things I'm grateful for

Monday, December 31, 2012

because now, more than ever, I need this list

chamomile tea with honey
dutch baby pancakes in the oven
classical music on pandora
our nice new TV to watch movies on
sweet packages from wonderful friends in the mail
being able to clean (after weeks on the couch, it was wonderful)
the beauty of Chloe's new kitchen aid on the counter
candles flickering like Christmas on the ledge
our Christmas tree trunks on the table, all the way back to 2006
watching silly and wonderful chick flicks with chloe and grace yesterday (& quoting almost every line)
that samuel is NOT in the hospital for something celiac disease related
chloe being able to rest up and do fun things at grandma's
encouraging emails and messages (I can't tell you how much they bless me)
thinking about next year
The Message Bible (& the Bible in general)
heartbreak and grief (because it makes you stronger, helps to shape who you are. and in my weakness, He is perfect strength)
playing Just Dance 4 with Grace and Chloe (& looking like idiots while dancing, no doubt)
warm sweatshirts
a clean room
starting resolutions to eat healthy...tomorrow :)
hot water
my moleskine, almost filled
my family

and so we pray.

two weeks of sickness.
brennan, caleb, grace, eli, and I are recovering...slowly.
samuel has influenza A and is going down to Children's hospital right now.
the doctors don't know what's wrong with Chloe and it's possible (most likely) she'll be staying overnight at the hospital.
my parents are both sick but not down and out.
and so we pray.

for healing, for strenght, for peace.

please be praying for our family. this has been one of the hardest Decembers yet.
it hurts my heart so bad that Sam is going to the hospital.

who me?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

& so I guess i've always been an artist
sometimes with paper, sometimes with words
sometimes with pictures but always telling
learning to see the gold in the gritty
there's always shine. the trick is seeing,
not just looking.
open your eyes and keep your head up,
see how wonderful the world is.
open your heart and be
bold and brave.

(sick, so I write rambles and bad poetry and cheesy prose and stuff like that. also, I made this space pretty, because I can)

a short story.

Friday, December 28, 2012

been sick the past 9-10 days. not even sure how long it's been now, honestly. but I've had an idea in my head that I might do something with (or maybe not), so that's exciting. rough and unedited like always, but that's okay. :)

"Did you ever love him?" I scoot closer to her and put my chin in my knees. She sighs and runs a hand through her hair. I wince noticing the grey strands and the subtle threading in her face.

"I don't know." She smiles sadly, generously at me. "But I was so young and he was safe. I wanted out, you know. All around me, death. So many people died." Her voice trails off and she shakes he her head. I see the death in the way her hands shake and her voice breaks. "But your papa was safe. He was so safe to me. And he was a way out."

I catch my laugh before it comes and it turns into a cough. "Papa? Safe?" A snort I can't suppress. I shouldn't be this cruel.

Mama smiles again. She grips my face in her hands, strokes my cheek with her thumb. "I know. It seems so ironic, especially now," another trail and break and I watch as she protects us, "but he was so safe. And there was a time I thought he loved me. Just a little. It was in the snatches of summer and we picked peaches in an abandoned grove."

All at once, I see her as the mama in the photograph, slim with eyes bright and curly hair gathered into a messy braid, her feet bare and dress flowing and bracelets jangling. I hear the laughter in the dusty corners of the room and I see the smiles folded onto her face. I can't see his face, but I feel the corners of his grin and I know he must have loved mama.

"It was barely a grove," she confesses. Mama laughs again and leans back, remembering. "Just a few dilapidated trees. Most of them had been ravaged by the militia. They were mostly wormy -- peaches melting into mush under your fingers. But there was this one tree," her hands move rapidly as she paints a picture with her movements. I sit back and watch as she describes the afternoon.

"The leaves were thick and green like leaves are supposed to be. And the tree was heavy with fruit. I don't know how it escaped notice, and likely, it was tended, which is why we took so few. But your papa and I ate that fruit and I felt like life would be good." She laughs again, this time disparagingly. "Isn't it silly and sad all at once when we put such hope in the little things?" It wasn't a question. But I answered it.

"I think it's foolish."

"Put your stock in the small moments, Alya." She thumbs my cheek again, scoots closer and plants a small kiss in my hair. "Those are the minutes we can count as truly counting. And sometimes," she waves a hand at the grey outside. "the taste of peaches in the summer can give you hope, even long after they're gone."

She puts her hands on her knees and stands up, staring out the window.

I peek up and see that it's snowing. I don't need to see the flakes to know -- I can feel it in my bones. There's a wet chill that won't go away. But all I can think of is peaches and my momma and how things could have been. It's sad and hateful at once, but I'm jealous that I've never had peaches and angry that I never knew the laughing man she talks about as my father.

