud of you

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience life in the way they have been told to”

-Alan Knightly

Looking back on the first half of this year, I realized it has been a path of recovery for my body and soul. For something that sounds tranquil and anti-climatic, it has surprisingly been exciting and invigorating. Tidal waves of positivity and peace sweep over me as I am finally able to see from a life of continual unmitigated chaos, a path is beginning to form.  So far, my life’s journey has not been one that lines up with what is considered as conventional. I know all too well about what people think I should or shouldn’t do with my life and what steps it takes to get there. Really, this has always been frustrating to hear. Apart from being discouraging, it repeatedly clouded my judgement, making my own path nearly impossible to see. Nonetheless, this route has been a rewarding one. I have always been more interested in taking the road less traveled, and I have been damn stubborn enough to stick to it.

Growing up, I was always in ballet and pointe. It kept me skinny, but I never saw dance as a way to exercise. I only thought of it as a way to express myself. Because I didn’t realize that it was the 4+ hour long dance classes keeping me in shape, I had the mentality that I would stay “naturally thin” forever. With this mentality, I thought I could eat literally anything and everything I wanted. That diet basically consisted of coca cola, tons of fast food, and an untold amount of Hot Cheetos. I thought that I could keep this diet and never need to exercise or eat “right” because I wasn’t overweight.

I continued to dance for two years after highschool until I moved to Boston. I have lived here for 3 years now. Throughout that time, I did no proper form of physical activity. Living in Boston requires a lot of walking, but while walking is good for the health, it really can’t compare to a true workout.  I have always loathed working out. I thought it was dumb, annoying and pointless. I didn’t understand why I needed to work out if I wasn’t fat. On the contrary though, while I was not overweight I was definitely not in shape either. Coming from always doing at least 1-3 hours of physical activity per day with dance to now doing nothing was a shock to my body that I was unfamiliar with. I was eating terribly, watching endless hours of Netflix, and drinking pretty regularly. My bad diet that used to never cause me any problems was beginning to catch up with me. It didn’t take long before I began to feel extremely unhealthy, mentally and physically.

I could feel my body becoming sluggish which started to really affect my mind. My thoughts became clogged with negativity, making it difficult to do anything positive and proactive for my future. Words like “failure, disappointment, scared, loser” began floating through my head. I would occasionally think that I could fix this by working out, but I would always give myself a list of excuses about why I shouldn’t join a gym: ”its too much money”, “its a waste of time” “I can work out at home” “I don’t like the gym” “I don’t even know how to workout”, etc.

For the next couple of summers, beach trips became uncomfortable. I began feeling self conscious about my body. I felt uncomfortable with how large my breasts had become and I really didn’t like the attention it attracted. Also, where there once was a perky bubble butt there was now the opposite. I looked in the mirror and was not pleased with what I saw.

For the first time in my life, I actually looked out of shape. Somehow I was able to get by with the mental effects of not working out for so long, but when I saw them turn into physical I said enough was enough and I joined a gym. Everyone who knows me and my negative views of gyms was pretty shocked that I actually joined one, and especially with my own money. Thankfully I have the most well rounded boyfriend to ever walk the earth (you hit the jackpot when you created this one God). Along with everything else that he helps me with, he also had the knowledge, experience and skill to successfully train me. And so we began our routine.

At first I didn’t really notice any difference but slowly over the weeks I gradually began to feel more level-headed and positive. It’s now been almost three months of consistent working out and I feel amazing. I initially went into working out because I wanted to look good again, but now that I am in the routine of actually doing it, I have fallen in love with being healthy and taking care of my body. While it is a bonus that our bodies began to show all the hard work we put in, I think what is an even greater benefit from working out is the positive work it does on your mind.

For me, working out and seeing results has made fear more tangible. It has shown me fear is not all it’s cracked up to be. It has taught me that I am not a quitter. It has taught me that when I really want something I work pretty damn hard to achieve it; that I can set goals, and surpass them. I love going to gym but even on the days where I don’t want to go (I am human after all), I still go and end up loving it. I love seeing that I am stronger than I was yesterday, last week, last month, last year. I love knowing that I am doing my body a favor. And now, i’m actually conscious of what I put into my body. If you would’ve told me I would love all these things 6 months ago I would’ve laughed in your face. But there is a God, and miracles do happen.

Working out has let me see how my mind was at a standstill, or if it was moving it was moving at the speed of a snail. I have never been more clear headed in my life than I am now. I have never tried harder in my life. I have never dreamed this big and I have never accomplished as much as I have these past few months. I never even thought I could dream of the things I am working towards now. I have a clear idea for my future and am now working proactively towards it everyday.

I have never been happier or more proud of myself than I am now. It feels so good to being doing something for me that helps me.

Some may not understand the thread that connects working out with my mental strength to finally being on the right track to my future, but for me, it correlates side by side. I don’t know exactly what God’s plan is and how He decides to time everything but as it turned out for me, He planned for all of this to go hand in hand.

Over time, I have learned that there is no “one” way to do something. There is no “one” path to success in life. Sure there may be a “normal” path or a “common” one, but mine has been neither. Maybe you are not where you want to be yet, physically or mentally, or in general terms: life but even slow progress is still progress. Through this process of working out I have learned to tell myself : “I support you, I am rooting for you, and I am proud of you.” The gym has become the place where I am able to reflect on my life most and I have come to realize that I don’t have the biggest vocal cheerleaders in my life. In fact, it often feels like I have none.

Working out has shown me I can be my own damn cheerleader. It has taken me a long time to be okay with the fact that I only have a few people that support me. As long as I am one of them.

On being a dog momma

Last year around August, we got our baby pup Gordy. Pretty spur of the moment too, Hayden just turned to me one night and said “do you want to get a dog?” and of course I said yes. Although to be honest i thought he was half kidding and then two weeks later we had the cutest little itty bitty baby pup you could imagine.

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted a dog. My mother is not super fond on having animals and especially when we were growing up because she knew she or my dad would have to be stuck caring for it. But you know my dad had to try ha! He came home with two different puppies on two different occasions during my childhood. Both times were some of the best times.. to have a puppy, wow! Our first pup Smokey, was part german Shepard part chow part something else. He was super protective of his family (us) and ended up biting someones hand at my dads work one day, so sadly we had to give him away. We had smokey for a couple of months (from what I remember). The biggest memory I have of smokey was his size, he was huge! Me, my brother and sister would walk him across the street to our elementary school park. All i remember is Smokey literally dragging my brother all the way there!!!!! Haha he was great.

The second pup we only had for like 2 weeks. His or her? I can’t even remember anymore was named sunny.

Anyways, so i told myself growing up (after countless times trying to convince my mom to let us get a dog and keep it) that I would have a dog as SOON as i moved out!

I have lived on my own now for about 2 1/2 or 3 years (who’s counting?) So i guess it was fitting we got Gordy after all.

As a kid, and even until the moment we had Gordy in our arms, you really underestimate the amount of work it is to take after another living creature. I thought yeah sure, the expenses : food, vet, shots, toys, etc etc. But what you really don’t account for is the amount of love you will have for such a little furry animal and the amount of responsibility you feel to make sure they have the safest, healthiest, funnest environment.

To non dog owners it will be hard to understand this, “its just a dog”…  While i know it is no where near to having a real life baby, and I can’t wait until that day (far away) comes, for now this is a great alternative. Besides, being a dog momma is special all on its own.

Why do you think the movies always say when a woman wants a baby to get her a puppy ?

