January: Reviewed

WIRjan5It’s really hard to believe there is only one week left in this beautiful month. Ya know, there is such a newness that comes with the month of January. Almost like a clean slate feeling. It’s a feeling that comes every August/September for me…a feeling of change and new. I guess it’s only fitting that such a feeling comes both at the beginning of a new year and the middle of that same year, almost like a refresher.

This month has been amazing. It started with a visit from the one and only Lacey Beth Gebhart aka my Breath. And has continued to be full. I think for 2013 that may be my one little word: Full. Not only do I want to be a woman full of grace, love and peace but I want my life to be full of adventure, community and creativity. I’ll write more about this concept of one little word later. For now, I want to dig into some small moments that have made up the last few weeks for me. Please hang tight as this may be a longer post bc I’m covering 2 specific weeks of goodness.

1. January has been a beautiful month, for the most part, except for the days of gloom and rain. On this day, though it was cold, it was beautiful. It was one of those days that got me excited for spring.

2. I was in the market for some notebooks for a bible study I’m going to begin in February (which I’m VERY excited to tell you all about soon) and when I was at Target, I couldn’t resist these fabulous confetti inspired notebooks. $3 for the whole lot. Worth it.

3. As I mentioned last night, my internship has been moved to the summer, but I have complete peace about it. I got to meet with the woman who will essentially be my supervisor and talk about what our time together will look like. They are going through some various changes which is one reason I will be working with them this summer, but one of those changes is that this now becomes a paid internship. That folks, is Jesus. I can’t explain what a blessing that is and this also means that I will be able to take a very important photo class this semester that I hated to drop. I’m very excited and it gives me something incredible to look forward to!

4. My pics are a little out of order in the grid, but I went to Arkansas on Thursday of this week and got to eat at one of my FAVORITE restaurants in all the land: Rolandos. If you ever visit Hot Springs, AR, GO THERE!!

5. While walking downtown from the Nat Geo head quarters to my Weight Watchers meeting, I saw where someone had taken advantage of wet cement and scribbled a little hello. I had to stop and say hello right back…it would’ve been rude not to.

6. I’m usually exclusively a user a Burt’s Bees. No other chap stick does it for me. But my roomie introduced me to this: Baby Lips. It’s fabulous. I also don’t really dig tinted chap stick but this stuff is great. Just a spunk of color and your lips are super soft..like babies.

7. Just wanted to show a little packaging. I love packaging. Maybe one day I’ll just get to do that all the time.

8. Yes, the Biebs is what brought me to Arkansas originally. Yes, the decibel of noise reached a new high. Yes, it reminded me of being 14 at a Backstreet Boy concert. And yes, I sang along to every song. It was a blast. And imagine our surprise when we got to our seats and saw we were THAT CLOSE. Yep…it was phenomenal.

9. I love flying. The end. Just kidding, not the end. Look at the vastness. THAT is just incredible.

WIRjan12The rest of my time in Arkansas was all about seeing people I absolutely love. Seriously, Arkansas is such a lucky state because so many unbelievable human beings call it home. I can’t even begin to describe what this week was like with these people. I don’t know the last time I had such a continuous flow of truth in my life. It made me long for friends like that here in DC. I left encouraged, blessed, prayed for and yes, full. Full of love for each and every single person you see above. Full of blessings. Full of promises from my God. Full of reminders of my worth.

There are even people not pictured above that I got to see that made this weekend amazing, like Kristen’s husband Jarod who spoke truth over me and had me in tears. And Mrs. Stephanie, a beautiful woman of God who discipled me through college and continues to tap into the cracks in my heart and pour love. Then there are the people that were in this state that I didn’t get to see. And well, those are too many to name. I had no idea when I packed up my Louisiana-ness and headed north, one state up to Arkansas when I was 18 that I would leave 6 years later with such amazing people in my life. It is mind boggling now to think that when I moved to Arkansas, I knew NONE of these people.

Isn’t that crazy? But yet, here I sit, heart of full of love and gratitude and friendships that will carry throughout my life.

Do you have people in your life who lift you up, inspire you, speak truth over you? Tell them. And if you have people in your life who weigh you down, burden you and create a restless spirit in you? Let them go. Life is too short to be weighed down by individuals who do not recognize your worth. Who do not know how absolutely precious you are. Take a long gasp of courage, and gently breathe them out.

More catch ups to come soon!!

Finally…I’m back and ready to ROCK!

MONTH RECAP

 

Lord have mercy. Putting that puppy together after being gone for the past month or so was enough for me to NEVER WAIT THIS LONG TO POST AGAIN!

Wowzers, I don’t even know where to begin. The past month and some change has just been delightful. I got to spend an amazing week back home which was so FULL! Amazing time with my family. Amazing times with people I love. Good conversations. A blessed season celebrating the birth of my Savior.

Just to recap some of the highlights of those photos: making delicious chocolatey chocolate chip cookies that I added butterscotch chips to just because I could, ate my first pomegranate and got hooked, experienced just a wee bit of snow which I got to watch from inside the warmth of work, got to spend some amazing time with an amazing fella whom i love just a smidge, rang in the new year with my Breath, wrote a 3800 word paper…in a couple of days, converted my dad to a mac, discovered the new packaging of I Love Lucy which I love, flew on lots of planes….just a month full of goodness.

