Monday, March 31, 2014


all photos shot with my iphone 5; edited with VSCOcam.

Friday, March 28, 2014

photoshop actions from a beautiful mess.

the (always) creative ladies at a beautiful mess recently released three sets of photoshop actions. i have been a reader/fangirl for many years, so i bought all three! in my opinion, it doesn't matter what type of photographer or level of expertise - anyone with a passion for photography should own at least one of these collections. [my favorite is the folk collection. those matte tones make me swoon, i tell ya.]
they even have a mini collection, which contains a sample of their favorite actions, but here's a helpful tip - just buy them all.

i love how versatile these actions are. bright & cheery, crisp & colorful, or subtle & moody, there's an action for whatever mood you're trying to portray. i haven't picked up my dslr in weeks because i have been feeling uninspired, but these actions have jump-started my creativity. [oklahoma finally got the spring memo, so that helps, too.] i am so excited to play around with these collections!

paris - fresh collection  +  bright contrast - ABM basic actions

willis - folk collection 

sunday - folk collection

lula [b+w] - signature collection  +  light leak 2 - folk collection

margeaux  +  light leak 1 - folk collection


[week thirteen of my fifty-two week self-portrait project]

- this week's picture is an ode to country music, pretty spring flowers, and a really great hair day.

- thank you for all the love on this post. i wanted to delete it about ten times, but there is something beautiful and freeing about vulnerability.

- am i the only one who didn't know kate mara and rooney mara were sisters? they have the same name, but WHOA, my mind is blown.

- i held the door open for an older gentleman, and he stopped me and said, "no, honey. that's not how it works." chivalry isn't dead.

- this week's polaroid (and nails!) are my favorite in the series thus far.

- when i eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, i save all the cookie dough to eat last.

- i wish y'all could listen to my mama order at starbucks. "i'd like a caramel mocha frapp-uh-cin-a, please." she is so cute.

- "don't shine so that others can see you. shine so that, through you, others can see Him.” c.s. lewis

- less than three weeks until tax season is over. hallelujah!

- when i wake up in the mornings, i'm like :(  //  but then i remember there's coffee, so i'm like :)

- you know you live in oklahoma when you can't tell the difference between the wind and an earthquake. [it was the latter.]

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

i choose Jesus.

as i scrolled through instagram, i was greeted with a picture of a friend and her new boyfriend, a cute pregnancy announcement, and a newly married couple on their honeymoon. double-tap, double-tap, double-tap. i laid the phone down, turned the tv off, and cried for awhile.

being single is not a disease. it does not define me or make me less than those who are married. but that doesn't mean it's easy peasy.

it seems as though i'll be stuck in this same place forever while everyone gets their happily ever after. i tell people i'm waiting on the Lord to bring me a boyfriend, but the truth is - i don't actually believe it will happen. i have faith in every area of my life except that one. i feel unworthy to be in love. the scars of past heartbreak and mistakes and more heartache are still tender after all these years. i've let careless words shape my thoughts. i've let the lies of satan convince me i'm unlovable and unworthy and tainted.  

Lord, like the father whose demon-possessed son was healed by Jesus, help my unbelief! heal the wounds of the past; bind them up with Your redeeming Love. thank you for the mercy You have poured out to me. i will praise You, no matter the circumstance, because You showed me i am worthy of Your love by sending Jesus to die on that cross for me. You showed me i am forgiven when Jesus walked out of that grave and defeated death. You showed me i am loveable because You first loved me.

i don't want to live my life looking back. i look to You and only You. there is freedom and life and forgiveness and love with You. 
despite what my life looks like or what i feel or what i don't have, whether i get married in a year or ten years or never - i choose Jesus.

tidbits of life.

- cowboy boots & daffodils. this picture is my favorite. everything about it - the mood, the boots, the location, the flowers - it represents me to a T. it was taken in one of my favorite places. i do a lot of thinking and praying and picture taking and worshiping in this spot. it's in the middle of a lot of junk, but that's the beauty of it all. there are random flowers growing in the midst of it all. there is a flowering quince bush that blooms so bright you can see it from the road. i love this place.   

- new bible & journal. i bought the esv journaling bible. i use it along with my nlt study bible. i am working though naptime diaries' lent journal.

