Friday, March 9, 2018

A letter to myself: beautiful things





Good morning, Dearest.

If the world were pitch black, then no one would be able to see anything. You wouldn't be able to speak because you'd be so scared. You wouldn't be able to learn anything because you can't learn much in the dark, other than what goes on in your head, and sometimes that's not always right. If the world were pitch black then there would be no light—no sun, no moon, no stars.

But Dearest, that's not true. You have stars, and you have a moon, and you have a sun. And just like that is a fact, this is also a fact: There is always light in your life. It always amazes me how you can  bear to say that life sucks. Life hurts. Life can be black and white. But it doesn't suck. Light is beauty. Every light in your life is a piece of beauty waiting to be seen.

You know what else amazes me? Some blind people seem to see more beauty than those with sight. And it makes me wonder, is it really they who are blind? Or is it us? Sometimes seeing can feel more like a burden than a blessing. But it can be a blessing if we want it to. And there's someone who can change that. Us.

We choose to see beauty. And then we choose to create more beauty.

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There are so many beautiful things. Beautiful things make you feel happy inside. If you let it, sometimes that beauty will pour into your soul like a waterfall and fill you with every beautiful emotion in the world—love, hope, peace. It opens your eyes for a moment, and I want to cry because for the first time in a long time, you're seeing the beauty in others.

I hope you know you're beautiful, Dearest.

Stars are beautiful. There's something about the wonder and vastness of it all, the sheer number of how many of them there are in the night sky. They shine on us all night long, like little guardian angels. If you stay awake long enough through the night, then they become pricks of sunshine like the lit-up holes in your dark blanket. You smile at them, and then you fall asleep, safe in the arms of the heavens.

People are so beautiful when they truly laugh. Laughs—true laughs—are full of joy, and happiness, and peace, and so many other positive things. Laughs are contagious, just like yawns. Every time I hear someone laugh like that, I laugh. I love that sound. So laugh a lot, dearest. Notice when people are happy and feeling beautiful and let them help you feel beautiful too.

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Faith is beautiful. So many bad things happen out there, and at this point, all we really have to hang onto is faith. We have faith that things will turn out. We have faith that God knows best. We have faith that we can make it through this—together. Dearest, whatever you do, don't lose faith. Faith will bring out the beauty in everything like a mountain rising over the barren desert sands and turning them to gold.

There's something about being around a person who knows they are beautiful. They know from the bottom of their hearts that they have true beauty. They're happy. They laugh a lot. They never say anything mean and they stand up for others. They are kind and helpful. They take you by the hand and lift you to your feet when all you can do is sit on the curb crying. Beautiful people say, "God created beauty to be shared."

See the beauty in others.  It's always there, even if you can't see it in yourself.

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And I know that sometimes you don't see it, but you really are beautiful. It's deep down there, tucked under all that mess that pushes to the front, but I see it in your eyes. All people have beautiful eyes.  The eyes are where everything surfaces. The eyes are what tells the truth about everything. And the truth is, Dearest, your eyes tell me that you have a beautiful soul even though it may be cracked and crumbling.

Don't give up, Dearest. I don't know what I would do if you gave up.

Stay beautiful. Please.


With love,
t r u t h



A while ago, I came up with the idea of writing a series called Letters of Light. They were meant to encourage others and show them that I love them, even though I may not know them, but I've found that letters like these are precious things. They're precious because I write them to myself. I want to remember these things as I grow up, and never doubt the things I felt for even a moment. I'm happy to share them with you; maybe they'll be the letters I first envisioned when I set out writing them. :)

Friday, March 2, 2018

LOOKING BACK—Jan/Feb 2018 edition

 

So I haven't posted in like, a month? Oops. I'll try to be more frequent this month. I have some poetry and photography I'm aching to share, so March should have more than one post in the archives. :P It's time for another edition of Looking Back! I decided to change the format for this series because I was getting bored with the old ones, so this is going to be more journal entry style, similar to my December in Photos post. Just with words. And more pictures.

