Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Recollections Of 2013

One year ago it was New Years eve and I was at a friends house with my brother. And I was doing awful. It was a pathetic way to start the year. I was alone and depressed in a house full of happy people; I remember feeling anxious and ignored, even though I should have known full well I was incredibly loved by the people around me; I didn't feel very loved. Last year I was in the worst shape I've ever been in. I was always sad, I felt left out and invisible, I didn't want go out, I didn't want people coming here, I just wanted to be left alone. I like being alone, but not feeling lonely. You get me? That was me last year. I had dug a hole for myself and I didn't want to come out, I wanted to dig deeper and deeper; maybe there was a small part of me that wanted someone to come down and carry me out, but I wouldn't admit that. I didn't realize how bad I actually was until it was over. I read through journal entries and look back on memories and I realize how depressed I was. 2 days into the new year my dad left. It was a sucky start to the year.

   So you might thing that the rest of the year would go like that, I thought it would, but God had a different plan. Instead, He decided to give me the best year of my life thus far. He always likes to do things differently. Honestly, this year was amazing. I've never had this feeling before. Usually I look back on an ok year with some really good memories scattered around, but this year was a game changer. A few really big events that changed my life this year were the womans retreat I went on with the ladies from my church where I learned about beauty, and how to live in the fullness of God's redemption; Camp, where I kicked fear in the face, and the missions trip, where I learned so much I couldn't even fit it in a blog post. I was thinking about all the people who have impacted me this year. I actually met new friends in 2013! Normally when I meet people, especially at camp, I meet them and have a good time but after that we're just acquaintances. I also got to strengthen friendships with people I had already known. I would like to name a few of them; Maddi, Mrs. Jenny, Olivia, Amanda, Becca, Jake, Kendall, Dylan, Katie, and my siblings; especially Dayle and Shane. Those people get special mentions. Some of them simply taught me one thing, and others profoundly impacted my life. Either way, they're important people and I have been blessed by them.

   This year was great. It makes me incredibly thankful for God's grace when I think about where I was. It gives me hope and faith to know that even though I didn't see it at the time, God was working. By His grace He came and rescued me out of a hole I had dug for myself; if He can reach that low, I am convinced He can do anything. Yet, simply rescuing me wasn't enough, each day He kept me from falling back again. Because that hole I dug will always be there, but He holds my hand to keep me from going back in there. Some days I feel like I'm falling back in again, and then I feel someone tug at my hand, and I remember that He hasn't let go of me. And He never will. He has made me so strong. 2013 is the year I killed fear. Not alone, but with Christ and the people He put in my life.

   Also, this year Rise Above It Missions was officially launched! Honestly, it feels like we've been doing this forever. But it's only been a year! We started it on January 2nd, 2013. In just one year we've gotten 119 Likes on Facebook and 1,121 followers on Twitter. God has blessed us tons! I've gotten to know a lot of people through this and its always amazing to talk to the people we have on RAIM. I love hearing all their unique stories. I feel so blessed when we have people tweet us that something we said impacted them; and recovery stories are amazing. I have such a respect for this specific community of people, because they go through insane situations, and yet often times, they message me and say that if I need anything, they're there for me. I love them!

   2013 was my year for spiritual growth. I have never felt closer to God than I do right now. I have a purpose for my life and I know what I want to do and it's wonderful! God has given me purpose. Personally, I'm finally being and becoming the person I've always wanted to be as well. Although this was my first year not being an AWANA leader I am glad I took the year off, even if it wasn't my choice; it gave me a breather and allowed me to focus on myself for a bit; because while I am convinced I need to focus on someone else all the time, God knows I need to think of myself every now and then. This year God taught me about so many things; I realized I actually do like sermons, I can study my bible at home and I finally know how to, and I can disagree with something another person says! And not everything I hear is true. Crazy right? I also learned that God can do anything and that if I feel Him calling me to something, I can forget everything else I hear about how its impossible. Because one of God's favorite hobbies is doing the impossible. I want to fill my waterpot to its fullest! I won't settle for anything else. I want to love God and do it with zeal! I want everyone to know about Him. Sure, I might have peculiar ways, but so does God. If He tells me to do it, I'm in.

   I've also grown a lot in my talents. My photography has blossomed! I finally get it and my desire is to use that gift to glorify God. I'm still trying to figure out how to do so but I know He'll make it happen, I just gotta keep searching. My photography has become such an anchor for me, and I never expected it. I didn't always want to be a photographer; I always loved pictures, but more like taking them of my family and friends with my $5 camera. But God developed that passion of mine so I know He's going to use it. As for my singing, I used to not like my voice a lot, mostly because I thought everyone else was better than me. But this year I realized they aren't better, they're just different. One more thing I love; gymnastics and fitness. I renewed my love for these things this year and I have an idea of how God wants me to use it and I am wicked excited for it!

