The Purpose of this Space // 18 February, 2016

When I first decided to start a blog, I was in the seventh grade, around 13 years old. I was very into craft projects, reading, and writing- so I started a blog about books and I shared my thoughts on them. Since then, I've struggled keeping up with blogging. I've always admired people who blog regularly and I've wanted to become one of them. But I never put enough work into it.

Today, blogging has drastically changed. It seems everyone has their own space on the internet. Women are making millions of dollars posting pictures of their cute families and writing reviews of products they "love." A few weeks ago, I remarked on this situation to my sister. "Why do some many people follow her? She's so fake!" I exclaimed. (Disclaimer- yes I was judging someone I had never met. Yes I determined she was fake just by scrolling through pictures which may or may not represent her real life. Yes part of my judgement probably stemmed from jealousy- after all, she had somehow found a way to do what I was always trying to do- build a blog and have thousands of readers). My sister simply replied, "People like fake."

So that got me thinking. Why don't I blog about how perfect and beautiful my life is? I can post pictures of palm trees everyday, talk about the great Mexican food I enjoyed in LA, and put on this great facade!! Sure, it won't be true to who I am, but people like fake and maybe they'll like me.

But if I did do that (which probably wouldn't be possible in the first place, since I can't take as beautiful of images as these so called "fake" people and I also lack a husband and adorable kids), what would I be accomplishing? Why would I be blogging? I would be the creator of a fiction blog based on a fiction character who happens to have my name and look like me. I would be a model for a life that is far from real and then, someday, a girl just like me might sit and wonder why her life isn't as "perfect" as mine.

That's not what I want. I want to be real and genuine. I want to write about my life- real, sometimes ugly, sometimes beautiful. I want to share pictures that are accurate representations of what life is to me. I want to share how God works in life and share bits from my spiritual journey. I don't want to blog to make money for myself. I want to blog because it's an outlet for my thoughts. Once upon a time, I loved writing and telling stories. Today, I feel stuck. The words don't flow like they used to. But today, I want to change that... and so I'm going to try. I'm going to share my experiences and thoughts on here, for myself. If someone happens to stumble upon this site and be encouraged or inspired, then that's great. Maybe they'll be inspired by my honesty and be more open in life and spread real, not perfect. But my prayer is that I never come off as fake or perfect.

So here we go.

Big Sur, California

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For MLK weekend, some friends and I decided to go on a school trip camping up at Big Sur. This was a big to-do on my ever-growing list of things to do in California, so I was excited to get to cross this one off the list.

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This was a camping trip where everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Above on the right is our van pulled to the "side" of PCH while we changed our popped tire. On the left is the view from across the van... a beautiful house with an even more beautiful view.

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Finally we made it to the misty and magical forest and stopped at McWay Falls before heading to our campsite.

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The list of other things that went wrong included missing tent poles (so we slept in the van!), forgotten firewood, and just lots and lots of rain in general. But it's ok, we still managed to laugh it off anyways...

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The Van Clan...
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Cheers to the first of several camping trips/exploring California's coast/good memories!

(Pictures taken on my phone and a friend's camera; I shot a roll of film while adventuring and can't wait to see how those turn out!)

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There will be peace in the valley for me, someday.
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray. 
There'll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me. 

A little while back, as we laid out on the lawn of our favorite park on campus and watched the sunset, my roommate introduced me to this song by Elvis. She told me how she and her mom love listening to it during the Christmas season. As I took in the soulful, gospel tune and the words that ring oh so true, it gave me strength and comfort. Whether you are fighting a hard battle with sickness or worldly problems, or you're wrestling with a spiritual battle, there will be peace someday.... here on earth, or in heavenly city of God. There will be peace. 

Christmas Eve in Lawrence

This year we decided to spend Christmas in Lawrence, Kansas with some family. Not only does Arkansas now feel a lot different than "normal" for me, Kansas feels... boring? (My apologies to family and my sisters who both went to college in the great sunflower state.) But, despite the endless rolling hills, plains, and dead trees, I managed to enjoy our time in the midwest.

On Christmas Eve, we went to brunch at one of our favorite spots on Massachusetts Street- 715. I've been eating here since I was probably in 8th grade, so I took a few photos to remember the place...

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A classic picture taken by the waitress... 

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Afterwards we walked around downtown and did some last minute shopping followed by a dip in the (heated) pool, Christmas Eve church service, and a family screening of Christmas Vacation before bed. 

Merry Christmas Eve!!