Monday, November 11, 2013
College applications, college visits, college interviews, homeschool group, and seven classes. That's my life right now.
I love it, I really do. I love looking forward to college, and I love visiting colleges that could be my home next year. I'm done with the applications now, and I liked my essay pretty well after I was done with it. I even enjoy my interviews to an extent, because, honestly, I like to talk about myself. The homeschool group is fantastic; I get to teach art classes once a month, help choose what to watch on movie nights, assist in organizing field trips, and hang out with kids who may be loud and crazy but are also adorable and a ton of fun! Hey, I even like most of my classes (precalculus and physics not so much, though), but all of it at once is just chaotic and overwhelming!
I applied to five colleges - Bellarmine, Centre, Berea, Transylvania, and Earlham - and I've been trying to get a good feel for each one of them. This means going on overnight visits and attending open houses. It's great fun and I have learned a lot, but for the past five or six weeks, I have been missing one or two days of school every week. Combine that with anxiety, depression, and just being worn out, and you get a lot of unfinished homework piling up. I'm catching up, little by little, and during the holiday season, my schedule will actually be a little less busy, so I'll be back on track before too long.
This is my explanation for why I haven't posted in a while, even though I said I would do so more often I'll try to keep you all up to date on what's going on with me, though.
For now, I'll leave you with a sneak peek of the photos from my senior portrait session, which my lovely Dada took for me and which I am editing. Enjoy!
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Sometimes it is difficult to see the beautiful things in my life, because I get caught up in the unhappy things. I find it easier to remind myself of the beauties in life when I tell others about them, though. So this will be the purpose of my blog from now on. Perhaps I can keep up a little better than I have before.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
It seems to me like Spring came out of nowhere. Just a couple weeks ago, it snowed, and now the weather is gorgeous and warm! The bushes and trees are suddenly sporting blossoms, and the flowers are bright spots of color all over the ground, like God was painting and dropped splatters.
The birds are singing throughout most of the day. The bumblebees are floating around and bumping into things. My sisters are planting flowers. All of the dogs in the neighborhood are out and barking for the better part of the day.
It's the time of year for picnics in the grass. It's time to get out and watch the flowers bloom. It's time to see the animals delighting in being alive. It's time to share in their delight.
You show Your artistic abilities most in the Spring, with the way the plants You created display their colors and the way the birds sing their songs that praise You and the world You made. Help to open the ears and eyes of all in the world so that all can appreciate the beauty of the world You created.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Today has been one of those days when it's hard to find anything to be grateful for. Unlike many of my friends, I don't have mentors and close friends whom I can call anytime to be comforted. I have my parents, who have been far too preoccupied with other things this week. Then I have one beautiful, wonderful friend who happens to be attending college and working part-time, and usually isn't available right away.
I am lucky, though, to have this friend. I know that, even though everyone else I know has many friends, it is rare for anyone in America to have such a close friendship as I do with my friend. I know that I should be counting my blessings, and not the things that make me unhappy. Luckily, my friend helps me with that.
You give and You take away, and we cannot know Your reasons. We can only count ourselves among the blessed because we are loved by You no matter what. We can only enjoy what You have given us and accept that what we have is enough. Thank You, Lord, for the blessing that is my closest friend. I ask that You will keep her safe and guide her well.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
I'm having one of those down days when I just can't seem to perk up. On those days I just can't seem to get much of anything done. I try to work on writing an essay and I wind up staring at the page and maybe writing two words every five minutes. I'll put on water for tea and then I'll sit down, waiting for it to boil, and I'll completely forget about it because I'm staring into space and feeling miserable, tuning out everything else.
The best thing for me to do when I'm in one of these moods is to just try to be productive. I can take a walk, and that often helps. Today I continued to work on setting up my photography business, and to research some things I'll need to know in this business. Then I spent some time looking at art and design colleges in the states surrounding Kentucky (because Kentucky does not have any), and I found some that I had not looked into before. Now I am considering two colleges in Nashville, which would be great because the art scene there is incredible!