   What an incredible year.

   God is so so so good. I have grown so much and it's all by God's grace. 2014 is going to be insane! And God is going to rock it, as usual. If you're looking back on just an ok year, I feel sorry for you. I never want to do that again.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Year In Books

   For the first time in my life I decided that I would make a list of every book I read this year. I am so glad I did! I read 38 books this year; not as well as I was hoping for. I was kinda hoping to reach at least 50. But boy was it a good year in my literary life! Now if you would ask me what my favorite book was, my top 5 would be ones I read this year. (Because picking a single favorite book is a joke.) Now I would like to present you with the list of books I read in 2013. My favorites will be in bold and I will rate them using a 5 star system. I might even throw in some comments in italic for you. Enjoy!

Divergant-Veronica Roth. (4/5) I loved this book! It focuses on fear which is a huge struggle of mine so it really helped me with that. But the rest of the series....meh.

The Magicians Nephew-C.S Lewis. (3/5)

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower-Stephen Chbosky (5/5) This book>>>>>>

The Night Circus-Erin Morgenstern (4/5) My friend is going to kill me for not giving it 5 stars. It was a bit of a difficult read but worth it. Great book.

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe-C.S Lewis (3/5)

I Am Number Four-Patticus Lore (2/5)

The Horse And His Boy-C.S Lewis (2/5)

A Walk To Remember-Nicholas Sparks (5/5) I need someone like Landon Carter in my life. ASAP. This book was beautiful.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye-Joshua Harris (5/5) I find it funny how I read that right after A Walk To Remember...hmm....

Grace, Gold, And Glory-Gabrielle Douglas. (3/5) It's the story of Gabby Douglas my favorite gymnast. Look...she's obviously not a writer. She's a gymnast. Cut her some slack with this. But her story is great.

Do Hard Things-Alex & Brett Harris (5/5) This book will definitely challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. A must read.

City Of Bones-Cassandra Claire (3/5) I'm sorry....I liked it for a while, but when I honestly thought about the content....it made me uneasy. It's good solid writing, humorous, and attention grabbing, but is it really worth compromising beliefs for? For me it wasn't.

The Deceivers-Josh Mcdowell & Bob Hostetler (3/5)

Bonemans Daughters- Ted Dekker (5/5) That man is a genius.

Agents Of Chaos 2: Jedi Eclipse-James Luceno (3/5)

Insurgent-Veronica Roth (3/5)

Balance Point-Kathy Tyers (4/5)

The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald (4/5)

A New Hope-George Lucas (3/5)

Prince Caspian-C.S Lewis (4/5)

Silver Linings Playbook-Matthew Quick (5/5) Yes. I loved it. There's language and some sex talk I believe, but a very good book nonetheless.

Edge Of Victory 1: Conquest-Greg Keyes (3/5)

Edge Of Victory 2: Rebirth-Greg Keyes  (3/5)

Star By Star-Troy Denning (1/5) Don't do it. It's a trap.

Legacy Of The Jedi-Jude Watson (3/5)

Wintergirls-Laurie Halse Anderson (5/5)

It's Kind Of A Funny Story-Ned Vizzini (5/5) Excellent! Probably my favorite or second favorite book ever. The movie was good too, very good actually, but you gotta read the book. Seriously. SO good.

The House Of Hades-Rick Riordan (2/5) A disappointment really. The previous book was so good and then this one just faltered. Uncle Rick just couldn't pull it off. And I had expected more from him.

Secrets Of The Jedi-Jude Watson (3/5)

The Reluctant Prophet-Nancy Rue (5/5) Yes! Alison is such a great character and I could relate SO much! It's the cold hard truth about God and His calling. No sugar coating. Love it!

The Fault In Our Stars-John Green (5/5) Augustus Waters. This book broke me.

Eleanor & Park-Rainbow Rowell (4/5)

The Life And Legend Of Obi-Wan Kenobi (3/5)

Shine-The Newsboys (4/5)

A Monster Calls-Patrick Ness (5/5)

Thirteen Reasons Why-Jay Asher (5/5)

Redeeming Love-Francine Rivers (4/5)

Speak-Laurie Halse Anderson (4/5)


   And that's all! If you read that entire list...good for you! You rock! Have you read any of these? What were you thoughts on them? What is your favorite book and what's your favorite that you read this year?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

"Tonight He is born so one day He can die; to live hearts that are torn and live the perfect life; so He can hang upon the cross and we can take His life; so we can live as sinners and He can pay the price. Tonight He is born so one day He can die. But He will rise again."-The Christmas Song, Flyleaf.