Since getting Gordy, my life has changed drastically. Knowing that we are his whole world really changes a lot in my life. Every time i leave my apartment I think about things that i have never in my life thought. Like, “what if he jumps out of the window?” (Goes back inside room to close the windows and just leave them cracked instead). Or how about before I leave I make sure theres nothing he can choke on while i’m gone or the wires and cables are out of the way. (He is after all only 10 months old) And i even think really crazy thoughts like, what if the apartment burns down??? (making sure to move all lamps that i think could fall and sometime light on fire???) Once, I woke up at like 5 A.M to the sound of the fire alarm in my building going off (it goes off pretty often and is never an actual fire) but since I was dead asleep and woke up to it, I jumped out of bed, scrambled to get Gordys harness/leash on and leave when I opened the door and saw the firemen in my hallway turning it off due to a ceiling leak that caused it to go off in the first place.

Ever since Gordy i no longer work 9-10hr shifts, and thankfully i switched to doing real estate full time so I am able to work at home most times and only leave for a couple hours at a time. Ever since Gordy, I can’t just leave or plan a trip on a whim. I have to either include him in my trips or find someone who will watch him.. and don’t even get me started on that! To be able to trust someone with my baby pup is so stressful.. and also because of how much energy this lil guy has and how much of a menace he is! (i’ve probably spoiled him for the worst)

But, I love him. And I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Since getting Gordy, I have felt what its like to love something so much you feel responsible for everything they do. Gordy has taught me to be (somewhat) selfless. He has taught me that naturally we are really selfish… which is fine i suppose but when you have someone or something to care for you become second. He has taught me absolute unconditional love. No matter what, I know Gordy will be there excited to see me, and give me kisses. Even if I didn’t get to walk him that day or if I left him alone longer than I would have liked.. it doesn’t matter to him as soon as I come home, and that makes all the difference. To have a living breathing creature pick up on what you are feeling is amazing. Whenever I am sad and cry, Gordy is always there to literally lick the tears away and cuddle with me. He protects me against all vicious little dogs (lol) and mean people, and stays extra close to me on days where he wants a little more attention. I have learned the pain to have to discipline a baby creature, when they stare up at you with those sad eyes of “i didnt mean it, honest” and I have learned the satisfaction of when you get your dog to learn a new trick, or in our case to get him to learn how to walk calmly by our side. I am happiest when we are walking Gordy because thats when I know he is happiest. And my favorite is talking to him because somehow I know he knows I am speaking to him with all the love in my heart. Or how comforting it is to walk around the apartment and have a little guy just follow you around wherever you go, even though when I am cooking it can be annoying cause I always end up bumping into him.

This is my first dog. My first dog that I have been able to care for and truly call mine (and haydens). To have so much love and energy come from one little furry rascal is so amazing. I know God created dogs to be exactly what they are, mans best friend.

to some this may seem irrational or bizarre. To those people I say… Get a dog.

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants”

Living in Boston

i have been living in Boston for about 3 years now? wow, 3 years… where does the time go? I still feel like I just got here.

living in a city 2,000 miles away from home is different to say the least.. especially when you didnt leave home to go to school but to be with your boyfriend. Haha, you should see some of the reactions I get when people asked me why I moved up here.. “oh, my boyfriend brought me up here” *panic ensues* Haha, some people have such little faith, no?

But yes, i moved up here for Hayden after only knowing each other for 6 months. Honestly, i didn’t think twice when he asked me to move up here with him.. im not sure why either. i feel like the natural response would be to freak out and think about it, but i was all aboard the instant he asked me. My dream was to always go to NYC, and i thought boston is close enough. Plus, my aunt lived there for a little bit and I always did want to visit her here. Funny how God works.. its really crazy. Anyway, so my time here has been interesting to say the least.

When I first moved here, it struck me that well my family and friends and chickfila was 2,000 miles away. I got over that after like a week or so, thanks to hayden, and then came the next challenge. How in the world do I make friends in a city with basically only students and i dont go to school……?!?!?! I felt like i was in kindergarten again, where you would tap on someones shoulders and ask if they wanted to be friends.. ah, the simple days. Unfortunately, society has it if i did that i would be a weird-o.

I got a job after 2 weeks of moving here, and met a friend. Her name is Julie A. She was a spunky breath of fresh air who loved jesus (although at the time was struggling with some things) I thought thank you God for sending me a friend.

Julie left that summer, and I was left alone again. Of course I had Hayden but, he also has his own life and friends and well I didnt want to seem like a total pathetic loser.

I was doing photography so that was fun, and meeting models and what not. But still, i was lonely in a city where everyone had friends chattering on the corners of streets. I tell ya, you never realize how alone you are in a city until you pass by a chatty group of girls. I was bummed to be honest. I wanted my friends back home, I didn’t want to feel alone anymore.

and i guess i didn’t realize what your family and friends hides you from. I had never been fully alone until I came to Boston. theres nothing really worse than feeling like you cant connect or talk to anyone in the city… except for your boyfriend.

I had/have awful roommates who are not my friends.

I met Anna, gosh i don’t even remember when. After Julie A. I was working on a photo shoot with her. She’s from paris, and instantly we clicked. Ah! How great it was to have a friend you can just call up, “hey wanna get lunch” or “hey wanna come over?” and just shoot the shit with. I didn’t have that  up here. So we became good friends, but she also went back to Paris .. and so I was left alone again.

I met Natalie last year while working in retail.. she is from Australia and was here on a little school  break. We clicked and had so much, she reminded me to just be simple and carefree.. to drink with friends and experience silly little things together like the freedom trial walk. She moved back to Australia though and here i am again.

I have a few other friends here, and by few I mean like 3. Or 2. LOL and they are fun to hangout with but, they have their set of friends here and again I am left alone. but i guess what i miss most is having people to rely on, having friends you know wont always bail on you.

At first, it really bothered me. I started to do things alone. Like walk, go on the T, explore, go shopping, go grocery shopping, get food, work, yadda yadda yadda. For me, being alone made me really uncomfortable for some reason. I guess because I was used to always having or knowing someone. In my town, I basically know everyone.. or everyones known of everyone and you really take that for granted while you have it. I know I did. i hated knowing everyone. But its not so bad, to know and see people that you’ve grown up with your [almost] entire life. (starting in 6th grade for me)

I don’t know, I think it’s just Boston because its such a small city and its literally just FILLED with schools and students and well i am neither a student nor do I go to school here so I feel a bit of an outcast, plus new englanders are just so… bleh. Flat and judgmental with only one style… and if you don’t fit that box you feel like an outcast.. or at least I did.

When I went to New York, and every time I go there still, i feel at home in the big apple. Weird huh?

I am coming up on my 23 birthday, and to be honest, i feel like a woman. I feel like an actual adult mature woman. Ha, i know that may sound silly but its kind of exciting. I pay for my own bills now, and my own rent (with help from Hayden bless him) i pay for my groceries, and clothes, and whatever else I want. I cook… delicious meals in fact, WHO KNEW!!! i always had a fear of cooking, and i cook really well!! I do my own laundry, get my own mail, deal with adult issues. I have a 9 month old baby pup who i take care of. I have an extremely adult well paying job.. and I know what i want to do with the rest of my life… sure i may not have all the details together in my life that i’m still sorting through.. but who doesn’t!! I am starting to finally become comfortable in my own skin.. little by little, day by day. I am becoming comfortable with my body, face, hair, everything. I am no longer concerned with what people think, if they stare, if they judge etc etc. It’s kind of an awesome feeling. I know i have many years ahead and I may still seem “young” to some, and maybe I am but who cares? I feel like a woman. And I think that is something that should be celebrated.

I am still alone, with my little family, but i know whats important now. i am no longer uncomfortable being alone. I know i will always have my friends and family back home and i know God will bring beautiful friends into my life at certain points in my life when i need them most. i know this is all a process and a path and that we all have our own.. and sometimes i just like to think of it all and think how beautiful it is. the imperfections and the struggles of my life are sometimes my favorite because i see what strength and beauty comes out of them.. i love growing older every day, i know for some people it scares them but for me it is so beautiful to see where i have come and how far i have come, growing is beautiful you get to see yourself and others develop and mold into the person they are going / continue to grow to be. we should cherish all ages and gladly bring the next.

