Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Know Who You Are

When I get down on myself I catch myself saying, "I know what I am."
As in, I am nothing special. I am ugly. I am disgusting.
If I pretend like I already know it, other people can't hurt me with it.

I just get to hurt myself.

But today I stopped myself. And I told myself the truth - even though it sounded hollow in my own ears.

Now I'm going to tell you... in case you've forgotten:

You, are a beloved child of God.
You may be broken and bitter,
afraid and jaded --

but even with all of your scars.
You, are worth loving.
You, are treasured.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

i heart chubbies

Chubby Babies that is ;)

although lets be honest -- all things chubby just kinda make me happy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


a heart spilling over
and yet never really full

smiles pasted
over tears

a strange kind of
tainted happiness

this christmas is bittersweet,
pressing against the back of my throat.

...i keep waiting for you to walk through the door.

Monday, December 20, 2010

You bleed, I bleed

I catch your cologne lingering on my shoulder -

can still feel the coolness of your leather jacket against my cheek.

I tried, tried to soak up your sadness,

grab hold of your pain.

I held you as tight as I could -

and still felt you breaking into pieces.

When you bleed, I bleed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I've known Brent for about 12 years now - our families have been great friends since way back when. It's funny growing up next to a boy and then looking over one day and realizing he's become a man. But Brent's become one amazing guy.

Brent's been like a brother over the years - giving me rides home from band, teasing me about boys, hanging out at church functions. But when I think of how Brent's impacted my life, one night in particular stands out in my mind.

My brother Caleb and Brent and I were sitting together at a church dinner and Caleb was in one of his classic pessimistic moods - ranting about how marriage wasn't worth it and love didn't exist.

I sat there with a sinking feeling in my chest. "He's right." I thought. "All guys are the same and they only want one thing. I'll never find a guy who actually loves me."

That's when Brent started to talk - about his girlfriend and how he loved her. How when it's right, you just want to be with them. All the time. And how the hard parts are worth it. And you just want to make them happy.

And as he kept talking I felt the sinking feeling unraveling into a breath of relief. For the first time in a long time I believed: good guys exist.

Two nights after that conversation, Brent would ask his girlfriend to marry him -
in fact their wedding was yesterday.
And it was one the truest, most genuine ceremonies I've ever been to.

Brent inspires me to love without fear. To believe giving - and receiving love - is worth the risk. Every time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dear Bubba,

Sometimes I almost forget how much I miss you - and then suddenly it's sitting on the kitchen table, staring me straight in the face.


When you come back you can have all the hugs you want, even if that means letting you in my bubble. (=P)
You can borrow my stuff
And annoy me on purpose.

I won't even care.

I just can't wait to have you home.
I hope you know how proud I am of you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to make a Delicious Day

1.Start out with a whole lotta this girl ----->
2.Add a hint of striped knee socks
3.and a pinch of rockstar energy drink
4.Mix well with music and easy conversation

After awhile

5.Stir in boots with the fur. Turquoise ones that is.
6.and throw in a little black dress while you're at it.
7.Sprinkle with laughter
8.Serve with a side of "150 things I'm not allowed to do at Hogwarts." ;)

You'll go to sleep with the taste of a delicious day on your tongue. Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

just as beautiful

your Past
lives behind a transparent wall.

You can see it -- right there,
but you can't go back.

your Future
is obscure,materializing as you go.

change made you leave
what was good --

It's so hard to walk foward,
but I promise it will be just as beautiful.

Monday, December 13, 2010

::because you Are::


"How Beautiful you are my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!"
-Song of Solomon 4:1

Sunday, December 12, 2010


There are so many people in my life who encourage me and inspire me to have hope. Starting today, on a weekly basis, I'm going to write about one person who inspires me to keep going!

I'm starting out with my dearest friend Ashley Deblizen (or A-debilz as our friend calls her) -- I had plans to see her today, but the horrible weather got in our way. (Thanks a lot crappy MN roads!)

I don't think there are words true or strong enough to describe my friendship with Ashley. She has seen me in my darkest, lowest moments and still continues to find something worthwhile in me. No matter what I say, or what I do, she understands. There is never the burden to be anything else than myself.

Ashley's gone through a lot of pain. And she still has her own battles to fight. But she still manages to be the friendliest, most giving person I know. I love her gift to think of others before herself.

I don't know how many times I've wished I could be more like her. Her strength amazes me - she works so incredbly hard and has accomplished so much. I know no matter what she ends up doing, she will be an immense blessing to those around her.

Ashley inspires me to fight. To grow, even when it hurts. She inspires me to want the future, instead of fear it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's MN. It's what we do.

pounds and pounds of freezing powder sugar piled up, my boots sinking up to my fur rimmed calves.
of all days to wear a dress and tights.

but somehow i still manage to climb the intimidating snowdrift and pose, hands on hips, for mallory below with the camera.

and why not? it's minnesota. it's what we do.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Concern

Every 30 seconds, another person becomes a victim 14,500-17,500 women & children are trafficked in the U.S. every year
For an assignment, we were asked to photograph and research a concern.
I chose Sex Trafficking.
The abuse and degradation of women and children infuriates me.
And someday I want to use my photography to help the organizations working against it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finals are Evil

A week and a half and then we're FREE people!

Finals are currently kicking my butt, so I'm sorry for ignoring all of you, I miss you :)

On the up side, my shooting assignments are done for the week!! Now all I have to is study. Good TIMES.

I can't wait to show you all some photos from my concern assignment...hopefully in the next couple days.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beauty in Tragedy

I believe as photographers, it isn't our job to pretend or convey that life is always pretty and perfect...because it isn't. I want my photography to be honest. And the truth is even in pain and tragedy, the endurance and strength you find in people is its own kind of beautiful; A beauty that deserves to be captured.

-an excerpt from my paper about Dorothea Lange. She's inspiring.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

People Pleaser

i hate that feeling -
when you know you're irritating someone,
but there's not a whole lot you can do about it,
because you as a whole is what's bugging them

the truth is -
I want Everybody to like me All the time.
obviously, this is impossible.
but I let people define
how I view myself.

it's kind of lame.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Last night I sat in the middle of the kitchen floor and listened to an old cd...which turned out to be Miley Cyrus.

Just to keep from being stressed.

Hey, whatever it takes, right?

Friday, November 19, 2010

the elderly couple

I was rubbing my neck, turning away from my computer screen, wishing the paper would just write itself already, when I saw them.

An elderly couple two table down. It stood out to me he had taken the seat next to her, instead of across from her, so that they were closer. Their heads were bent towards each other, words rolling low in their throats. From what I could hear, it was just their plans for the day, but they shared it like a well worn secret.

I couldn't help but notice the young couple directly behind them, sitting in seperate chairs, him on his phone, her in a book. Not touching, or talking, or acknowdleging.

I smiled and decided to believe, even after all these years, the elderly couple still just wanted to be close to each other.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Captain of my Soul

"You can't let yourself stand in the way of your dreams."
--a friend

She said a lot of things I needed to hear, but this stood out to me especially. It made me think of the poem Invictus (it's wonderful, read it), the last 2 lines of which i repeat to myself on a weekly basis...

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

The minute you stop fighting, is the minute you start dying.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Right now

I am sitting between Mallory and Ryan,
Ryan leaning towards the tv, enthralled in his video game;
Mallory on the couch, drooling over Emma Watson and reading blogs
- we're supposedly working on homework, but of course we're not.

Mallory is reading funny things to us and whistling Harry Potter;
Ryan is rubbing at the back of my hand, thinking my freckles are pen marks.

Right now I am pretending we are our very own quirky little family. Just because I like being here. :)

Right now, is good.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Blonde moments

Today I was trimming paper and my boss walks up to me for awhile and then asks, "Have you not used the big paper cutter before?"

I stop and look at him. I tilt my head. The tips of my mouth turn down. "Um, I don't think so."

His brow furrows, perturbed, but he just waves me to follow him.

And I start to before I realize, why yes, yes I have used the big paper cutter before. Several times in fact - I just kinda sorta forgot it existed.

Then suddenly, there it is, in my mind again! Oh yes, the paper cutter. Just that big beautiful machine sitting over there...
The girls laughed at me.
I turned red.
And my boss just patted my shoulder consolingly.

Sometimes, I have blonde moments.

Friday, November 12, 2010


today i was driving and i suddenly thought of the time i blew a tire...
in the middle of february.
at 11 o'clock at night.

And I remembered my friends piling out of their cars to fix my tire. The back door closing on levi's head, ally protecting us from traffic, the boys ripping up my carpet before realizing, oh, they didn't have to in order to get to the spare tire (haha).

i can still feel the air biting through my jacket and see my breath hovering in a cloud around my face. we were laughing, shivering, and the tire got fixed.

and then i bought them pie. because i love them.
these friends, i call them the smurfs, just because. we fit together, just right.