- beauty goodies. i can't pass up 97-cent lipstick. or purple nail polish. or purple glitter nail polish.

- spring sighting. my heart could explode from excitement! the weather is supposed to be incredible this weekend, so i plan to spend every minute soaking up the sun and taking way too many pictures of flowers.

- burrito bowl. i tried chipotle for the first time last weekend, and now i know what heaven tastes like.

- rain, rain. i have a thing for photographing rain droplets.

- OJ & blogging. when i started blogging, i had no idea what i was doing. three years later, i still sometimes feel that way. if i could improve on one thing, it would be writing. i have all these thoughts and ideas in my head, but executing them into coherent words and sentences is often a difficult task. but that's how my photography was in the beginning. i look back at some of my work, and it's insane to see the journey from then to now. blogging has opened so many doors, and i'm excited to grow and learn and see where God takes me.

- my grandma's polaroid camera. i am hoping it still works so i can start dabbling in film photography.

- iced coffee. i may or may not have bought that glass because i thought it would be pretty with iced coffee or lemonade.

Monday, March 24, 2014


- a blog review of the new photoshop actions from a beautiful mess. [hint: they're awesome!]
- happiness.
- a photography challenge for myself.

▲ listening: 
- ellie holcomb's new album, as sure as the sun. it is SO good, y'all.
- "joy" - rend collective. 
- "He knows my name" - francesca battestelli.

▲ reading:
- the book of jonah
- the screwtape letters - cs lewis.
- darling magazine's spring 2014 issue.   
- national geographic complete photography.

▲ watching: 
- the walking dead.
- revenge. 
- law & order: svu.   

▲ anticipating: 
- spring blooms.
- the end of tax season.
- warmer weather.

▲ praying:
- for patience and joy in the ordinary. these small moments of my life are not insignificant.
- for the she reads truth app kickstarter campaign. i talk about SRT a lot, but truthfully - it has changed my life.
- "set a fire down in my soul that i can't contain, that i can't control. i want more of You, God." Jesus culture & martin smith.

▲ marveling:
- how God works. He is in the smallest of details, yet His glory is everywhere.
- at the coming of spring. the changing of seasons is one of my favorite things.

▲ learning:
- i cannot change people, but i can love them.
- sometimes keeping my mouth shut is more beneficial than stating my opinion.
- "comparison is the thief of joy." especially when it comes to social media.

▲ making me happy: 
- more daylight hours
- strawberry lemonade sweet tea
- bright green nail polish
- spring colors
- my new esv journaling bible
- smiling strangers
- iced coffee & sunshine

Saturday, March 22, 2014

spring blooms & sweet conversations.

this past week was rough, emotional, chaotic, and exhausting. i put so much pressure on myself to have it all together, to solve all the problems around me, to make sure everyone else is happy. in doing so, i felt out of control. i am not God; i cannot fix everyone. i cannot make everyone happy; i cannot have it all together, all the time.

as i was running errands yesterday morning, i rounded the corner at the post office to find no parking spots available. ugh. i went around the block, and drove by the senior citizens center to see if their flowering trees had any blooms. i didn't look the first time i drove by because i was so focused on my problems and emotions. as i pulled into the parking lot, i noticed several tiny pink blooms has opened up. eeeekkkk. i couldn't wait to come back later to snap a few shots.

my grandma gave us the afternoon off to get a break from the chaos of tax season. mama and i decided to go shopping because - duh - that's the obvious choice. before i went home to change, i stopped by to snap a few shots of the blooms in case we didn't get back in time.

i sat in my truck for a good thirty seconds because i get nervous thinking about the fact that someone will see me taking pictures.

once i mustered up to courage to get out of the truck, i walked up to the tree and started snapping away. then i heard some people coming toward me saying, "oh, she's taking a picture of the tree."

crap. they're going to tell me i can't take pictures. they'll probably yell at me, and call the cops and i'll go to jail. no starbucks for me!

i turned around to see a sweet elderly woman and man walking my way. they had big smiles on their faces.

okay, maybe they just want to say hi.

i greeted them with a hello and explained how much i love photographing spring nature. they didn't come out to tell me to leave; they just wanted to let me know i could take pictures anytime.

that's like telling a kid they can come to the candy store for free candy anytime. score!

i ended up talking with them for over thirty minutes. they invited me inside to look at the other plants and flowers. as i drove away, i felt different. God used those seemingly insignificant situations to remind me that He is in control. if i hadn't circled around earlier that morning to find another parking spot, i wouldn't have noticed those blooms. if that sweet man and woman hadn't taken time to come say hi, i wouldn't have interacted with them.

it all happened because God always gives me what i need, just when i need it. at a time when i needed Him the most, He showed up in the form of spring blooms and sweet conversation. God is good and creative.