“i have no way of portraying the lives of others. I portray my own.”

Dreams change

i think dreams change. Sure the main concept of our dreams stay the same but i think the small details start to differ as we grow older. Our morals and values start to change so naturally, the details start to adjust.

I can’t even remember the first dream I had when I was little to be honest. I just remember it constantly changing. Maybe my first dream was to be a teacher. I used to always make my little sister be the student while i taught her math on the overhead (yes, i got an overhead for christmas one year.. parents rule) But then, when I got to middle school that changed. I was in theatre and wanted to be an actress. And then I got to seventh grade and got into this really weird phase where I loved to do school work and be organzied (lol) and my dream then was to go to Harvard. And somewhere in all that I wanted to be a lawyer for a bit. But then again, that dream changed when I got to high school. In high school, i decided i wanted to pursue dance again. And I did, I got back into studio lessons and started dancing on the Kempner High School Brigade dance team. I stuck with this dream for most of high school while flirting with the idea of other dreams in between the four years at KHS. I became lieutenant of the dance team and thought for sure dance was what I was going to do with the rest of my life. But then.. life happened, as it always does, and changed things up. When I went to Houston Community College, I decided I wanted to further pursue my studies in psychology (I had taken one class in high school and really enjoyed it so i thought why not) I also took quite a bit of dance classes while I was there, and a writing course that I loved. I really enjoyed Downtown HCC and that time in my life. I was in a different place. On the border of adolescence and adulthood. I just remember that time being sunshine and warmth streaming down my veins and life was still innocent. But then I realized I didn’t want to do psychology because I didn’t agree with everything I was learning so i thought the hell with it…Then I met Hayden. When I met him in the summer, he was on break from school. Soon I realized he went to school in Boston. Although I wasn’t too scared I just remember thinking, hey i really like this kid… but he goes back to boston in a week. What are we going to do .  After 6 months of long distance, he asked me to move to Boston with him. And so I did. This was the point in my life, I remember, where I sort of just let go and had no sort of ‘dream’ so to speak. My dream at that point was to just live, and see where life would take me. And so it took me here. After being in Boston for 3 years now, I can absolutely say that my dreams have changed. But why does that have to be taken with a negative connitation? I have been doing photography seriously for about 2 years now and that is a huge dream of mine. I have been (sort of) writing more publicly, which is also a dream of mine.. but now I also have a new dream. I have a dream to get a home with Hayden and our bby pup Gordy so he has a background to play around in. I have a dream of having a kitchen big enough to make all the gluten free goodies Haydens ever dreamed of. I have a dream to live a positive, God filled, as stress free as possible life. I have a dream to start a family with Hayden. I have a dream to be a mother some day. I have a dream to have my photography and writings recognized by people. Enough where it can help support my family. I have a dream to travel, and experience all that my heart will take. I have a dream to road trip across the country. I have a dream to help my family. I have a dream to comfort and be there for people who don’t always have someone. I have a dream to help and inspire others.

Morals and values change as we grow older and experience different things. Mine did. When I was 14 nothing that has happened to me was in my plans. Being where I am now was never in my plans.. but I wouldn’t change it for the world. A couple of years ago, I started to actively pursue God (although i really have got to get back to reading the word) But that small detail changed a huge part of my life. Changing my values from partying to wanting to work and maintain a healthy relationship has changed my dreams. Growing has helped my dreams. And its not something like that is on a time frame, it happens to everyone at different times, and its all a learning curve.

Throughout all of my dreams though, I have had some constants that have always remained. I have always loved art, photography and writing. I have always wanted to write a book (or 2) and I have always wanted to live in New York City. I have always had a passion for love and peoples hearts, I guess at the time I didn’t realize i loved these things. 

In the end though, I think to be absolutely set on a very detailed dream is silly.. because, well,  we never know what God will bring us, will we?

 

“I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it” – Audrey Hepburn

to be a lover

I have always been a huge lover of love. Ever since disney movies maybe, ha. Or maybe it was always watching Barney and singing along to that “i love you you love me” song, who knows. Seeing love in movies and reading about them in my free time was a sure hobby of mine.. and of course listening to all the cheesy love songs like some Vanessa Carlton [LOL]. My first real dive at love was my freshman year of high school. Boy, was that a mess. Clearly, at that age being so romantically in love with love was not something I was able to share with the boys at my school. I even romanticized the breakups and hurt that goes along with giving away your heart to someone. Time and time again, I fell in love with the idea of these boys and the love I thought they could give me. Or perhaps a part of me did love them, that has to be true doesn’t it? But a different kind of love and i wonder sometimes if every time we give our hearts away to someone if a little piece stays with them. Or maybe a piece of them stays with us. Can you see the hopeless romantic in me already?

After a dark couple of years [that I am not yet ready to share] I came to a turning point in my life. I gave myself up to Jesus. I realized I was seeking love after all the wrong things. And who better to love than one who loves us unconditionally, who gave us the power of love? I started going to El- Shaddai in Houston and focused all my love on God, family, and friends.

Maybe 6 months after that I met Hayden. And the rest.. is history ;)

You all already know I can go on about Hayden, but I will keep it simple for now.

Our love is silly and playful. Our love is sacred, remaining only in our world it feels like a secret magic place whenever it’s just us two. It was an unplanned love, one that neither was expecting.. but i think thats what makes it greater. We weren’t looking we just fell into each other. Sometimes when people ask me our story i am hesitant to let them in our world.. although its silly and i know no one else could really ever enter our world but it’s something that words can not explain and even when I do try to put it into words it some how feels trivial and not at all as true as it is. Maybe i just need to work on my words… ha. He is my very best friend. A best friend like i’ve never had before. He is my lover. He is my supporter. He is my motivator. He is my manly man. He is my partner in crime. I’ve never laughed with anyone like i’ve laughed with him. And when i sit down and think about it.. i don’t think anyone has ever made me as happy as him. Not even close. He loves to make me laugh and i love that about him. I also don’t think i’ve ever felt a love from someone else like his. What i mean by that is, i’ve never truly felt what it felt like to have someone really fall in love with you.. to look at you and see in their eyes nothing but love for you. You get me?

“It’s one thing to fall in love. It’s another to feel someone else fall in love with you, and to feel a responsibility toward that love.” -David Levithan

And i think thats the most romantic part of it all.

What do you think?

so the question remains, does photography need to be explained? Or can we leave it up to the viewers interpretation?

When you look at a photo is it a story you see or an emotion you feel? Is it both? Or do you see nothing? it pains me when I meet people who don’t know how to feel or look at an image and cant understand what the photographer was trying to convey.

Do you look at an image from a critical standpoint? Do you admire the colors, the tones, the angles, and focal points? Do you see it in pieces or as a whole? Is it the small details that leave you thinking… making you look twice and deeper into the image?

Or do you come to an image with preconceived thoughts and deflect that onto the image? Do you assume what you are going to feel or think before you see an image and then when you feel something else does it surprise you? Or anger you?

I guess there’s no real right or wrong answer here. Just my thoughts circling around yours and photography.

Oftentimes when I look at an image I took I surprise myself with certain images that I end up liking out of the bunch. Its always something different each time. It could be the look in someones eyes, or shape and angle of someones head, maybe its the overall tone of the image that draws me in closer.

Then while I am editing the photo 90% of the time I gradually begin to hate it. I think thats normal. Working with it and staring at it and trying to turn it into what you want it to become can be frustrating.

But then finally, when I take a step back (literally) and look at the final product I usually end up loving it. And I am usually both surprised and intrigued by the outcome because without realizing it I have deflected my current emotion or inspiration or creative whatever you want to call it into the image… and that to me is amazing.

