Happy Birthday, my sweet Anam Cara

I returned back to the US after a year in Italy in 2007. Coming back to Hendrix College, after having attended for just one year from 2005-2006, I was nervous if I’d have any friends when I got back. My year studying in Florence did amazing things in my life and made giant contributions to who I am typing for you today. I still went back to school uncertain about myself and my ability to really connect with people to build friendships of depth.

I remember my first Friday back, not having any plans, as I literally cried to God, praying for Godly men and women to be a part of my life. Just a few days later, I met Sam. (and Kristen, but today’s celebration is all about Sam)

I could not have been blessed with a better person in my life than that lady. She is everything wonderful and lovely; a true friend connected in my heart. A few years ago, I discovered this phrase: Anam Cara. It is gaellic for Soul Twin, or soul friend. And that is exactly what she is to me. 

My sweet Sam, your presence in my life has made me a better woman and I just don’t know what I would do without you. You are a truth speaking, corny joke telling, craftastic, God-fearing sister friend. I love you dearly and pray many blessings upon your 25th birthday! I pray this upcoming year is more magical and inspired than any year before! I can’t wait for of our awesome future endeavors, for years of laughs to come and to be old ladies together….because dog gone it we WILL live in the same place one day!

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**an oldie but a goodie…how fitting that this way taken at our Christmas Extravaganza a few years ago!

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**Typical 

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**This is the kind of random stuff we doing. Like pulling over on the side of the road to watch the sunset and take a picture of our new TOMS.

 

In the Tradition of Friendship

I graduated high school almost 8 years ago. That is so hard to believe! During my time at LSMSA, I made some incredible friends and it is such a blessing that a handful remain an important part of my life. The Christmas directly following our graduation we gathered back in Louisiana, all coming from our respective endeavors, and had a baby reunion. I don’t think I realized then that this would become one of my most favorite parts of the holiday season. Since then, this same group of friends and I make it a point to see each other every Christmas. In fact, in the past few years, we’ve tried to make this happen twice a year: once in the summer, and once at Christmas. Life has scattered us about like leaves in the wind but what a blessing to have friends you can reconnect with, as if no days have passed at all.

My junior year at LSMSA, I became close with Jake and Melissa who were in my class, and Lucas, a senior. Their friendships were so valuable to me then as they are now. But here is the best part. Since 2005, our little family has grown to include 2 spouses: Brian, Melissa’s husband and Sarah, Jake’s wife..both of whom it seems have just always been there. They are such compliments to their partners and a blessing in my life. We’ve also introduced four little ones, with a fifth on the way. Melissa and Brian are blessed with Jordan, Gage and Cadence, with little Spencer coming soon. Jake and Sarah welcomed little miss Ella earlier this year.

There are so many things I love about the times I get with these incredible individuals. I love the girl talk Sarah, Melissa and I sneak in when the boys aren’t paying attention. I love knowing Lucas will make me laugh. It happens every visit, without fail. I love sitting back and observing the semi-grown ups we’ve all become. I love the dancing that usually ensues between me and Lucas, if we remembered to pack our gym shorts. I love loving on which ever children get to make the visit. And I love looking back over the past eight years and recalling the big moments we’ve gotten to share in each other’s lives. I am blessed, yall. Here’s a little peak over the past few years. The only Christmas get together that is missing is our very first, back in 2005.

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2007: 171_505122144584_2464_n (Jake and Sarah couldn’t make it down from Ruston this trip but the five of us had a great slumber party!)

2008:2064_510085587804_5098_n (we didn’t take a group picture this time but we did meet up for dinner!)

2009:IMG_3958 (we missed Mr. Haley this year)

2010: IMG_9419

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Next weekend, we are getting together for Christmas awesomeness 2012!! That is if the world doesn’t end. Fingers crossed : )

Sweet friends, I am so proud to know each of you. Thank you for the gift of your friendship. I’m looking forward to a lifetime of these get togethers!

Gift to self

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In revisiting my hope to post little snippets of Christmas goodness throughout my blog, I thought I’d pick up those hopes with a little gift I’ve given myself over the past few years.

A few years ago I started my journey to losing weight. Ive always struggled with my weight. Growing up, I always felt like I was the larger one of my friends. Ive always felt like I also struggle with follow through, which doesn’t go hand in hand with weight loss that well.

I’ve tried unsuccessfully with different attempts but when I moved to Texas in the fall of 2011, I committed to join Weight Watchers. Throughout the year that followed, I lost around 25lbs. In the photo above, theres about a 30lb difference. Since I’ve moved to DC, it’s been more of challenge to maintain but I am committed to keep it going.

I came across this photo the other day and it was the first time I had actually seen a difference. It feels good.