   Merry Christmas! This year was a very good year. I had been struggling a lot this winter and around this time because of all the things going in my life last year. It was my families first Christmas without my dad and this time of year just brought back all the terrible memories from last time. I was actually kind of dreading Christmas. But God is in the business of making things new; you see, He's all about renewal. This year He renewed the Christmas time for me. He washed away the bad memories and brought in new ones. Yesterday on Christmas Eve all the little kids went to my dad's house and he brought a present for the older ones. (Band merch!!!!) Then us eldest 3 kids, the baby, Mom, and my adopted sister and her boyfriend, all went out to the mall. We got Starbucks and then I ran into my best friend! We had a good time laughing and just enjoying ourselves, also doing some last minute shopping. Shane was wearing is Captain America hoodie and we saw a girl walk by with a Loki one; which was quite hilarious. It was a good day, which ended in a short Lord Of The Rings trivia match.

   Today I woke up with a massive stomach ache for no apparent reason and I was afraid I would be in pain all day but it went away within a few hours. Opening presents was fun! I loved seeing kids open their gifts. The best wrapped gift had to go to the one Shane gave me. I was wrapped in wrapping paper twice, then there was a box and then 5 or 6 bags and so many layers. All for a Hershey bar. That gave us all a good laugh. See, my family is odd and we have a few fun traditions. We hide a pickle ornament on our tree and whoever finds it first gets to open the first present. We also address our presents funny. For example; I wrote one to my little brother, Noah, but I wrote "To: The Hobbit. From: Loki." He's short so I called him a hobbit. and I'm Loki. It makes sense. I also got one addressed to Loki from SHIELD. We love it. And another one is that we throw all our names in a hat and we each pick one and then we go to the dollar store and pick out a gift for the person who's name we drew.

   I got a lot of fun gifts this year; I got a coffee cup that looks like a camera lens and it's awesome! Also, a fitness video game and a load of workout clothes which I am so excited to use; a lot of Hersheys, the movie 'Easy A', a Skittles scented candle, and lightsaber chapstick. From my friends I got hoop earrings and two Star Wars bracelets.

   We watched It's A Wonderful Life and then while we were doing that we heard the doorbell; it was our neighbor, he was informing us that someone had come and dropped off two giant garbage bags of presents on our doorway. So we brought them inside and sure enough, we had two bags full of gifts for the kids; board games, tons of candy, some random clothing items, books, you name it. And it only said it was from Santa on it. We got to play one of the board games in it and we laughed a lot. As for another tradition of ours, we're having pizza for dinner. This year was so different from the past few years; Christmas hasn't felt like "family time" in a long time, but this year it did. We did things together and laughed and joked around. We all sat around and played Play Doh at the kitchen table and had a Nerf war too. I really love my family. We have been so blessed. It doesn't matter what happened last year; because my past doesn't determine my present nor does it dictate my outlook on the future. I think my love for Christmas has been renewed. I am ever thankful for God for being my constant rock and place for refuge, the one thing in my life that was constant when everything else changed. Being someone who fears change, I love having a God who doesn't. He has changed my life so much this year, but for the better. I've grown so much. It's crazy to look back on where I was last year and see the difference; but that's for a New Years post.

 I hope all of you guys had a great Christmas! Tell me about it! I love reading your comments. They make my day:) Anyhow, Merry Christmas y'all! God bless you!

 My favorite ornaments :)

 Stockings!

 The bracelets my friend got me from Etsy!

 Gordon and his new sonic screwdriver

Me. Just chillin with my new coffee cup and leggings. Plus my favorite oversized sweater. For the win.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Things On My Mind

"Peace will win, fear will lose."-twenty one pilots

"Fear says Imma perish bro but that ain't what my Lord says."-Lecrae

"I wanna thrive, not just survive."-Switchfoot

"I'm only at it again as an addict with a pen who's addicted to the wind as it blows me back and forth."-twenty one pilots

"So while you have today you should say all that you have to say."-Sleeping With Sirens

"My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations."-John Green

I just finished A Monster Calls and now I'm reading Thirteen Reasons Why. The Screwtape Letters is on hold at the library. All books to make me think. So think I shall. Long and hard. I want to help. To make a difference. But how? What can I do? Something's gotta change. It's going to be hard; life is going to be hard. But I have God. Fear whispers to me that I'm a goner. But fear is a liar. I'm pressing on.





Monday, December 16, 2013

Voices


 *Minor Catching Fire Spoilers*

   Have you ever felt like this? This was the scene that got to me the most in Catching Fire. Katniss was surrounded by jabberjays; they had voices and they swarmed her and spoke to her. I cried at this part because it was so relatable. Have you ever had a swarm of voices surround you and you respond just like Katniss did? Curl up and cry. I do. The last few days have been very mentally straining on me and I've felt like this. Especially today. It's a scary thing to be in.

