favorite posts: you get what you put in  //  exodus 14:14  //  You

- i had a moment in the cookie aisle when i discovered mega stuf oreos.
- "there is no story too messy for God; no mistage too big." -she reads truth.
- read this book, which is now in my top ten. it really opened my eyes. (before you roll your eyes at the title, don't.)

january was the beginning of tax season. i always dread it, but this year, i made the choice to find joy in my circumstances. winter has never been at the top of my awesome list, but a friend reminded me that there is still beauty to be found in that season. i grew a lot during the winter months and have a new appreciation for bare trees and winter nature.


- bought my first instax. (and then two more!)
- played in pretty snow.
- the daffodils bloomed and it was glorious.

february was similar to january. for most people, february means love or cupid or roses. for me: girl scout cookies. spring made a premature entrance, and i can't describe what its presence does to me. it's divine and spiritual and reminds me of how creative our Heavenly Father is. i really started finding my blogging voice during that month. of course it's also the month of love. not gonna lie, i despised v-day for a long time. in an attempt to see it in a different light, i soon learned that valentine's day is not just about love for a significant other, but love for everyone. i had a fun sweethearts party with great friends and am looking forward to celebrating the day of love next year!


favorite posts: came the spring  // spring delights  //  bloom where you are planted  //  tis so sweet   

- rode on a motorcycle for the first time.
- started reading the harry potter series.
- tried frozen yogurt for the first time.

march was one of my favorite months. all for one reason: spring flowers. i love all the seasons of nature, but spring captures my soul. i am reminded that God gifted me with a camera instead of a pen to tell my story. i ventured out and explored after the cold winter months. nature feels the warmth of spring by revealing blooms of all varieties and colors and showing the magnificent handwork of the greatest Artist. the way nature transitions to each season is one of God's marvelous works. march also brought easter this year. it is a day of humble reflection of Jesus' sacrifice for me and also a joyous celebration because He conquered the grave.


favorite posts:  tulips & prayers  //  they call her love  //  in every detail 

- completed the FRIENDS series. when rachel said, "i got off the plane", cue the waterworks.
- the flowers i planted bloomed! flowers are my love language, so you can imagine my excitement. (and the number of pictures)
- i was featured on the postal pix blog.

april was a busy and fun month. tax season ended, which is always a momentous occasion. nature welcomed april with more spring flowers. mama and i took our annual shopping trip to OKC. i started playing around with typography. i learned that God cares about the tiniest of details and to never, ever take a midol on an empty stomach.


favorite posts:  home  //  happy happenings  //  instagrams & polaroids 

- went thrifting for the first time.  
- watched the drag races with my brother. 
- mourned for my home state after the devastating tornado outbreaks.

may was also a busy month. lots of shopping days with mama. warmer weather means more time outdoors reading books on the deck and soaking in some rays. unfortunately, spring in oklahoma means tornadoes. my family and i were in the path of one tornado, but then it shifted north. many people lost their lives that month. but we oklahomans are strong. we come together and help our neighbors and those we don't even know. oklahoma is the tear in your eye, the love in your heart, and the shirt off your back. it isn't just a place; it's home.


favorite posts:  summer lovin'  //  in the hurricane  //  life via iphone 

- went as a youth leader to falls creek.
- "under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors."
- VBS!

june was a tough month. i spent a week at falls creek as a sponsor, which was fun. the worship band and speaker were awesome. i grew closer with a few girls. i had certain expectations of what that week would be like, but God used that experience to open my eyes. the middle of june was the hardest week of the entire year. i don't want to go into details, but in one of the lowest and most trying times of my life, God was still there. He was right there in the eye of the hurricane, protecting and holding me. june ended great, with VBS at church and my vscogrid going live.


- i made the decision to start fresh with a new blog. i spent the later half of july writing new content.
- my family & i celebrated mama's birthday with great friends from church. my brother & daddy put on the best fireworks show!
- i came up with a new blog series in which i explore God's creation with nothing but a camera and a craving for adventure.

july was awesome! my mama's birthday is on the fourth, so we celebrate freedom and a birthday. we invited a lot of friends from church and had a fantastic night of fun, fireworks, food, and friends. after going to falls creek the previous month, God put on my heart to start a youth group. it all fell into place and we started IGNITE youth group. it has grown so much in the last six months and all the glory goes to God.