"Mama?" I venture one more question. She turns to look at me and waits. She waits and waits for what seems like an hour but is truly only a few minutes. She knows I need the moments to taste the question, to chew it. In that sense, she and I are alike.
"Yes?" Her question breaks the silence.

I look down at my hands. I'm afraid to ask but cannot not. "Did papa ever love you?" The words spill out in a tumble, a rush I can't stop. Now that I've said them, I can't look away from her face.

She is careful. She looks away from me, her expression guarded. Her words are steady, but she blinks more than usual and I'm afraid I've hurt her. And again, they are the words I've come to hate more than anything uttered. "I don't know."

It's apologetic, but not for me. She's sorry for the man who is a stranger still.
"Okay. I'm sorry." I stand and rub the dust from the back of my dress. She reaches a hand over to squeeze my own.

"There is nothing to be sorry about." Her voice is soft and I wish desperately that what she says is true.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

“And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?
It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
I want to repeat one word for you:
Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.”
— Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

hope is very real, i am reminded.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

maybe it's ugly
maybe it's dark
maybe it's hard
maybe it's uncomfortable
but it's real

we cannot hide in the midst
of our own little
homes, squirreling
ourselves away like
we! are somehow better;
no. we do not live in
disney land
and this is
no vacation

if you have a voice
you are to speak
if you have a song
you are to sing
if you have a mission
you are to go

you are a voice to
those who have none;
why are you whispering or
not speaking at all?

were you once --
your ripped, aching, bleeding,
tarnished, dirty, empty,
broken heart --
healed, freed, made new, made whole,
redeemed, by Christ.

(go now, my
child) He says (you
are my hands and

but Lord!

(i have given
because you are
give because
you are mine)

but Lord!

(i have a purpose for
and it's your choice to
walk away or
follow me)

you are not mute
you are not deaf
you are not blind
you are not lame
do not pretend you
cannot speak, hear, see, do

not that, Lord!
it's too hard. someone
else can --

(you are someone else)

it is dark and

(but it is very real)
I am reminded.

my hands
are closed; i live
tight-fisted. it is
too much to
(you are not alone)
I am reminded.

but Lord, there is so much
evil! what can i, just one
(hope is very real,
have i not called you like

there are so many
broken hearts
ripped, scribbled, tattered,
my heart weeps; and
with my one
life -- what? Lord, what
am i to do?

(have i not called you like
Moses? when you
pass through the waters
i will be with you)

i didn't ask
for this, God!
i just want a
normal life, who am
i to speak?

(i have given you a
voice so you may
speak for
those who cannot.
my child)

my voice is fragile
(i am your strength)

what will i
say, Lord?

(have i not called you like
i will give you
words to speak - i have
given you words to speak;
do not let them go

these are real people
these are real hearts
this is real brokenness

hope is very real.
i am reminded.

read some of Christian Caine's book, Undaunted, and feeling my heart break for those caught in sex and human trafficking. this poem is for me. to challenge myself. to dare myself. to remind myself. how can I know of such evil and pain and sorrow and pretend it does not exist, hiding in my own little home? how can i, who am made free in Christ, pretend that i do not have a life to give? sex trafficking and human trafficking is a dark and uncomfortable subject and unfortunately, it is very real. but hope is very real and the Gospel is very real and Jesus is the most real of anything, ever. He has the power to break all chains, to loosen all bonds, to heal, free, and redeem everyone and every circumstance.

break my heart for what breaks yours.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

and after all this time

Monday, December 10, 2012

and after all this time
we will still say
love prevailed
(dry your cry eyes
little one, my
shoulder is here)
he says

and after all this time
we have only broken
fifteen plates, a
record unmatched
broken plates are
better than hearts
(and yours is
already chipped enough
by this chapped world)
he says

and after all this time
we still dance
in the kitchen
my jeans are coated
with flour, cakes make
a mess, and
i am a clumsy dancer,
but you laugh. love
to take me in your arms
(you are always beautiful
my ballerina)
he says

and after all this time
we wear our laugh lines
like crowns. we can say
it is good, tears
softened our eyes and
it is good,
love prevailed and
it is good,
(and only the brave do
not give up)
he says

and after all this time
we can say, yes
i am in love,
is it hard? yes,
life is better for it,
(cracks are better
than breaks and
mark life in wisdom)
he says

and i taste the dust
on my tongue that says
promise and past of days to last.
my life is tied up in memories
and in those moments
we love every

and after all this time
i love you,
more so every
day until my
heart aches
(and i you)
he says

fifty two feet till home.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

sometimes, my heart is so restless
going going going,
like the spaces between my fingers
where yours once sat.
i wander the roads between here
and there, counting the steps
from your stoop to mine,
and i tell it, wait
i whisper, hope,
i have fifty two feet till home.