Miss you guys.
I still love you <3

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

we will win the war

sometimes It overtakes you

and all you can do is

curl up and wait for it to be over.

It will pass.

It always does.

It's ok to lose some battles,

if we win the war.

Friday, November 5, 2010

"I want more"

last night I had a dream the world was coming to an end and Jesus was coming back

and I was standing there crying because of all the things I never got to do.

"but I want more," I said.

Now, when Jesus actually comes back, I highly doubt I'm going to be disappointed, but when I woke up I heard myself saying that and I realized what I was trying to tell myself is,

Don't be afraid to live.
-to do
-to go
-to try.

I don't want to get to the end of my life and still have my list of things I always meant to do.

Dream big. And go to it :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

@ caribou

the caribou workers are having a biscuit fight

or something.

i love coming here in the last hour,

because it's all relaxed

and they recognize me.

Life is currently jumbled.
So I listen to "satisfy" by nathan lopez and feel better.

love love, me

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Look Back

She stood on a hill, then turned around.
And it took her breath away
to realize
how far she had come.

Sometimes, I think we get so caught up in the road ahead of us,
and how much farther we have to go,
we forget to look back -
we forget where we used to be
and how much we've accomplished.

bravo, friends, bravo <3

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

a Stranger's Words

I am leaning out of the drive through window, pictures in hand, stretching out to the elderly lady in her van.

I've just arrived at work, traces of happines still lingering on my clothes from home. I am curly messy hair, turquoise earrings, and smoky eye shadow.

As she takes the pictures she looks at me and says, "You are so pretty."

And I, in my glorious awkwardness, find myself blushing and tongue tied.

I flash her my smile - the special one I only use when I'm really, truly happy, the one where my eyes crinkle up. "Oh thank you, thank you."

I am shrugging my shoulders and turning my face away, not sure what to say.

"You're a good thing to see," she tells me before driving away.

I close the window and turn to walk away - remembering how, on the drive back to willmar I'd just been thinking - I wonder if a stranger told me I was beautiful, I would believe them?

It turns out, I would...a little bit :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


just a few more hours....

and i can stop holding my breath.

being with family feels like taking giant gulps of cold air -

so refreshing,

but i can never get quite enough.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


every time you've told yourself
"you should be more"
"you are not enough"

it was a lie.

every time someones told you
"you're beautiful"
"i think you're awesome"

they meant it.

you are an inch closer to loving yourself

than you were before.


(sometimes, someone says something to you, and a curtain falls away. Suddenly you can see things a little bit clearer than you could before.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Hermit Life

This weekend, when I wasn't working, I was in my apartment.


Perfectly, alone.

Crime shows. Pizza. Pictures.

All I really needed.

Watched Tv. Cleaned the apartment. Read a book.

I didn't talk. Or Listen. Or think. Or Worry.

It was beautiful.

Sometimes I revert back to my Hermit ways,

but only when I really need to :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

play it brave

Wear the dress.
The one that makes you think you might just be kinda sorta slightly pretty.

Put on the heels.
The ones with the bows on the end that make your legs look good.

Do your makeup.
Not the, i only have 5 minutes makeup.
like, real makeup.

Play your favorite praise song on repeat.
And sing along - every single time.

Spray the perfume on your collarbone.
That one from your brother that one unexpected time.

Don't forget the turquoise earrings.
Becuase you're you, and that's what you do.

Leave your problems behind you at the door -
you won't need those at work.

And smile. Today is a new day.
play it brave.

Friday, October 15, 2010


i miss you.

you are a dull ache along the edge of my heart.

i'll wait for you,

right here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Power Steering & Jumper Cables.

7:25 - Kassie and I leave work

7:26 - I try to start my van.

7:27 - I wave Kassie over.
... she says, "It's ok, i know people"

7:28-7:33 - Kassie calls all her friends in town who may have jumper cables.

7:34 - Kassie finds a friend with jumper cables.
... we wait.

7:41 - Kassie's friend arrives with jumper cables!

7:42-8:00 - we figure out how to use said jumper cables, switch jumper cables, switch back jumper cables.
...stupid van won't start.

8:01 - call Caleb. Call Dad.
...get frustrated the stupid van won't start.

8:02-8:12 - Talk to mom. Try the van some more. (still dead)
...Decide to leave the stupid van and get a ride to school tomorrow.

8:14 - go to leave the parking lot and realize Kassie's power steering doesn't work??

8:15-8:18 - manage to make it to an auto store
...where they tell us Kassie doesn't even have power steering. It's electronic.

8:19 - realize these guys are absolutley no help.

8:23 - we leave and go to caribou to console ourselves with overpriced, overcaffienated drinks.


Pulling the Princess Card

Last night, something I read suddenly made me remember when my brothers and I were little and we'd wrestle with my dad. Basically, we all jumped on him and tried to take him down, while also taking everybody else out. I liked to join in until things got rough and then I liked to pull the "princess" card. "Wait, I'm the princess, I'm the princess!" And then I got to crawl behind dad and he'd protect me from the boys.

I can still feel the satisfaction of knowing I was safe from flying elbows and sweaty brothers. I knew I was something special.

I also realized last night, that at some point, I stopped beleiving I was a princess, that I was something special. In fact, I don't think I know of one girl my age or older who still believes that about herself.

And why not?

When did we as girls stop believing we were something beautiful, something lovely, something treasured?

Is it wrong, that even though I'm grown up, so often I find myself thinking, "I just want to feel safe?" I want to know that I'm protected, that I am secure, that I am loved.

Girls, maybe it's time we started pulling the Princess card again...

Don't be afraid to crawl behind God, your Father, and feel safe.

Monday, October 11, 2010

highlight of my weekend?

highlight of my weekend?
oh just quite possibly getting to see this face...
he is one of the few boys in my life that I trust and feel comfortable with 100% of the time.
plus, he's just a really big dork who makes me laugh.
little brothers are somethin special :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

If Moses could do it...

But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."

Right now, I'm pretty sure Moses and I are on the same page.

Tomorrow I'm giving my testimony in front of my dad's new church...and I'm at a loss for words. It's daunting to open up your heart...and your complete strangers.

Please pray for me :)

I just keep telling myself, if Moses could do it... So can I!

Friday, October 8, 2010


The last weekend I was home, I went into Isaac's room, so crisp and bare. I laid down on the floor, where the bunk bed used to be, and pretended...
Pretended that laying in that exact spot, where at one point, Isaac - and Bryan - used to be, maybe I could soak a little more of them into me.

I wanted to make sure I carried them away with me,
because there's no going back.

I hate being apart from my family. Not seeing them. Not hugging them. Not knowing they're safe.
I'm terrified I'll wake up one morning and find another one of them gone.

Tomorrow they're packing up my home.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Best Part of My Day

At work, when someone comes through the drive through, their front tires run over a cable and it rings a bell so we know they're there.

Somedays, when I hear that bell I just want to shake my head and say, "Nope. Sorry. Not today." Although of course, I don't.

Every night, as us girls are leaving and locking the back door, Shelby looks over at me and I look over at Shelby...and then we run and jump on the cable as hard as we can.

Just to make it ring and know we don't have to answer it. :)

Tonight, Mal, Shelby and I did it all together, in perfect unison and my feet hurt afterwards. And then I laughed and felt some of the stress slip away.

Ringing that bell is the best part of my day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2100 Rolls of Film

There is an old lady, who every month or so, brings boxes of disposable cameras in to the store.

4x6. Matte. Singles.
And keep them in order.

Oh, and the thing is, all the pictures look the same.... cornfield. road. house. car. dog. flower. repeat. and repeat.

For a week or two it feels like we will never get through all her film - did you know, tonight Kassie and sat down and figured out, in the past 5 years, she's probably brought in around 2100 rolls of film?!

Sometimes, while we're processing, or scanning, or counting her pictures, we come up with different reasons why she might do this.

First, I thought , what if she frames every one of them and her walls are literally covered?

Yesterday I thought, maybe she has alzheimers and she's just trying to make sure she doesn't forget anything.

and then, today I suddenly thought... what if she just feels this hole inside of herself, and this is how she tries to fill it up?

I don't know, and I probably never will. As long as she brings them in, I'll keep developing them. And no matter why she takes them... I hope it makes her happy. All 2100 rolls.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You Don't Own Me

Why have I had this phrase stuck in my head all day?

I feel like I've been pushed too far.
As much as a people pleaser as I am, I still have lines.
And I think they've been crossed.

All I know, is I have come too far, to retrace steps.
I refuse to go back.
So I'll do what it takes to keep myself sane.