Another week, another post!

 

 

 

Time really does just zip right by these days. Let me tell you a story. The other day, before December had even begun, I made a nice little list of all the things I intended to post about. In fact, I was going to post every single day in December. Yep, thats right. That’s no typo…I set that as a real deal goal. Now why I thought that the end of the semester, one deemed the most difficult by my program director, was the best time to do such a thing, not to much that all of my final projects are due now-ish, is beyond me. I basically set myself up for one big massive fail. I even wrote down my daily posts and planned stuff ahead of time. Alas, dusting off and trying to maintain my weekly goal of recapping my week in pictures, that’s where I’m at. Who know’s maybe I’ll get a wild hair or give in deeper to procrastination and load you up with Christmas cheer. It’ll be a surprise : )

This past week has been fantastic for SO many reasons. I completed the projects that were due in two of my classes, which means only two final projects left. Thats the thing about art school: you don’t have final tests…you have final projects. Its not something I can cram my mind with for hours and days and then spit out on paper. No it is tangible, all time consuming pieces that started months ago. It feels so good to have my photography one out of the way. Please say a prayer as I have to turn in my final writing piece and video piece on Wednesday and Thursday. All that matters to me at this point is that by 1:20 on Thursday, all I have to do is sit back and watch and for all intensive purposes, I will be done. Praise the good Lord above. I just have to get there. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

In other super exciting news, I have a VERY exciting announcement.Which is probably not new to anyone that reads this as I put it on Facebook as soon as I found out, but alas, I shall re-share…I am the newest intern at National Geographic! I am just so excited! I will be working in the office of the president of the television channel doing all kinds of cook projects and what not. Here’s proof folks…you set your mind to something and it may not look exactly like you planned but hard work pays off!!!! I’m so blessed to have this opportunity and cant wait to see what the semester has in store! That very same day my dad found out he got this amazing job working on an air force base in Germany! So he will be moving there for 3 months in January. I am so proud of him I can hardly stand it. Ya see, when I was younger my parents always encouraged my dreams. But I wasn’t just listening to empty encouragements…I was watching them take their own advice. I watched my mom go to nursing school, a once far off dream, when she was in her thirties. I’ve watched my dad take risks and put himself out there with his job and all that work has paid off. My parents teach by example in so many ways. I know love is real because I see them. And I’ve watched it be hard work but they’ve taught me you don’t just throw things away…you fight. Those Kennedy’s (and once a Crain)…they’re strong folk.

Oh I’ve jabbered along so much. Let’s get right to it. This week’s format is a little different…a few photos down will explain why….

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I tried real hard to be productive last weekend. I even took my iPad to Panera to get some writing done. It was hardly successful.

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My Aunt Sam got me this ring. I love it and think of her when I wear it.

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So this. Yes. OF COURSE my computer’s hard drive has to be replaced right as finals start. OF COURSE I have to do ALL my work on my computer. Thank GOD for my place of employment who TOTALLY took care of me. Also thanks Apple Care. I got a brand new hard drive that didn’t cost a penny. And thankfully I had backed up everything on my computer so after about 5 hours, it all was restored. However, in that process, something happened to my photoshop and it won’t open anymore aka no grid for my photos this week. Hopefully next week though!

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The Bible app by YouVersion is AMAZING if you have an iPhone or iPad. And its free!! I’m doing a daily devotional called “She reads truth” which is an advent reading. So good. This was the end of my devo the other day. It was so fitting in the chaos I was feeling with school.

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This is what my classmates and I do to get ready for our final critique…have an editing party. We printed out all possible photos, spread them out on the floor, and wittled down to the 25 images we had to show and defend the next day. Then we put them in an order that created a cohesive experience. That’s a peak of my final, by the way! I was very pleased with how it turned out.

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My bed is really REALLY hard to get out of in the mornings. Just saying.

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This is my friend TJ. We’re classmates and had a hoot of a sleepover last weekend. We had this awesome assignment for our seminar class to photograph the life of a classmate in 5 images. (Fabulous Five, if you will) TJ got me. Our teacher has this hilarious notion that your best images coming from sleeping with your subject. And not how it sounds. Not that  kind of “sleep”. I have to tell you it was such a unique experience being photographed. I have a really almost non-existant ability to have someone in my home and not feel the urge to entertain. I didn’t know how to let him be a fly on the wall. It was an incredible experience in understanding how a possible subject might feel.

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I got to experience this GORGEOUS sunset on a drive the other day. This is a really beautiful area.

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I made this notebook to put all my ideas for the blog in. I’ve got some good ones. Now to just find the time : )

Have a blessed weeks friends…and stay tuned…I really do have fun Christmas-y things to post!

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