Friday, March 21, 2014


- i always use the vscocam app, but i'm integrating afterlight into the editing process now. i heart light leaks. [thanks for the reminder, cassie!]

- speaking of light leaks, i'm considering buying a toy camera.

- sunday afternoon naps are the best.

- she reads truth is using my IG photos for their jonah plan, and it makes me so giddy. when they asked, i was like, "OH.EM.GEE. YES."

- there's a bird that perches on the railing outside of the office. i named him gilbert. he is so cute.

- retweeting compliments is like walking up to someone and saying, "hey, look at all these wonderful things people said about me!" it's WEIRD.

- note to self: it is okay to say no. 

- i took out the trash and noticed it smelled really good. [what?!] they were scented trash bags, but now i'm all lavender & vanilla EVERYTHING.

- when there is a full moon, do not go to walmart. ever.

- i don't have green pj's so i had to wear a green scarf all monday night because i live in a family of pinchers.

- mashed potatoes always bring me back to my braceface days. they were my meal of choice every time i got my braces tightened.

- dear winter: you've overstayed your welcome.

- i don't care what anyone says: the fact that overalls are on trend right now makes me so happy.

- life has been kinda tough lately. i'm thankful i serve a God who gives me grace right where i am, but loves me enough not to leave me there.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

a [spring] happy list.

edited with the afterlight app.

FLOWERS. easter. chirping birds. sunshine. pastels. butterflies. spring fashion. a season of newness. 
tulips. daffodils. thunderstorms. FLOWERS. windows-down-music-up weather. spring cleaning. refreshing warmth.
celebrating the resurrection of my Savior. FLOWERS. exploring nature after a long winter. flying kites. 
the smell of dirt & earth. blue skies & green grass. open windows & fresh air. skirts & sandals. spring blooms & FLOWERS.

happy first day of spring! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

beautiful nature.

photography is part of who i am. it is a passion felt deep within my soul. my camera is like an extra appendage of my body. every fiber of my being dances with excitement and wonder when i am exploring and capturing God's beautiful nature. [hence the title of the book.]

it nice to have my work displayed on the blog and social media sites, but i wanted a tangible way to preserve my art. so i created a book of my favorite iphoneography images via artifact uprising app. i linked my instagram feed and finished the book in less than thirty minutes. when the book arrived in the mail, a dream pushed to the back of my mind stirred in my heart again. i've been dreamin' this dream for quite some time. 

i want to publish a photography book.

[typing that and knowing the whole world (okay, maybe twenty people) will see it gives me anxiety. maybe because i don't actually think it would ever happen or because i want it to happen so desperately.]

i've been struggling with my purpose in this life lately. the why, the how, the when. i want to make a difference for the Kingdom of God. as a follower of Christ, my purpose is to spread the Gospel. it isn't glorification of self or accomplishments or success, but to bring glory to the Lord. i don't want to waste my life on things that don't matter or pursue fleshly desires. i just want Jesus. i want others to know of His redeeming Love. one way i can do this is by sharing my story, photographing His beauty and sharing it with the world. even in this scary, messy world we live in today, there is still beauty to be found, whether that be in quiet, humble places or extravagant works only His hand could create.

Friday, March 14, 2014


- when my grandma gracie died many years ago, she left me her bible, her jewelry, and that camera i'm holding in the picture above.

- tax season will be over one month from tomorrow!

- the number of times i have watched the new transformers trailer is ridiculous.

- warmer weather + spring daffodils = happy heart.

- dear red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting: me love you long time.

- the extra hours of daylight make up for the hour of sleep i lost.

- the wind in oklahoma was so fierce earlier this week that it ripped part of our siding off the house.