No more sinking low.
I want better.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


And what was left behind was tarnished and cold,

a lackluster shell of what had been.

"I don't want this one," she said.

"But look," he replied, "it just needs to be polished."


today, i took a picture, because i could, not because i had to.

and then i stood still and admired someting beautiful.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I arrived to class the other morning and said to my friends, " You guys, have you ever taken alka-seltzer? It is like the biggest pill, and I am so bad at taking was awful."


I look up to find their eyes on me, brows quirked.

"You know you're supposed to put those in water...right?" One says.

I pause as that sinks in.

"WHAT?" I can feel the heat rising in my face.

Everyone is falling over laughing and I'm pounding the table, "Wait, will it still work?? I need this medicine, will it still work??"

And then, it occurs to me... I may not be as stupid as I feel.

I say, "You guys... no... it's the gel tablets. Not the regular ones! I'm not THAT stupid..."

Then of course we burst out laughing all over again...because the sad thing is, I could see myself doing that :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

the Meaning of Turquoise

Turquoise, is my Happy Color.


I wear it everyday just because it makes me smile.

So when my teacher handed out a color code sheet today, I immediatley looked for my color. I couldn't love the description more:

Healing, spirituality, mystical, exotic.

How amazing is it that turquoise means healing?
and on top of that spirituality?

Maybe I've always like turquoise because it's been like wearing a little piece of myself on the inside, on the outside :)

(My friends here call me Turq, by the way. "Your description fits you," one told me. Good to hear <3)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

satan goes for the bruises

Satan goes for your bruises,

your weak spots,

your half healed wounds.

He likes to break you open -

just to watch you bleed.

Because Satan's a jerk like that.

This morning I am spiritually sore,

mentally worn out.

I'm sitting here, staring out of a 2nd story window without a thought or a feeling, taking in the fading trees and silent lake.

I keep coming back to this verse:
"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners..." (Isaiah 61:1)

Satan may bruise, and he may break, but he cannot destroy what is God's.

Monday, September 20, 2010


All I keep thinking is:

.....When they look at you,

do they see Him within?......

When I'm at school, I try to smile,

to laugh

to make others laugh.

to be friendly,

and most importantly,


I'm a transparent person - I can't hide who I am from you.

I just hope when you look through, it isn't really me you see at all.

*i'm trying to be the person I want people to be for me*

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Meet: The Boy

Meet my new guy!

(His dark features and rugged good looks make my heart go boom.)

His name?

I usually just call him Sexy Beast.

We work really together - and the best part is he does whatever I tell him to.

And I hate to admit it, but I just can't keep my hands off of him!

I know we haven't been together very long, but I can already tell this is going to be a serious relationship.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the inbetween

the .inbetween.

comes amidst the highs and the lows.

static nothing -

irritating emptiness -

a taste so bad in your mouth

you want to spit out your own tongue.

what i wouldn't give,

to crawl out of this skin.

i get so tired of myself.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Roadtrip with the Padre

Filling each other in on our lives.
Sharing our God moments.
Praise music making the doors vibrate.
Me writing down bible verses as the Padre sings as loud as possible
...completley off key.
Occasional shoulder shaking and/or head banging.
Cracking up because our dance skills are so bad.
Watching the sun melt and everything go gold.

Knowing I'm home,
because I'm with him.

Friday, September 10, 2010

on repeat

today, at work, for everytime I told myself I was stupid,

I made myself say in my head ,"i am fearfully and wonderfully made."

...3 times over.

Lets just say, i felt like I was on repeat.


it kept me from getting down,

for the most part.

Maybe that's lame, but I don't care.'s a work in progress

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Work was insane today.
So many cranky customers, all wanting their pictures RIGHT NOW.
and chewing me out because their order isn't ready, when I don't even have anything to do with it....

oh, customer service, you're stretching me.

I did get to talk to a tech support man named Pierre for a half an hour. He had a cute voice ;)

I am learning to have a patient heart.
Realizing that maybe, God is still saying I need to make Him my number one guy, before he puts anybody else in my life.

It's for the best i know,

but, oh Father, you're stretching me.

All in good time. God's time. <3

Monday, September 6, 2010

Good Days

5 whole days of goodness. In a row. I don't think I can remember the last time that's happened.

Friday night I sat at caribou and was ecstatic to find contentment curled soft in my chest. I breathed out and waited, but it didn't leave. And then I thought, maybe joy is just continued contentment, prolonged cheerfulness, long term hope...

I prayed for a servant heart, massive amounts of patience, and relentless energy when it came to work - and God delievered! Life was such a relief without the burden work had become.

I also had the chance in the last couple days, to simply be with friends, in Willmar and Alexandria, and it's made all the difference. For some reason, people seem to like me, and the idea fascinates me -- I still don't really understand why, but the more I realize people love me, the more I believe there may be something in me worth loving.

And finally, I've had this day, this wonderful monday, with my family. The dance party with Korin, breakfast with my parents, and serious conversations with Caleb. They make my heart so happy.

p.s. i even wore dresses to work this week. that's how good I felt ;)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the moments inbetween

In between classes,
God time,
working out,
and sleeping...

are moments that make all the stress and sleep deprivation doable.

Today these moments included:

My boss buying us pizza because we stayed late to finish up work.
Joking with said boss and co workers.
Getting a chance to talk with my friend Mal while we worked, who always boosts my happiness level. :)
Getting random texts that made me smile.

i know, this blog is nothing impressive, but my head is pounding and I just want my bed. i would just like to point out (GEORGE BRANDON) that i still chose to write about happy things, despite my exhaustion/lonliness. BE. PROUD. :P

Sunday, August 29, 2010

He Sees

She sits, back to the wall
exposed skin hot
against cool tile.
A melted mess of tears,
and pain and hate.
Jagged metal.
Burgundy beads
dripping to the floor.

She lifts her face to the ceiling.
"Do you see?" she asks of God now.

Will He finally see, she is nothing. Nothing worth loving. Northing worth keeping.

And in the morning she found his reply among the pages,
"All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you."
(Song of songs 4:7)
I don't know if I'll keep this up...this is very raw. But it is also very real. I'm not ashamed to tell you, I just don't know if you can handle hearing it.
Sometimes, I still believe lies. Sometimes, I forget who I am and what I am worth. Sometimes I return to old habits instead of clinging to my Father.
But I get back up and try again.

And maybe I had to break for me to really know this... but He sees. He sees everything I can't.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To write with Light

:: Photography = to write or draw with light ::

When my professor said that this morning I felt my heart squeeze.

Yes, I thought, yes. I want to write with light, straight from my heart.

Maybe that's why I can express myself through photography, because I'm still writing :)

I am so excited to be here, following this dream.
blessed,blessed,blessed, I am!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My heart leaks

It was somewhere on 3rd Ave when it started. Cool, silent tears out of nowhere. No rhyme, no reason, just my throat going raw and wet eyelashes.

My dad, without words, reached for my hand, rough, brown fingers circling mine. And for once, I didn't move away, I didn't try to pretend. I just sat and let the tears slide down.

Sometimes, there's too much and yet not enough. heart leaks.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm Still Yours

If I lost it all
Would my hands stay lifted
To the God who gives and takes away

If you take it all
this life you've given
Still my heart will sing to you

When my life is not what I expected
The plans I made have failed
When there's nothing left to steal me away
Will you be enough for me?
Will my broken heart still sing?

....Even if you take it all away
You'll never let me go
Take it all away
But I still know

That I'm Yours
I'm still Yours.

(some lyrics from "I'm still yours" by Kutless)
I don't understand what He wants with me. I, personally, am pretty done with myself.
Why. am. I. still. here?
I have no idea.
All I do know, is I am His, and right now, that will have to be enough.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Brick by stubborn brick

Today, my older brother told me the main reason I'm not in a relationship is because I am vicious and condescending to guys....

I hate when he's right ;) (no really, I checked with some guy friends...they agreed with him.)

I must have SOME good moments, because I still manage to have a couple guy friends... but it made me pretty sad to realize how true that statement was.

I'm scared of people in general, but I'm especially bad with guys, particularly ones close to my age.

I am terrified of being judged, of not being good enough, of being hurt. And somehow, over the years, I've projected these fears onto my relationships with men. Instead of giving anyone a chance, I surround myself with walls of indifference and barbed wire words. They can't hurt me if I keep them at a distance. They can't judge me if I judge them first. In short, I'm prickly... :P

but it's getting old...and it's not getting me anywhere. I'd like to be known for my smile and my encouragement rather than my biting comments and ego crushing stares.