   I told my friend this and I explained this analogy to her. I was screaming for the voices to stop. I was trapped inside my own head. Overthinking and being lied to. The enemy has been trying to get to me and I know this full well. It's because he knows what I'm capable of. So the voices came. Much like the Capitol knew what Katniss could do if she wasn't stopped; so they attempted to stop her.

   I didn't know what to do. Once that fear trigger is pulled, it rarely can be reversed except with time and rest. So I was stuck. On top of fear, I've been dealing with things with friends that is far beyond my capabilities to stop or even understand. I've been exhausted. I was terrified. But my friend said something and as she said it, Holding Onto You by Twenty One Pilots came on on my IPod. "And it soon ended." She was right. The arena was a clock; each time frame had its own set of monsters. But they didn't last. They stayed within their time frames. I realized the same was true for me. Its just for now. Yes the voices will come; and yes, I will endure them. Things come and go in time. You can't change it or stop it; only press on or give up. Some trials will be handled better than others. But be still, know He is God, and know that this too shall pass. She also mentioned that the next horror they had to face were attacking monkeys. "Be ready." She said. I will be. This will pass, and then I'll have another monster to face. And I'll fight it. And I shall win.

   There was one more thing my friend reminded me about voices.


   The devil lies. He lies to me. Sometimes you just need someone beside you to tell you its not real.

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Identity

   I have always tried to figure out what I was; you know, what category I fell into or "stereotype." I always wanted to shape the image that people had in their minds about me. I wondered what others thought about me as well as how they thought about me. Did people think I was a nerd? A girly girl? A tomboy? There are countless misconceptions, as well as truths, that people could have about me: maybe people thought I was a "hipster", innocent, loving, heartless, shy, odd, crazy, etc. But who was I really? I don't even know if I could have answered that question some time ago.

   See, my style changes on daily basis. Right now my nails are painted black and I have dark eye makeup on, jeans, and a Green Day T-Shirt. It's been a hard rock day. (Which, I'll admit, are my favorite kind of days.) But by tomorrow I could be wearing a Star Wars dress, and then after that I might wear a nice skirt and bright girly makeup. You never know. So it depends on the day you meet me; your first impression might be that I'm a punk with my awesome purple/pink hair (I would like that very much actually.) or that I'm a typical white girl because I really do love Starbucks, or maybe that I'm a stereotypical nerd because I have braces and glasses and wear Star Wars T-Shirts and read X-Men comics. But truth be told, I really can't be classified into a single category. I'm just Faith. I am my own person. I'm strange, odd, and shy; yet I have my moments of boldness. I realized how I have no idea how I manage to care so much and so little at the same time. It's quite the talent. I don't know how a person can be so apathetically obsessed with other opinions; so utterly unimpressed and yet being destroyed by others opinions. Honestly, I care so little about what people think or say of me, yet why do I care so much? I myself am a contradiction. You can't understand me, I can hardly understand myself.

   Do you get what I'm saying? Does anyone else feel this way? Stereotyping is so wrong, I've come to realize. I understand why we as humans do it, because it helps our brains organize things and blah blah blah. (I'm a psych nerd.) But that shouldn't be our excuse. And don't sell yourself out either, that's what I've always done and it's stupid. Don't tell yourself you can't like rock music because it doesn't match your clothing style; you don't have to match. Don't let the world try and shove you in a box or fit you in a mold; heck, don't do that to yourself. You can be whatever kind of person you want to be. Your life shouldn't be about pleasing others, instead it should be about being the greatest version of yourself you can be so you can bring glory to your Creator. I want everything I do to lift His name up. I want people to look at me and see Christ. If the things I do accomplish that, then I should strive for them. I should strive towards Christ. I really want that for my life; God has given me so many talents to use for Him and something I'm trying to figure out right now is how He wants me to use them. I'll figure it out. So for now I'll keep doing what He was called me to do and living my life for Him, unstained by the world. I'll continue to write and read and photograph things and smile and sing and read and walk and talk and love just as Christ would want me to do. No one can shove me into a stupid box. I'm Faith; God's princess. And just because I'm a princess, doesn't mean you should assume I can't blare my rap music. Because I can, and I will.

   (Now please enjoy some pictures of some punk rockers I'm in love with. You're very welcome.)





Thursday, December 12, 2013

Saving Autumn: A Preview

   I've been giving you guys hints and quotes from my NaNoWriMo novel for the past month; but now I want to give you the first "chapter" of my book. I'm trying to begin the ruthless re-writing stage which I have no idea how to accomplish or where to start or anything. But it's gotta get done; I'm writing this book for all of my kids from Rise Above It Missions; My RAIM kids, as I call them. They've touched my heart and inspired me and I want to inspire them back. I want them to know that there's hope. With that being said, I need some feedback. What are some words of wisdom you could lend to an aspiring author such as myself? Whatever you would like to lend; encouragement, tips, thoughts, questions, whatever! But most of all, please enjoy this first chapter. Also, I'm going to throw in some pictures at the bottom that have nothing to do with my novel but enjoy those too!

