Category Archives: personal

it is steep/it is stone



what better way to kick off my new blog than a post about what i’ve learned today?

today i learned some really important things. and i’d love to share them with you


1. i learned for the first time what it feels like to be covered in prayer. i mean, i can literally feel the prayers people are praying for me. His peace is abounding.

2. i have a community and i never saw it coming. it doesn’t look like i expected it to look. my community spans the continent and age. and i love them so, so much.

3. i have the privilege of seeing the influence i’m blessed to offer girls. i don’t deserve the peeks into God’s plan for them, especially when He is using me. But He is allowing me tiny sneak previews. how wonderful that is.

4. i trust with my whole heart the gift He gave me of intuition. for the first time i trust that it’s Him speaking to me. such a comfort.

5. and lastly. i have learned to trust in the person i am in HIM. to be unashamed of the worth i have in HIM. to rest in HIS peace. i have learned the kind of strength and dignity He has for me. and i can’t explain the feeling. but i can’t wait for you to have it, too.


in my heart of hearts, i can say that the journey has been refining. i can look back on this year and know and believe that it was for my good. i now know and believe that the Lord spoke through melissa the day she called me mary poppins. it’s without a doubt.


the process is so very priceless.




(bon iver- beth/rest)


the future is brighter than any flashback

yesterday i was recalling how we spent new years eve last year.

it was a weird night. it made me afraid that the entire year would be weird. turns out, it was. but in the best way possible. it all happened so, so fast.


what did 2010 look like for this girl?

i spent (nearly) the entire year with my best friend in the whole world.

and we took lots of photos together. which i am so very, very thankful for. with my whole heart.

i took photos of beautiful ladies dressed as hollywood starlets.

i started  with my sister during the great blizzard.

i had 3 photos submitted in my very a first art show

i started designing with a graphic tablet

the Lord unearthed a passion in me and the words to share with girls.

i got a new job

experienced LOST from the beginning, to the very end with pemmy.

i struggled through lots of change. and i’m still learning how to do that.

i directed my first summer of camp. which was amazing.

started an art club and helped friends to be creative

i watched my roomie and dearest friend kelly move out of our house and into her dream.

i photographed 3 weddings.

finally unveiled my photography website.

spent the year singing with my church worship team and finding my voice.

i did a lot of self-reflection. LOT.

i took the of a lifetime with my sister. across our country. but across much more than that.

overwhelmed myself on a regular basis by how far i’ve come in the past 3 years.

had my life rocked amp; challenged at all the youth events we’ve been a part of in the last 5 months.

bought enough music over the year to open my own record store.

took our 3rd annual magical southern christmas tour, arguably the best yet.

loved a lot of people. learned how to love a lot of people. learned how not to love a lot of people.

when i think back on the year 2010, i’m going to remember it as the year i changed the most. i’m going to remember it as the year i spent with my sister. i’m going to remember it as the year i started opening my heart. i’m going to remember it as the year God shook me from my complacency and gave me new eyes. new desires in my heart. and most of all a fire in my bones. i’m going to remember 2010 as a year of tremendous growth.

i sometimes think it’s silly to base our changes in something so simple as december 31 ending. but i understand the need for a new hope. putting things behind you and looking forward. i learned this year that i have the option to do that every single day. it doesn’t just happen once a year.

i know that 2011 is going to be intense. and challenging. and possibly even more growing that 2010. i’m so ready for more unknown. i’m embracing it more than i ever imagined i would be able to. i hope that whatever this year was for you, you are ready for what is about to happen. because i know it’s going to be huge. and since it’s january, you have a blank slate. draw on it. color in the details. write some new pages in your story. work hard. stay focused. take risks. love people. go on adventures.


i’m working on all of those things. and i’m so, so excited.


