This Is What Love Looks Like

Before I explain what I mean by my title, I feel the need to give some history to this post.

I firmly believe that the ways we love others and the ways that we feel loved by others is shaped from an early stage. The ways we observe love in all its forms in our lives are foundational to the ways we put it into practice, so here’s a little insight into how I’ve seen/viewed love in my short 21 years.

When I was very little, I saw the love my parents had for each other and for me and I learned to love family and friends unconditionally. When I was in Sunday School, I was taught about the love of Jesus Christ and I learned that my mistakes were not a measure of God’s love for me.When I was in middle-/high-school I saw the “love” (perhaps it was true, but definitely not in most cases) in all the dating relationships between classmates, and I learned that I needed a significant other to prove that I could be loved. At my Christian college, one of the prevailing (though not necessarily correct) views of love is that if you love someone, you get married. I’ve come to feel, at times, that unless I get married, I can’t experience love to the fullest.

Anyone with a similar experience to mine will probably be able to empathize with me in the confusing, conflicting views of love you can get from all different places. There are a few things I like to think I’ve gotten right, but there’s a whole lot more that I know I’ve gotten wrong over the years.

Two days ago, however, I saw one of the strongest, most encouraging, pictures of love I’ve seen in a long time. Two days ago a benefit was held in support of one of my uncles who about to undergo some extensive medical treatment. The event was put on by members of the church that their family attends along with others who are close to the family as well. While I was driving out with my parents, I had no idea what to expect but I was blown away when we pulled in. The amount of people who came out to support and encourage my uncle and his family was just amazing to me. What was even more amazing, I thought, was that I barely knew a percentage of these people.

I realized that I have gone through life not seeing the relationships my family has with people beyond our little circle of aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, parents, etc. Here was the man who taught me to fish, who was always showing off a new magic or yo-yo trick, and had encouraged me to drag out my violin/guitar at EVERY family gathering since I was little just so he could play along with me. Here he was, surrounded by a crowd of people I had never met. I never saw these relationships outside of our own family and I was never able to see the love extend beyond that. Chalk it up to to geographical distance or whatever, I just never knew about it. But when I saw all those strangers gathered in one place to help my family, I wanted to hug each and everyone of them personally. I only knew and interacted with a small percentage of the people there (all family), but it was an amazing experience to take a backseat and observe. It was one of the first times I could look at love up close without being too personally involved. I didn’t need to be personally affirmed in any way to see love all around. I’m not even going to apologize for how cheesy this all might sound because this was such a radical change in my perspective on the topic.

I suppose that what I am trying to say is that from this, I have learned that love is so much deeper than having someone tell you that every day. It’s more than having a date on Friday night or having a ring on your finger, and it can be found in more and better places.

Perhaps I was a bit overemotional that day, but I found myself holding back some tears when my uncle got up in front of everyone and simply said “This is what love looks like.” And I couldn’t agree more.


Senioritis Was Kicking My Butt, So I’m Kicking Back

(Originally posted on 

This semester, Senioritis hit me like a ton of bricks. I lost all motivation and any will to do my school work. I was doing what it took to get by, and that was obvious. My quality of work was slipping, and I couldn’t find it in me to care. I blamed this on a number of things:

It was my last semester, who cares if I finished strong?

Most of my classes are electives this semester. Why try when I don’t need them to graduate?

I’m a senior. There’s nothing left for me to learn, right?

HA. If I had a quarter for every time I thought I had all the answers, my tuition AND loans would have been paid off yesterday.

I was talking with a friend recently, and they asked how my last semester was going. I gave my typical eye-roll + sigh + [generic statement on how done I am]response, but what they said back was so surprising and full of truth. In short, they told me to take advantage of the opportunities I’m being presented with in college. They told me to make sure I respect my professors because they have so much to offer me and my time with them is almost up. They advised that I consciously do my best on my work because I will get so much more out of it by not doing just the bare minimum. But most unexpected of all, they told me to do all of this for the sake of glorifying God.

Dorm Updates

Look how studious I used to be. Oh the things I would say to Freshman-Me

That struck me hard. I have to admit that that was never really a thought or priority when it came to school work. I mean, how does turning work in on time equate with glorifying God? Here’s how I came to think about it. I have been blessed with such an amazing opportunity at Roberts, and if I’m not taking full advantage of it, it’s like throwing that gift away. College is giving me the chance to refine and grow the talents that I’ve been given by God. How could I turn that opportunity up? It’s weird to think about using school as a type of worship, but I can really get on board with this and see it as a great way to turn around my bad attitude about these next months.

I don’t know if my friend was intentionally giving me a motivational speech, but what they said has really occupied my thoughts these past few days and I am filled with renewed determination to finish this semester strong. Even if this isn’t your last semester of college, I want to persuade you to give these last few months of the semester your best kick.


