Month: April 2014

An Easter With No Eggs

 

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I rediscovered my love for Easter this year.

This year, Brock and I weren’t able to see any family over Easter, so we had to find a way to enjoy it on our own. We spent the morning at a huge church service held at an amphitheater in California. Despite the heat (and sun on my skin, which is a deep red right now), it was one of the best services I have been to in a while. Then I got to spend the evening strolling on the beach, watching impromptu drum lines, and snapping pictures. I am so thankful for my husband, my wonderful life, and the beautiful promise I have in Jesus Christ.

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Husbands Are Cool

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As previously mentioned, I met my husband when I was only 17 years old. We stared dating almost immediately and the rest is history. We have done so much together over the last five and a half years and I’m so thankful for every minute of it. I wanted to show a little appreciation because I forget to do that sometimes. So here are some of the reasons why my husband is my favorite husband I have ever had:

 

To my hottie with a body husband,

You love me even though I get a sudden burst of energy every night right as you are trying to fall asleep.

I have slowly added all of your comfy shirts into my “sleep shirt” collection and you pretend not to notice. Probably because we both know you are never getting them back.

You make my coffee with the perfect combination of milk and vanilla. I swear it tastes better just because you made it.

You are always wearing shoes. Even on lazy weekend days when we relax, you shower and put on your shoes first thing. Usually before you even put on a shirt.

Thanks for using your muscles to open every jar, bottle, box and can. We both know my arms are for show, not functionality.

You are the best audience for all my car ride musical performances.

Sometimes you fall asleep when I’m in the middle of a sentence and wake up 30 seconds later and try to play it off like it never happened.

Once a day I check my phone and have 5 missed calls from you because I always have my phone on silent. You love me anyway.

You like all my Instagram pictures, even the lame ones.

You come home for lunch on the days you work. On a related note, you never judge when it’s past noon and I’m still in pajamas. Some of my best work happens during pajama hours, okay?

You wake up in the middle of the night and run out in the living room with a knife because I heard a creak. I watch too many murder documentaries.

When I do the moonwalk you tell me I look just like Michael Jackson. My moonwalk confidence is through the roof because of you.

 

Anyway, those are just a few reasons why you are the best husband West of the Mississippi. And East. And all the other directions.

I love you Brock!

This is Not a Feel-Good Story


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I grew up in the church and I loved it. A lot of people love to express their hate for the church after years of elders making them sit in the pews and being force-fed scriptures, but this isn’t one of those stories.

I chose to go to church. My family was never particularly religious; my father doesn’t believe in anything in particular but has spoken a few times about reincarnation and things like that. I know he believes in something after death, but not in a God. My older brother is brilliant in math and science so he believes that our bodies will just be a pile of bones and our souls will cease to exist. And that will be that. My mother, on the other hand, believed in God. However, she struggled with her faith for many reasons. She was in and out of the church all the time.

I went to a summer camp when I was in 3rd grade. It was a Christian camp where we did all the normal outdoorsy fun things that come with traditional camp, but we also heard messages and sang worship songs. The pictures above are from that experience, and you can tell how much I enjoyed it. This was the first time I had ever really heard about God but it clicked for me. I believed whole-heartedly, and even at a young age I felt like there was a bigger presence in the world than just myself.

Middle school came and I was more involved in the church than ever. I was part of youth groups, I went to bible studies, and I even worked at the summer camp where I first learned about my faith. I felt so connected to God.

In high school some unfortunate things happened in my church. My pastor didn’t end up being the person we all thought he was. I decided to leave that church, but it was devastating for me because I had roots there. Even though that was a bad situation, I knew that people are flawed (even pastors) so my faith in God didn’t waiver. I felt like this was the biggest test in my faith so far and I had stayed strong. I didn’t know that there would be much greater tests to come.