If I make myself get busy, the mood slowly but surely dissipates, and I am able to feel happier and more accomplished than I would have if I had moped around listening to depressing music all day like I wanted to. So today I am grateful for the advice that my parents give me. This was a lesson that I learned on my own, but my parents had told me many times that it would work. It's funny how the lessons that I most stubbornly refuse to learn turn out to be the ones most worth learning.
You often manifest yourself most clearly to me in my father and my mother. Thank You for the lessons that I learn through them, for they originated in You. I ask that You will give me the wisdom to listen well to my parents' advice, and that You will continue to bless my parents with the ability to give the advice that I need to hear.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I apologize for not posting for so long! Have you ever put something off for so long that you felt that it wouldn't hurt to put it off a little longer, and the next thing you know it's four months later and you haven't done the thing you had been putting off? That's what happened to me - alone with some medical issues.
Anyways, I'm back, with new photos and many new things to be thankful for!
Today I learned that I was not accepted into a three week long summer program for art students. It was my second and last chance to get in, and I was rejected again. I am finding ways to be grateful even for that, however. One of my sisters said that I'm just too awesome for the program to handle me. While I do not believe that is true, I certainly believe that God has a good reason for everything. He has a plan for me that was not going to work out if I was accepted into that program. I do not know what that plan is, but I know that there is no use sulking. Instead, I will focus on the good things that may come out of this!
One good thing is that I am looking forward to going to Masterpiece Ministries camp this summer. Last year I was also not accepted into the program that I applied to, so I searched for another, and found Masterpiece. I am so glad that I did! Masterpiece changed something in my heart, and I am much better for it. This year I will go again, and this time one of my little sisters will be going with me!
Another good thing is that my rejection letter actually spurred me to do something productive. I had created a page for my photography business last year after being hired to shoot a wedding, but I did not get any business at all. Now I am going to try harder than ever to promote my business. I need the practice, and I need the money, both for college and for a new camera.
I will also have three weeks more this summer to spend with my family and friends. I plan on documenting this time very well. I will carry my camera with me everywhere, because on the few occasions that I have not brought my camera on a trip, I wished that I had.
Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me today that not everything that I desire is what I need. Help me to remember that You know what is good for me, while I do not. Give me the wisdom to see You in all things, so that instead of seeing a something bad I will see Your will.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
I love music. I am not a musically talented person, but I absolutely love listening to good music. One of the things I love most about music is that it expresses certain feelings in such a way that the person listening to it can feel as if they themselves are expressing those emotions. When I sing along to a love song, I feel as though I am in love, and when I listen to a song that praises God, I praise him too.
By playing certain songs, I can improve my mood. If I ever feel sad, I play "Better Days" by Dar Williams or "Tomorrow is Gonna Be Better" by Joshua Radin, and I feel more optimistic. When I start to feel depressed and like I can't make myself do anything, but I have things that I have to do, I listen to the right music and am capable again.
I find religious songs incredible because at times when I feel close to God, I feel something warm in my heart, but cannot express it. Music gives me words in a beautiful form that I would not have been able to create myself. Truthfully, music taught me how to pray. I cannot turn my prayers into songs, but I feel like I know better what words go together to form prayers because my favorite praise songs taught me.
My God, you are Lord of the Whole Universe. You are Creator of the Whole Universe. You sang the world into being, and all songs that we sing exist because You gave us the words and You inspired us to put them to song. Thank You for music, because it gives me another way to worship You. May all of Your creations be able to sing for You during our worship.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
This is my mother. Isn't she beautiful? I love her so much.
I was thinking earlier about how incredible it is that when someone becomes a parent, they create an entirely new identity for themselves. That person as a parent is completely different from the same person as a friend or a sibling. My parents each became completely new people for me.
My mother is an incredible person. I rarely see her angry, and I also rarely see her put herself before others. How she manages to be a wonderful mother two four children, and be a great wife to my Dada, and work a full time job all at once, I do not know. I do know that it is hard for her. I know that she often feels that she is not good enough at doing these things. However, it is her headaches that truly make it difficult for her. I would bet anyone that if that constant headache of hers went away for good, she would have no trouble accomplishing anything that she put her mind to.