To me.. seeing my work on flickr is a personal timeline. I do hope that you all can see that too. What a wonderful gift to be able to share my life in photos and have the world watch me on my personal journey. And also what a wonderful joy to be able to watch someone throughout their journey in life.

I think the biggest thing about photography.. or art, or life in general really, is to see results you can’t be afraid. You can’t be afraid to take risks. You can’t be afraid to try something completely new. Or completely old. You can’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and branch out! Sure it’s fantastic when you get to a point in your work that you know is successful so then thats the styles or types of work you do.. but that will do damage to your art and yourself over the years. Life is about change. Its about evolving. Its about taking risks, being wrong, not being afraid. Its about failures and successes. Its about the process. So when you ever get to a stand still point in your life…run. until you hit something new.

To live deliberately

At the beginning of this year of 2014, there was a church service back home in Houston that I attended to. At that service we declared what this year was going to be for each of us. I declared it was going to be the year of travel for me. I didn’t think much of it the rest of the year, but just yesterday while me and Hayden were in the car on the way to Vermont it hit me. I have been traveling so much this year. My declaration had come true without me even really planning or realizing it. I have gone to LA, Houston, NYC, Cape Cod, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire… and the year is not even over yet! I was blown away realizing how God works. Often times God is loud, and disturbing, “…a challenging presence, warning against false trails and grieving when [you] go that way anyway. But sometimes God is also silent, “…a sigh-of-relief healing presence” , knowing what its like to see burdens roll away, presenting certain things to you that are camouflaged in a way that makes you think it is less of a miracle. But it is a miracle and it is Gods work. I am blessed and fortunate enough to be in a position where I can travel as much as I did this year, and enjoy all of His beautiful work across the country. And now that I think of it, every place I went to this year I spoke about God. Whether it was reflecting with myself, or with old friends and new friends, or Hayden, I have spoken about how amazing He is.

As I was sitting in the woods of New Hampshire today I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and relief come over me. I was silent and I let the natural sounds of the earth clear my mind.. the leaves rustling in the wind, the birds chirping, and somehow the sun beaming down on me also played a part in the song. And as I was there breathing in the fall crisp air I thought of one of my favorite quotes by Henry David Thoreau (and I’ve probably posted this quote before), “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms”  

Being in the woods of New Hampshire and being in the depths of Vermont, I had no cell service. And I know that sounds so small and insignificant on paper (or screen rather) but it is my entertainment, my means of staying connected with all of my fellow peers, it plays (sadly) a huge role in my life. When I was unable to use it, it made me reflect on my life, life itself, and God. It made me live on purpose. You know what I mean? Not just exist, but really live deliberately.  Which turns out is exactly what I needed to get a peace of mind. I have been frustrated lately with my lack of post for lack of true revelations or reflections of God. I have been so focused on work and other mild things in life that I was itching to get away and marvel at God. I have also been needing a good devotional book about Jesus (it is one of my personal favorite ways to worship Him) and while in New Hampshire we stumbled upon an old used bookshop next to a shell gas station with books all under $5 pretty much. I found one called, “Simply Jesus” which I am reading now and have quoted some, and a memoir called “everything will be all right”. But finding those books in under 10 minutes for under 10 dollars was pretty cool. And the way I see it, that is God. God is in a bookshop waiting to be picked up, God is in the sweet fall air, God is in the woods ready to take you on an adventure, God is the soft quiet noises of nature, God is the happiness I share with Hayden and Gordy (among all other loved ones) God is in the sweet hearts of my friends who don’t even think they know God, God is in Hayden’s heart, the sweet simple heart that gets joy from giving to others, God is in rain, God is in my laughter, God is my inspiration, and many if not all of our inspirations, He is art. God is all around me, at all times. It is easy to forget but when we remember, it resonates deep into our souls letting us positively move onward with our lives.

“I am practicing being kind over being right”

– Matthew Quick

What does it mean to be kind? And what does it mean to be right? Over the years I have realized that it is always better to be kind than it is to be right. Not too long ago I was set on my ways and beliefs about how one should be right, and strive for the satisfaction of being right. But at the end of the line what matters most in life is not who was right the most times, and maybe not even who was more kind to each other… but how you made others feel. Maya Angelou said it beautifully, “I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision, I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

The other day a homeless man came up to me and Hayden with our baby pup, Gordy. He was so excited about Gordy and instantly came over to pet him. He started telling us his story about how he had a dalmatian once that he used to swim in the sea with, how he once had a wife and kids and a normal life, how once he was in the marines. He now lives on the stoops of this Catholic Church in Boston, so doped up on alcohol and drugs (?), with no medical attention or proper nourishment in who knows how long his eyes can no longer see straight, and his body movements are no longer fluid. When we parted ways, my heart broke. I know what you are thinking, what many of you are thinking, “he can get a job.” “he chose drugs” “it was his choice” “he ruined his life”  and while all that may be true, why does that mean that we should ignore another human being in pain or need? If i lost everything today and fell homeless, friends, what would you do? Would you look the other way on the street? Or would you come talk to me, say a prayer, and give me positivity? Why is it we prefer to be right instead of being kind to one another? Is it because being kind makes us vulnerable and in turn weak to others? Does being right make us look somehow superior?I know not everyone will agree with me on this, and i didn’t agree with myself just a couple of years ago, but living in Boston and seeing them everyday face to face… seeing the sadness in their eyes, listening to the hunger in their bellies, smelling urine and feces on their clothes along with shame and loss of dignity. And maybe I have a weak heart or a big heart but the way I see it is they are a living breathing human being. It is not up to us to determine if they are RIGHT it is not up to us to determine if they are actually homeless or if they are going to use the change on drugs, it is not up to us to judge and decide their future… it is up to us to be KIND. How can anyone feel it okay in their heart to turn the check on someone who is in need????

In Luke 3:11 in the Bible it says, “…the man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same” and later in Luke 5:31, “Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And I am not just referring to the homeless here in Boston, or America for that matter. Lets take it internationally, what about the people in Uganda, Sudan, South Africa etc!? Some so poor they can not even feed their own children, with rebels or “peri-urban police”  constantly running in on their homes taking away the parents or children unless a bribe is offered. Or how about the Isis killing Christians in Iraq and Syria!? How can we lead our pathetic lives of what new shoes to buy to match our new blouse… with our biggest concerns being how are we going to do our hair for the party tonight when there are others who are in desperate need of our help. Or lets keep it simpler… how about a friend in need or a family relative, coworker, acquaintance, someone you met that day, the lady you poured your coffee to the man you made your burger? And maybe I am being dramatic. I am not saying you have to give up your own life but I am asking you to show kindness, to choose kindness. If it is not in your heart to help others across the nation, if it is not your calling, that is fine. But it is everyones calling to be kind.   I by no means am perfect, I also have to work on this but I am choosing to work on it.That could easily be anyone you know or yourself. So practice kindness. Even if all you are offering is kindness and words, a smile, a story to share with someone in need,  trust me, they will never forget it… and neither will you.

Gazing at God

I was humbled today when a video came onto my Facebook feed about a couple in their marriage.

Here is the Link to the video: http://www.faithit.com/people-stunned-chose-marry-him-they-said-never-work-3-years-later-couldnt-be-better-ian-larissa/#.U3mXXW9SJeX.facebook

As I was watching it I could feel the tears in my eyes well up and soon I was practically bawling my eyes out at the beauty and sincerity this couples love for God is. And it made me want to just sit and worship in awe at how good God really is. It humbled me and brought me to tears and in my heart I dropped to the floor on my knees, bowing down before God and just thanking Him for His greatness. It made me reflect in silence, gazing at God and his holiness.  I was in awe at the emotion this video made me feel, and I was in awe in Gods faithfulness– and their own. A quote was read at the wedding reception in the video that really resonated with me (even though Im not married you can still apply it to your current relationships and life in general) “Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of material success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity. 