(sleeping at last- january white)

contagious and spreading quick

it’s been some time…

but i have something i need to say. enjoy.

i’ve been praying recently for us to be able to see each other not as we normally would. but to see each other as Jesus sees us. we get really concerned with appearance, both physical and spiritual, emotional and relational… and so i’ve been thinking about the word transparent. which can be one of those words that people throw around but hardly ever aspire to.

if you think about the word as it is defined: ‘allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen; easy to perceive or detect; having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived.’ then it sounds scary. “having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived. this means ALL our thoughts, feelings and motives. and if we’re being really honest, i’m not sure i want everyone to know all my thoughts, feelings and motives. they are not good all the time. in fact, i would say a majority of the time my thoughts, feelings and motives are selfish. unflattering. spiteful. terribly monster-like.

but if there is anything that i have learned recently, it’s this.

i’m not alone.

we all have terribly monster-like thoughts, feelings, motives. and i expect people to love me in spite of being monster-like. so. i think it’s time for me to start loving monsters.

and i think i should start by being a bit transparent myself. yikes… ripping off the band-aid.

– i like to control most situations. i’m working on not controlling you.

– i like to be right all the time. at the expense of others. i do not like looking dumb. i’m working on admitting when i don’t know something.

– i like things to stay somewhat the same. don’t mess with my traditions. only i can change them. this weekend i enjoyed misfit christmas. because i let go.

– i like to make things better. right away. i don’t like people to be mad. especially not at me.  last week i had to learn to let people have space. not everyone works out their issues like i do. some people need time.

– i like to be involved in everything. i’m working on stepping back. the world does not revolve around me. in fact it moves really well on its own.

upon review, this is a mild case of transparency. thin. veiled. shallow.

see, even my first attempt needs some revision. i’m not really sure i want to do that just yet.


i’m working on it.

this all started because i had this thought. this simple thought that we just need to be able to see through the thick coat of monster we sometimes wear. Jesus does. He knows the cracks we have in our hearts. but He knows why they’re there. how they got there. and He accepts us with those cracks, in our monster suits.

can you accept me in my monster suit? i’m not always wearing it. but when i do, i need for you to know that it’s temporary. and i’m going to love you as a monster, too. because i know there’s more to you than that.

i know it.



(sleeping at last- heaven breaks)

His law is Love

my house.
a car with heat.
a full-time job.
the ability to buy groceries.
and a jacket.
friends & family who love the heck out of me.
gifts &talents i’ve been given.
Forgiveness. Grace. Savior.

as i walked from my car into my house yesterday, i had one thought. and one thought only.
in this current time, i have everything i need. should have no want for anything more.

in this current time, i have no right to feel i need anything more. not when i see & feel how this current time is.

(o, holy night)

our ears were trained

have you ever had one of those moments where you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your life was shaping up to be exactly what it was supposed to be? a moment when you realize you don’t have everything you want, you have everything you need. a moment when you realize that you are in the thick of God’s will for your life, without knowing exactly how you got there?

the past week has been just that for me.

i’m talking earth shattering, God knocking on my skull, taking His finger and pointing my nose in one direction, speaking directly into my ears and my heart. i’m not going to share the dirty details. not because they are boring. but because some things are so ridiculously amazing that you want to hold onto them for a little while before unleashing it to the public.

i will say this. God is revealing, in many little moments what my purpose is. to be honest, He’s revealing it as a puzzle. and i’ve definitely not received all the pieces yet. but i think because God deals with me in a way that my brain loves and comprehends most, this puzzle is going to be glorious.


does this all sound crazy? i hope it does. because crazy is how i know it’s God and not me. i am genuinely out of control right now. in the best, most organic way possible. i can’t wait to tell you about it. and you. and you. and you.

but i’m going to take this moment to let you revel in the bliss that i am in. the knowing little bits and pieces. little moments. that are soon to take a larger shape. i want you to be exited. because all of my excitement means something much bigger for you. don’t believe me? that’s fine. i’m here to show you.

so be excited for me. but more than that, be excited for you.

because i have big things to tell you. and show you. and inspire in you.

and i’m just getting started.