it is the morning light
in a tangle of variegating rays
my heart my heart
the memory of days, gone by.
(why are you bright
why are you light
sun in eyes
mind over heart)

sometimes, my heart is so yearning
looking in alleyways, roads untraveled.
my feet are in ruts
my soles are in dust,
i pound the pedaled path
come on, come on

sun in eyes
mind over heart
why have you gone?
where have you come from?

it is the morning light
that catches my eyes.
i lift a hand (why are you bright?)
memory of days
tangled in the skies painted with blackbirds wings.

i have a map in my mind's eye
five thousand forty two steps
to your door,
five thousand forty two knocks
before i wander gone.

feet in ruts, soles in dust,
morning light like summer skies.
i taste salt on my lips, sun in my eyes
it it is the yearning morning,
and i am home
i am home.

sun in eyes
where have you gone
five thousand forty two steps
where have you come from?
my feet pound pedaled paths
but your door is closed
fifteen seconds till gone.

sometimes my heart is so aching
tangled skies in sunlight
i wander the town
pathways i used to know
like each and every laugh line
on your face,
i am home
i am home

come on, come on
i am home

island girl, excerpt no. 2

Thursday, November 29, 2012

nano was going great until I got totally swamped with school/work, and I haven't written in two weeks. considering there's a few hours left today, and I have 30,000 words to go...I will not be finishing. and that's okay. nanowrimo was a perfect way for me to venture back into the wild world of writing and I've decided to make my visit a stay, whether that means simply short stories or blogging or something more. I don't currently know, but I know that whatever happens, I will keep writing.

because, as all writers know, you can't just let go.
there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
maya angelou said that and her words ring true like the first thaw in spring.

winter is ending.
words come and go.
stories stay and matter.

very small excerpt, but that's okay.
always appreciate your thoughts. :)



We’ll step forward a few years.

Laurel got her cinnamon rolls (and a harsh scolding) if that’s what you’re wondering though.

The year was nineteen forty two. Laurel was seventeen. James was eighteen. There was a draft. Somehow the world was bleeding and no matter what people did, they couldn’t bandage it enough. A letter came in the mail, a call to action. It was an honor, Caty said. It was a shame, Annie said. But it wasn’t her son. No, not yet.

Goodbyes were heavy on Laurel’s lips, along with something else.

Yes, a kiss.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

let your living spill over into thanksgiving // cultivate thankfulness

Sunday, November 25, 2012

“[From the Shadows to the Substance] My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.” - Colossians 2:6-7 MSG

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” - Colossians 3:17 MSG

guess who just ate all the candied pecans off of the pastries from panera??

Sunday, November 18, 2012

this girl!

also, a couple handfuls of pirates booty (which is a hilarious name for aged white cheddar cheese puffs. although, truth be told, the aged just seems like it was add for emphasis), and five grapes that I didn't wash. oops. and I literally just burned my hand on my tea cup because it's so hot. please ignore my aeropastle shirt. I somehow had it handed down to me from some cousin or aunt or another a few years ago (okay, like five) and since then, it's become a pajama shirt. because I don't wear real pajamas. Just sweats. Or sometimes flannel soccer pants, because they're so comfy.

Anyways, I sang in Church today and that was wonderful. So blessed. It sounds cliche to say that all the time, but it's so true that I will echo it again and again and again. God is so good and I'm just beginning to taste His goodness. Taste and see that the Lord is good...amen.

Lotsa good things coming, folks. Like trip plans and weddings and Christmas cookies. Also, did I mention I'm buying a 35 1.4? I'm preeeetty excited. This pecan-eating gal is gonna get herself some real glass -- a legit lens. Hopefully before Christmas. I'm counting down the days...okay, no, I'm not. I'm just embracing them as they come. It's so strange to think that 2012 is almost over. Here's to a wonderful 2013. I know, there's still four days until Thanksgiving, but in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season (that my ambivert heart adores!), we don't have as much time to reflect on the past year.

But I really want to reflect on it and remember His goodness. He blesses us because He loves us. How wonderful is that?

Too tired to form anything more than a rambly stream of consciousness post, but thats okay. Small bits and pieces of my day and a little of what's on my heart.

Happy Sunday, friends.