                                                       *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

   I remember the first time I ever self harmed.
   I was in 8th grade and had gotten into a huge fight with my best friend, Miley. Of course the fight really wasn’t all that big, but it felt like it was at the time. It started because I had to stay home one Friday night and she wanted to go to the movies. I didn’t. So I stayed home. The next day she came over and she looked pretty ticked, so we talked outside. She screamed at me and called me horrible things. She claimed I didn’t even care about our friendship at all. That also made me a loser, pathetic, and fat.
   I ran inside crying to my dad and told him the whole story and he gave me a hug and tried to comfort me. That was back in the day when I actually went to my parents for stuff; that phase ended a few months after. I was getting better until my older brother came along. He thought because he was seventeen that he could say whatever he wanted to. He still has that same mindset.
   “Have you ever considered that maybe she was…well, right?” Alec laughed.
   It was too much for my fragile heart. I went over and punched him and then ran straight for my room. My punch hadn’t had the effect I had wanted it to because I was far too weak to hurt someone; I was more like an annoying bug that he could just swat away if he pleased. I heard him laughing as I fled upstairs.
   I got to my room, my fortress, my sanctuary, and I slammed the door shut and sat up against it. All the bad words whirled around in my head and I covered my ears to try and shut them out, but they kept coming. I should have run right then, I should have gone to my mom or my dad or someone; but I didn’t. And the next thing I knew, I was believing all those things that were said about me.
   I’m a loser. Miley was right. So was Alec. They’ve always been right. I’m pathetic and fat and worthless…
   Soon I was calling myself names that I wasn’t even sure I knew the definitions of. But not one positive thought came to mind. I never should have let the voices in. Because once you let them in, they refuse to leave.
   Filthy little brat. You’re a bad girl. A bad, bad girl.
   “I’m sorry.” I said out loud.
   Punishment! You deserve punishment!
   “I know…I know. I’m such a bad girl.” I cried.
   The voices demanded that I be punished, so I looked around to find something, anything, to punish myself with. I glanced over and found a pair of scissors by an art project I had been working on. They just sat on my desk and called my name.
   Yes Allison. Do it.
   I had heard about people who cut themselves before but I never understood them until that very moment. Maybe those people heard the voices too. The voices told people to cut themselves. I was in no position to negotiate with them so I got up and grabbed the scissors. They made a scraping noise and they slid open; I held them tight with my left hand and my right arm extended out.
   Then I cut.
   It was real swift. I let out a cry as the blade swept across my skin; slicing open small fragments of my flesh. There was no blood, but it left a long cut up my arm. My hands began to tremble; but I cut a few more lines anyway. It hurt but it felt so good. It was that bittersweet feeling.
   How do you feel?
   Better.
   I felt oddly relieved. I looked curiously at the scissors in my hand and the cuts on my arm and that was the moment I had realized that I was gone.

   Because I smiled.





Monday, December 9, 2013

Talent Show 2013

Yesterday was my youth groups talent show. It rocked! There was a lot of really great acts. There was only one skit this year which was a little saddening. But we had people playing a variety of instruments in a variety of genres. We had siblings duos, single singers, flute players, and poem sayers. (That's not a real word but you get the point.) We have a lot of talent in our group. It's everyone's favorite youth group night of the year, and with good reason.

   I sang Overthinking by Relient K (acoustic version) with my band, Pineapple On The Go. And in my favorite act I did I sang Stomach Tied In Knots by Sleeping With Sirens with this kid, Dylan, playing guitar and the box. I did pretty good. I hit the notes I was afraid I was going to fail at because my family has been sick all week so my throat was about ready to cave by the end of the week. But I did good.

   Other than sing, I did something after the talent show. I gave the message for the night.

   I was absolutely terrified. I skipped a few things in my talk and sped things up and didn't elaborate on things I could have because I thought I had a lot less time than I did. It was intimidating because I had planned on it being a more casual talk; me standing below the stage with a little music stand. But no. I got to stand on the stage with all the lights off save for the ones that were pointed at me, instead of a music stand I used the pulpit, and I got a microphone. So...that was unexpected. But I did it. I showed fear who was boss. I was confident. I was more relaxed than I had expected. And I did it. As I started to look back on the night I thought about all the things I should have done differently, but I stopped. Because I did great and I can't go back and fix it. When I walked down that stage I smiled because I left something up there; my fear. There is nothing that can hold me back. I'm untying my wrists and letting the shackles come free. Because I've held the key to them all along. Fear doesn't own me. And it took me way too long to realize it. I couldn't have done it alone though. I had people that constantly had my back and they taught me so much. I wish I could thank everyone who impacted me; most of them are probably unaware that they did such a thing. So here are a few thank yous to some unnamed people:

   My best friend: for everything. I can't even name all you've done for me. You're always there for me, to say the least. Thanks for always dealing with me.