- celebrated my twenty-seventh birthday with my family, cheering for the sooners in norman.
- started this new blog!
- i got stung by a scorpion.

august is my brother and i's birthday month, so of course it was awesome. it was a scorcher outside, so lots of iced coffee, fro-yo, and strawberry lemonade were consumed. i bought an iphone 5. i cut my bangs way too short, resulting in headbands for a couple weeks. the month ended with a family trip to norman to watch the sooners play on my birthday. family + sooner football = the best birthday.


- tried gelato for the first time.
- after much thought, i changed my political affiliation.
- my parents celebrated their thirty-second wedding anniversary.

september means football, cooler temps, and the coming of fall. this month was when i really started digging deep and writing content that matters to me. i curled up with a cup of coffee on rainy days. i explored and reveled in the changing leaves and magnificent foliage.


- went to another OU game with daddy.
- had a photo featured on instagram.
- witnessed six kids accept Jesus as their Savior at wednesday night youth group.

october ushers in one of the best seasons. fall is in full force, and turkey day and christmas are peeking around the corner. it was a month of stellar sunsets, planning adventures, and changes. i dyed my hair red and WHOA was it red. there were lots of shopping trips with mama and pumpkin spice lattes. daddy and i went on a memorable daddy-daughter date to the OU game against tcu. basically - october was a blast. 


favorite posts:  weekends are for  //  give thanks in joy  //  currently   

- started writing pen pals.
- enjoyed a low-key thanksgiving with my family.
- had one of my instagrams printed in the daily oklahoman.

november - i can't say enough about it. we averaged twenty-five kids on wednesdays nights and big plans were made for next year's trip to fall creek. sleet and ice and snow made an appearance. i bought a new instax camera. thanksgiving was great, followed by mama and i walking around the property. i treated myself to a date with katniss everdeen and a huge bag of popcorn. and i can't forget the best part of november: the return of peppermint mochas. mmmmm.   


- finished the harry potter series for the first time. ( ! ! ! )
- family time.
- sugar cookies. because, YES.

and then there's december. good grief, this year flew by. but this month ended the year on a high note. the birth of our Savior was celebrated. even more peppermint mochas were consumed. i took senior pictures for a family friend. daddy had a birthday. christmas shopping with mama happened more than once. ice and snow greeted us, and it was divine. there was even an earthquake thrown in the midst of it all. (i love oklahoma.) and for the grand finale - i bought a new truck saturday.

this year was pretty darn good. lot of firsts were had, lots of love and laughs and tears and struggles and everything in between. but in each detail, i see the Lord. in each moment, i know He was there, guiding me along the way. as i reflect back on this year, i am thankful for the experiences - good and bad - because i don't want to become complacent. i want to grow and learn and create and explore all He has to offer.

hey, twenty-thirteen - thanks for the lessons learned + memories made. peace out.

rejoicing the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. LOVE. family time. laughter. memories. isaiah 9:6.
penguins. peppermint mochas. giving. tinsel. christmas cheer. eggnog. SUGAR COOKIES. more penguins.
christmas music. twinkling lights. o holy night. christmas morning tradition: chocolate gravy and biscuits.
watching family open presents. candy canes. hot chocolate. watching home alone & elf.
decorating the christmas tree with mama. enjoying family & traditions & the true meaning of this season.

an ice storm came through oklahoma last night. it seems fitting since today marks the first official day of winter. 
i should also note that - in true oklahoma fashion - it was in the sixties and seventies earlier this week.

nature explorations is a series about exploring nature. so philosophical, i know. nature is my love language. God's creation stirs the deep parts of my soul in ways i can't put into words, so i capture them with my camera. i feel closest to Him when i am marveling at His handmade beauty, and my prayer is that when others see my work, they will be inspired to seek Him in the humble places of their life as well.