. h

that one time i danced the pas de quatre and was carlotta grisi

Saturday, November 10, 2012

and it's days like today that i really miss ballet.
my heart hurts sometimes.
okay, a lot of the times.

i miss it so much.
i can't listen to the nutcracker without crying.
every beat, every note, every strain of the music...i know intricately what part of the ballet is going on. and what i would be doing.

plie, pirouette, arabesque, rond de jambe, pique tendu, grande battement, port de bras, fouette, and entrechat.

the big finale, a final grande jete!

i miss it so much.

this is not eloquent, this is not beautiful, this is not poetic, but it is honest.
my heart is tied with ribbons and the smell of sweaty practice rooms.
my feet are bent and broken and my knees still hurt when i run.
my soul is threaded with the sound of classical music and my instructor's voices --
the counts, five six seven eight --


i'm praying about possibly going back (not to perform) but to perform for myself. i would appreciate much prayer. like, very very very much prayer. i can't give it up. as cheesy as it can take the dancer out of the studio but you cannot take the ballet out of the dancer.

i love it.
and miss it.


and today, especially during nutcracker season, is very very very hard.

island girl excerpt no. 1

Thursday, November 1, 2012

5018 words (and counting) this morning!
a little snippet.
totally unedited, very rough, and probably fraught with grammatical errors.
but here you go. :)
happy november!
ps. carys is now laurel. and name is still subject to change. ;)


The rest of the week, Laurel made no secret about visiting the Obrist house daily. She would head over there in the mornings to watch the sunset, drop by after school to check on the doors, and sometimes even sneak over before bedtime to make sure no one had moved in.

In a way, it felt a terrible imposition for someone to move into her house. The Obrist’s had moved out when she was six, and for the last three years, she had formed a strange bond with their empty home. She knew the dusty rooms and quiet paneling like the back of her hand and felt as if it was her own.

That Saturday, she woke up early, when the sky was still painted black. It was so dark she could taste it on her tongue. It smelled like cinnamon from the rolls her mother had put in the night before. On Saturday’s, they always had a special breakfast. The rest of the week was oatmeal or eggs, but Saturday, her mother made something marvelous. Laurel opened the oven a crack and the rich headiness of the rolls wafted around her. She shut it quickly and slipped out the door, a flashlight in her cold hands.

It had rained the night before and the ground was slick and cold. Fall was in full force and the trees were slowly becoming barer and barer. She stepped over sodden leaf piles and her feet splashed in the marshy ground. The flashlight in her hand lit the way dimly.
Her boots squeaked. She looked up a second and slipped.

The thing about islands: when you hit the ground, you hit it hard.
The earth seems to be more stone than dirt.

She slammed onto the earth and felt a crack in her hands. The ground was hard underneath her palms, and she felt mud on her knees. Her hands smarted and her knees ached and she stood up slowly, rubbing her hands together. The flashlight clattered somewhere to her right and she clutched it with muddy fingers. What a way to start the day.

The sky waxed dark blue when she finally made it to the Obrists, hands and legs and all, slightly worse for the wear. Her left wrist ached.
One word.
Her mother was going to kill her.

my nano novel.

Friday, October 26, 2012

There once was a girl on an island with eyes the color of sky meeting sea.
Carys lives on the island of Roche, in a small town where everyone knows your name, much more your family. She spends summers crabbing with her father and brother, and winters weaving scarves and sweaters with her mother to be taken to the mainland. Mama is a painter and father a fisherman and they are happy. Even happier (if that's possible), in the summer of ninety-six, when the family gathers together and find that there is another baby to come.
Life is idyllic to say the least. Until the storm. Until the sea. Until the splashes of ice in her lungs and the taste of death in her mouth. Until all the colors but blue fade away and the world is colored in pale ocean spray.
After the accident that nearly claimed Cary's life, her brother distances himself from her and the family, her mother slowly loses her children to her, and her youngest sister grows up with no memories of a man to call father. The next eight years of Carys' life pass slowly, painfully cracking her heart each day that passes. She counts down the days until graduation, when she can escape the town, escape the island, and head for an unknown.
But that means the sea and leaving it, and despite her hatred and fear for it, she cannot help but love it. After all, she is her father's daughter. And that is perhaps the knowledge that torments her the most.
Through the years since the accident, her graduation slowly looming up ahead, her baby sister and estranged brother, and a boy she dares not whisper her secrets to, Carys discovers herself, the past she left behind, and the story she still has left to tell. The smell of salt on her skin, the freckles splashing her face, the clear blue of her eyes are all pieces of her past, claimed by the sea. And she is torn between loving it and hating it, fearing it and needing it -- nightmares and dreams. It's in the paint that she again finds on her fingers, sailor songs she again sings, a journal hidden away, and a medical diagnosis that threatens to slowly snatch all that she has left that Carys finally says goodbye, even if it's to someone who's already gone.
After all, Robert Frost said, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