   My leader: For praying over me and giving me advice, and allowing me to cry like a baby on the first night of camp.

   My friend: For helping me and believing in me. For offering me your hand to grab when I felt like I was sinking, for always giving me brutal honesty, and for making me want to be brave.

   My brother: For letting me Skype you at 11 o'clock at night when I'm crying over stupid things; and for shutting my brain off when it's overthinking relentlessly.

   My Mom: For letting me eat ice cream when I'm feeling sad, and giving me hugs.

   Those are just a few people who have made a difference in my life. Probably like, two of them will read this. But I couldn't have done it without them.

   I am not fearless; not yet. But I'm getting there. I am surely going to have moments of weakness but right now I can tell you that it won't overcome me. I am stepping out and it's so sweet to know that there is nothing that can stop me from becoming all God has called me to be. Because the only thing that had ever stood in the way was myself.

   Also, thank you everyone who has looked at my photography and helped me and encouraged me in that! I had a lot of people tell me I was very talented and they loved my photography yesterday and I felt so blessed! It was amazing. I feel so loved. Thank you!<3 p="">

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Complexities Of Art

   "I was inventing a language people could see."-Francesca Woodman
   
   "I love symbols. When things stand for something, when something odd represents something significant."-Autumn Miller, Saving Autumn. (My book.)

   I posted these pictures on my personal Facebook and I found that a lot of people were perplexed, and even a bit frightened, by my art. They didn't understand. I won't explain my pictures or my writing or any of those things, because you obviously don't speak my language, so me explaining it still won't make sense to you. It would be as if my friend, Diana, explained to me the phoenix of Spanish; I don't speak Spanish so it still doesn't make sense to me. But if you understand, then these are for you.

   I used to not like art. I didn't understand it. I don't know when that finally changed but every day my love and respect for it continues to grow. Art is a language people can see. The things I take pictures of are simply glimpses of how I see life. I have a hard time speaking, I can't get my ideas out using words very often, unless it's through a pen. So I take pictures. These things are life through my lense and my filter. If you see these and it resonates with you, then we have similar filters, and I welcome you. But if you can't wrap your head around these things then I would say it's time for you to take a different angle. Perspective is everything. Don't assume the glass is half empty or half full; maybe its both, maybe it's neither.

   The pictures with titles are from a series I'm working on. I don't know what the series title is called but each photo title gives you a little bit more insight as to what they stand for. The titles will be posted below each picture. Since its sadly apparent that some people just don't get it.






Anxiety

 Insomnia

 Alchohol

 Suicide

 I'm Fine

 I'm Not Hungry

 I Can't Stop

Abuse


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Meaning Of Life

"What is it we have been talking about? It is God's love to us. Get the thought into your head a minute: "God loves me-not merely bears with me, thinks of me, feeds me, but loves me. Oh, it is a very sweet thing to feel that we have the love of a dear wife, or a kind husband; and there is much sweetness in the love of a fond child, or a tender mother; but to think that God loves me, this is infinitely better! Who is it that loves you? God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Almighty, All in all, does he love me? Even he? If all men, and all angels, and all the living creatures that are before the throne loved me, it were nothing to this-the Infinite loves me!.. But this is the personal point-he loves me, an insignificant nobody, full of sin-who deserved to be in hell; who loves him so little in return-God loves me. Beloved believer, does not this melt you? Does not this fire your soul? I know it does if it is really believed. It must. And how did he love me? He loved me so that he gave up his only begotten Son for me, to be nailed to the tree, and made to bleed and die."-Love's Logic, Charles Spurgeon.

   This is my favorite sermon. I would recommend everyone read it, which you can do using THIS LINK. It's long but totally worth the read. I'm basing a lot of this blog post off of this sermon. It was crazy hard to find just one quote from it to put on here but I decided to go with that one. I love it. To think of just how much God loves me excites me.

   I had a rough weekend and I was feeling very emotionally drained. Then a friend of mine said something to me which led to one thing and then to another and before I knew it God was blowing my mind with amazing things to show me. It turned out to be incredible, even though it started off as horrible. I went to look up a verse my friend sent me and then I decided to read all the verses around and it God sent me on a spree of looking for and reading verses. I came to a life changing conclusion.

   For the past few months I've been trying to learn how Jesus had the sort of relationship with God that He did. He was so in sync with His Heavenly Father that He knew His will and could heal people and perform miracles of various kinds. We have everything that Jesus had. We have the Holy Spirit; so what's the deal? As I dug deeper into that I found (dare I say this?) the meaning of life. That's a pretty insane claim, right? Call me a liar or a lunatic, you can even disagree, but this is something I have found to be profoundly true. 