(sleeping at last-side by side)

we long for concrete things

the moment your whole life changed.

do you have one of those? maybe you can’t think of one moment. maybe it was a period in your life. now, i’m not talking about the moment you accepted the Lord, clearly that moment actually saved your life.

i’m talking about the moment when you started realizing your purpose. what you were made to do. when you stopped going through the motions of life and started living every day to pursue what you were put here to do.

i was talking to 2 of my most favorite people yesterday and i ended up reliving the summer that my whole life changed. because that summer snuck up on me. i didn’t know it was coming, and even while it was happening i didn’t know how life-altering it would be.

i’m talking about the summer of 2008. i’m talking about the summer i made a jacket. i made a jacket and my entire life changed.


this is ricky. i met ricky in the summer of 2008. along with a crew of people who became part of a bigger purpose in my life. at the time, i just thought i was having fun and doing camp with a team of fun people.

i was wrong. i had no idea that what was happening was going to inspire and shape the rest of my life.

here’s the short story. ricky was turning 21. i had known him for 2 weeks. but i wanted to make him something he really wanted. which was a jacket chris martin wore on the cover of rolling stone that month, and would continue to wear during the release and touring of the album ‘viva la vida.’

so i made that jacket. i made it how i would make it. original? no. clearly it was made as a replica. but of my own sorts. after i made that jacket, i made a lot of other things. i mean, i didn’t stop creating that summer. and it just kept going.

i emailed this to ricky about a year after i gave him that jacket. because a lot had happened in my life.

i was born a creative, dreamer kind of person. i’ve always created art of some kind as long as i can remember. the problem is when i stopped making costumes for theatre class and went to college and majored in history? i stopped surrounding myself with things to inspire me. instead, i only used my creative energy rarely and sporadically.

then i started working at skycroft and i was able to be a little creative but in weird ways.

and then it started getting really monotonous and old. and then i started to feel dead and useless inside.

and then, strangely and unexpectedly, my inspiration to create and design came back. in the form of a jacket.

you may think that sounds silly. but you need to know since i made that jacket, i haven’t stopped making things. and creating art.

obviously one jacket doesn’t have the power to change my career course. but it reminded me of how much i love art and creating. so, coupled with all the other things i started making, my trip to europe, doors God has been opening in weird ways, that jacket you have feels like a beginning for me.

that’s it. that jacket changed my whole life. because it’s not just a jacket. it’s the representation of a time where God woke me up from my death in the monotony of a useless life. and He showed me a small glimpse of what i was made for. He set the stage with some incredible people who inadvertently helped to direct the course of my life. and it hasn’t stopped moving forward since then. i’ve struggled, i’ve cried, i’ve had some pretty rotten and lonely times since then. but it’s been when i’ve veered off the path He had set me on. it was when i started letting other things take over again.

so, i ask you. have you ever thought of the moment that your whole life changed? have you experienced that moment yet? have you seen that moment pass you by?

i can promise you that looking back and being able to see the steps He took to get you to where you are could possibly shock you. because it’s weird to say that your life change is tied to a jacket.

but mine is.

what’s yours tied to?

(sleeping at last- next to me)

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you were meant for amazing things

last year i made a list of 27 things to do when i’m 27. i don’t get to cross all of them off today. some of them get crossed off, but with variations. nonetheless, i’m pretty excited about what this year was for me.

and i’m excited to add some of the 27 back on my 28 for 28 list.

27 was a good year. but i’ve got this feeling that 28 is going to be great.

27 things:
3. photograph a wedding
4. go to maine, vermont & new hampshire (finally finish east coast states)
didn’t finish the northeast states. i finished the northwest states instead.
6. launch website.
7. visit soundgarden in syracuse.
didn’t go to soundgarden in syracuse. went to 5 indie records across the country instead.

8. go to nashville. twice.

9. climb a mountain i’ve never climbed

11. write a new arrangement for a dcfc song (with help)

started this. didn’t finish it. and now i want to go in a different direction.

13. tell at least 1 person i love them every day
15. take photos of sean, natalie, brody, lucas, emma & ava
17. take mom on a trip
18. visit a friend i haven’t seen in a long time
21. take 2 more tree photos for shannon’s wall
22. take my sister out of the country


we didn’t leave US soil. but we made our trip better than i could have planned. out of the country or not.

23. drive across country & stop at salvation mountain

24. eat as little processed food as i can

25. make new clothes out of old

27. encourage someone to love without fear

i’m making this list a little more accessible. because i want badly to accomplish the whole list. i can’t be taking 7 trips out of the country. this list is going to be quirky but attainable.


so. without further ado.