As the last boat left the harbor, the loneliness set in. Of course, it was always this way. People left every year at the same time, and any fragile ties of friendship usually snapped long before homesickness claimed the people. "I'll write to you!" They usually said, or, "I'm going to miss you so much!" That was the worst. You're not going to miss me, she wanted to say. Missing people is a sucker punch to the gut, a slap from a friend, words like, "I hate you," from your family, or the sound of silence at a funeral. Have you ever heard silence? She wanted to ask. Sometimes it's so loud, I feel like I'll go deaf. Have you ever heard your mother cry and there was nothing you could do? Have you ever walked into a room and pretended that life will go on but know in your heart that everything has changed, forever, that the clock can't be moved back? Do you know what it's like to miss someone you loved and hated at the same time? Do you know what it's like to taste death but have it be decided that someone else deserves it more? Have you?
After her shift at the restaurant, Carys gathered her bags and headed to the harbor. The smell of salt was perpetually in her skin and the docks were the one place she felt at home. "You're an island girl, an island gully," her father said once. She stretched her arms out to feel the sun and pretended she could fly. "But you're all the way down there on your boat, dad!" She protested. "I can't fly away from you!" He gathered her into his arms and tickled her until she couldn't breathe.
That was the best. The breathless laughter, wishing it would never stop, wishing it would never end.
He hugged her and she smelled the lemon soap on his chin, the salt from the sea in his shirt.
"You're my little island gully, and you'll watch over me. Everyday, when I'm in that ship, I'll think of my birdy and know that I'm safe with you looking after me." He held her chin in his hands gently.
"Promise?" She asked, looking up at his face. She loved the scratchiness of his beard. While mama was the earth and home and the sound of singing, Papa was the sea and salt and adventures.
She hadn't done a very good job of watching over him and it nearly killed her everyday.


i'm doing nanowrimo for the first time since 2009, and I'm pretty excited. I haven't written stories in such a long time, so my words are rusty but I'm remembering how it feels to put pen to the page (or really, fingers to the keyboard), to type out a tale, and good gravy, I love it. you can follow along/add me as a buddy here! also! pleeeease give me your honest thoughts. i know it's choppy, but i'm still fleshing out the story. let's just say i'm really looking forward to november. :)

where my heart is.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lately, I've been asked what I want to do after higschool. It's often phrased different ways, sometimes posed as a question in regards to photography, and asked to just hear about my plans. And I've been taking a deep breath and giving the same answer. Sometimes, it freaks me out, because, even though it's where my heart is at (and has always been it), it's really against the cultural norm. And while I'm blessed to have family and friends who uphold the same values and have the same views and beliefs as I do, I respect and appreciate the opinions of some dear people and would hate to have anyone "not" proud of me. That sounds really terrible, and obviously, I wouldn't sacrifice my calling for someone's opinion, but when you're very passionate about something and someone you love sees it as foolish, it's a difficult thing. Thankfully, I haven't dealt with that personally, but I do know that as my senior year looms closer and closer, it could definitely be something I could potentially go through.

But anyways, to cut a rambling paragraph short, I just want to be a wife and a mom someday.

That sounds really anticlimactic, but it's the most exciting and wonderful and difficult and beautiful and powerful and hard and painful and sweet and BEST ever. I literally cannot wait (okay, literally, I can, but y'know...) for that someday. Ever since I was a little girl (and I do mean little. we're talking three or four here), I've dreamed of getting married and having kiddos. And it's still my dream and hope and prayer. While I would love to continue to do photography (and hope to be doing it professionally for many more years!) my family would always come first. I'm blessed and glad to be in a position where I can pursue a career outside of being a wife&mom that I can do on the side while being a wife&mom.

I'd really like to get married young and have a family young, and I'm excited to see what God does in my life (and heart) in the next few years. Currently, I am not planning on going to college, but I am open to it if that's where I'm supposed to go. That's not where my heart is and it's never been something that I've been excited about. Let me get this straight -- I think college is a GREAT thing, but I don't believe it's for everybody (that would be crazy to assume that). And at the moment, it's not the direction I want to go, but I don't want to assume that I won't ever pursue that, so I'm still preparing and working in a way that if I ever wanted to go to college or take college classes, I would be able to. But right now, it's not anything that I want to do. Ever. Ha ha. :)

SO! I'm just taking everyday one day at a time and preparing for whatever in my future. But being a wife and a momma is where my heart is and where it has always been and where it will always be. And I can't wait for those days when my dreams become reality. (ooh. cheesy cheesy cheese for the winner, folks. but absolutely true. :)).  I'm watching my siblings and off to clean the kitchen, so I'll end with a quote from Candice Watters that I really love.