   God loves me.

   "How is that the meaning of life?" you might ask.

   How is it not? In the sermon I quoted, Charles Spurgeon talked about 1 John 4:19. "We love because He first loved us." Everything we do springs from the fact that Christ loves us. Think about that. Why do we love God? Because He loved us! Why do we serve God? Because we love Him, because He loves us. Why are we alive? Because He loves us. This fact is everything. Go back to the beginning paragraph; the quote. When you truly, deeply, and doubtlessly believe that God loves you, your soul yearns for Him, you want to love Him, you want to obey Him, you want to seek Him and please Him. You feel His love, so the natural response is to love Him and to love others. When we love Him, we keep his commandments, and when we keep His commandments, you'll be living in God's will and abiding in Him. (John 15:10.) That's the secret. That's how Jesus did it. He knew that God loved Him; and He operated in that knowledge. That incredible knowledge should change us.

   The problem is, it's a lot easier said then done. We often times forget just how much we are adored by our Creator. We forget that this life is not our own, but it was a gift given to us because we are loved by Him. We need a revival of the soul that comes when we call out to Him and admit our need to be reminded of the love He has for us. When we come to Him with that request, He shows Himself. I've experienced this on many different occasions.

   In a way, it's simple. I feel like people over complicate the gospel; but it's really that God loves us. Because He loved us, He sent His Son. Because He loves us we accept His gift; we live for Him, we love Him and His creation in return. And that is what life is.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I'm A Winner!

Last night I reached my goal....

   I WON NANOWRIMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

   That's right. I am proud. I wrote 52,479 words in a month! I also haven't even finished my novel yet. Maybe a thousand-two thousand more and I'll be finished. Just a few finishing scenes to wrap it all up. Honestly this month has taught me so much. I've really grown a lot as a writer and I've discovered things I never knew about myself. The old saying goes "You never know your limits until you're pushed to them." I have found that this is true. I had no idea I could write 1,600 words every day for an entire month. What else can I do every day for a month? I feel unstoppable! I know that if I really set my mind to it, I can accomplish anything.

   So how have I spent my day and how do I plan on celebrating further?

   I went out with one of the coolest guys I know this morning, I will be enjoying tons of sleep tonight (even though I have to wake up early for church.) and I got a 22 pack of popcorn and some sparkling grape juice to celebrate! I also got a new phone which I'm in love with!

   Also, thanksgiving! I had a great day then; we went to a family friends house and we played Catch Phrase and Name 5 which I sucked at but it made me laugh. I've really been enjoying having my brother home from college and I don't want him to go back.

   Now for some "currently's"

   Currently:
   Reading: Eleanor & Park.
   I love it! It's so cute! And the X-Men references! Ahh!

   Drinking: Hot chocolate.

   Feeling: Giddy and happy!

   Eating: Popcorn! (It's been my writing fuel all month.)

   Stressing: Math

   Completed: Saving Autumn!

   And my youth groups talent show is in two weeks and my band is performing and I'm doing a musical act with my friend who's playing the guitar for me. I want to record it to put it on here. I'm doing another thing the day of the show but some people from group read this and I want to surprise them. haha:) But I'll certainly write about it after!

   But now the vigorous task of rewriting my novel begins. I definitely want to self publish if I can get it fixed up and stuff. So be praying for me for that and also for the talent show. I don't know if I've ever asked any of you this but how can I pray for you? Please, always feel free to leave me prayer requests or message me on my Facebook Page or email me or something. I love talking to you and praying for you! This weekend God answered a really silly prayer of mine and that made me smile ridiculously. Its cool to see that He really cares about every aspect of my life.

   Well, that's all for now.

   Happy writing and God bless you!<3 p="">

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Inspired By The Day Of The Doctor

   Happy 50th anniversary Doctor Who!

   Yes I was one of those weird nerds who dressed up to watch the special extra long episode to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. It.was.amazing! I loved the humor and sarcasm and all of that, but there was something that really stuck out to me. See, God is so weird. He teaches me things in series'. He'll stick to one lesson (or maybe two.) at a time and He'll show me this point in a lot of things. Well this time He's doing in a Doctor Who themed way. (Thanks God. You're cool.)  *If you haven't seen the episode and want to, don't read past this point.*

   Allow me to reminisce for a moment.

