Monday, September 29, 2014

I Can Just Be Me // Music Monday

 "I Can Just Be Me" by Laura Story speaks to me on a very personal level. I don't know what was going through her mind when she wrote the song, but I know that when I listen to it, I think about all the areas in my life where I just don't feel enough, and I remember that God is already enough for me. And then I can breathe a little bit more.
Laura Story- I Can Just Be Me- Live Video
Laura Story- I Can Just Be Me- Lyric Video

Watch the videos and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Coming to you from Wrightsville Beach...

 But not actually the BEACH, of course! These pictures were taken at a cool little spot right past the Wrightsville bridge, which, incidentally, has some of the only free parking around. I loved the pictures and just wanted to share them with you!


P.S. I just noticed that this a rather short post. Eh, that's okay. It's mainly about the photography anyway.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Light In His Smile (All of It)


In case you missed the piece I wrote on my brother this week, I have posted both of the links (for Part 1 and 2) below.

Part 1
Part 2

Also, I wanted to thank you guys for your wonderful, warm comments in response to these last two posts. They mean so much to me.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Light In His Smile: Part 2 (Personal Reflections)

Did you catch Part 1 of the piece I wrote on my little brother? If not, click here before you continue reading.


It hurts me to know that someday, someone will break Jeffrey’s heart. Someday, his life will fall apart, and he won’t know how to put it back together. Someday, I’ll pass him in the hallway between our two bedrooms and notice that the light in his smile has grown dim.

When that happens, I will remember his first day of kindergarten, and I will hug that memory around my soul. I will know that while his light may grow dim from time to time, it will never be extinguished. One day, it will come back in a beautiful, blazing fury, marked by the newfound maturity that comes from knowing great loss. His scars will remind him of what he has been through, but they will never define him. They can’t.

In my fourteen years of life, one of the most important things I have learned is that we are a broken people. We face extreme heartache and make haunting mistakes… but we are not defined by our past. Life is more than a series of meaningless events, and even the most difficult things we face can be used to make us stronger.

I believe that everyone has grand potential within them, and I trust that Jeffrey will make good use of his. Sometimes I look at him, see my younger self, and become afraid for both of us. But then I remember that no matter how hard life gets, we will always have each other.

And for now…

That’s enough.


My brother means the world to me, and I know I would sacrifice for him if I needed to. Is there someone in your life with whom you share that kind of bond? That should be our goal as Christians, anyway, to lay down our lives for our friends. I have a longlonglong way to go, but I think I'm getting closer.

Think about it, and if you wouldn't mind sharing, I would love to hear from you!


*Some details (names, etc.) have been changes for privacy purposes.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Light In His Smile: Part 1 (Personal Reflections)

The following is Part 1 of 2 of a piece that I wrote about my little brother. His birthday is this week, so this is in honor of him.


As I walk into Bellamy Elementary on my brother Jeffrey’s first "real" day of school, I smile, knowing that the next six years of his life will be more special than he knows. The hallways are enchanted with the glittery optimism of first-time students, and for one fleeting moment, I am five years old again. The world is new and exciting and beautiful, and there is nothing anyone can do to break me. Life is uncomplicated, the right thing is obvious, and loving others is easy. I’m not afraid of getting hurt, because I’ve never been hurt before.

When I come back to reality, I turn and see Jeffrey trailing behind me with our dad. I watch as he marvels at a pair of clownfish in a fish tank, and I smile when he finds his name on a bulletin board next to Room 111. Being at Bellamy reminds me how much I love the blatant joy and unaffectedness of little children. Their innocence is sacred, and I never want that to be taken away from my brother.

Jeffrey is my only sibling, and I am nine years older than him. Sometimes we bicker, sometimes we fight, and sometimes he drives me crazy, but I love him. He is an incredibly special, joyous human being, and his outlook on life is so refreshing. Many people fail to appreciate the simple mindsets of little children; if adults handled issues with half as much transparency, I think the world would be much better off for it.

We turn left and end up inside a nicely sized classroom with colorful posters on the wall. I listen to the soft chatter of his new classmates and look around for his new teacher, Mrs. Hooper. She shows us where to find his morning work and he sits down next to a boy named Carlos.

I watch Jeffrey unpack his bag, and staring me in the face is the fact that someday, my little brother won’t be so little anymore. Today he is starting kindergarten, but one day he will be graduating. I am a junior in high school, and when I look back on my life, I see a rollercoaster of ups and downs. It’s scary to think that before long, my little brother is going to be facing the same issues that I do.