So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.” -John Piper

Wow. Please just take a moment and let all of that just sit with you. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children.”  You know I’d say bearing children is the most important thing most woman worry about and to make a living is the most important thing most men worry about, and to think that knowing and treasuring Christ is more important than either of those! What a profound statement. How silly to think that in our small brief lives we think that the most important thing will be to earn a living on this earth. And how grand is it to think that treasuring our God is even greater than bearing children. It kind of makes you take a step back and really look at the life you are leading. It makes you realize just how truly boundless, and immeasurable God is compared to our lives here on earth. It is easy for most of us to forget about God some days and it is especially easy for some of us who don’t have as great of hardships as others are dealing with at the moment that let us forget about our God. But when you see a couple that worships and relies solely on God, because God is the only one that can sustain their marriage (and any marriage for that matter) , you see the true beauty of Him shine through like golden rays on a cloudy day when the sun peaks through. “We are programmed to focus on what we don’t have, bombarded multiple times throughout the day with what we need to buy that will make us feel happier or sexier or more at peace. This dissatisfaction transfers over to our thinking about God. We forget that we already have everything we need in Him. Because we don’t often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshiped and loved. We are to fear Him.  A. W. Tozer writes, ‘ What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us… Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like’ ”

I live in the city and being in the city everything and everyone tends to be at a more fast paced speed, so sometimes I get so caught up in what I am doing, my career, and my future that I sometimes forget how small all of that actually is in the grand scheme of things. Living in the city it can start to feel like your goals and work are the biggest and most important things to achieve. But its not. And it is so humbling when I get reminded that not only is God the most important thing… but look at how pure He really is. Its all around us amidst all the tragedy and heartache, His light, shinning down on us. His light is an unmistakable one, and faith or no faith, everyone recognizes His light. Watching that video was a blessing, and a reminder that our God is able to do the impossible… and to see these two so devoted to Christ and so in love with Him when they have every reason to be angry is inspiring and motivating… and it makes me change my heart. It makes me realize that I am living an insignificant life if it is not for and with God. It makes me appreciate today, and all the beauty around us here on earth and I encourage you too, to simply stop what you are doing and take a moment to gaze at our God at all the beauty and hope he has given us.

The horizon

I really love how Donald Miller writes. If you haven’t read any of his books, i encourage you to do so. He writes in a way that speaks to you, like he wrote the book specifically for you. Right now I’m reading “How I learned to live a better story”, totally different than what i thought it would be but good nonetheless. The book talks about how our lives are like stories and there is an okay way and a better way to live them. He is telling us the process it took to turn his bookBlue Like Jazz into a movie– which if you didn’t know, means you basically have to rewrite the whole thing. In one of the chapters it talks about how in a movie a character has to have an inciting incident happen to them to force them to change, which is very much like real life. “Perhaps one of the reasons i’ve avoided having a clear ambition is because the second you stand up and point toward a horizon, you realize how much there is to lose.” I’ve always had pretty vague ambitions. Maybe more so over the past years while I watched all my friends attend a university pursuing what I thought were the only ways to attain a legitimate job. (Now I know there are more ways than just school to become successful and get a good job) I would always halfway commit to something and say oh yeah this is what i want to do with my life, knowing full well in my heart I wasn’t truly committing… therefore setting myself up for failure and disappointment. Its only been recently that I have decided to “point toward my horizon”. I have been growing into my skin this past year and the fog around my horizon is dissipating. My horizon is taking its shape and looking sharper… easier for me to see and run towards. I guess thats been my problem over the years, my horizon has been clouded with doubts and other peoples ideas, with negative opinions and fears that I have been bumping into that I never was able to see my full horizon.

As Donald says in his book, “The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is ‘Do Not Fear’… before I realized we were supposed to fight fear, I thought of fear as a subtle suggestion in our subconscious designed to keep us safe, or more important, keep us from getting humiliated.”   The Bible teaches us that we will fear, in life, but it also teaches us to not let fear take control over us. It tells us, fear is normal and you will feel it but don’t let it run your life. I have definitely let fear control my life one or two times. Not in a dramatic way where I would lock myself in my room and be afraid to come out into the real world for months at a time, but in a subtle way where it led me to live a boring life. I got stuck in the safe zone and would lock up my dreams and ambitions, too afraid to reach out and grab them. And that led my life to be kind of boring and meaningless, I was working jobs i hated for money that could not even pay for rent if i wanted. I was going to a community college in Houston with no intention of transferring to a 4 year university and with no real dreams. Now i work two – no wait- three jobs i love and i can say I am able to financially support myself in Boston and its expensive up here y’all. Aside from that though, I am pointing towards my horizon. I know what I want to do with my life, I know what I want to achieve… now I just gotta dive in head first.  “I guess what I am saying is, I believe God wants us to create beautiful stories, and whatever it is that isn’t God wants us to create meaningless stories, teaching the people around us that life just isn’t worth living.”

That doesn’t mean everyone should go out and be astronauts or race car drivers or whatever else seems thrilling and life threatening. It means that you should go out and live your story, not let it pass you by on the couch watching TV or via social media. Go out and live a life full of meaning, purpose and intention. Even if it starts out small, like planting a garden (although that by no means is a small task) or if it’s to start walking everyday to get in shape, painting the first piece of your collection, writing a song, starting a band, going on a date with that special someone,applying for an internship, starting a company or business, or maybe just start writing the business plan… whatever it is do it with purpose, meaning, and intention. It can start off big or small so long as you are taking the steps to switch gears in your life. Take it off of neutral and put your life into drive. It is so easy to let things just happen to us, to let us watch our life go by without even making it out of bed. It’s easy to be lazy but the reward is in the struggle. The reward is in the hardships, the challenge, the breakdowns.

Donald Miller tells a great story about how him and a couple of his friends went to Peru to hike one of the worlds most excruciating hiking trails, the Inca Trail. There is an easy route that takes six hours to get to Machu Picchu, their destination. Their guide, Carlos explained that this route in the ancient times was the commercial route, but if you were visiting Machu Picchu on a pilgrimage you had to take the Inca Trail which took four days to get to. They were on their way to take the four day way. Someone from Don’s group asked why the Incas would make people take the long route, “Because the emperor knew the more painful the journey to Machu Picchu, the more the traveler would appreciate the city, once he got there.” Carlos informed everyone. And painful was the journey, Donald explained in this chapter. They went through high altitudes and low altitudes, steep hills, and dealt with intense climate. But when they finally reached to their destination, four days later … they were so grateful, and saw the true beauty of the city for they had to travel far and wide to get there. You can take a train and a bus to get there but you wouldn’t experience the city the same.  “The story made us different characters than we would have been if we skipped the story and showed up at the ending an easier way.” Sometimes we think our lives might have been or will be easier without all the struggle and hardship, but I think without it it is difficult to appreciate the beauty in the reward. Knowing you have accomplished, succeeded, or overcame a difficult time/task  is always so much more rewarding when you know you worked your butt of for it. The most memorable accomplishments of mine, and even some of my best memories have been ones where I have struggled the most… because I worked the hardest then to overcome whatever battle it was, it challenged me and made me have to fight for what I wanted to achieve. The struggle pushed me to new limits and made me learn new things I didn’t even know I was capable of, and I got to appreciate the other end of the journey that much more. Although at times I cry out thinking “why me? this isn’t fair”, at the end of the day I am thankful for the struggles I face because I know they are shaping my character, making me a better person. The hardships remind me that I am alive and kicking, they remind me to live each day with purpose and intention. And I know with every struggle there is more beauty to be appreciated.