Back at college I used to say I built up walls to see who cared enough to tear them down. And while I have to say I still somewhat believe in that theory...maybe it's time the walls came down on their own. Brick by stubborn brick.
The last week has been rough, oh so horribly rough. I sank so far down I was afraid I'd lose my grip all together. Sometimes, the hate I still find for myself shocks and frightens me. But I'm on my way back up... I may be on my hands and knees, crawling for dear life... but I can see the light again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Room so Full of Love

We sat at the front of the room. My mother, my father, my sister, my brother, and me. The walls buzzed with conversations, clanking of serving spoons, and the whir of fans. As I looked out over the crowd, spilling out of the fellowship hall, I felt my heart pushing at its borders and the tears rising up.

I could feel the love wrapping its way around.

The sight of so many people in one place, who had supported me, given to me, cherished overwhelmed me.
For 12 years Good Shepherd congregation has been my family. From the very beginning, they opened up their arms and gave me a place to call home. Although always a blessing, that home was especially comforting in the last several years.

Walking in those doors, I knew I was safe. I knew I was loved. I didn't have to worry about my looks, or what people thought of me. I knew they saw and treasured my heart. These people grieved with me on my knees, lightened the dark places, held me up in my weakness. They found beauty in my flaws, potential in my mistakes.

They witnessed me broken and fragile, and chose to stay... right there with me.

Saying good bye this sunday was one of the most painful things I've ever had to do. But after experiencing that room so full of love, I know I'm not really losing anything... this family is for life. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

to be Enough

I am ashamed to realize,
even after all this time,
some days,
I would still rather,
lay down,
and let go,
then try.

I am still waiting to be enough...

for myself.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dear Bryan,

5 years ago today, you left. I remember watching as life splintered down around me. Did you know you took a piece of me when you went? You took a piece of all of us...

Little things make me think of you - the color Yellow. Spaghetti. Race cars. Video games. Bowling. Cheesecake. Some memories are faded, but you're still here, in my every day.

I went back to Ecuador this summer. I saw you in the mountains, in colorful markets, in babies chocolate drop eyes. I loved on kids and couldn't help but think - someday they'll be someone's brother or sister, just like you and me.

Right now it feels like we're losing you all over again, like you're about to disappear. And I'm afraid, grasping for you, your memory like water vapor against my hands.

But I know I can't lose you, because I keep you right here, with me. "i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)" I don't go anywhere without you, Bryan, because you are a part of me.

It still hurts. Missing you has become an undercurrent, a whisper to my life. Wishing you were here comes with every breath. It's been a long 5 years, buddy, a heavy 5 years.

But we weren't alone, and that made all the difference. I like to think you made us stronger. I know it's not over yet, I don't think it's ever over, but we're still trying. I think you'd be proud of us.

Did you get the balloons? I sent them today. Yellow, just for you.

I love you, Bryan. To the moon and back. What I wouldn't give to have you here --
Before you know it, I'll be home.
With all the love in my heart....

Tu Hermana,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When One is Not Enough

In every place dear to me, with every person special to me, I leave a piece of my heart.

But I only have one heart...

and somedays, one is just not enough.

But I'm going to keep going, to the very last drop.

(I'm beginning to is being afraid - and still letting go.)

Saturday, July 17, 2010


It's funny how quickly you get used to things: standing out. Being stared out. Not understanding basic sentences. Horrible spanish skills making you sound incompetent. But also good things: Cloud covered mountains. Green quilted fields. Bright colors and strikingly beautiful people.

We were down in Latacunga (the other orphanage site) for the past couple days, without any internet, hence the lack of blogging. We worked on floors and played with babies and enjoyed some local culture. These kids, they steal your heart.

Friday morning found me clinging to the rim of a toilet praying for deliverance... I can't remember the last time I was sick, and I hope it's a long time until it happens again! Yesterday was a long, feverish day. Ecuador didn't seem so awesome at the time.

But this morning, everything was better :) Today we spent at a massive market in the town of Otavalo. We tramped around in the rain, bartering in our broken spanish, exchanging smiles with strangers. Somehow, more than the jewelry and blankets and clothes, I treasure the smell of frying foods, the swirl of spanish, and the captured moments of a world not my own. These are the things I want to carry home...

Monday, July 12, 2010


Four years... that's how long it's been since I was last here. I don't think I fully realized it until I walked through the front door. Funny isn't it, how places stay the same in your mind, and in reality, nothing ever stops changing?

I'm anxious, to see how this trip goes, I want it to be such an awesome experience, because who knows the next time I get to be back here? But if I learned one thing in this life, it's that the best moments are never planned, and your favorite memories are the unexpected little things.

Everything is beautiful: the babies, the tias, the mountains, my group - I love it all. There will always be a little piece of my heart that belongs here.

Today we went grocery shopping (always interesting) and went walking to the bread store. Ecuadorian bread is the best! Tomorrow is our first full day with the babies!!
Once we get our schedule going I'm sure I'll have some great stories for all of you!
Much love from South America!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

sadness can wait

My hand is out the window, hovering against the air, the sun illuminating my fingernails. My favorite praise song pushes through the speakers as I take in a deep breath, scented of lake and sun and summer. My heart shifts against its burden, rolling it to the side. Sadness can wait.

Because, you see, tomorrow, two of my dearest friends get married to each other and I'm blessed enough to be their photographer. I can't wait to soak in their joy, celebrate their love, encourage their commitment....

Now is a time for happiness :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I will be restored

My heart is tired.

I thought this season was over.

A season of good byes



and fear.

I am breaking,

but I am not beaten.

I am lost,

but not forgotten.

No matter how many times I shatter,

I will be restored.

In all this,

even as my trust wavers,

I choose to believe my Father is sovereign.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hold Them Loosely

We hold our dreams clutched in our fists, colorful balloons tied to the earth with strings of hard work and desire.

Everybody's is different..color coordinated, random, a few, or many, but they're all ours....we carry them with us, bouncing above our heads. So often, they tug against us, fighting winds of change and doubt. But we hold tight. These our are dreams after all.

But what if God has bigger dreams?

What if God wants to trade one of your balloons for a better one? Something bigger, something brighter. You assume you already have the best dreams, but you haven't seen them all yet, only
He has.

When I graduated high school 3 years ago I had so many plans, so many dreams...and you know what? The dreams I'm holding now are completley different.

It was hard to let go of my old desires, I'd carried them for so long, but in the end I'm so glad I did...I didn't know - I just DIDN'T KNOW. I could have saved so many tears, so many worries, if only I'd held the ropes of my dreams loosely from the beginning. Instead I held on with all the stubborness in my little heart, forcing Him to pry a finger away at a time.

So friends, dream your dreams, and make your plans. But hold them loosely - God may want to trade you for something better...something much better!

Monday, June 21, 2010

random perfection

sometimes when you least expect it, life is good, randomly perfect:

-heart to hearts with my boss

-work days full of laughter

-boys who knit (oh if you only knew this story!)

-friends who love you, crazy parts and all.

-laying on the couch with Korin

-bike rides (all the way around the lake!!)

-epic moments of Rock Band with my Dad.

I apologize if this blog is lacking creativity, but sometimes when your heart is filled to the brim, you just have let it soak into your veins, and savor it in silence.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

something solid

You are my something solid.

My rock.

My foundation.

My safe place.

And the threat of you leaving,
it feels like the very world tilting beneath my feet.


I always dreamed about being "grown up."
If I'd known it looked like this, I would have dreamt of other things.
(it's overrated)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

a good Heart scrubbing

Yesterday was one of those days I looked at myself and thought, "How did you get to this point? How did you become this person?"

It's agonizing to fully realize your worst characteristics. The truth is, I am a selfish person. I've gotten so used to not caring about myself or my life, that attitude has started to spill over to other people. I've stopped caring about them. How unfair...
So often I carry the thought, "If I'm miserable, I want others to be miserable." The thought stems out of frustration more than anything else, but still, there shouldn't be an excuse to treat others poorly.

What hurt me the most was realizing what a poor witness I can be for Christ. The truth is, I reflect the wounds the enemy has inflicted, more than I do the new life God has gifted me.

My heart needs to be scrubbed clean and my mind turned inside out...things need to be set new. I don't think I need to become an entirely different person (I don't think I could function without some form of sarcasm!), but I do think my words could be kinder, my actions more sincere, my heart gentler.

I am a beloved daughter of God. I want people to be able to tell, no matter how small amount of time they know me...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

" if "

If I push you away, will it keep me from missing you when you're gone?

If I act like I don't care, will you be fooled?

If I hug you tight enough, will it keep apart of you here with me?

If I don't cry, will it make me stronger?

If I pretend like it doesn't hurt, will the ache go away?

If I never say "good-bye", does it mean you really left?

* * * * * * *

Somedays I feel as if hope is nothing more than an illusion we hand each other to help us believe it will be okay.
but What if it won't be ok? What if everything we are is already broken -- we, a shattered people beyond repair.