“The nature of parenting is sacrifice. You can’t retrofit kids into your present life. If you want to be faithful, you have to fit your life around what God call you to as a mom or dad. That requires dying to yourself daily. It’s painfully hard, but it’s actually easier than trying to work in vain pursuing the illusion of having it all. You are dearly loved. ….imitate the one who loved you by laying down His life and trust in His promise that “whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” (matthew 16:25)”

to the mountains

Saturday, October 20, 2012

“Will you come away with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?” – C.S. Lewis

wise words from henri nouwen (& a verse)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

If you know you're God's beloved, you can deal with an enormous amount of success as well as an enormous amount of failure.
“I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with GOD! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with GOD.” Psalm 27:14 MSG

needed these tonight. 

"don't move, DON'T MOVE!"

Monday, October 8, 2012

I was going to post something lighthearted today. Something fun. And then, on the way to meeting a 2013 Bride, something happened that completely altered the course of the day. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was irritated about something, and so I was arguing a little with my mom (not terribly, but I wasn't in the best mood). I was worried I was going to be late. And then, two cars in front of us, a car hit the shoulder, spun around a couple times in the middle of traffic, and hit the median. The moment is sticky in my brain. I saw swirls of dust and saw the car spinning spinning spinning and it felt like an awful movie. My mom yelled, "don't move, don't move!" twice, and I sat there waiting for the car to hit us, waiting for something to happen. She slammed the brakes and two cars skidded by us, almost hitting us, and a red van stopped by the girl's car to block traffic. The man in the car and my mom ran out to help her, and I sat very still. No one was hurt, which was a miracle, but the whole experience was terrifying. I called the sweet Bride I was meeting up with and told her what had happened, and immediately after, burst out crying. The man behind us drove a semi and stopped after we did, and if he didn't, we would have been hit.

the accident is fresh in my brain and I'm still shaky and scattered from it, but I am so grateful for life.

it's crazy to think that if we had left five minutes later, five minutes earlier, or had done one thing different, everything would have changed. how everything that happened happened in a split second, in a blink of an eye. and then how we drove away and life went on. I watched cars and wondered how they could keep moving. didn't they know what was going on? didn't they know that people could have been hurt or worse?

and it made me think about life. about tragedies happening everywhere and how we DON'T notice. how awful things, painful things, hard things, horrific things, sobering things happen everyday, everywhere, and we're either unaware or too self-preoccupied to notice or care. and i thought about how if one person had done something differently, if the car behind us hadn't stopped, if we had been hit, how our entire day and possibly our lives would be different. how fragile and precious life truly is. and how much we take it for granted. people say that all the time, but until you're in an instance where you have no control and don't know the outcome, you don't realize how beautiful and blessed you are.

my whole body is out of whack from it and i have an awful headache, but i'm here, sitting on my couch, writing. and i had a wonderful meeting with kelly (one of the brides i'm shooting next year). and for lunch, i had squash with butter and brown sugar and an egg with cheddar cheese. and i came home to see the pumpkin papers the littles had made as crafts and i got hugged and loved on by all of them.

freeways freak me out a little bit though.

but i'm here and i'm grateful for life. 

two poems.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

(i'm rusty, words cracking from disuse. but the best part isn't the shell, but what's inside.
crack away, rust away, break open. words and words and words, just waiting. :) )

wherever i'm with you
is not the house painted brown
(though i love the chipped
mocha shade
that signifies the end
of a journey)
it is not the
bedroom that perpetuates
messiness through discarded clothes
their contents after yet
another plane ticket, a couple hundred
gallons of gas (unleaded)
it is not the normalcy of
routines and waking up for a cup of
tea (chai, please) in pajamas
(old t-shirts from colleges i never went to)
but it is
the people who are there, waiting
brimming with their own stories
listening ears and open arms ready
to hold mine.

if i said that the world
breathed clarity ice blue onto
the grass, flushed the earth
pale with the shock of winter
would you know that
underneath all the dirt
tumbled tight under white
it was still summer somewhere?

my heart is overflowing

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God." - Psalm 86:10 (ESV)
"By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us — set us right with him, make us fit for him — we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise." - Romans 5:1-2 (MSG)
"Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes." - Romans 11:33-36 (MSG)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

life is so exciting.