“It made me think about the hard lives so many people have had, the sacrifices they’ve endured, and how those people will see heaven differently from those of us who have had easier lives”

Be bold

I recently read on this blog (http://aliedwards.com/2013/12/one-little-word-2014.html) of a wonderful idea where every year you pick a word and you use it, everyday. You reflect on it, it inspires you, it helps you, it helps others, etc whatever the case may be for you. Although its March its not toooo late in the game to start this neat little project. The word I chose for this year is.. Bold. To be bold . The definition of bold according to google is,  showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous. I chose this word for a couple of reasons.

I have this really bad problem where I get so scared I freeze. I admit most days I am afraid to be bold. I don’t know if i’ve always been like this (lack of memory due to repressed feelings/thoughts .. don’t even get me started) or if this is something that has sort of built up over the years. I suppose fear of failure keeps me in the shallow end of life. I really don’t know what happened but somehow along the way I got lost and caught up in what people think of me. Lack of confidence (although I hate to admit it), and letting more people bring me down than up has kept me hidden, always in the safe zone. I rather be in the back of the class where no one can see me, invisible. I rather have no attention than negative attention… and I have had more negative attention than I would have liked. I have been picked on all my life. I have been beaten dragged down by people I thought cared about me. I have had my flaws and mistakes on billboards, painted in the sky for the world to see (okay maybe just Houston) but that was my world, for me it was the world. But lets stay on topic. I have a problem of being too afraid to be bold and jump, and take that leap of faith.. to reach the other side. Its not that I half ass everything.. I just play it safe. I don’t fully let go. For anything. Not for dance.. I didn’t fully let go for fear of.. looking dumb. Not for school.. I never applied to any colleges because the application process was just too scary and overwhelming for me. What a coward huh? Not for work.. There are some things I long to do but yet I am too afraid to do it. Every aspect of my life I do 99% because I am too afraid to do that last 1% and reach fulfillment.. complete satisfaction. I get nervous and get anxious, freak out and just freeze. Even with my relationship with God. Forgive me, but there have been times where I have even been too scared to shout Jesus’s name out loud. For fear of others tearing down what i believe in. I try to hold on so tightly to what I know and feel safe with.. I hold on to it with my life. But now it is costing my life. I am tired of being on this side of the cliff when everything I want is just a jump away.. a leap away. I just have to be bold enough to take the risk of failing.. “because even when you fail while jumping to the other side… you’re not really failing.. you’re just on this giant trampoline down there and if you keep on diving head first.. keep leaping.. you will come out on the other side. The side you want to be on. The only way you fail…” says Hayden, “.. is if you don’t jump at all.” Because I’m not really living life right? If im not taking risks and being bold.. Im just.. existing.   And granted, we will fail. It’s life. Its expected. But there is no greater failure than taking no risks. I suppose me being bold starts with this WordPress. I have always loved writing and reading and have been doing it all my life. Not always online mostly just in journals and notebooks and scattered stories to real life scenarios or thoughts. I really loved English class. But anyways, I guess I am starting here… but not ending here. This is just the first page.. with writing more, and being more open. Letting myself slowly open up to you all, sharing my thoughts and experiences with y’all as I walk through life. This time around though, I have Jesus by my side.. guiding me along the way.

“where feet may fail and fear surounds me .. so i will call upon your name and keep my eyes above the waves.”

Sunday thoughts

This has really been on my mind all day.. i tried taking a nap but i just can’t shake this thought in my head. Sometimes it is very very hard for me to love others. I’m not talking about my friends and family.. they are easy to love. I’m talking about strangers, and people i see on the street, or pass by in Starbucks, friends of friends, and the list goes on. I don’t know why that is. It varies though, from circumstances to situations to if its that time of the month , but i guess I have a pretty low tolerance to people. Not everyone really, there’s some people, or strangers, I really don’t mind.. but some others just really get under my skin. And it’s not big differences that bother me like race, sex, political or religious views or anything like that. Its extremely simple things. Like it could be that person is talking too loud, or too soft, or too weird, or too much. It could be the way someone says something to someone I know that i just don’t like. The way someone smiles or posts stupid annoying things on Facebook. Just really petty things of that sort.

Something popped in my head today, and I have been trying to find who wrote it, or if I read it in a book at all. I have read so many books that the words and stories all start to blend together and I forget who said what or if its a combination of my own thoughts with theirs. Regardless, this thought popped in my head today. It was how can we not love one another? I mean everyone. If we were ALL, every sing human on this earth, created in the same image and likeness of God that we and our friends and families (the people that are easy to love) why is it so hard to love others? Strangers?  Random people you see everyday? And i wonder why it is so hard for me to love or to like everybody? The ones that get under our skin?

I guess I am a pretty aggressive person.. kind of a mean person. When I was little I was the bossiest little thing to walk this Earth. I was mean to my friends and my family. As I changed schools and grew up I am not so sure if that changed so much.. maybe a part of it did but then backslide as i entered into High School. High School really is awful.. kids are so brutally mean, and everyone is just trying to survive, at least I was. Influences and relationships I chose resulted in the actions I took and those actions turned into habits. I let those habits take over my mind and now although I am out of high school (for some time now… about 4 years? Where does the time go!) those influences and relationships left a deep scar in my mind on how I should think of others. Or maybe I really always had a mean heart all my life.. I always wondered about that, its a scary thought. But then I am reminded of Genesis 1:27. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”  And since we know the son of God is Jesus .. It is true that God then created us in the same likeness that he created his only begotten son, Jesus Christ.  So I was not born of a mean heart.. I just got lost and tangled along the way.

This is very powerful to me, because Jesus is the most loving man I have ever come to know. I mean truly loving. Not just that conditional love crap. Or the kind of love that is only a commodity. Or the fake kind of love where you say to someones face you like them and a soon as they’re gone start talking smack. He had true love for everyone. He looked past peoples quirks, mistakes, doubts, flaws and saw the good in them that God created. He was not like me at all and he’s not like many christians I know either. He was never quick to judge, he never thought he was better than anyone or treated anyone in that manner. He was selfless, looking to help and spread love. Although I know that me and  many other Christians have fallen very short of how Jesus’ message, this is powerful to me because we are created in the same image and likeness of Him. That means it is very possible for me to change my ways and walk more like Jesus. So with His help, I too can spread love and joy and peace.. I just got to stop getting in the way… and something even more powerful to me, if we are all created in the same image.. His image.. not just me, but you, and you, and that guy you hate, or that girl you find so annoying.. we are all created in the same image. That really changes the whole realm of things doesnt it? That image is God.. who I love. So maybe its not so hard to love others..

The book I am reading was talking about confessing to everyone for not being the Christian they want to be and I too am confessing to you… “It would feel so good to apologize, to apologize for the Crusades, for Columbus and the genocide he committed in the Bahamas in the name of God, apologize for the missionaries who landed in Mexico and came up through the West slaughtering Indians in the name of Christ. I wanted so desperately to say that none of this was Jesus, and I wanted so desperately to apologize for the many ways I had misrepresented the Lord. I could feel that I had betrayed the Lord by judging, by not being willing to love the people He had loved and only giving lip service issues of human rights”  Donald goes on to say to his peers at Reed College, “Jesus said to feed the poor and to heal the sick. I have never done very much about that. Jesus said to love those who persecute me. I tend to lash out especially if I feel threatened, you know, if my ego gets threatened. Jesus did not mix His spirituality with politics. I grew up doing that. It got in the way of the central message of Christ.  I know that was wrong, and I know that a lot of people will not listen to the words of Christ because people like me, who know Him, carry our own agendas in the conversation rather than just relaying the message Christ wanted to get across…”

I pray that you forgive me and my fellow brothers and sisters. I pray that I receive healing and continue to get revealed to myself of how I am and how I amnot being like Jesus. I pray that the conviction in my heart to change stays and I pray that you receive my love.