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On Changing Your Major (And Why That’s OK)

When I applied to Roberts, I put my major down as Contemporary Ministries. By the time I started the following August, I was a Graphic Design major. The next semester I was an Art Education major. When I started my sophomore year, I was a Communication major.

Needless to say, indecisiveness is one of my biggest character traits. I don’t always see it as a problem, but there are times that it can present a huge challenge. In this situation, finding my passion in life was so hard because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. I would get excited about my new major for a few weeks and really throw myself into the work, learning everything I could. But then, the honeymoon phase would fade (as it usually does), and I would decide to move on. If I hadn’t had a long talk with my current advisor, I probably would have changed my major at least 3 MORE times by now and I wouldn’t be a senior on my way to graduating this May. But here’s the thing:

I still don’t exactly know what I’m passionate about. But that’s ok, and here’s why.

I LOVE my major. I LOVE my concentration (Media Studies). They can be so fascinating at times. But then again, there are times where I think that I couldn’t possibly imagine myself working in this field for the rest of my life. I have moments where I wonder if anything I’m learning will every apply in the “real world”.  Every semester I find that the papers are too long and the tests are too hard and I think that I couldn’t possibly be passionate about something so difficult. I always thought that my passion in life would be something that comes easy to me. I shouldn’t’ be struggling, right?


If it’s not challenging, if it’s not difficult sometimes, it’s probably not a passion. Maybe that’s not true for everybody, but I’ve come to learn that being passionate about something (for me) it means that even though I don’t know or like every aspect of my field, I’m still going to try my best to make it work. Quite honestly, I hate research, but that’s a good chunk of my time spent in college as a Comm. major. Even though I didn’t like it, I worked hard, wrote my papers and the results were awesome (usually).

I realized that every time I changed my major, it was because I was confronted with an aspect of the field that pushed me in a way that I didn’t like. Graphic Design required art history, which was boring. Art Education had me working in schools I didn’t want to be in. Communication has me constantly researching and reading scholarly articles and I will be the first person to tell you that I would rather not. But that’s ok. It’s fine to dislike certain aspects of the job/class, but I shouldn’t give up because of it.

I just really want to encourage you all to stick with it. It’s fine to change your major, its part of the experience. There’s no problem in starting with one program, finding out it’s not for you, and then switching. It happens all the time! I just want to push you to really think about your motives, why are you switching? Is it because you truly believe it’s not the right fit for you, or is it because it’s pushing you outside your comfort zone just a bit? Really look at your reasons. Talk to your advisor or someone who you can look up to and really knows you. They are often the best people to help you realize your talents and passions in life.

Happy hunting!


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The "Senior" Myth

Senior year.
I cannot even describe how crazy those two words sound even in my head. Four years ago, senior year felt like a myth right up there between a good night’s sleep and the “Freshman 15”. I can tell you now, those last two are very very real but the jury’s still out on a good night’s sleep. I’ll let you know after I graduate.
Even at the end of junior year it had not dawned on me that this is it, this is my last year at Roberts. I mean, didn’t I just graduate high school? Looking back, these past four years have felt more like four months. Lots of people tell me that college is all about preparing for the “real world” but that also seemed to figure in to my list of myths. This summer has been a wake up call with everyone I know asking me the BIG question:
“So what are you going to do once you graduate?”
The first time I was asked that, my initial (and yet most accurate) response was a mix of the classic deer-in-the-headlights look and the intelligent answer of “I’ll figure it out eventually”. I’ve practiced since then and now I have a flawless response. Seriously, someone should call the Academy because this is my best act yet.
The truth is that I have no idea what will happen after May 10th and really, I’ve been doing my best not to think about it. It is hard to shake the idea that after 16 years of school, I might never have to go back and honestly, that’s pretty scary. I’m constantly worrying about whether or not I’ve been adequately prepared for the “real world”. There are moments when I feel like I am and that I can’t wait to get out on my own but then somehow I realize that the world is a lot bigger and more complicated than I’d realized. Cue intense panic.
I estimate that most of my stress lately revolves around the question “Am I ready?” Sometimes the answer feels like a “yes”. Sometimes I have to go with a big fat NO. Again, I’ll have to let you know in a few months. Something I do know for sure is that I have appreciated all my friends who have already graduated. They were so helpful and honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly about senior year. Going in to this year blind would have been terrifying but the people on this campus don’t let that happen. This brings me to the point of this blog. I want to share the experiences of myself and others who are going through this process (or maybe, already have!). It’s important to know that other people can share in your experiences.
Hopefully my fellow seniors will be able to relate, but to those of you who still have a few years left, I hope you are able to find something helpful in my writing! Until then, enjoy packing your bags and buying your textbooks and I’ll see ya soon!
Yours truly for 177 more days (but hey, who’s counting?!),

A Life Lived After

The dry grass tickled her skin as she lay on the bank of the lake. Stars peeked out of the darkness, with only a touch of pink as evidence that the sun was ever there. Life teemed above her in the trees and all around her as the june bugs buzzed through the night air. With the vast expanse of the lake before her and the promise of night, she thought.