Without delving into the long and complicated story of my past, essentially my mother was an alcoholic and my stepfather was abusive to me. I lived on my own with them from middle school until the end of high school. I silently endured things that no child should experience, all while keeping up a façade at school. Still, I believed in God. I believed He would be the one to dry my tears, right the wrongs, and save me from the storm.

Then came college. I had to completely break contact with my mother and stepdad for my mental well being. However, the drama continued to find its way into my life. My mother was in and out of the hospital every month. She was even in a weeklong coma at one point, all from her drinking.

This is the time I started to really examine my faith and what I truly believed. It seemed strange to me; So many people had told me that God answers the prayers of those He loves, but I wasn’t experiencing that. I had heard countless testimonies from Christians who talked about horrible life circumstances and how God had carried them through it. I can remember some of them so vividly; testimonies that talked about miracles happening. Why not me? Hearing these stores so many times made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Either God wasn’t real, or I was doing something wrong. I would cry out to Him and hear silence. I got to a point where those testimonies were not a beacon of hope for me. In fact, they started to make me angry. I thought about how I had prayed for my family life to improve for six years. Every single day. So how is it possible that all these people had their prayers answered, but not me?

Some people have miraculous stories about how just when they started thinking God wasn’t there, He suddenly came through and answered their prayers. This is not one of those stories either. Actually, this story is different than all the ones I ever heard growing up. While those testimonies are great in many ways, they often only show one side of faith. People want to hear the part when God saves the day, but they don’t want to hear stories without a happy ending. I had never heard anything like that either, despite spending most of my childhood in the church. But then I started reading the bible more. I began to explore the history of God, not based on stories I had heard in church, but based on actual scripture. What I found was quite interesting; there are so many instances in the bible where God asks His follower to endure horrific things; From Noah to Hezekiah to Joseph, and even Christ himself, it’s not always easy for those who love God. In many ways it is often harder for these people. I found new meaning in the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” because I realized it doesn’t say “I can do all things and Christ will make it easy.” Maybe, like David in the bible, God is working in order to build me something greater in the future. Or maybe I will never see why bad things happened in my life. However, I still believe.

I believe in God and He hasn’t answered my prayer. I trust that He has a plan even though He hasn’t answered my prayer.

Maybe you never hear these testimonies in churches because it’s not a feel-good story. But you know what it is? It’s real.

Picture (almost) Perfect

I got a new camera for my birthday. I’m in love. LOVE. I have always wanted something nice to take pictures with and this baby is more than I could ever ask for. It’s a Canon EOS 60D DSLR Camera with a EF-S 18-135 mm IS Lens.  I don’t actually know what any of that means but it makes it sound like I do.

The husband and I went on a little adventure at the wetlands in Huntington Beach to go on a walk and try out the camera. I’m still trying to figure out how to use it, but so far so good…

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If anyone has any advice about using the camera, taking pictures, or anything related to those things, let me know! I’m trying to learn as much as I can about my new camera child.

 

Hipster Baby on Board

I hate the word hipster.

Mostly because I think it’s overused. No, actually, I KNOW it’s overused. These days it feels like anyone who owns a pair of glasses are called hipster. I recently had to get a pair myself because apparently staring at computer screens for 90% of your day is bad for the eyes… or something. Almost every time I wear my glasses people ask me if they are real. By “real” they are actually wondering if they’re prescription or not (unless they are hallucinating). My glasses aren’t exactly what I would call “hipster.” I think they fit my face well, which is why I bought them (gasp). However, I feel like there are so many kinds of glasses that people unfairly put into the “hipster” category. If your glasses are round: hipster. If they are overly large: hipster. If they have any shape that was around in the 1950s: hipster. If the list of glasses that are considered hipster is longer than the non-hipster list, then there is something wrong with that.

This isn’t something that happens solely with glasses either. Shoes, backpacks, bikes, even the kind of music people listen to. I once heard someone say Lena Dunham was a hipster because she is a feminist and often speaks her mind. Also, partly because of the way she dresses and her tattoos. Well I have tattoos and I once took a women’s studies class so I guess I am hipster after all!