28 for 28.

1. make homemade bagels. at least once.

2. sell a painting

3. sell a photo

4. go to maine, vermont & new hampshire OR utah & nevada, OR north dakota, minnesota & iowa OR alaska

5. take my sister out of the country

6. maintain a daily prayer journal

7. finally beat my giant

8. write a business plan & start it

9. start an editorial photo project

10. take a self portrait i’m proud of

11. simplify. everything.

12. start oil cleansing

13. create a painting for someone

14. write & illustrate a children’s book

15. plan an adventure for someone else

16. design a greeting card line

17. love someone through an ugly time

18. encourage someone using few words

19. design a band poster

20. make an idea book & record 1 idea per week

21. sell unnecessary ‘things’

22. take sean on an adventure

23. listen to 1 album/month, that i’ve never listened to before

24. take portraits & stories of nana & grandaddy

25. plan a scotland adventure with adam

26. write & design a comic book

27. complete 1 crazy project per month

28. love like leonard. love people simply. love like i can’t imagine life otherwise.

change. my favorite word. it’s making a permanent place in my life. and i’m working with it, but it’s happening with gnashing of my teeth.


but the thing i keep telling myself is that without change, i’m dead. and i’m here to be alive.


so i’ll keep fighting myself. i’ll keep turning it over. because this is what’s making me alive. 28? sounds about the same as 27. i know it’s not going to be. there’s too much on the horizon.


change. i’m starting to like it. little by little.





(sleeping at last- umbrellas)

after all it was a great big world

the other night i was having dinner with shannon. and i told her about a recent thought i had.

at the age of 25 i spent three weeks traveling through europe. i’ve been to 9 european countries, 17 european cities and 3 different island groups.

i’m 27 now, almost 28, and last month i spent three weeks traveling the united states. i saw 19 total states and because of this trip only have 9 more states to visit before i’ve seen all 50.

people don’t get to do that every day. most people will never do that in a lifetime.

sometimes i forget that i don’t live a normal life. sometimes i forget that i have been blessed beyond belief by the things i’ve done, the places i’ve been able go, the experiences i’ve been able to have.

i forget that normal people don’t get to traipse around the world on a semi-regular basis.

i needed to remind myself of that.

looking back over the past few years, i feel very overwhelmed and can only thank Jesus for giving me passion, desire and above all the ability and freedom to do the things that i do.

just know that i do not take any of it for granted.

blessed doesn’t seem to cover it.

(tom petty- american girl)

now i think she’s ready to go

epic shlishy roadtrip in photos
recap # 7get ready for the end…
because it’s here.enjoy the last leg. :o)

driving into san francisco. grace at the wheel. em on the camera.

golden dollar. suck it trebek, oregon gas station man.

we get to the toll booth before the bridge.

em takes some rad shots driving over the bridge. good stuff.

we get into san fran. drop the car off at the airport parking.
release stink bugs.
they tell us to get our own car when we come back.
rudesies. also. wimps.

take the bart into the city to meet denis, uncle dave & aunt pat.
see a wicked awesome cross dresser as soon as we get off the bart.
welcome to san francisco.
i’m in love.

find the irish pub in the alley.
drink some guinness with the fam. have an excellent time.
say goodbye to uncle dave & aunt pat.
head through chinatown to denis’ apartment.
have wine on the roof.
get locked out of the apt.
denise climbs down the creepy ladder.
saves the day.
we laugh about rude house guests.
good stuff.

pod #15

wake up. em takes a sweet shot out the window of the apt.
did i mention san francisco is freakin’ awesome?

start walking through chinatown.
find coffee. expensive.
find map. expensive.
and mostly useless.
start our day of walking.
goal: to walk to the golden gate bridge. walk over the bridge. walk back to the haight.
yes. seriously.get to fisherman’s wharf.
see alcatraz.

sister shot at the wharf.
see the sea lions at the pier. they are funny. and fight a lot.
this guy is clearly the king.
gull on the wharf.
grandma grizzly.
she’s so snuggly.
get a frozen banana. this is for you, mcgown.
see what rosie did?
sad day, no more tower records.
get to lombard. look up lombard. we want to walk up lombard.
before we walk:
stop for a break near some hydrangea.