These are just a few of the photos that sum up that time. I’ll be back soon to wrap up the past couple of weeks. And then Friday is a NEW DAY and a fresh start!!

I have a great inkling that 2013 is going to be fantastic. This year I will turn 26. I will be in school for 12 months straight. I will run my first half marathon. I will intern with National Geographic (which has been moved to this summer instead of this spring semester..more deets to follow). I will begin my thesis project.

And those are just the things I KNOW will happen. Who knows what other amazing experiences will present themselves.

It feels good to be back : )

Even though we’re already 1 month into 2013 and I’m a little late joining the train, I hope this year has truly started to be a blessed one for each and every one of you. Gee wilikers I have so much to share but it will be reserved for another day!

Celebration of Kindred-ship

Image

Almost 3 years ago, I met the fabulous Kayla Kesterson. I will never forget our first day together when, as a new staff at ASMSA, we got hot dogs at Sams. As we were wandering the store for fun we both kept making comments and the other responding with an enthusiastic “Me too!!” There was just something that whispered in my soul ‘She is gonna be a forever friend’. I had no idea the depth of that whisper or how her presence would manifest itself in my life.

Just days into becoming friends and new co-workers, we began telling deep dark secrets and following that with, “Wow, I NEVER open up so fast.” A beautiful friendship unravelled into a rare Kindred-ship. The kind that only comes around once in a lifetime. 

There are so many stories I could tell…the kind of stuff you can’t even make up, but that sounds unbelievable. My favorite story, which for us was the fate sealing of our forever friendship, happened one night when we were having a slumber party (even though we lived one floor apart). We were staying up late talking about anything and everything and I made some comment about watching the worst movie ever made. Without having ANY idea what I meant by that comment, she asks “The one with Robin Williams?” I was so dumbfounded and could only muster a shocked “YYYYYYYEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!! That’s EXACTLY the one I’m talking about!!” It was a magic moment. Kindreds ever since.

So today, though we be miles and miles apart, I am celebrating the birth of my beautiful Kindred, Kayla Kesterson as she enters into her fabulous 25th year. Words don’t do justice to describe the thankfulness I have for this lady nor to express how proud I am of her in her grad school adventures. If you get the chance to meet her, don’t pass it up. She will bless your life to the extreme.

Happy Birthday my Kindred!! Miss you so much and wish we could celebrate together and get tattoos (sans me falling flat on my back..I would wear flats, not stilettos) and go to Rolandos and then hang out in the deep south and drink sweet tea. Oh and watch Dawson’s Creek, while working on our book. Heres to years and years to come of one of the biggest blessings of a friendship I’ve ever had! Love you!

**Kayla is a fantastic writer and has a blog of her own. I recommend it for some lovely reading time: http://miparagua.blogspot.com

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!

Image

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

Image

**Typical 

Image

 

**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.

2006:73_503980053344_2931_n

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

2011:IMG_3801

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

20121210-132142.jpg

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….

IMG_1258

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.

IMG_1263

 

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

IMG_1304

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!

IMG_1302

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.

IMG_1330

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.

IMG_1336

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

IMG_1339

 

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.

IMG_1256

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

IMG_1246

 

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!

9

Reviewing my week on time!!

WIRnov25

 

Greetings friends and family!! I hope your week has been absolutely wonderful. Time really seems to just fly by these days. Literally. As if each leaf I see falling to the ground was a minute or hour, just floating by. And let’s be honest, I see that a lot because I believe winter is gearing up to butt its harshness into our lives here in DC this year. It’s quite beautiful, though..all the colorful leaves just lining the streets, especially in Georgetown. Fall (my favorite season) seems to be the shortest of them all. And just as soon as pumpkin spice candles are everywhere, they are replaced with gingerbread and evergreen scented ones. And I’m not complaining, as I am a girl who will listen to Christmas music year round but still its just funny how those things change for us, ya know?

I’m in final project mode. While I would not trade or change my course of study for ANY THING, it is important to note that “finals” are not a series of tests for those of us at art school. No sir. It is a series of projects. Very lengthy, time consuming projects. So a night of “cramming” doesn’t really exist but rather weeks of work that make up a greater whole. It is important to note that 2 weeks from this very day everything I have to do will be done, except for present one multimedia component to my writing piece. But the big stuff will be complete. Just two weeks…thats hardly no time in the grand scheme of things. What is MORE important to note is that 19 days from tomorrow, I will be home. Sweet, precious southern Louisiana home. Every part of who I am is ready for this break. It’s so funny what this idea and meaning of home evolves into the older I get. When I was in high school, it was a place I didn’t want to be. Oh, and let me clarify. By place, I mean Louisiana. Not home. I have always loved being in my home. But I find myself longing for it more and more. I am proud that that is where I will be returning to in less than 3 weeks.