   I remember the night like it was just yesterday. I was in 8th grade and it was 1am and I was on my way to my very first missions trip. I had been waiting for that day since I was 9 years old. All of the kids in the van were crazy with excitement. We drove on the expressway and passed by the city. I stared in awe at the skyline and all the bright lights that broke through the darkness of the night. We had been blasting music the whole ride and dancing along with happiness. That was when my brother got us all settled down and he played a song for us. Before he played it he told us he wanted us all to listen closely to the lyrics and to not let this moment simply pass. He wanted us to really think. He gave us a statement and a question from that song. Just those two things. "This is your life. Are you who you want to be?" As 'This Is Your Life' by Switchfoot played I just stared out the window at the passing city and I pondered that question with sincere thought. That moment has never escaped me.

   Today in the episode of Doctor Who, the Doctor met 3 of himself from 3 different times in his life. There was 1 mistake he regretted more than anything else he had ever done. The oldest Doctor of the 3 got to see himself and who he would turn out to be. I sat by the television screen with peaked interest as they all conversed throughout the episode. It made me think. Hard.

   If my 10 year old self and my 13 year old self could meet the person I am today, would they be proud?

   Am I who I've always wanted to be?

   Am I doing things that my future self will thank me for?

   These were my thoughts as I watched the Doctor Who 50th anniversary. This is my life; I can be whoever I want to be. Am I living up to that? Am I being all that I have the potential to be? Maybe in some areas I am. But in more ways, I am certainly slacking. What would 10 year old Princess Faith say to the young woman she would turn out to be?

   Maybe it would be something like this "Faith, you have such big aspirations. But you're still so stuck thinking about what other people think of you. You're trapped in a bubble of self doubt and you're so afraid to have a voice. So why do I think the opposite of you? When I think about the young lady I want to be when I'm 17, I see her as strong and courageous. And spontaneous. Crazy spontaneous. She's not fearless, she has a lot of fears, but they don't control her. Faith, what are you so afraid of? Go out there! DO something! Fear is something I struggle with. How many years has it been for you? Get over it. Get over yourself."

   But then, there could be more positive things to be said as well. "Faith, you've been through more than I have. I never thought my life would turn out this way. And I guess that's part of the beauty. You're doing things. Right there, caught up in the moment, you don't think you're doing enough but you can't see the effect you have on people. RAIM; that's something that's just beginning in my life. I just came to know Christ 2 years ago; I'm still a baby. Look at you! Look how far you've come! Don't you dare give up now! You're at the peak of something wonderful. I can't believe that's who I become one day. You're still so shy but there's a light in your eyes, and you speak more than I do. And when you do, you inspire. Because that's your intent. I'm locked up in my old thoughts. But not you. I'm glad to know I become someone great."

  Two years ago at camp I wrote myself a letter that my leader would send me 8 months later. She did, and I got to read it and I still keep it. It was a letter that I wrote to my future self. Here is a bit of what I said: "I'm challenging you to really change. I dare you to be the kind of woman that God has called you to be. Be the kind of girl that others want to be like, but watch your pride....People are gonna make you mad, but don't let it get to you. Be strong in the Lord and remember what He has pulled you through."

   I've grown so much and I've overcome so much. Sure I've failed a lot but I'm certainly not where I was lsat year or two years ago. I'm moving forward and I want to continue to do so. I want to be who I've always wanted to be. I want to be someone that my child self would be proud of. I want to continue to grow so that I can be proud of who I become later. What about you? What would your past self say to the person you are today?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dressed In Red Photo Shoot

   This week has been great. Today has been great. My life is pretty great.

   I've finally gotten to the part in my novel where I can start bringing in the drama and lead to the climax which I am crazy excited about! Soon I'll be writing the scenes that I had envisioned when I first thought of the idea. I'm happy to say that I think I finally have a title. Drum roll please.

   *Drum roll*

   Saving Autumn.

   Thoughts? Questions? Comments?  I hope you guys like it and I really hope you guys will all read it some day. There is a possibility that I could sell it on Amazon (which would rock!) via self publishing. I've heard a lot of bad things about self publishing but that's from authors that want success. I don't give a rip about success I just want to be able to hold my book in my hands and be able to tell people that if they want they can buy it instead of having one hand written copy in a notebook like I had with the last book I wrote. So self publishing sounds good. I would make like, 85 cents a book but I'm not in it for the money either. But there would be sooooooo much work and editing and revising and rewriting that I am not looking forward to.

   But now onto other things. Today I went out with a woman from my church as well as my best friend. We went to a Colombian bakery (my best friend is Colombian.) and a cultural museum which was amazing! Diana (best friend.) let me take pictures of her so I could practice my photography. I am in love with these pictures! She did fantastic with the modeling! I hardly had to tell her what to do. She just naturally posed perfectly. It was amazing! I hope you like them! I love hearing feed back.





















   Seriously, I've never been so proud of  portraits before. I really hope you guys like them because I adore them! And special shout out to Diana who hates pictures but is a good friend and took one for the team. (The Jesus Dream team that is.)

   <3 p="">