.bubba left today. :/

Monday, June 7, 2010

but I'm laughing

Currently, every minute is jam packed up against the next, running together until I hardly know what's going on.

I'm starting to remember again, what it is to be truly tired, when you just don't have the time to sleep.

But it's ok, because the moments I'm awake, are full of laughter. There are bad days, (oi), but they pass and I keep on plodding through to the good days.

Funny, isn't it, how a bad day can turn into a wonderful evening? Tear stained carpet turns into late night softball games and a crowded perkins booth.

Work days can drag on to eternity, and the next, they run like water through your hands. It all depends on the people...I love the ones who keep you going, keep you on track, all while taking your mind off the mundaneness.

I may be sleep deprived and counting down my work days. But I'm laughing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


somedays, you lose the fight before you're even fully awake.

somedays, are impossible and never ending.

somedays, you hold your breath and wait for the morning.

Everything gets washed clean.

Hold strong.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When I miss who I was

Every once in awhile, I remember who I used to be. I catch a glimpse of the girl I was, like seeing a memory out of the corner of my eye, a memory so faded and fragmented, I almost forget she existed.

I used to be young, skin fresh and new, instead of this jaded, cynical shell. I believed love was the most natural, beautiful thing in the world and now most days love looks like an illusion. I remember the friendships I had, that I let go, when I was struggling to care about just one life; my own. I can see the roads I never got to take, curving out into the clouds, and I am sad...I so dearly wanted to be that girl.

But she's gone now.

And in these times, when I so bitterly miss who I was, who I could've been, I forge a promise in the shadows of my heart....
to take this girl I am now, birthed from pain and perseverance, washed in sorrow, raised in hope, and make her something beautiful. something strong. something breathtakingly unexpected.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

a Couple Thousand Words

This isn't the most flattering picture of my father, but you have to understand, it was very late at night, and he's quite an old man....I'm surprised his eyes were still open!

The other night my Dad and I spontaneously (a word so rarely used in my vocabulary!) decided to go to the street dance in town and break in my new cowboy boots! The music wasn't exactly what we were looking for, but we did get a few good songs in... I love that feeling when I spin, twirling up on the balls of my feet, lights and air blurring into circles. Even when I miss a step or forget to follow, it doesn't really matter, because it all ends in laughter.

Afterwards my Dad actually agreed to go to perkins, even though it was already midnight. I think the thing I love the most about my parents is we can talk about anything. Have you heard the saying about how women use 10,000 words a day? My parents like to joke I use all my words at once, and it's kinda true. I'm a mostly quiet person, but at least once a day, I need to spill...and the people I trust the most are my parents. So I spilled my couple thousand words and Dad managed to stay awake and even respond. :)

I am one blessed girl to have the father (and mother) that I do!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hubcaps, Tears, & Keys

With literally only about 12 hours left in the grand state of texas....I found myself sobbing uncontrollably into the shoulder of a strange woman with Riley looking on. Strange, you say? Yes, yes it was.
Riley and I were headed out to a nearby neighborhood to take some more senior pictures and I had just turned onto a street. Suddenly, a bunny darted across the road in front of us. It startled me, but I kept going, because, c'mon, it was a bunny. But then, THEN, I saw the dog out of the corner of my eye....and before I could blink or think or anything, runs into the side of the van!

I slam the van into park and jump out, already shaking and beginning to cry. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!" I was sure I had just killed their dog. The dad told me I was fine and ran into the house after the dog. (Who, obviously was not dead, just scared out of its mind.) I was left standing in front of a 5 year old, seemingly extremely interested in watching me have an emotinal break down. Apparently he didn't realize I could've ruined his childhood forever by ending his dog's life in front of his very eyes. Instead he says, "It's ok, people can fix your van." I had no idea what he was talking about until he runs up the block and comes back carrying our hubcap! "Here you go!"

Then the mom came out and I apologized about a billion times more while STILL crying and she calls me hunny and tells me it's ok and gives me a big hug. Embarrasing? Ridiculous? Traumatizing? All.of.the.above.

We get back in the van and drive to the corner where I have to pull over BECAUSE I AM STILL CRYING (am I pathetic or what??). Oh, but by this time I am also laughing until I can't breathe, because the whole thing is just bizarre. So there I am, my forehead pressed against the steering wheel with tears streaming down my face, while Riley about pees her pants laughing at me in the front seat...

We go ahead and take some senior pictures, down on the side of a golf course, a nice little area with ankle deep grass and surrounded by trees. The sun is just minutes away from setting as we start to head out when I realize....Where are the keys? As in the where are the only set of van keys the Brandons own?? Where are the keys I so intelligently stuck in my waist band because I have no pockets???

And so I found myself on my hands and knees, combing the grass with my fingers, once again crying, thinking "George is going to kill me" and "Nothing happens the whole time I'm here, and in the last 12 hours, all this has to happen." The sun sets and Riley goes to recruit some friends who live in the area, coming back with flashlights, and an annoyingly optimistic attitude. I, on the other hand, was convinced, we would never find the keys, and I would leave texas with the Brandons hating me.

After an hour of looking, with no luck, Riley finally calls her mom. But right before the dreaded words leave her mouth, Michelle, the friend, shouts, "Here they are!" And there they were, sitting so nicely on the green. "I LOVE YOU!" I shout and throw her into a huge hug.

Then we went home and Riley re enacted the whole horrible evening for her parents, who enjoyed it tremendously. I'm sure it wouldn't have been so funny if we hadn't found those keys!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm Gonna Be


I just can't believe it, this is surreal. I feel as if I've been here a life time, and yet, didn't I just finish packing to come here??

This song has been stuck in my head all day long...apparently because the only part of it I could remember is the melody and "...coming home with YOU." After I looked up the lyrics I realized this really has absolutley nothing to do with my situation...but...we're just going to pretend like it does =) Besides, these guys are so freaking attractive, who wouldn't want to watch this video?! Off to pack!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tonight, there was

tonight, it's just sloan and I in the living room, sprawled across the floor and couch, our faces highlighted blue from the computer screens.

there are occasional words, snippets of stories and shared jokes, but mostly just the tapping of keyboards and music stirring in the background.

earlier, there was a time of worship, a time of ministry, a time of tears, and a time of hugs. this same room, holding only two, just hours earlier, held 18. there was prayer, questions seeking out the heart of God, and His answers, revealed in scripture. there was healing, spoken through the mouths of servants broken themselves. there was hope shared, handed from one scarred soul to the next.

and there were the words of a song, "my name is graven on his hands," the visual of two hands so large, tattooed with the names of all the children of God.

as i sit in this room, now emptied, now quiet, I revel in the knowdlege...My Savior, He can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save!

Friday, May 21, 2010

To Live Without Fear

In less than a week, my summer officially starts! A couple months back I decided I wanted this summer to be different, I wanted to do more, try more, enjoy more.
Some of the things on my list:
-sewing dresses
-photo shoots
-star gazing
-strengthening relationships
-making new friends
(and working, obviously, but that happens every summer haha)

But as I get closer to going home, I realize, this summer, more than anything, I want to learn to live without fear. For so long, I've let fear and anxiety bind my chest, keeping me from breathing, keeping me from truly living. The older I get, the faster time goes. My life is a gift and I don't want to waste it. Besides, if my God is greater and stronger than anything else, why I am letting Fear dictate my life??

And so, another list for this summer. To give up:
-fear of losing someone
-fear of being unloveable
-fear of guys
-fear of insincerity
-fear of failure, of never being good enough
-fear of the future

I know these fears won't simply disappear, but I'm ready - to live under God's rule, instead of the enemies.

"With an ember of hope
And a desire to breathe,
I want to learn to live,
I need You to show me how."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Family Love

My extended family has never been the kind to live in one area and be apart of each others daily lives - in fact, sometimes we go years without seeing certain people. And while sometimes I wish we were that family, I think being so spread out makes us appreciate our time together so much more.

I spent this last weekend out in the country with some aunts and uncles and cousins, soaking up the moments we shared, knowing they'd have to last me awhile. My family (on both sides) may be a little rough around the edges and we've far from perfect, but by golly, we love each other. We're loyal, we're loud, a little bit crazy, and a whole lot of funny! :)

I loved the lazy afternoons with Aunt Nan, listening to her stories (it's so interesting to discover the person someone was before you knew them!) I loved riding the motorcycle with Uncle Glen, the wind beating against my shoulders and the sun soft on the horizon. I loved realizing my younger cousins look up to me and all the inside jokes we created. I loved hugging my cousin Jason and Uncle Kent, the first time in so, so long!