- i took off work yesterday and went with my brother to OKC. i cherish those brother/sister moments so much.

- people call protective mothers 'mama bears'. well i'm a 'sister bear'. a salesman was so rude to my brother. i kindly but firmly stepped in.

- cheesy joke of the day: what do you call a bear with no teeth? a gummy bear.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

she shares truth // psalm thirty-eight.

i am a sinner. there is nothing that will change that this side of heaven. there isn't a magic pill or a five step program to help me. like the psalmist, there are times when the guilt of my transgressions overwhelms me. like anger or bitterness, guilt can fester in my heart and spread to my mind and throughout my body. i let it eat away at me until i feel it in my bones. it's a heavy burden.

but it's not my burden to bear. Jesus came to give life to the fullest - not a life of cheap thrills and temporary happiness, but a life lived for Him. God didn't create human life with the intent of pointing out every little misstep. He created us for a purpose; for His glory. when i sin, i'm taking my life into my own hands and telling God my way is better, only to fall at His feet, begging for forgiveness, time and time again.

when i confess my sins like the psalmist did in verse eighteen, God is faithful and just to forgive my sins and cleanse me.

this psalm talks a lot about sin and guilt and pain, but i also see the beauty in God's discipline. He spoke creation into existence; His very breath holds more power than all the energy on this planet combined, yet He doesn't leash His wrath on me every time i fail. in whatever way He choses to discipline me, it's for my benefit, even in the times of trouble and suffering. anything that draws me closer to Him is a blessing. i am a new creation, and He is molding me to be more like Him.

"anything which drives us to God is a blessing, 
and anything which weans us from leaning on the arm of flesh, 
and especially that weans us from trying to stand alone, is a boon to us.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

photography gear.


camera: canon rebel t2i.  //  this is what i like to call my 'big camera'. it is my first dslr, and it has been good to me. 
the lens on the camera is an 85mm f/1.8. the images this fixed lens produces are superb. and the bokeh is so dreamy.

macro lens: this is my favorite lens EVER. i can't put into words how awesome this lens is, so i will just show you HERE.
remote: in my opinion, this is a great investment. i use it for self-portraits.
kit lens: this lens came with the camera body (hence the name 'kit lens'.) i rarely use it anymore, but it is still a good lens for beginners.


 instax mini 90  //  this is the best instax mini camera out there right now. there are so many features, and it is not bulky like the others. 
(i have the instax mini 7s, but i am thinking of selling it because it cannot even compare to the 90.)

 instax 210   //  this camera produces wide format polaroids. it is a lot bigger than it seems, but it is fun to use.


 olloclip 3-in-1 lens  //  muku shuttr remote  //  iphone 5

iphone lens: i only use the macro side of this lens. again - instead of explaining it's awesomeness, i'll show you HERE.
iphone remote: i really like this little gadget. it hooks up via bluetooth and i can snap away. (i attach my iphone to a tripod.)
iphone: all my instagrams are shot with my iphone. i have been shooting with iphones for three years now. i don't know about the newer models, but the 5's camera is incredible. truth be told, i haven't used my dslr in over a month. can you blame me when i get shots like these?


software: for photos taken with the dslr, i edit with photoshop cs4
actionsflorabella collection  //  paint the moon  // my favorite action is this matte action from the coffeeshop blog. 
iphoneography/instagram: all photos are edited with the VSCOcam app.

Friday, March 7, 2014


- i am loving the lipstick i'm wearing in this week's photo. it is very spring-ish and cheery and pretty.

- no one is more excited for the new transformers movie than me. when people say they are excited, i'm like honey, pleeease. no.

- there needs to be an audio book of the bible with morgan freeman as the narrator. i'd seriously buy that!

- i get to work on my taxes this weekend. [insert eye roll here.] i work at a tax office and still haven't filed! [insert another eye roll here.]

- i keep pinning to my spring pinterest board in hopes that oklahoma will get the memo.

- i started sponsoring my compassion kid two years ago today. i love that sweet girl so much!

- a lot of girls are starting on their summer tans via tanning beds. as much as i'd like to be tan, i'll stick with the sunless tanners.

- one of the clients at work brought milkshakes earlier this week - just because.

- i was watching the fourth HP movie when all of a sudden, there's edward cullen. i had no idea r-pats played cedric! i'm still mindblown.