 t-shirt: blue seven (design by bombs away art) //  jewelry: forever 21

if y'all haven't noticed, i'm all about series on this little blog. (grammar tip of the day: the plural of series is series.) i collect remnants from my daily life, make happy lists, explore God's beautiful nature, and write about what i'm currently up to in life. well - shocker - i am starting yet another series. something along the lines of a photo-a-week of myself coupled with my latest fashion must-haves. i have yet to think of a catchy title phrase because christmas is here, and it's the most wonderful time of the year. spittin' rhymes up in this joint, yo.

i originally planned to start this after the new year, but that's cliche. plus, i bought this rad tee from blue seven and couldn't wait to show it off. the packaging was just as awesome as the tee. i'm a sucker for great packaging, especially when it's so pretty that i don't want to open it. a company that not only puts thought into their product, but how an item arrives speaks volumes to me. 

one final thought: when i sat down to look at these pictures, i laughed. notice how i'm not centered in any of the photos? yeah, that wasn't on purpose. i'm still learning to whole camera/remote/where-to-stand part. but hey, perfection is boring. and my hair looks great.

- transformers box. i was just as excited to have the box as well as the mug.

- gold & white washi tape. it came on shayla's adorable christmas card.

- birchbox envelope. the hair tie and berry-colored lip crayon included in this box made me do a happy dance.

- ribbon. every year, one of daddy's tire companies sends him a huge box of assorted chocolates. we always open the box as a family.

- instax of a snowy day. there's something about the peace that snow brings to nature. the stillness is captivating.

- merona boot tag. i bought the best pair of ankle boots at target. i've wore them every day since.

- forever 21 ring tag. i decided to give midi rings a try. verdict: i'm a fan. it gives a little edge to my style.

- starbucks breakfast wrapper. i can't explain the heavenly goodness that their bacon, egg, & gouda sandwich. it's cosmic.

- not-sure-what-that-round-object-is-called. but i found it on the floor of the car shop, and it reminds me of a funny, rainy night with the boys.

- sucker wrapper. the best sucker of all time: candy cane tootsie pops. i'm on my fourth bag of the christmas season. no shame, people.

- tracking slip. my kids and i made christmas cards for the soldiers and sent them to the red cross to be distributed to our heroes.

- blue seven tag. i bought the best t-shirt ever. it's making an appearance on the blog tomorrow.

- pinecone & garland. it's no secret i'm obsessed with pinecones. and a white one with glitter? let's just say i'm happy it broke off the garland.

- coffee k-cups. ahhh, coffee. how i love thee.

see previous collected remnants post here.

life captured through the lens of my iphone.

- i dyed my hair red again, and when i rinsed it out in the shower - oh, mylanta. it looked like i murdered someone, y'all.

- i get on facebook and scroll through the newsfeed only to be reminded why i don't like facebook.

- isn't it funny how a smell can take you back in time? i love when a scent reminds me of a memory.

- i bought myself the best mug ever. yes, ever.

- after decades of singing christmas songs, i have finally decided "o holy night" is my favorite.

- oklahoma weather be crazy. fog for days, then snow/ice/sleet, an earthquake thrown in the mix, and ending with more snow.

- i am never too old to watch scooby doo.

- i'm still mad/affected by hershel's death on the walking dead. i know it's a tv show, but still.

- OU's game-winning touchdown resulted in daddy and i screaming like lunatics. 

- listening to mama order at starbucks is the cutest thing.

- i have been rocking the katniss braid a lot since watching catching fire.

- pluto is still a planet, no matter what anyone says.

- i bought these boots at target over the weekend. they're so cute i could to sleep in them. (i also want the black pair, but they're sold out.)

- the elf on the shelf is used to promote good behavior. correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't that the parents' job?

- those people selling straighteners in the mall flock to me like vultures. one look at my long hair, and i know i'm caught in their crosshairs. (zing!)

- level 102 of candy crush is my arch nemesis.

- i started the last harry potter book. i cried like a baby at the end of the half-blood prince. i don't want to believe it.

- i kinda want to start a fashion friday post.

- when i refer to my brother as "my baby brother", people think of a toddler, not a twenty-five-year-old handsome guy with a beard.