Valentines Day

This Valentine’s Day I spent the day a little different. I spent this morning reflecting on the love I have for God.. and Gods love for me.  If you know me at all, you know that I love love. I love it. I love romance, and flowers, chocolates, and sweet words. I love cheesy love movies, and rom coms, and over the top romance novels. I usually spend today thinking about love with a boy, with my significant other. I usually spend today thinking what he will surprise me with, where we will go to dinner, what I will wear.. and all the mushy lovey dovey stuff in between it all. Lately though, I have been feeling something different. An itch maybe. A tingle… to be close to God. To really be a better Christian. I admit I’m not a very good Christian at all actually. There is a long list of things I need to work on before I think I could even come close to calling myself a good Christian. But when I say I want to be a better Christian I’m saying I want to live life like Jesus did.  I believe God calls us when he knows we are straying.. does little things to guide us back on the right path. God must really love me because somehow he always places either a person in my life who is of faith and also has a desire to be close to God (Ahem, Lilly, Jeremy, Jullie, and Hayden to name a few), or maybe a book someone left on my bookshelf to be read, like the book i recently picked up off my bookshelf Blue Like Jazz (Thanks Julles ;))..  This is one of the reasons God amazes me.. Not everyone knows all the wrong things I’ve done.. but God definitely knows every single last one of them.. and yet He doesn’t judge me, or turn His back on me (like so many of who I thought were my friends, did , no hard feelings though) He continues to love me every single day, helping me, sending me a life line every time I get too deep in the ocean of darkness. There is no limit for him, no “three strikes you’re out!” , He just keeps on giving even if I don’t deserve it. Which is why it is easy to understand why some people, including myself, find it hard to believe or accept… For some reason this quote popped in my head the other day while reading the book Blue Like Jazz  by Donald Miller (such a good read, i recommend it to all of you!), “We accept the love we think we deserve” I think i finally understand this. It really resonated with me.. Do we only accept a small portion of Gods love because that is all we think we deserve? Or maybe that is why some or maybe even all of us at some point push God away because He is so good to us and we are so undeserving? I want to accept all of Gods love. And I know now that is the only way we will be able to fully love him, “… by accepting Gods love for us, we fall in love with Him….. In exchange for our humility and willingness to accept the charity of God, we are given a kingdom. And a beggars’s kingdom is better than a proud man’s delusion.”

I guess what I am really reflecting on today is love and do I know love? I sure thought I did.. but lately each day I have begun to think that maybe I don’t know what true love is after all. Or maybe I am fixating my knowledge on love on just one aspect of it.. one side to love. And if I do not know love then I do not know God.. do you follow me? 1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Perhaps I have been fixating on only one part of God, one side… most likely it is the side I want to see and know.. the part that relates to me. But If I do not look at the whole I will always have my doubts and confusion not only about love but my faith in God. Because true love is God.. not what i receive on Valentine’s day, to put it plain.

In Blue Like Jazz,  Donald tells a beautiful story about a Navy SEAL freeing some hostages. When the SEALs got there, the hostages  (who had been imprisoned there for months) were in a filthy dark room huddled up in a corner, terrified. The SEALs tried calling to the hostages that they were being rescued and to follow them to the helicopter. The hostages, as you can image, were terrified and not of “healthy mind” .. frozen in fear, they did not move when the SEALs called out to them, they did not even believe they were really Americans coming to save them. One of the SEALs had an idea of what to do. “He put down his weapon, took off his helmet, and curled up tightly next to the other hostages, getting so close his body was touching some of theirs. He softened his look on his face and put his arms around them. He was trying to show them he was one of them… The Navy SEAL whispered that they were Americans and were there to rescue them. Will you follow us?….” Soon after one by one the hostages stood to their feet and followed the SEALs, and they all made it safely to the American aircraft carrier. This story instinctively reminded me, and obviously reminded Donald as well, of Jesus and how he asks us to follow him..

“When I understood that the decision to follow Jesus was very much like the decision the hostages had to make to follow their rescuer, I knew then that I needed to decide whether or not I would follow Him. The decision was simple once I asked myself, Is Jesus the Son of God, are we being help captive in a world run by Satan, a world filled with brokenness, and do I believe Jesus can rescue me from this condition? ” 

And yes, I choose to follow Jesus. I choose to love all of God, and accept all of His love for me.

You are beautiful

There are days where i do not feel enough… pretty enough, smart enough, sexy enough, funny enough, cool enough, etc… Just like we all do. (unless you’re perfect, but you’re not so quit foolin yourself)  But when i have these days it is a flashback to the past. The past where i was hurt, betrayed, lied to. The past where i got called ugly, and stupid, and annoying. The past where i got cheated on countless times. The past where i was used and viewed as an object. The past where my heart was betrayed and shattered for not being.. enough.  Or even to the present. The present where i am not a good enough photographer. Not popular enough. Not likable enough. Still not pretty enough. Not organized enough. Not funny enough. Not motivated enough. Not FEARLESS enough. Too argumentative, or too stubborn. Too honest or too blunt. Too know it all or too know nothing at all.  Surrounded constantly by boys and girls who live in the world and set their standards to this world. Surrounded by my coworkers and my competitors.. to my friends and strangers.

But I AM enough. I am enough for God, creator of ALL things. And i DO NOT hold myself to the standards of THIS world ANYMORE. I am strong, and i am fearless. I AM pretty, smart, and funny. I am enough for God’s beautiful eyes. I am perfectly imperfect in the way and reason God has MADE me!!  I am his beautiful creation. I have a BIG heart and big eyes (not literally) to see and feel ALL of his beauty. My mind is sharp and curious because i am his daughter. I let the light shine through my imperfections because it is HIS warm forgiving light i wish for you to see.. not me and my flaws, don’t you see? .. I AM enough. I was more than enough to every boy who broke my heart and beat me while i was down. To every friend who betrayed me . To every stranger who judged me and put me in a box.

I watched this video again,  and instantly got reminded of my worth through Gods eyes. And that all these small mediocre things that i let get in my head even for a second are just that.. small, mediocre things. Too many times we let our heads blow up by how many guys/girls like us, or hate us, by how many “likes” we got on this and how many “views” we got on that. And too many times we let our self esteem get down because someone doesn’t like a picture we took, or this song we wrote, or when we get made fun of, mocked, left out.. and i know TOO many BEAUTIFUL people, boys and girls, that don’t see their worth because they are constantly getting dragged down by the enemy too afraid to look up. But I REFUSE, i refuse to let the enemy get me down because, ” I am a daughter of the living God. Cherished, loved, and adored above ALL things by the Creator of all things, for the glory of him, who is greater than all things… I AM AWESOME

I do

I cant explain it.. or maybe i can, i just dont know how.

How can life be so quick? it is here a second and then gone.

Moments pass us by, fleeting from my mind.

The mystery of life is slowly leaving, showing its face

I opened iTunes today and saw “brianas cd” and remembered this was the first mix Hayden made me after like a day of meeting me.

Its funny how a song or a playlist can bring you right back to the first time you listened to that song

I listened to this cd so much. It was always playing in my car.

He was away in Boston for school.

And i was home in Texas driving to HCC, driving to dance, driving to get food, driving to meet my friends, driving to church, driving home.

It was new for me. The songs were new for me. The style. The boy. The ways. The words. The distance. Everything was new.

It was magical and i wanted to soak it all in.. into my soul. I wanted time to stand still in that moment, those moments

but it sped up faster than i even knew life and time and moments could.

caught in a whirlwind it was a blur

it is a blur

until now when i slow down and look back

i remember driving in my car on the way to the Zoo listening to this getting to know you

How can life change so fast in one year?

Sometimes its hard to believe i live in Boston with Hayden.