My poor mother spend almost all of her day taking myself and my sisters out to enjoy ourselves. She had fun, too, but I can tell you for sure that she did not want to spend all of her day without thinking of herself. Yet she does that every day without complaint, and, sometimes, without receiving any outward form of gratitude.
My poor mother was on the verge of tears earlier tonight, simply because her head hurt that bad. My beautiful mother is constantly in pain. How can that be what she deserves for being the best mother a girl could ever want?
Today I have a request to any who may be reading this. Please pray for my beautiful mother. Pray that her pain will go away or at least ease some. Pray that she will no longer have to force herself to smile and bear it when all she wants is to be in the dark and to try to sleep away the pain. No one, least of all her, should have to bear that.
Dear Lord, there is not a day that I am not grateful for my beautiful, incredible, sweet mother. I love her dearly and I only wish that she would stop hurting. Please take away her pain.
Monday, January 7, 2013
The hugs that I give depend on the level of my relationship with the person receiving them. My family receives long, lingering hugs. With my closest friends, I will hug them, let go for a moment, and then decide the first hug wasn't enough and will hug them again.
It also depends on my mood, though. I hug for longer when I am feeling strong emotions. When I am very sad, or very happy, I don't want to let go. Hugs are comforting and reassuring. It seems more obvious that someone is there for you when your arms are around them.
Lord, thank you for the comfort that I receive every time I embrace someone. Thank you for putting people in my life who do not mind when I hug them, and thank you especially for the people who give me hugs before I can even show that I want them.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
A little over a year ago, I would have said "I'm Annabel. I don't go to church."
A few months ago, I would have said "I don't talk in front of a bunch of people."
One month ago, I would have said "I'm vegetarian. I don't serve meat to people."
Yesterday, I would have said "I am holding a grudge. I don't consider this person's feelings and I certainly do not try to comfort her."
The thing is, I think that when we set up these boundaries, we are setting ourselves up for God to stage an intervention. He will, somehow or another, knock down all of the walls we put up and leave us awed and infinitely grateful, wondering why we ever put them up. The funny thing is that it is often the things we least wanted to do that we wind up doing with the most fervor.
Holiest of Fathers, you work in incredible and mysterious ways. Today I received what was clearly a message from You, Lord. I pray that You will not let me forget that message, and that it will weigh on my heart and push me to act as You wish me to. May all of my deeds bring the kingdom of Heaven that lives within me closer to the surface.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Holding a camera in my hands make me feel something special. I can't accurately describe it. It's as if I have a whole new set of eyes, and through them I can see the world with a perspective that is always changing. With my camera, I am able to see possibilities that I would never think of with my naked eyes. That is what I find most wonderful about photography: with a camera, a photographer not only sees things as they are, but as they could be.
Lord, the first thing that you created was light. Now I am able to capture light to create beautiful images. Thank you for showing me your grace through the passion that you have given me for photography. I ask only that you will help me to always see with a photographer's eye by remembering that if I only approach it from the right angle, everything can be beautiful.
Friday, January 4, 2013
What strange and silly creatures my little sisters are! Yet they make my otherwise quiet days at home constant adventures. How uninteresting life would be without them!
One sister has an obsession with cheese and enjoys improvising parodies of popular songs, inserting cheese as the subject of each song. My favorites are "I dropped my cheese in a well. Don't ask me how, it just fell," and "I want your cheese and all your dairy products. We can make a good cheesecake." She and I stayed up for hours one night simply because she wanted me to do some improv parodies with her and we didn't stop until our voices were hoarse. That girl is brilliantly witty when she wants to be, and is downright dangerous when it comes to smart comebacks. Most of our time together is spent insulting each other because I love how funny she can be. I lose those fights every time.
My oldest sister has a catchphrase, "Well then!", which she will exclaim whenever there is an awkward moment, or if she can think of nothing else to say. She has consistently crazy hair which matches her personality quite well, and an adorable smile that is absolutely contagious. She gives some of the best hugs, although when she gets her arms around me I wonder if she will ever let me go! She also manages to say the most incredibly philosophical things every so often, amazing all who hear her every time!