- i'm longing for warm sunshine, spring flowers, chirping birds, spring flowers, exploring, and spring flowers.

- anger corrodes that in which it is carried.

- i have been so inspired lately. there are some fun, creative blog posts in the works.

- if i had a british accent, i'd never shut up.

- it rained this week, which means i got to tell my favorite joke over and over: it's raining cats and dogs out there. don't step in a poodle. ZING!

she shares truth // psalm 130.

i am currently studying through she reads truth's lent plan. [i heart SRT so much.] each week - in addition to the daily devotionals - they will give a scripture to study. on fridays, we - as a community - come together via social media and blogs to discuss what we learned, what God revealed, etc. this week's scripture is psalm 103. for this first devotional, i broke it down verse by verse.

// verses one & two // from the depths of despair, o Lord, i call for Your help. hear my cry, o Lord. pay attention to my prayer.

i don't have to wonder what a cry from the depths of despair is like because i've been there, on my knees, crying out tear-filled prayers. i remember one distinct time this happened. it was after i finished reading the book, redeeming love. i had been living life my own way, but God used that book to open my eyes to His grace and love and redemption. i was never too far gone or out of His reach.

// verse three // Lord, if You keep a record of our sins, who, o Lord, could ever survive?

well, certainly not me, y'all. just like the psalmist, i know that if it were up to a list of sins - i'd fall short within an hour. actually that's giving myself too much credit. better make it a minute.

// verse four // but You offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear You.

that verse makes my soul stir. He doesn't keep a record of my sins, but freely offers forgiveness despite my sinful self. i don't have to jump through hoops to earn it or check off a list of do's to keep it. in turn, His grace encourages reverence and trust.

// verses five, six, seven, and eight // i am counting on the Lord; yes, i am counting on Him. i have put my hope in His Word i long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn. o israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows. He Himself will redeem israel from every kind of sin.

these verses show me that waiting and trusting and hoping in the Lord is an active step. it's not twiddling my thumbs and counting down the days; it's not putting my faith in fleeting circumstances or sinners just like me. it's an active knowledge that the redemptive work of Jesus means it is finished. it's trusting in Him for every little thing. it's knowing that no matter what - His love is unfailing, and His Word is Truth.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

tidbits of life.

- snow day. i woke up monday morning to the wonderful news that i didn't have to go in, so i made a cup of coffee in my favorite mug and snuggled up in my bed with my bible and she reads truth. it was the most wonderful morning. i put on my flowery leggings in hopes that oklahoma would get the spring memo, but it's still freezing cold.

- purple tulips. i bought these lovelies for my half birthday. when i was paying for them at the checkout, the cashier was checking me out. he was very flirty and then asked me how old he looked. okay, dude - not interested, just give me my tulips. but alas, i played his little guessing game and turns out he's nineteen. he informed me that some people think he is twenty and one guy even thought he was twenty-seven. "well, i'm twenty-seven," i replied. zing! the look on his face was hilarious. he was very quick after that.

- talenti gelato. meet my lover, y'all.

- art journal. i started keeping an art journal for twenty-fourteen. i use watercolors, sharpies, pens - basically anything - to document the daily happenings. i am by no means an artist, but this is a fun, creative outlet.

- my year in polaroids journal. this is a fun project. granted it's been somewhat challenging to find appealing subjects lately because of the cold, but that why i like it. challenge leads to inspiration and creativity. 

- pinecone. of course i took a picture of the pinecones. i also recently discovered there is another pinecone tree growing in my grandma's garden. i will be writing about her and this tree in the future.

- exploring. i usually journey up to the pasture in the evenings since i'm at work all day, but on my snow day off, i bundled up and set out in the morning light. it was cold, but it was beautiful. there is something about snowfall that brings a captivating stillness to nature.

- my brother's race car. he took it to tulsa to get it certified, which means he'll be going reeeally fast. eeeekkk!

- valentine's day goodies. strawberry cake donut, bright lipstick, purple nails, and a polaroid of the tulips i bought myself. who says being single on v-day has to be boring?

all photos shot with my iphone 5; edited with VSCOcam; collage - diptic app.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


all photos shot with my iphone 5; edited with VSCOcam.