We moved mountains in only 1 year

and we owe it all to God

 

 

There is so many things i want to say, but have not found the words or ways to say them. Or maybe i am not ready to say them

please don’t interpret this as a sad post, i am reminiscing and overwhelmed with the love i have received and continue to receive.

 

 

Go listen to "I do" by Christian Scott

La vie en rose

I am always a tourist. Everywhere i go, no matter if i live here i am still a tourist. I will always take pictures everyday, discovering something new that inspires me or that is of my liking. I am constantly amazed by my surroundings no matter where i go, or stay.  Even if i have just been in my room all day there is something that makes me feel the NEED to take a picture. The light, reflection, glow, color, it could be anything. It is the same when i go out for a walk. This thought came to me the other night on my walk to the grocery store when i saw the beautiful sight ahead of me and had to snap a photo on my iPhone. I thought to myself, i look like a tourist. Then i realized i am a tourist wherever i go or stay here on Earth.  And nothing makes me happier than being able to be a tourist here and explore everything God has made and has offered us to enjoy on earth. I say tourist because my home is in Heaven.

Lets back track for a second though

The past couple of weeks there has been burning thoughts in my mind that i tried to push away (not sure why) I know i had been slipping further away from God but just didn’t want to think about it too much because i know it was my fault after all. But things got harder over the weeks and the thoughts kept resurfacing. I had been studying for the Real Estate Exam like crazy because this was the third time i was taking it and wanted to pass it for goodness sake!! I was fed up with studying. I passed the state portion. That meant i had to go back and pay, again, to retake the general portion.  I told the news to Hayden and my family and they were thrilled and proud of me. I on the other hand was not. I was angry and disappointed, frustrated and upset. I thought WHY GOD? Why couldn’t you pull through on your end?? I broke down that day to Hayden. And sobbed for like an hour or so. The tears kept coming and i finally let out all my stress, anxiety, frustration, disappointment, struggle, everything. I was tired, couldn’t he see i was trying my hardest?! I was ready to give up. I was done and at this point didn’t even want my license. Hayden calmed me down and gave me that boost i needed to call the next day and sign up for the test again. Only this time Hayden said take it tomorrow. You’re gonna pass. Tomorrow?! I wasn’t ready!! But i took a leap of faith and did it. Went in there, with a 2 day migraine and all and took the test. I was as confident as i could be in the testing room. Once i checked over the test again and again, and a third time I said a prayer to God. I did what i could and i left the rest up to Him. I walked out and the administrator gave me the good news, i passed my exam. FINALLY!!! after a summer long of studying. I was in shock and could only think, “THANK YOU GOD” because he pulled through after all :) He is always strongest at our weakest.

A few days later i was talking to someone i know and a thought just slapped me in the face. It was a perfect example of who i didn’t want to be. I did not want to be like this person. In fact, i wanted to be the complete opposite. And perhaps it was not one person but many people that were showing a reflection of myself… a reflection i wanted to change. And i seriously hoped that no one saw me in that light that i saw. Because i only want to be seen in Jesus’s light. That is what i realized. I was sick of it always being about me or them or this and that. I want it to be about Jesus. Coincidentally i picked up a book from Hayden that day, “The Purpose Driven Life” By Rick Warren.  It was exactly the kind of book i needed to read.

Everyone always talks about “i don’t know what i want to do with my life” or ” i want to do this and that with my life” , all for their own fulfillment or enjoyment or satisfaction or whatever! But it isn’t about me, or you, or us. Its about God. And what HE wants for us. I got tired of asking myself and starting asking God. “You didn’t create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for!” Isn’t that the truth! How could we POSSIBLY know unless it is God who tells us???!!! “You were made by God and for God- and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”

So many people i know, and even me, are constantly trying to do everything ourselves, trying to do it our way and wont listen to anything else. But have you noticed that you haven’t got very far? Or maybe something is just a little off, we need to step out of the way in order for God to work. “The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.” – A.W Tozer

“We aren’t God and never will be. We are humans. It is when we try to be God that we end up most like Satan, who desired the same thing.” Wow. So so true. This isn’t a competition, let go of your ego.. let go of yourself!! “Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.” It is God who made us, so give in to Him! And what a beautiful beautiful thing to give in to.

I digress though, i do not know yet what God has me here on earth for, but i do delight in his gifts He has given me. In the heart He has given me. I do not know if i was meant to be a photographer, perhaps i am, but i photograph to show Gods beauty that is all around us that sometimes we miss otherwise. I am here to photograph the trials that all of us face here on earth. But im here to photograph the beauty, Gods beauty, in everything. And im just now realizing that. “He gave you eyes to enjoy beauty, ears to enjoy sounds, your nose and taste buds to enjoy smells and tastes, and the nerves under your skin to enjoy touch.”

And finally, going back to what i first started this post about. Being a tourist on earth. Most times, often times, we forget that life is just temporary and our home is in eternity. And this is a big revelation for me that i just hit. I was so attached to life. “But theres so much i want to do in life!! so much i want to accomplish” I used to never think about death because i never wanted my time to be up here on earth. But that was before i knew Jesus. and the truth. Now i understand that i am visiting this beautiful place, i am just passing thorough. And i am understanding now more than ever not to be attached to life. In the Bible David once prayed, “Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that i am here for but a moment more.” And i pray the same.

“The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

Earth and our life here is not the end of the story.

I realized recently that there is nothing i want more than to follow God and Jesus. Theres nothing i want more than His love. Theres nothing i want more than  what God wants for me. I want nothing more than to find my God given purpose. And i know he will show me as i walk this path with him. If that means that people disagree with my views, beliefs, or wants then so be it. If that means i lose friends but gain God as a greater friend then i would gladly sacrifice that. I am humbly yours, take me where you want me to be God. Finally,I realized that i want to be know as a follower of Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less. Let them see you through me.

“Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” James 4:8 (NLT)

Lately

Lately – Memoryhouse

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Film- Aphex twin

I was looking through my photo stream on flickr today and watched the first stop motion video i’ve ever made. I’m so glad i made that video. It is one of the biggest decisions and changes thus far and i got to capture it. Although it does make me sad to look at because, maybe, this whole time i’ve been afraid to truly grow up. So much has changed so fast. Or was it fast? Sometimes i look so much into the right now that i forget about the past or the future. This can be both good and bad. But i think somewhere deep inside of me i am just as sad as i am excited to grow up. I am scared to grow up sometimes because i know that means letting go of some. Things will change. People will grow and i want to keep us all as we are right now, forever. In my pocket. And i am also grieving of my innocence. Is there such a thing? I am officially saying goodbye to the little me, the rebel teen angst teenager, i am saying goodbye to the briana that knew very little about life outside of my home. I am saying goodbye to the young innocent spirit of briana. Of course we will always have a portion of it but we can never get our true innocence back so it is goodbye. Because i can feel myself changing, shaping, growing, maturing into the new briana. Sometimes i wake up and think when did this happen?! Last i remember i was a senior in high school.

But i am also rejoicing the new to come.  The adventure of it all. What will become of my life. I want to run free with the wind and take in alllllll the sun, all the goodness of the earth, all the goodness of us. Of life. I want to absorb life. Everything it has to offer me. The good and bad. I will take it. I want to see how far life will take me. I want to laugh. and make memories. I want to experience and learn more. I want to travel and explore. I want art and music and love.

And that is all that makes me up as a whole.

I used to want to a famous this and a famous that. I used to want the world to know me. And now i want to know the world. I simply want to be. And do all the things i love. With all the people i love. I want to share wine, food, and laughter with close friends & family. I want to create art because it is meant to be created. Not because i can get famous from it or get money from it. If it comes with it, so be it. But i want to create because i love to create. I want to share. To teach. To help. and vice versa.

and,

“When i stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that i would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” – Erma Bombeck