Then there is the littlest, who has been running around in a princess dress today. She just made Harry Potter style wands for herself and her friends and has been waving her new wand around and shouting "Expelliarmus!" and "Episkey!" and"Avada Kedavra!" for the past half hour. Her imagination never ceases to amaze me, nor does her infinite amount of energy! One of the funniest things about her is how bossy she is. Her first sentence was "Not a good idea!", and she would say it whenever she thought we were getting into trouble.
They say that little siblings exist to teach the older siblings patience. I suppose I agree to some extent. However, I think that my little sisters have taught me several other valuable life lessons as well. They have taught me that picture books are always fun to read, that taking care of someone is a feeling to cherish, that making someone laugh is one of the best feelings in the world, and that one should always take into consideration a little person's judgment of the boy I like, because they will most likely be right!
Holy Father, You have given me three precious little sisters and I am ever so grateful for them. They give me new perspectives on the life you have provided for us, and they give me so many opportunities to teach them and to learn from them. Help me to remember how much I love them even when they test my patience. Help me to always remember how valuable they are are to me and how grateful I am for their presence in my life. More than anything, God, help me to always show them my gratitude and my love for them.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Dictionary.com's first three definitions for friend are:
1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile
"Friend" is a word that is often used very lightly. Because of Facebook, a friend is someone whose face you may or may not know and whose posts you do not necessarily look at. Little children excitedly tell their parents about their new friend whom they just met on the playground and whose name they do not know.
I suppose the basic idea is that a friend is someone you enjoy spending time with; the third definition, "a person who is not hostile", fits here. However, I prefer a combination of the first two definitions. A friend is someone who I am "attached to by feelings of affection", and also someone who "gives assistance".
Some synonyms for friend that I like are alter ego, ally, and mate. An alter ego is usually a term found in comic books. The definition, "a second self", describes how everyone wants to feel about a close friend. An ally is someone who supports you in a cause, and describes someone you can trust to help you fight your battles. A mate is one of a pair; you can't have one without the other.
All of these names for friend describe how I feel about my dearest and closest friend, M____. We have been friends for almost 4 years now. Before her, all of my friends had abandoned me in some way or another before 2 years had gone by. Because of that, I am very clingy when it comes to my friends, and I often worry about what they think of me, wondering when they will finally decide that I am no longer worth their time. My M____, however, has shown throughout these years that I have no reason to worry when it comes to her.
She does not see it, but she has been a light in my life, and I will always be grateful for that. She pushes me when I need to be pushed, and she is there when I need her the most, even though we are parted by hundreds of miles. She has a beautiful heart and a bright spirit. I only wish that I could take away the pain and the worries and any other burdens that weigh her down.
My sweet Lord, you have manifested yourself quite clearly in this girl, M____, whom I call my closest friend. I pray that you will show yourself clearly to her as the infinite ocean of love that you have been described as. M____ has been a blessing to me with her guidance and has helped me around so many obstacles. Please bless her in return by guiding her and by clearing all obstacles from her path. I offer you thanks and praise for gifting me with such a dear friend.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Today I am thankful for a man whom I have never met. I just started reading a book titled Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina, by Michael Casey. Michael Casey is a prior at Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia. His writing is incredibly eloquent, yet easy to understand as well. Even as he describes the history of lectio divina, he compels me to take up the practice.
Anyone who can encourage me to include more spirituality in my life deserves an infinite amount of gratitude from me. Dear Lord, thank you for inspiring Michael Casey to write this book, and thank you for giving me the desire to read it. May it continue to inspire and teach me.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Every night during my family's spiritual time, we each share something for which we are grateful. I believe this is an important practice because we often go throughout our everyday lives taking things for granted, seldom pausing to give thanks. Meister Eckhart, a famous monk in the Middle Ages, once said, "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."
Too often we dwell on the bad things in our life. We should instead think about the good things and give thanks for them. To encourage myself to remember the good things in my life, I am going to post something that I am thankful for each day of this year.
Today I thank the Lord for my family and for our nightly spiritual time. It is wonderful to know that every night, all of the family members who are home will gather together in our living room and join together to read holy writing, sing, and pray. For half an hour every night, there is no negativity and we are brought together by our shared love for that which is pure love. What a glorious thing to look forward to every day. I pray that I will never take it for granted.