- want to win fun goodies and an ad space on my little blog? stop by cara's blog.

- starbucks' bacon, egg, and gouda breakfast sandwich is from heaven. seriously though.

- my end-of-the-year recap blog post. it's my favorite post to write. [see 2011 & 2012.]
- simplicity.
- christmas crafts. 

▲ listening: 
- "o holy night". it's my favorite christmas song.
- "all i want for christmas is you" - mariah carey. 
- the bc clark jingle. if you live in oklahoma, you know it isn't officially christmas until you hear it!
- "o come o come emmanuel" - the civil wars.

▲ reading:
- gifted: eclosea - stefne miller. she's posting one chapter a day. go read NOW.
- people style watch magazine's december/january issue. 

- hp, book 6. 
- january issue of instyle.  

▲ watching:
- christmas movies! home alone, elf, etc.
- the office, season seven. 
- penguins: waddle all the way.
- law & order: svu.
- courtney loves dallas. judge me all you want. it's my guilty pleasure. girlfriend has style and personality.

▲ anticipating: 
- youth group tonight! the kids are putting on a christmas play that is told from the angels' perspective. it's so awesome.
- christmas shopping with mama. it's a tradition, and i love spending the day with my 'BBF'. (that's how she says it.)

▲ praying for:
- korben. he is still taking chemo. please lift up this precious boy and his family.
- a renewed heart in this advent season.
- my youth group girls. i remember how awkward/hard/emotional/crazy life was at their age.

- how beautifully serene nature is when snow is falling.
- how wonderful my pictures are from postal pix

- everyone has a story. take time to listen.
- you don’t have to change others in order to love them.
- "arrange whatever pieces come your way." virginia woolf.

▲ making me happy:
- she reads truth: emmanuel plan.
- the scents this time of year brings. pine, peppermint, cinnamon.
- collecting remnants from my daily life. who knew trash could tell a story?
- my evening reading time with boomer cuddled in my lap.
- birchbox. they have been spot-on the last two months!

i took a family friend's senior pictures last week. as i edited the pictures, i forgot how fun editing is. just kidding. but it wasn't as difficult as it used to be. this got me thinking about two major lessons i have learned since getting my first point and shoot.

- lesson one: i didn't understand my camera, so i shot in auto mode. this limited my abilities and added more editing time. in the last year, i have forced myself to learn how to shoot in manual mode. i still don't understand aperture or iso, but i know how to work my camera. i know what settings work best, and that has made the biggest difference in my work. 

- lesson two: the worst habit i developed was comparing my work to other photographers. this is common among all budding photographers. it can be debilitating to one's craft and passion. i fell prey to it many times. i remember wondering why my pictures didn't look like so-and-so's, but that's because i was focusing on their work instead of my own talent. it doesn't come overnight. it takes practice every single day. i have spent countless hours researching editing techniques, how-to videos, and photography articles. i learned that it's okay to be inspired by another photographer's work, but it's not okay to be exactly like another photographer.

i had a little photography business a few years ago. this was right before everyone and their dog decided owning a dslr meant they were a professional photographer. i haven't told many people this, but the reason i quit taking pictures for people is because it wreaked havoc on my nerves. i was not confident in my work, therefore, i let constant comparison and ridiculous nervousness get the best of me. i'm not saying i want to re-open my photography business, but after taylor's senior session, maybe i will explore out of my comfort zone of capturing God's creation to capturing the people He created.

i get a lot of questions about what camera/editing software i use, so here's a breakdown:
camera: canon rebel t2i.
lenses: macro lens (favorite): 100mm f/2.8L IS // kit lens // 85mm f/1.8 
editing: photoshop cs4 using actions from florabella collection // paint the moon // the coffeeshop blog
this action is my absolute favorite. i use it for a lot of shots. (and it's free!)

nature explorations is a series about exploring nature. so philosophical, i know. nature is my love language. God's creation stirs the deep parts of my soul in ways i can't put into words, so i capture them with my camera. i feel closest to Him when i am marveling at His handmade beauty, and my prayer is that when others see my work, they will be inspired to seek Him in the humble places of their life as well.