joy joy joy

Saturday, September 29, 2012

i am full of joy
joy that the Lord is working in my life and changing my heart
joy that I have a family who loves me unconditionally (even on days when I am less than pleasant to be around)
joy that i have a passion and a dream and a career that i love and am blessed to do
joy that God is providing so mightily and in ways i could never have even imagined
joy that Jesus is planting seeds in my heart for the future
joy that i have friends who love me, are there for me, laugh with me, pray for me, and who will say the hard things i need to hear.
joy that i am loved and redeemed and whole because of Jesus
joy joy joy

i'm a wedding photographer // part one of my story

Thursday, September 27, 2012

i just booked a wedding in march.

and i am so so so excited.

not only because i'm going to be shooting another wedding (but that's part of it!!!)

but because the couple gets it

they get that the wedding is about the marriage. they get that it's about the people. the celebration and joy and beauty that two people are becoming one and are choosing to love each other every day for the rest of their lives. they get that at the end of the day, it's not the dinner, the cake, the venue, the flowers, the dress, the reception, or the details, but it's a story. about how a boy met a girl and they fell in love and decided to stay in love forever.

commitment. love. joy. celebration. honesty. beauty.

telling their story. the meaning behind it. the depth behind the details and the honesty in each and every smile, laugh, tear.

they resonate and clicked and connected with my work and are excited for me to be shooting their day. they said they feel blessed but really, i just feel crazy blessed.

weddings have been on my heart for so long and it's been my dream to be a wedding photographer pretty much since i picked up a camera. my dream at twelve was to shoot a wedding at fifteen or sixteen, something i scribbled in journals and wished and hoped for nearly every day. and God opened so many doors and i was able to shoot tom + camila's wedding five days after i turned sixteen.

last year at this time, i had no plans for wedding photography in the future. i had limited equipment and had done a few shoots, mostly for family or friends. i knew nothing about running a business or shooting a wedding and was hopelessly lost with some technical things about photography (okay, so i still obviously don't know everything and ALWAYS want to keep learning, but i laugh at all of my so-called knowledge last year :) ). i was inexperienced and naive and a dreamer. and i am SO glad i was a dreamer.

i've always always always been a dreamer and a planner, but i want to learn to be more of a do-er. i'm through-time and i'm always looking to the next thing, be that tomorrow, next week, or next year. i'm always planning and prepping and wondering and dreaming about what could happen. and so while wedding photography was on my heart, it was something i dismissed as a distant future.

it's so funny because (literally), a week before tom and camila face booked me about doing their engagement pictures, i was talking with my mom as we drove down to tria to check out my ankle (that's another story entirely) about a wedding question i had received. a friend face booked me and asked if i did weddings and i said no. and i told my mom, "i'd love to do weddings but i can't until i second-shoot for awhile, and i at least need this and this and this, and i just wouldn't feel confident until all that was accomplished."

(i just want to interject here and laugh about where i was at. God has a sense of humor, that's for sure. :) )

aaaaaand then...Tom and Camila face booked me. I had seen their engagement announcement on Facebook and thought, "oh my gosh. oh my gosh. oh my gosh." i was so excited and could barely contain my joy for THEM! and i dreamed about doing their engagement pictures. i tucked the dream away and tried to forget about it but couldn't stop thinking about how much i wanted to shoot them.

i went on Facebook and the little message box said one and i clicked it and my heart stopped beating for a second.  crazy chills. happy tears. laughter that bubbled in my heart and stopped in my throat and i could have danced around because i was so excited.

tom and camila gave me a chance. to shoot their engagement. and to shoot their wedding. they believed in me and wanted me to shoot their wedding. that they knew i would do a good job and wanted me their for their day. their belief was so good for my heart and it pushed me to do a better job, to work harder and learn more and do the absolute best i could do for them, because i loved them and wanted to give them images that would last. photos that would matter. pictures that would be a legacy, that they could pull out and show their children and grandchildren someday and tell the story about their wedding. "when your grandma walked down the aisle, i couldn't stop smiling." "as soon as i saw your daddy, i was instantly calm and joyful and all the weight was lifted from my shoulders."

that's what matters. and that's what i wanted to give and want to always give with my photos.

and in the past year, i've had couple shoots, senior shoots, engagement shoots, kiddo shoots, family shoots, and a wedding. i traveled to texas and interned with jessica shae and also shot jessica and josh's engagement photos. i saved and bought my mkii and a nifty fifty. i purchase lr4 + vsco (favorite ever) and upgraded to cs6. i was blessed to be able to get a macbook. i learned about pricing and set up contracts. i learned about the business and technical side, and learned the ins and outs of my camera and learned and googled and learned and learned and learned so much i felt like my brain would burst (i did have a few headaches last year... ;) ). and there are even more exciting plans (if that's even possible) in the works.