But most of I just loved knowing I was loved.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Larry, the Spider

Last night I trudged into the kitchen after a long night, just wanting a glass of juice before I headed off to bed. I drained my glass and set it down on the to a sandwhich bag....with a SPIDER in it. I froze. "It's fake," I tell myself. Until I look over at post it note next to it..."LIVE SPIDER".

I'm across to the other side of the room in about 2 seconds. "WHY IS THERE A SPIDER ON THE COUNTER???" Apparently, the girls found him in the living room, and Riley thought if she showed her parents what kind of GROSS, GIANT spiders lived in their house, they'd be motivated to do something about it. Frankly, I don't think they cared. But I sure did.

When I woke up this morning, Larry (Riley named him) was still on the counter in the bag and very much alive. I decided everybody wasn't going to go off to work/ school and leave me alone with the spider. Sure, he was in a bag, but everytime I looked at him, it was like he was saying, "Oh yeah, there's more of me ALL OVER YOUR HOUSE."

So I told Riley I was killing her spider and when she didn't protest, set out to do the deed. First, I set a jug of milk on him. It injured him, but he was still crawling around, so I picked up the closest thing, a Bible, and BAM....Larry was a beautiful ball of guts. Finally.

Then, Mac (the 9 yr old) walked into the room and asked me why I'd just murdered one of God's creations. I told him Larry had talked smack to me, and I just couldn't let that fly...

So Larry is dead and I don't feel the least bit bad....but now I'm afraid to sit in the living room (the only place you can get internet) unless I'm in the center of the room. This way, I can see all angles at all times...because I'm sure Larry's family is out to get me now...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Boots

I guess it was about 2 years ago, during my freshman year of college, I decided I wanted a pair of cowboy boots. Something that could go with both jeans and skirts and preferably, something with a touch of turquoise. (Because, really, I'm Kylee...of course they're going to have turquoise!)
So yesterday, Sloan and I ventured out, found a western wear store over in Plano, and went searching for the perfect boots. A couple hours later: Mission Accomplished! :)

Last night as I was traipsing around, spinning on my toes, and practicing my 2-step, I started thinking about why I really wanted these boots so much. And I realized, it wasn't just to have a cute pair of shoes. When I think of cowboy boots...

...I think of being a little girl, when I was still small enough to be held by my dad, when I still believed he was the tallest, strongest man in the world. I think of my arms around his neck and us spinning around the dance floor.

...I think of my mom's white boots, which I thought were the prettiest things out there. I remember her watching her dance, her skirt flying out from her legs. I wanted to dance just like her some day.

...I think of all the country songs I grew up with. If you ask me today, I won't readily admit to being a country fan, but if you play a song, chances are I'll start singing along.

Cowboy boots make me think of country music and wooden dance floors, two stepping, and my parents. I guess, me wanting a pair of cowboy boots, is really just the little girl inside of me, still wanting to be like the parents I grew up admiring. =)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

This & That

Hello Friends,
I'm sitting at the library, quickly running out of time, and feeling rather guilty because my keyboard is so loud. No really, typing should not be this loud. Next thing you know a librarian is going to be angry at me, and there is nothing worse than an angry librarian...they make you feel so bad about yourself without ever raising their voice.

Anywhoo. I'm just letting you know that I don't have internet at the house currently. So if it feels like I've disappeared...I kinda have.
Is it really sad that going a day without internet drives me crazy?? I am just way to used to hopping on facebook to tell a friend something random, or uploading pictures for everybody to see, or googling - oh good gracious do I miss google. I look up 100's of random things a day. I also miss youtube. No new music for me.

But! Happy News: I am home in 18 days!!
My mind still can't comprehend it, but I can't wait. I hate to say goodbye to all the lovely Texan people, but am I EVER excited to see all you Minnesotans!!

Okay, well, I'm sure I'll be back to the libary this coming week, just to check up on ya'll. (Hopefully with a less annoying keyboard though...) Until then, text me or even call me, haha, but we all know how I am with phones!

P.S. OH MY GOSH. i just looked down at my arms and they are bright red. Apparently, when George said you can burn fast, he wasn't lying. That's what I get for watching little league for 2 hours...
xoxo, Kylee

Monday, May 3, 2010

Puzzle Pieces of My Heart

Two years ago, I spent my freshman year at Concordia NE. While I was there, God gave me the most amazing group of girls - they became my 2nd family. Even as I struggled with my depression, my cutting, and my self hate, they managed to see something in me worth loving. On the days I couldn't crawl out of the pit, they came down and sat with there with me, holding my hand until I could breathe again. When I couldn't remember what joy was, they gave me reasons to laugh. They told me I was beautiful when I hated what I saw in the mirror. Together, we shared a thousand little moments that I strung together and clung to - moments that helped me remember why I kept fighting.

Today, we're spread out. Some still at Concordia, some, myself included, in other states. I don't get to talk to them on a daily basis or know all the little details of their lives - and that's hard. I miss that closeness. But it's ok, because, like family, these girls love me unconditionally, no questions asked.

It's as if, when I left concordia, I left a little piece of my heart with each of them. And when we're back together, they all just click into place, like puzzle pieces. I love knowing that no matter how far I am from them, no matter how much time passes between our visits, we will always be Us.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pockets full of Cinnamon

Yesterday, I had just gotten done doing a super fun photoshoot with a friend, and we were heading out to lunch with a couple other friends. It was there, in the parking lot, with the sun flaring out above us, I felt a twist beneath my heart. And I knew: I will miss this.

I will miss discovering people as I take their pictures, the car rides where I hear their stories, knowing I'm now a little part of their lives. I will miss the color, the sunlight, the variety of life here. I will miss this sensation of being new, unknown. I will miss this little life I've carved out.

It's funny to know this, even as I'm hungering for home. It's odd, and yet heart warming, to know there is more than one place where I belong, where I am welcome.

In the moments when I stop and think, I will miss this, I make sure to take an extra breath in -- memories are like cinnamon, sharply sweet, and warm against the roof of your mouth. I make sure to savor them.

I'll be heading home in about a month...but I'm coming back with my pockets full of cinnamon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Indigo Sky

The night sky
at its darkest,
at its deepest,
is crushed cobalt,
worn and worried
into a calloused velvet.

It seeps like ink
across the upper sphere,
fading into a watery cerulean,
evaporating at the horizon,
leaving behind
barely a breath of blue.

You can't see it,
but the dawn is there,
hidden beneath the mountains,
paling the indigo sky.

I see my soul mirrored
in the twilight,
wrinkled and weary
at the core,
dissolving into lightness
at the edges.

You can't see it,
but hope is there,
hidden beneath the shadows,
paling my indigo soul.

Monday, April 26, 2010

and I will Adore You

I am just a link in a circle of believers, our shoulders and hips brushing, our hands raised in praise. I am amazed at the passion, the emotion, I hear in their voices, surprised to find it in my own. Me, who hates to sing out loud, singing with strength. Because this song is not for me, or for them, but purely for Him.
My heart has chills in this precious moment, this moment between me and my Lord. "Papa, Father," I wonder, "Are there tears in your eyes, like there is in mine? Do you know how much I love you?"
I feel a press upon my heart, like a kiss, in reply.

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I seing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore you

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I am not a writer today

I feel like I should apologize. I don't have any words of wisdom, deep thoughts, or humorous sayings. I don't even have any sarcasm for you. (crazy, right?)
The thing is, today, I am just not a writer. I haven't really been this whole week.

Sometimes, every where I look, I see words, the people in front of my eyes evaporating into sentences in my head. A stranger becomes a main character. A feeling becomes a poem.

And other times, such as now, everything I see is a picture, or the possibility of a picture. It's as if I'm carrying around my camera lens and watching life through it. During times like these, I don't have the patience to find the words -- I'd just much rather show you.

If I could show you today, you would see my hand twisted up behind my back, playing with the ends of my hair (I straightened it today, so it's extra long), riley and me laughing so hard in Barnes and Noble we have to lean against a table to stay standing, silver anchor earrings dangling just a breath away from my shoulders, and me, riley, and 4 young boys (oi!) drinking milkshakes at sonic.

So today, I am not a writer, but a photographer, wishing I could print these memories out...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Mother, My Anchor

At night I pace the sidewalks in the dark, up, down, and around the neighborhood, more comftorable in the dark then I ever am in the light. People can't see you in the dark. I walk when I'm thinking, as if my feet can't stand to be still while my mind is racing. But sometimes I feel like I'm walking to get away from my thoughts, hoping perhaps they'll get lost in the hovering sky.

Nights have always been the hardest for me. As the light weakens, so does my heart and my determination. Darkness brings stillnes, stillness, heaviness. And when I walk I feel the fear pressing down until it's welling up in my eyes. Fear of men, love, the future, myself. I feel the truth slipping away and the lies pulling at my skin until I'm sure I'll disappear all together.