As I give Jeffrey a last hug and kiss goodbye, I drink in the innocence and beauty of the children that surround me. I regret not making every second of my childhood count.  I pray that God will take care of my little brother, the brother that means so much to me, and then I slip out of the classroom with my dad.


Come back Tuesday for the second part of this story! :) As always, I love hearing your thoughts in the comments.


Disclaimer: Some details (names, etc.) have been changes for privacy purposes.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Morning Jogs & Mile Markers

Since school started a month ago, staying in shape has taken a backseat to the piles of homework that I have accumulated. I'm trying to carve out some time for physical activity, though, because without it I have been feeling kind of sluggish. Anyway, when I woke up this morning, I decided that I just had to go jogging after breakfast, and I'm so glad I stuck to my resolve.
There is a trail behind the neighborhood I live in that goes through the woods on one side and comes out on the water. As I alternated between the gravel and paved roads, I realized for the umpteenth time how gorgeous this area is. Check out some of the pictures I took:
Once I was out of the woods, I arrived right at the waterfront. These are shots of some private piers.

... and this is the sidestreet that took me back home.
Even though I took these pictures just this morning, it blows my mind to think that they were all captured within a mile of each other. The landscapes are so beautiful and varied here, and I absolutely love it. My dad told me this morning that one of the reasons we moved to NC was so that I could take the beauty around me and do something with it. I'm not sure what means for me yet, but I know God has it all figured out. And that's enough for now.

Monday, September 15, 2014

You Don't Have to Try // Music Monday

This past week, I have been listening to the Gypsy Heart: Side A album by Colbie Caillat like crazy. It's sort of like an EP, but instead it contains the first five song of her upcoming album, which comes out September 30th.

"Try" is the fourth track on Gypsy Heart, and it's a beautiful song about letting go of insecurity. The video starts off showing made-up and air-brushed women singing along to the song, and slowly they start to strip off the makeup, fake eyelashes, and digital enhancements. 

Let me be the first to admit that I struggle with self-image. What girl doesn't? But sometimes we have to believe things that are hard to believe... like believing that we were created beautiful. And I KNOW how hard it's to accept. I know. But it's the truth.


Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God.
1 Peter 3:4

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Don't Stop the Madness // Outfit Post

Hey, everyone! I don't know about you, but I'm coming off of a long day of school, school, and more school right now. We are only three weeks in and I already have about two hours of homework every night. (And if you ask my mom, that's a conservative estimate.)
Busy as I may be, I still try to find time every night to pick out an outfit that is both flattering and creative. I wore this one on Monday, even though it was a bit rainy and dreary outside. The plaid shirtdress is super fun, and the shoes are cool and unexpected, balancing the masculine vibe of the dress in a really fresh way. I got several compliments on this look, which is always nice... :)
As always, I accessorized simply-- just a charm bracelet to finish off the look.
I may wear this dress again in the near future, so I'm trying to think of new ways to style it. What do you think?

Outfit Credits:
Shirtdress: Old Navy, borrowed
Wedges: ??
Charm bracelet: Gift, from Paris
Title Credit: "Don't Stop the Madness" by Tenth Avenue North, from the album The Struggle


Monday, September 8, 2014

Brave // Music Monday

You know Moriah Peters, right? Such a cool artist-- who is, incidentally, married to Joel from for King and Country.

Anyway, her new single Brave is out, and it's really cool. Check it out and let me know what you think.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Quick Update...

Hey, everyone! It's crazy to think that this is the longest I have ever gone without posting on the blog. I have a good excuse, though!

As of last Saturday (August 30th, 2014) my family and I have officially moved to Wilmington, North Carolina! I took these pictures yesterday at Wrightsville Beach, which is literally biking distance from our house. Is that not awesome or what?

I also started my junior year of high school that week (in public school, no less), so I've been swamped with homework and long to-do lists. Fortunately, some of the madness is starting to subside, and I am getting into the swing of things... More on that some other day. :)
The short of it is that I am back here with you and am crazy excited about it! More posts are coming your way soon, but in the meantime, I want to know...
How is the back-to-school season treating you so far?

P.S. Shout-out to my newest follower, Sofia Nikula! I hope you enjoy what you find here!