I swear if you’re a boy and dress well then you are S.O.L. because you’re doomed to be called hipster no matter what. It’s not only used to describe people wearing suspenders and donning handlebar mustaches anymore. You wear a vest? Hipster. Dress shoes? Hipster. Someone once described a light grey plaid suit at Dolce & Gabbana as hipster-chic and I barfed in my mouth. Nothing about a luxury fashion house is hipster.

Hipster is a label people like to put on others that do things differently than them. People think they sooo funny because they can critique things they disagree with. Oftentimes, at least here in California, it’s used almost as an insult. Instead of actually saying “I think your glasses are stupid” people just say they are hipster and think we don’t know what they mean by it. I once made a comment about Birkenstocks and someone said they are hipster sandals. I think the word you are going for is “hippy.” I even heard someone refer to Trader Joes as hipster. A grocery store is hipster? Can food be hipster? Children?? Let’s try to find some boundaries here…

I went to college in Portland, Oregon, which is home to some of the quirkiest people in the world. “Keep Portland Weird” bumper stickers are on most of the cars and just about everyone is an activist. There is an annual naked bike ride through the city that they actually shut down streets for. Yup, naked people on bikes. Based on California’s standards, everyone in Portland would be a hipster. In fact, it’s always on the top 5 list of hipster cities, which have been created by Huffington Post and Forbes, along with countless other publications. In Portland people like quality coffee, art, and it has a large farmer’s market. All things that make it hipster (apparently).

No city wants to be deemed “hipster,” especially when it’s hardly considered a compliment. No person wants to be called hipster. Can we just stop saying it altogether?

You can’t just call everything hipster because then nothing is hipster, you know what I mean? I’m sure I’m not the first person to point this out, but I can’t help but complain because I hear the word so many times a week it makes my head spin.

Anyway, I’m going to go put on my hipster clothes and hipster glasses, get in my hipster car with my “hipster baby on board” sign and drive to the hipster grocery store to get my hipster hummus.

What Not To Say To Me: The Young Married Girl

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I’m 23 and married.

Gasp.

Pause.

Gawk.

I have been married for over a year and a half now.

I started dating my husband when I was 16 years old. I was going into my senior year of high school and he had just graduated. Our eyes met from across the pizza parlor and there was more than cheese and pepperoni smells in the air: there was love. I will write a post about how we met and give you all the details sometime.

So we dated. We did long distance for a short while. We lived in Oregon. We lived in California. Then we lived in Oregon again. We experienced trials in our own lives and within our relationship. We also experienced extremely happy times that I am thankful we had together. We dated for three and a half years before we got married. To some people that might not seem very long, and to others it might seem like eternity. But we decided to get married. There are some strange things people say/ask when they find out I’m married at 23. Here are some things you should not say to me when you find out I’m married:

  1. Were you pregnant?

Do you have kids? Both of these questions imply that the only reason I could have gotten married at this age is because I had a bun in the oven. I wasn’t pregnant so sorry to disappoint.

  1. Why did you do that?

Because I wanted to, dummy.

  1. What did your parents say?

The only reason you are asking this is because you assume they disapprove. Even if they did, why would I tell a random stranger about that?? But, for the record, they are very happy for us.

  1. BUT you are SO YOUNG!

Thank you?

  1. How old are you?

How old are YOU??

  1. 50% of people who get married young end in divorce.

Thanks for the stats. Doesn’t that also mean 50% don’t end in divorce?

  1. You just wait…

For what? To start hating each other? I appreciate your enthusiasm.

At the end of the day, we got married because we loved each other and it felt right. There is no catch. That’s it.

I know, it’s shocking. However, despite how you feel about it, it’s my life choice. Maybe it seems crazy to you because we are different people and have different personalities. I don’t judge you for your life choices. Unless we’re talking about Crocs, then yes, I’m judging.