But that's when I call my mom, carrying her voice next to my ear as I walk. For the past 4 years, whether I am 8 hours away or in the same room, it is this voice I have clung to. My mother is my voice of reason when I've lost my own. She is my ears, recogonizing the lies in my mouth, when they sound like truth. She pours love into my heart when it's drying up.

My mother is my anchor. As I walk between the street lamps with the Enemy trying to pull me away in a storm of Doubt, I feel secured. She is strong enough for the both of us.

Monday, April 19, 2010

To be Still

I see the pavement beneath my feet and bruised clouds up above. The breeze runs soft hands through my hair and across my collarbone and my bag tap-tap-taps against the small of my back. I inhale and with suprise, find the gentlest urge to cry. Not because of a dizzying emptiness or an aching fear, but for once, for a dazzling moment, because there is peace. And I know, this....this is what it is to be still and know that He is God.

If I gain nothing else from being here....this knowdlege alone is enough

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Two New Souls

Two New Souls
Through the dancing grass I come every year,
Although I suppose its only been three,
Partly to soothe the tug on my heart, fear
I will forget you next to the oak tree.

And in part, my desire to share this day
with you, however, my reasons being
of soaring joy and yours holding a sway
of sadness, bittersweet memory fleeing.

Only one year ago I was born new.
Tainted skin and festering wounds washed clean
Upon the same day you left us, raised to
a cleansing of your own, grace here unseen.

We are two new souls, mine tethered firmly
to the ground and yours to the sky, freely.

A couple friends and I decided to try our hand at writing an english sonnet...just for the "fun" of it. Haha, well I can say it was fun to finish it, but that hour and a half I spent at Barnes and Noble, tapping syllables against my neck, was nothing but pure frustration!

Three years ago, a great guy that I grew up with, passed away from cancer on April 17th. Two years later, on the exact same day, I was healed of my depression. I always found it puzzling that two such contrasted situations would happen on the same day - Grant, losing his life, and me, essentially being given a new one. And that's what I sat down to write this poem about - the contrast, the irony, the unfairness.

But as I worked through the words, and what had occured in the last couple years...I realized, Grant didn't lose anything. Yes, that day is a sad day because we miss him, but Grant....well, he got to be free from all the pain the cancer was causing him. He finally got to meet his creator and he got to experience a joy we here on Earth can't even fathom.

I was so busy looking at the contrast, the sadness and the happiness, I forget to look at the similarities. Just like I was set free from my chains and relieved of my was Grant. I think it honestly just took me this long to know, really know, ok. Heck, he's better than just ok! He is GREAT.

It turns out that April 17th doesn't hold two opposing stories...but two tales of rejoicing. We are both new souls, just one still here on earth and one already in heaven.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Written Word

Yesterday, unlike most days here, I got up with the rest of the family. I got ready right away and even ate breakfast. I watched Mac's (adorable) 2nd grade play and then drove farther in this city then I ever have before...and all by myself :)

Why, you ask?

I love written word.
Probably just as much as I love photography. Maybe because both of them help me express myself in a way I fail at verbally.
Part of it is how the words look on paper...round, sharp, awkward, intriguing, they all have a certain character to them. And then it's how they sound in your mouth, how they roll like grooves against your tongue, reaching up to arch against your teeth. It's even how they sound and look in your mind - soft or hard, curving or straight.

I even love the paper and ink itself. Half the reason I want to read a book depends on the outside cover (Yes, I do judge a book by its cover!), the texture of the paper, and how it falls open in my hand. There's something exciting about a book feeling new but at the same time I want it to fit my palm like I've read it a hundred times before. Small print is a turn off and large print feels child like - it has to be Just So.

And don't even get me started on notebooks! Books may flirt with me, but notebooks just flat out seduce me! All the unique covers, and page upon page of blank, perfectly lined paper....Oi. A book is already something beautiful because it's complete. But a notebook -- a notebook is asking you to finish what's already been started, giving you the opportunity to create something beautiful.

So maybe I'm weird, maybe most people have no idea what I'm talking about. That's okay. All I know, is when I'm reading, and even more so when I'm writing...
It's the only time I really make sense to myself.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I want

I find myself mesmerized by the light reflecting off brass door knobs, lulled into whispered thought by the churning of the washing machine. I begin to count how many times the cursor will blink before more words bleed out of my fingertips.

But there are no words. Just this feeling of barely breathing, my heart burrowing deep, refusing to admit: I want.

I want you to love me because I cannot love myself.
I want you to cup my heart in your hands and breathe life into it.
I want you to want me so I know I am worthy.

I guess I thought coming here was washing everything clean, starting off fresh. But every morning I wake up with blurring disappointment to find, I. am. still. here. Same scars, same mistakes, same struggles.

It was foolish of me to think this would be easy. Naive of me to think the key to finding myself was simply going elsewhere.

Sorry, friends. I get tired of being tired. Years and years of being tired.
But I will try again tomorrow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Big Picture

There's been a lot of conversation lately about how God works...we keep wondering "why?"

-Why doesn't God heal everybody?
-Why does God let bad/hurtful things happen to me?
-Why doesn't God answer my prayers?

The more we've talked, the more I've concluded, it's because we only see a piece of what's going on - we don't see the big picture. We can't wrap our pitiful human minds around God because He's looking at it all - all the infininate possibilities.

We also don't see life through God's eyes. We may still be sinners, but when God looks at us He also sees a saint, washed clean by His son's blood. Even while someone is still sick, or broken, or dying, God sees them as healed, whether He physically heals them at the time or not. We need to learn to look beyond the physical.

I've also learned, with God, it's all about timing. God's timing is perfect and God's timing isn't ours.

The truth is, pain is apart of our life. The enemy will attack and hurt us. But every time our hearts break, God's breaks right along with us. I'm learning trusting God is taking the hard situations and saying "For this I have Jesus."

I don't have the answers for all the "why's?". I will probably always struggle with them. But what I do know is God is a good God and He is soveriegn.

Uncle Jim was in town this weekend. He wasn't my uncle before Friday, but he is now :) I think I will always cherish the memory of him taking me, Connor, and Mac to How To Train Your Dragon!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Poetry, When I Have No Words...

I had other things I wanted to share, but it's been a long day, an even longer night, and I'm wishing for here's some poetry I've written since I've been here.

The moment when you open your eyes to the dawn
And you remember the bed you're laying in is not your own

Talking to yourself in the silence of the kitchen
Because you're the only one you really know

The question of who you really are
Without the regular people in your life

The ache that whispers beneath your heart
In the stillness of the afternoon

When you wonder if you will ever enjoy
The well worn comfort of familiarity

The moment you crawl into bed at night
And are dissapointed to remember it's not your own

Black & White
I see

curtains holding sunlight,
walls wrapping round,
comforter twisted at my hip,
skin blending in with,
sheets rumpled by my feet,
ends of nails chewed ragged,
eyes cupping iridescent tears.

and the

mascars stains on the pillow case

Sorry, they're still a little rough. x's and o's ya'll. goodnight....

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Sisterhood

It was the night before I was leaving for Dallas. I was curled into my mattress, trying to leave one last imprint of myself. Riley was turning back and forth on the top bunk trying to get comftorable, the sides of the bed creaking in protest. She threw her phone down to Sloan on the floor and as she caught it I heard Sloan say, "Welcome to the sisterhood, Kylee!" and then Riley's voice floating above me, "Yeah, welcome to the sisterhood!" It made me smile and smoothed away the anxiety pricking at my skin.

I've never felt so comftorable in a new place as quickly as I do here, and I owe it all to the Brandons, especially the girls. They inspire me to see myself the way God created me to be. They make me laugh until I can't breathe. And they love me for who I am, annoying fears and all!

This past weekend, the girls, their mom, and I were out shopping. As we were trying on matching shoes (we couldn't say no to turquoise) the sales girl asked if we were all sisters. We explained that they were and I was a friend...
But on the inside, I couldn't help but smile. =)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter & Ticks...

Today I got to go to the 8 am "traditional" service for Easter... as soon as that first organ note began playing "Christ the Lord is risen today...", it felt like home. =) There's something I love about Easter Sunday. It's the mix of well worn hymns in my mouth and a building full of people shouting,"He is risen indeed, Alleluia!" It's the vibrant colors and the fuzzy sunlight peaking through the windows. But most of all it's that tremor of excitement in the air: OUR SAVIOR LIVES!
Check out this great verse: Revelations 1:18, "I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." The knowdlege of this blows me away, because my God is so incredibly powerful - not even death is greater than Him! What security, what happiness, this promise gives's like my heart can't stop smiling!!
On another note, I faced yet another fear today...NATURE. Okay, so nature doesn't scare me, but trees in spring sure do - because that means ticks, and oh my, I am terrified of those!! We went out to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve today, probably the only decent piece of land in Dallas, if not all of Texas. It was fun hiking around and talking with the girls but we ended up going off on a side trial, if you can even call it a trail, deep into the trees, and it made me pretty nervous. In my head I kept chanting "there are no bugs, there are no bugs". I know, I know, I'm a pathetic person! Riley and Sloan enjoyed telling me there was something crawling on my leg and watching me freak out. So much love...