we make it to the top. sweet!

we see a streetcar.
i think about the movie the princess diaries.
no joke.
also we see ninja turtles.

we then walk a lot more.
we walk a lot. we think the bridge is a lot closer.
*objects may appear closer than they are*

emily takes a break to pass out.

we’re so close. but we’re also insane at this point.
really, this is quite normal.

sister shots on the bridge. :o)
yes. i realize this is the money shot. i know it’s good. :o)
take a cab to the haight. to go here:
the no. 1 music store in the country.
we get into quite a lot of trouble here.
and by trouble i mean, we find a lot of music we needed.
needed= loosely defined.

eat pizza at escape from new york.
walk down haight st.

find the grateful dead house on ashbury. our parents painted this a few years ago.
not really. but they could have. :o)

find bob. he has a good word for us:

meet denis & james for dinner and drinks.
talk a lot about architecture. glass engineering. apple. steve jobs.
we know important people.
meet diana for drinks after dinner.
talk about a lot of hilarious things.
head home for the night.
some of us in a hilarious stooper…

pod #16

wake up early. get this shot from the window.
location, people. and this one is stellar.

pick up ruby. drive over bridges. feel a little ill.
drive through a lot of flat, desert-like california. yuck.
drive through LA. still dislike it.
finally get to san diego.
eat breakfast burritos.
no photos this time. you’re welcome tyler.
start the reconnecting.

meet up with elise. see the WEEPIES!
sweet, sweet sleep.

pod #17

we do a whole lot of nothing.
sleep in late. feels pretty darn awesome.
drink coffee. eat a chocolate covered espresso bean.
emily gets 2. i only get 1.
eat burritos.

visit with friends.

pod #18

wake up. so ready for our last adventure.
get coffee. and chocolate covered espresso beans.
emily gets 2. i get 1.

start the drive to niland, ca to see…… SALVATION MOUNTAIN!!

drive through the desert. do not get lost. just take lots of adventurous roads. :o)

we see salvation mountain. we just don’t know how to get there. so we drive through people’s yards and driveways. oops.
at least we’re not a gang.
because they’re not allowed.
salvation. mountain.
before you look. understand that this is a place that will live in my heart forever.
it’s a place that will remind you that you can do anything, even if it seems crazy.
but this place would not be as magical without leonard. you’ll see him soon.
for now, take in the art & magic that is salvation mountain.

the most precious man to ever live. leonard knight.
the real wizard of oz.

the last epic band photo of #epicshlishyroadtrip

our surrogate gramps.
my all-time favorite.
in. love.

happy cows come from california? really?
because all 12 million cows live together?
does that = happiness?
live together, die alone.

pod #19
the last one.

the death of my burlap toms. yiiiiikes.
get home. em shoots a little music video.
last night dinner at sapporo.
last sister shot of the trip:

trade lots of music. pack. it’s not pretty. there’s a lot of stuff for me to take home.
battling the urge to cry at every moment.
at every memento from the trip that i start to pack away.

sleep. wake up so, so early. head to the airport.
the lines are long. making our goodbye all the more longer.

cry through a quick goodbye before heading through security.

as i tweeted when i got home:
in comparison, the return journey really sucked.

but i’m home.
and i had a good welcome.

i’ll be writing about my feelings from this journey. but i won’t be too specific.
this was a time full of moments.
a time i actually wouldn’t want to do over because it was perfect the first time around.
it was a time of learning more about my sister than i ever dreamed i would.
probably the same for her.
but maybe not.

it was a journey made up of moments. and i’ll keep those moments close.
because this meant more to me than i can ever put into words.
and those are the best kinds of journeys.