I plan to cuddle by the fire and read for pleasure (as the rest of my Christmas break will be spent catching up on all the reading I didn’t do this semester). I plan to cuddle (and annoy) Tinkerbell….I mean, Thumbelina, our dog. I anticipate baking with my mom. And talking about everything under the sun with my parentals. I get to see some very special people. It is just going to be a good time overall. I love Christmas. Let’s dive into the week!

1. Last weekend was crazy and exhausting. But AWESOME. So over a month ago, a coworker approached me and asked if I’d be willing to do a photoshoot of a band that would he would be doing a recording for. I said yes, jumping at the opportunity to do something new. A few weeks pass and we get our final video assignment and I said, let me go ahead and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. As you all know, I work all the live long day. And if you know any creative types, you know their peak hours are in the wee hours (how many times have I stayed up all night with Melissa Crain?). So let me give you a rundown of my weekend. I worked 12-9 on Saturday. Went directly to meet this band with whom I was with until 5:45 Sunday morning. Came home and cleaned and left for work around 7:30 for an 8am meeting, which lasted until 10. Then work until 7:30. But you know, I came home and breathed the biggest sigh of relief because I DID IT! And I got all the footage I need for a SWEET final video project. The group was fabulous and super fun to hang out with. Go check them out here at their Facebook page: My Worst Critic.

2. Its that time of year folks. Butter cookies in tins. Couldn’t pass up a $1 tin of my fave cookies…the pretzel shapes with sprinkles are my FAVE.

3. I was folding laundry and it became quite evident that I have a love for socks. Call it a problem if you must but I just like my feet to have a party in my shoes.

4. Christmas present making is in full swing. At least in my head because that’s where all the ideas are. I have tons to do and make and I’m hoping to make serious progress this weekend. Don’t you wish you knew what is to come of that thread?!

5. “Christmas time is here……..” yes, I typed that as if it were Charlie Brown…or in my uncle Bill Miller’s singing rendition. I have been looking forward to putting this baby up for weeks!! I even waited until after Thanksgiving! (even though before was my preference) My roomies and I jingled to Christmas music, sang along and hung up our stockings with care. It was a blast. And now we have this beauty filling our living room with love.

6. My friend Amy and I had a Christmas card photo shoot the other day. The fabulous thing about being in a photography program is that I’m constantly surrounded by AMAZING photographers. As we were wrapping up and heading to the card, we noticed how beautiful the Tidal Basin looked as the sun was setting. Tres jolie!

7. I’ve been staring at this a lot. A blank sheet of paper and a blinking cursor. My writer’s block has really been at an extreme high these days. It feels similar to when I couldn’t even lift my camera when I arrived in DC, which was a miserable feeling. I think I am struggling with the piece I’m working on now because its a similar style as my final piece which just overwhelms. I gotta make it work as Tim Gunn says!! (and since he graduated from my college, this must be a good place to figure out what that means!)

8. This is a to do list I put on my mirror a couple of weeks back. A few things have been crossed off but I still have quite a bit to do. I broke it up by class and made it pretty detailed that way I can still feel like Im accomplishing stuff along the way. Plus I just really love crossing things off a to do list.

9. My meals have been a little wonky these days. For example, I ate this for lunch the other day. And for 4 meals this week, I have had a quarter of a baguette with goat cheese. I love goat cheese. And I love sweet potato fries. Yum Yum.

I have some specific prayer requests that I’d really appreciate your prayers on:

…..that I have vision and inspiration to complete my final projects

…..that my writing block be lifted

…..as I apply for spring internships (there are some exciting options and I just want to experience everything I can here!)

…..that I stop in breathe in moments of anxiety instead of being overcome by it

Thank you all so much! Blessings upon the start of your December!

Blog Party!! Woot woot!

Today is the fabulous and beautiful Rachael’s birthday…the big 2-5!! And since I can’t be there to celebrate with her in person, I thought I’d have a little blog party for her!

This is one of my fave pics from the early days of our friendship:

 

Rachael is one of those few people I’ve described in ear lier posts as an insta-friend. She just has this spirit about her that welcomes people into her life and that says “I’m a keeper”.

She is humble and hilarious with ridiculous west coast charm.

She is so smart and has amazing things to say about this world we live in.

And over the past few years, she has become one of my absolute dearest friends. If you ever get to meet her, you’ll know why I love her so dearly and can’t imagine not having her friendship in my life.

Happiest of birthdays my sweet friend!!! Now go rent a car because you can do so now with no fees!!!

Thanksgiving Week was so FULL!!

 

Hey peeps!! I won’t be going to deep in text with this post. Just wanted to share some of my favorite pics from last week as well as some of my faves from Thanksgiving day. I had an amazing week with my family. There truly is just nothing like it. We did some site seeing (the Newseum, National Building Museum and the Roosevelt Memorial, to be exact). Ate delicious food, saw Lincoln in theaters Thanksgiving night (such a good movie. I HIGHLY recommend) and just overall had an amazing time together. I plan to have some special stuff on here for the month of December, as anyone who knows me is aware that Christmas is my absolute FAVORITE holiday. Hope your week left you with much to be thankful for. We’re so blessed friends! Heres to another great one!