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Drive in a City...Booyah!

If you know me, you know that I DO NOT drive in cities. There's something about being surrounded by speeding cars, driven by crazy, caffeinated people that freaks me out.

So friends, I need you to hear me say this:


=) Now granted, it ain't no down town...but still. I'm proud of myself. Who knew I could face this fear? Well, Riley knew, or at least she wanted to believe I could haha. She wasn't okay with me never getting out of the house and I have to say I'm thankful. We're gonna have us some good times.

That's all I really had to say.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I wasn't going to blog tonight.
The plan was to wait until I had something witty to say; a funny story to share. Just to prove I do indeed have a sense of humor, or at least a lighter side.

Tonight George and I mapped out chapter ideas for my book. And after talking about Bryan so much, pressing his name into the paper, remembering how his eyebrows pulled down or his smile crooked up...I can't stop thinking about him.

Maybe it's the yellowed lamp in the corner or the stillness in the air. Perhaps it's this song that always brings the sadness up into my cheekbones. Whatever it is, tonight I've given myself permission to miss him.

Not the memory of him or the idea of him. Just him. All the little things about him that made him my brother. I can still feel the way it was to hug him, you know.

I've gotten used to the absence of him. The normalcy of him being gone. But tonight I just want to pretend. I want to imagine he is here, sitting against the couch with me, our shoulders pressed together. I want to pretend he still exists.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Remember Why I'm Here

There is a tremor running in my veins, trembling out to the tips of my fingers. I press the arcs of my nails into the crease of my palm, leaving miniature moons, like kisses in my skin. I glance from person to person, desperate to read them. Are they judging me? What will they think of what I'm about to say?

In shaky words I begin to tell my story, starting at the beginning as I always do: with Bryan. With the little boy they'll never get to know. Piece by piece, the words are running together into sentences, the spaces inbetween vibrating with my anxiety, but at least I'm still talking. Until that one part, the same part that I stumble over every time. The moment when I have to admit Bryan is no longer here. This time I can't even open my mouth - I can feel the words evaporating in the back of my throat, the pain I didn't realize still existed, welling up and pulling at me, and finally I crumple; My face tumbling down onto itself and my hand pressing against my heart to hold it together. The tears, warm against my skin, are washing down and I look away, desperate to hide my ugliness in this vulnerability.

When I finally raise my eyes, with a spark of surprise I find wet cheeks and red rimmed eyes looking back at me. I find no judgement, only compassion. And so I start again, continuing my story, this time with the pieces that came after Bryan. The sinking emptiness, the devouring depression, the relief I found in cutting. Lastly, I hand them the final fragment - my healing through Jesus Christ, my freedom.

Afterwards, they show me parts of their stories in return for what I shared - the woman who looked so beautiful, so put together - she was the one who cried tears of joy for me that I finally knew how special I was. The man with the alcoholic father whose voice shook as he said he understood. The woman with the daughter who's battling depression and cutting. She said she never knew there was a way to break depression. She never knew there was hope.

As I listened, I remembered. I remembered why I came here. Because I have a story. A story of hope and salvation. And because I have a God who wants nothing more then to bind up our broken hearts. HE is why I am here.

I am so thankful today for the friends God has given me, who support and love me, even from far away.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Little Boy in Red Rain Boots

Until today, it'd been 2 weeks since I'd talked to my little brother, Isaac, or as I affectionately refer to him, Bubba. He's out in CA training to be one heck of a soldier.

He called as we were headed out to a park for Mac's soccer game and the wind was intense. I ended up climbing underneath the playground and squeezing into a tunnel to try and get away from it. Kids kept running by and looking at me like I was the biggest weirdo. I sat there for an hour, soaking in his laugh and his stories. I don't know what it is about little brothers, but mine never fails to make me happy, to get me to loosen up. He is as familiar to me as a piece of my own skin. With him, I'm just myself and that is all I need to be.

It's hard me to think of him leaving for Iraq in June. He's willing to give up family and friends, a normal life, and ultimately, his very life - for me. For you. For this country. Sound cheesy? Get over it. In the last couple months Bubba's morphed into a man and I couldn't be prouder.

But when I look at him, for a moment, he's just a little boy in red rain boots, sitting next to me on a tree branch. Then I blink and that little boy is gone - but I tuck the memory of him away into the back of my heart.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Wish I Could Share With You...

...that moment on the trampoline, with the sunlight husky over the rooftop and the music turned up loud in the corner of the yard; my hair twisting in the air, over my eyes, against my mouth. The air is cool and clean against the hollow of my neck, a pale curve above the edge of my sweater. Every breath is fresh and bittersweet, my lungs fighting to expand far enough. Mac, a little imp with golden hair, is chasing me in big, bounding circles and I'm laughing until it's caught in my chest and I have to stop. Riley is singing and dancing, jumping and flipping, her long, brown legs flying over our heads. I pause to savor the thudding of my heart and laughter of my friends. The sun is about to roll behind the horizon, a shockingly orange sphere, memerizing to me. And for a second I can feel it, like dust filtering down from the fading sky - happiness, sprinkled across my shoulders.

My Lack of People Skills

My friends and family tease me about being a hermit. I've been called shy, anti-social, cranky, get the idea. And sadly, I'd have to say these names are all pretty accurate. But more than anything, I am just down right AWKWARD. When I meet people I have the hardest time thinking of something to say, much less anything interesting. I get all nervous, pulling at my shirt sleeves and avoiding eye contact.

Oh, and I have a confession for you: Pretty/confident people intimidate me. Those types of people make me feel instantly...less. Like I'm not as good. They make me aware of all my flaws, all I lack. That's probably not their intent but I can't help but follow that thought process. (And for the record it feels like everybody in Dallas is good looking and/or confident. Sigh. What to do. haha)

Being around the Brandons has made me realize just how much fear controls my life. I mean, I've known for awhile it's something I struggle with, but here there aren't people who are used to me, who understand how I am. I don't speak or act in front of people I don't completley trust because I'm afraid they won't like me, or they'll judge me. I don't leave the house here because I'm terrified of driving in a city. I avoid public prayer or praying for someone because I'm afraid I won't do it right. I know that God can take away this fear, although I might have to repeatedly give it to Him. It just takes time and that's frustrating. I'm tired of being paralyzed.

Some day I like to think I'll have people skills :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No More Coasting

At home, I was comftorable. Maybe too comftorable. I put off things I knew I needed to work on simply because I could. I hid out in my house because I knew I was "safe". Instead of stretching myself to grow I took comfort in familiarity.

Here, everything's new. And it's not easy for me. But I know that I've been given the opportunity to change. As much as I hate change, even I have to admit it's neccesary sometimes.

The family is at work and school from about 7 until 6...a long time to be alone but I kind of enjoy it. For now my plan for each day includes: getting up and running or walking (the weather is gorgeous, just saying!), devotions/reading the Bible/journaling, practicing piano, and hopefully some writing. Maybe it doesn't sound like much. But I need this. I need to know who God is for myself, not second hand. I need to learn to trust and to love - myself and God.

I hope that when I come home I'm different. Stronger. Better. I hope that I come home with a passion for God and a passion for life. No more coasting for me, friends. I am ready to live a full life!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Here I am in Dallas

Was it only two days ago I was in MN?? It has to be more like 2 weeks... The car ride down ended up taking about 21 hours, most of it through a snow storm. Longest day of my life? Yeah, pretty close to it. But we made it here safe and that's all that counts!

I'm a little scared. Meeting new people is so hard for me. Especially when they're all cute and outgoing and trendy. Ha. But no, I'm just anxious. I keep asking myself, What am I doing here? I guess I don't really know...but maybe I'm not supposed to. Maybe that's the whole point. To gain some trust in God. To strengthen and freshen our relationship. I think I'm just tired. And I never do like being unsure. Oh well. This must mean I'm growing. Or something.

The Brandons are great, for the record. It turns out they really are the coolest family. :) I'm glad Riley is here...she's 17 and quirky and fun. I think she'll keep me sane! Today we went to visit a church that has 30,000 people. It was ridiculous!! It was like it's own mini world. There's churches everywhere here. It's neat, to see God movin and shakin around here...

Oh, and fyi? it snowed here last night and it's cold!! What a let down =P