seriously. i have been so in awe of all that God has done in my life. i'm so humbled by how the Lord has worked in my heart and my life. not just healing past hurts and fears, but also blessing me beyond belief. and the craziest part is, the Lord blesses us because he loves us. BECAUSE HE LOVES US. how crazy amazing is that?

i am in no way bragging. i hesitate to talk about things like this because i don't want to come across conceited or self-important. i've been learning to trust God and to believe Him and to move with faith and CONFIDENCE. learning to dream big dreams and to pray big prayers and to live boldly. and it's been hard, because the end result wasn't always there, but He has always been there. He is my rock and Sovereign and King and Provider and I believe Him. i've been overwhelmed with all the doors and opportunities that i've  been given, but i've also worked hard. i've sacrificed things and prayed a ton and journaled and chose to step forward in faith even though it seemed impossible. and God has worked miracles (seriously miracles) in my heart and my life.

and so this is for me. because i am so THANKFUL with all the Lord has done in my heart and in my life. i am so thankful for the doors He's opened, the trust He's built in me, the dreams He's given me. I am so thankful for the opportunities He's blessed and the seemingly impossible dreams that have been made a reality. i am so thankful.

one tin soldier

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

my dad used to sing this song to my sister and i before bedtime. sometimes he would sing only a few stanzas, and chloe and i would beg him to sing the whole thing. i can still remember leaning back into my pillows listening to him sing it slow and soft.

one of my favorite memories.

and i love the song.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
for as long as ever you can.

John Wesley

to be a mama

Saturday, September 22, 2012

i can't wait to be a mama someday. a mama to kiss and cuddle and comfort my own littles, to protect them and pray over them, and to tickle and laugh with them. i can't wait to make forts with them and have blueberry pancake mornings and play silly games and stay up late watching movies. i dream of braiding their hair (or spiking it for my someday little boys :)) and tucking them into bed at night and reading them stories and getting messy painting pictures and going on adventures with my little family.

i am praying for my future husband
for my future children
for my future family

and i am so excited. to me, there is no greater career than to be a mama .

grasp this wildly extravagant life gift.

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?" - Romans 5:15-17


Thursday, September 6, 2012

little one
you walk on tiptoes
daring the world to say hello
daring the world to say no,
freckles paint your face
splatters of pigments so perfectly
placed, and i watch
your lashes open close open close
as you take in the world with
wonder. your eyes are
painted seventy two shades
of blue and the sky
is jealous seeing the cool
morning snowing pale
light, frosted like an
eggshell, in your irises.
little one, you take in the
world with wide open breaths
and dare it to say hello,
dare it to say no,
i am so blessed
to be your sister.

an introduction of sorts.


if you're reading this, welcome to my new little, personal space. i've had a tumblr for a few months now, but it's gotten to be too much. i'm exhausted with trying to keep up and stay on top of social media. i'm bone weary with popularity games and fads and the new biggest and best thing. i'm tired of ingesting image after image or word after word and not digesting. intaking so much noise and media and information and thinking it's inspiration, when instead it's just like eating candy. buckets and buckets and mounds and mounds and vats and vats of candy.

all i've ended up with is a stomach ache and a taste for something real. whole.

i want to live life to the FULL (john 10:10). with God-given fullness of joy. delighting in Him. living (really living) a life that matters.

i'm tired of things that are meaningless. i'm tired of wasting time on things that don't matter. i want my life to matter and what i do to matter, because i'm living my life for the only one who matters. i want to be inspired be real life. i want to live a full rich life, so that when i'm at the end of my days i can hold out empty hands and say, "Lord, I've used all that you gave me up."

pinterest, twitter, tumblr, flickr, Facebook, blogger, google+, email, instagram, blogs, websites.

there is so much noise in this world.

my heart yearns for a quiet place.

somewhere i can share photos
somewhere i can share words
somewhere i can share what's on my heart

a quiet place where i don't have to worry about what people will think.


i want this to be a small, still, quiet place. no pressure.

so. let's start with beginnings.

my name is hannah.

you can call me hannie-girl.

i love classical music.

i don't like being late.

i still can't drive (and that's okay).

i should eat better, but i love ice cream too much.

i write and photograph and play piano and sing.

i am tired of fakiness and popularity games and trendy fads.

i just want to be me.

i love Jesus and am learning to love him more everyday.

i am a fan of coffee but tea is my favorite. and don't even get me started with chai.

i can't wait to be a wife and mom someday.

i want to make art that matters. i want to take photos that matter. i want my photos to be an honest reflection of real life, imperfect as they are, imperfect as it is. a small and true story of a deeper story.

i like red lipstick and i used to have really long hair but i cut it shorter now.

i love my family and i love my friends and i am so grateful and so blessed.