She thought about the peacefulness in which she sat, only feet away from a crackling bonfire, encircled by family members chattering away about days gone by. She thought how nice it would have been to have lived those days, but she was far younger than even her closest cousin. She lived a life separate from theirs, though there were no strangers in her family. She grew up, not with the family, but after, always catching the end of the good times (though that is not to say her life was not good in itself). The stories of which they spoke only tickled the edges of her memories, almost as if the pictures were painted in the translucent hues of watercolor rather than the bold colors they were lived with.

She thought about how unfair it was that she had to live a life after the rest. A life where she could only laugh because the stories were funny, not because she remembered them. A life where she should have spent summers playing with her cousins, but instead she spent them walking down the aisles to their weddings and babysitting their children. None of these things were unpleasant, but doesn’t every young child wish for playmates that fit into their life more than the children next door?

She thought about how her life could have been different, had she been born sooner. She would know what it was like to spend weeks at the lake sharing a bedroom made for four with eight other friends. She would understand the jokes told that are now the center of family stories. She would have found solace in experiencing life at the same pace of those around her, commiserating in the trials of growing up.

It was not, however, her fortune to have all this. Instead, she was given something greater. She was given more than a mother, father, aunts and uncles. She was given friends who, despite their age, treated her the same and raised her in their own way. They were young enough to remember the phases and passages of life and because of this, could give her advice on living life a life after theirs.

Perhaps, she thought, a life lived after was not so terrible. A life lived after was still full of mistakes, but it was one lived well.

With all these thoughts running through her head, she sat up for a moment and let her mind settle. Giving one last glance across the black lake, she stood and turned towards the fire to hear the stories of the lives lived before.

Locked and Re-Loaded 2013

I’ve never won things in raffles, I don’t play the lottery, and for this reason, I don’t win many things. No big deal. BUT. I did happen to win two tickets to a Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley concert at Blue Cross Arena and it was the coolest thing ever!!!!! Not much to say other than for a first concert, this was amazing!!! I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking 🙂

 A bit far back but still awesome seats!!

 Brittany got to help me experience my first concert 🙂 

Only a few shots from the night but we had a great time and I DEFINITELY will be going to more country concerts in the near future!!!

Hours in the Dark

I haven’t really reached the point in my life where I would say I’m an experienced photographer, but I would say my knowledge extends that of a point and shoot camera. Photography, despite what some have told me, is an absolute art, but the digital world has taken something away from that art that I miss, even though I’m not really old enough to miss it, per se. Thankfully I have the awesome opportunity of being in my third film photography course (one being from high school, and now I’m in my second here at Roberts) and I think I have figured out what’s been missing.

Film photography is the closest thing I do to what I would say is real art. Real art takes technique, knowledge, and a certain appreciation for its history, what ever it may be. Lots of people have asked me why I put so much time into learning film photography when I can just take the same picture with a digital camera and skip the pain of developing the film and all that. I always have the same answer: you really can’t understand how to take a good picture digitally until you fully appreciate all the work and care that should go into taking that same picture on film. This knowledge of how to handle film in the camera and in the darkroom is really what makes the difference between Joe Somebody’s “Vacation Pix” from their trip to Yosemite and Ansel Adams.

With a digital camera, it doesn’t matter if 80% of your shots are blurry, too dark or too light, or you just forgot to take off the lens cap (which I do frequently). You still have good pictures that you can filter out at no cost to you. That’s why digital is so convenient, it doesn’t matter if your not a fantastic photographer. If you take 1000 photos without really composing a shot or adjusting your settings, you are still bound to end up with some pretty nice looking pictures. If you had a film camera and you tried the same thing, you would just be throwing away money and time. You don’t get a re-do with your film camera. You can’t just “delete” the photo. That’s it, and if its blurry, Photoshop is going to be pretty useless.

When you use film, you have to take your time, decide if what you are shooting is worth using a whole frame for. If it is, then you need to figure out the lighting, do you need a tripod, can i get this shot focused properly? Once all that has been thought of and the shot has been taken, its time for the dark room. Once your there, hopefully the developing goes well, and a few hours later you might have one excellent print. I’m inclined to think that anything that takes that much time, skill and patience is more art than anything else. That’s not to say every print is astoundingly beautiful but it holds a certain value, if only to the photographer.

That’s why I do film. Film has taught me how to take better pictures and that more does not mean better. I’ve figured out how to take an everyday hobby and turn it in to a passion and that, I think, is what makes all those hours in the dark worth it.