(art by elise)

(fun.- take your time[coming home])
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Moreover creature thinks about by this

when all the parts equal more than the sum

epic shlishy roadtrip in photos

recap #6

(again, a lot of photos. you love it. i know.)

roll into pullman, washington in the evening. safely.
go to sara’s apartment. so cute.
so good to be with family on our trip.
go to dinner in moscow, idaho @ nectar.
super yums.
eat cougar gold mac ‘n cheese.

sleep in a super comfortable bed.
wake up late. go to breakfast at old european. so, so good.

hungarian goulash. abelschivers. german potato pancakes.

super yums.

for our lostie friends.

sister photo :o)

adventure into moscow again to drop off ruby for her doctors appt.

go to this super cute coffee shop. because of their ‘real pumpkin latte.’


this was. for real. the VERY best latte i’ve ever had.

working on my own recipe that i shall try when i get home.

half cute/half ‘i look terrible’ sister photo

go to visit the bears at washington state.

pick apples at the wsu orchard. :o)

nice rome apple.

even em partakes in choosing apples.
clearly she loves it.

no, seriously she loves apples.

super fun times with sara showing us around pullman.

find an apple lodged between branches. we’re perplexed.

try to let emily pick potatoes. they are not ready to be picked yet.
so she stands in the field. with her people.

this photo is awesome.

visited the bighorn sheep at wsu.
that guy had big horns.

visit ferdinand’s for cheese and pumpkin ice cream.

emily eats sweet basil cheese curds. she makes me try them.
entices me by saying they’re less squeaky than the last curds she ate.

i try them anyway. turns out they don’t squeak and were pretty good.

ice cream and cheese. last hurrah before getting ruby back.

pick up ruby. pay for her sick bill.
it hurts.
welcome to adulthood.

say goodbye to sara. start driving to seattle.
it’s dark. i’m driving again.
you know what happens.

pod #12

arrive in seattle pretty late. meet rachel. she’s awesome.
hang out. drink wine. chat about life.

wake up and head to pike place.

go to a french cafe. drink good coffee. eat delicious pastries.
super yums.

see the infamous fish market. watch the guys throw fish. it smells bad.

brought to you by wet snugglebunnies:

flowers. produce. wares. lots of people. very crowded. but so fun.

gum wall.
it smells horrible.
i mean, disgusting.
i watched these kids take gum off the wall.
and eat it.
their dads were not watching.
this is 1,394,948 pieces of pre-chewed gum.

it smells horrible.

sister photo after smelling the wall.

head to easy street records. #5 record store in the country.
it was great.

we did some serious damage. worth it.

head to ballard. sushi for lunch.
super yums.

go to sonic boom. #16 record store in the country.

go to cupcake royale.
legalize frostitution.

say goodbye to rachel.
couch surfing stay #2 = super success.

leave seattle.

this photo is for sarah:
pod #13

drive to portland,oregon. meet alyssa and angie. thanks to mcgown.
they are awesome.
decide to adventure into the portland night-time scene.

head to deschutes brewery.
eat elk meatballs and drink some very local/yummy beers.
talk a lot.
good stuff.

go to voodoo doughnuts.
we don’t really like doughnuts.
but these were weird. and good.
also the scene was fun.
and also made uber gross by my darling, dainty sister.

wake up. great coffee with alyssa and ang. say goodbye to new friends & great hostesses.
head into the city where the portland marathon has been happening beneath the apartment complex all morning.

cheer some people on at the finish line.
emily cries.
she loves watching old people running.
and finishing races.

finally navigate our way around the race.
find coffee and breakfast burritos. they were good.

don’t they look delicious tyler?

spend the rest of the day without the cameras. exploring portland.
shopping in way-fun vintage stores. enjoying the artsyness. falling in love with this city.

leave portland. sad day.

get a $2 bill at a gas station in oregon from an old creeperton.

hilarity ensues.

pod #14

drive a lot. through oregon. finally get into northern california.
start driving to happy camp to stay with lisa.

we think the road will never end.
we may throw up.
it’s so windy. and so dark.
and there’s so much mountain.
finally make it to happy camp at 1:30 AM.

pass out.

wake up. chat with lisa for a bit. leave for san fran.

stop and see bigfoot before we leave happy camp.

drive along the klamath river. pretty.

stop here for gas. don’t know how to say where here is.

mt. shasta.

drive south. through the mountains. almost to san fran…

(band of horses- nw apartment)