Also, if you're wondering the purpose of Looking Back, I write them so I can remember all the important things that happened to me during the months. Just thought I'd say that. I think they can get a bit boring at times, but I think it's important to remember the little things in life and writing them on this blog motivates me to do just that. If you do Looking Back/recap type posts on your blog, just drop me a link and I'll read them! :)

January

 

January first I woke up and my family and I drove to Washington D.C. for the week. It was the first time that I'd been there, and i enjoyed it even though it was, like, twenty degrees outside. It snowed on our second day touring and so my siblings and I had a lot of fun crunching through the snow and seeing who could sink the deepest int he snowdrifts that piled up on the curbs. While we were there, we also had this epic pizza at a place called We the Pizza. The crust was really thin (exactly how I like it) and it was loaded with delicious, irresistible meaty toppings. I wish I had thought to take pictures of the food, but, alas, I was too cold and hungry that the thought never crossed my mind.

We were there mainly to see the Smithsonian museums on the Mall, and while they were all amazing, the one that left me breathless was the Natural History museum. I walked into the Marine wildlife exhibit and gasped. I couldn't believe my eyes! Everything was blue and there were jellyfish and trilobite fossils and these eerily graceful skeletons arcing across the ceiling, as if they were swimming. I honestly could have spent half a day in that exhibit alone and then the rest of the trip exploring the rest of the museum, but we had to rush through it to get to the other places we wanted to visit. If you go to D.C., definitely go visit the Natural History museum.

My favorite monument was the Jefferson Memorial. There was something about it that was so regal. On the walls were many of his quotes, and at the top all inscribed all the way around the rotunda were the words, "I have sworn upon the altar of God hostility towards any form of tyranny over the mind of man." It got me thinking about how dedicated to Christianity the founding fathers were, and also how our country is seeming to forget that.


 

I spent a lot of time journaling and writing down my thoughts in my many notebooks. I wrote some poetry too, but I'll share that in a later post. Most of the time, while I think and write, I listen to music. Usually they're my favorite songs from the Ghost Stories album by Coldplay, but I've also been indulging in beautiful contemporary piano. Sometimes I pull up a somber song from the eighties, but most of the time I stick to the emotional pieces I don't listen to often. I like the music that makes me feel something. :)

The rest of January was kind of dull, but I did make huge plans to redecorate my bedroom. My mom and I painted the walls a lovely shade of sea green blue last year, and now we plan on re-painting the furniture that I've had for about ten years. It's all cream and light brown, but I want to deepen he tones and contrast the colors more. I'll write a post about that later when we actually start on the project, but for now here's a picture:

 

I also want to decorate with more houseplants. I feel like those add color and freshen the air, but so far my attempts at trying to plant flowers have failed. I have an ivy plant that my mom gave me, but I still have to find a place to put it. For now it's sitting outside on the patio. instead I've been collecting glass jars and bottles and tin cans for modern, organic touches when I finally get my starter plants blooming.

 

February

Valentine's day felt so much earlier for some reason. Maybe it's because last year I didn't really think about it, but for the first two weeks of the month that was all my youth group could talk about so it was always on the top of my mind. I went to several parties where I (naturally) consumed boxes of chocolate and large quantities of Italian soda. My mom took us out for donuts on Valentine's day and so we got those yummy heart-shaped donuts with sprinkles and pink icing at Dunkin Donuts. Later, my mom decided to grab a box of chocolate glazed from Krispy Kreme for my dad and brother. I personally enjoyed those more than the pink one, but that was also because of the photogenic properties of the scrumptious sweets. My sister helped em out with a Valentine's day book photography shoot, so here's one of the pictures:

 

Yes, we used Heartless. Why? Because that book has made a scar on my heart deeper than any other romance and honestly who doesn't want to celebrate Valentine's Day int he most tragic way possible?? XD

I had a conversation with a friend that month. We'd known each other for years, but lately we just hadn't talked. I felt like I was loosing her as a friend. I finally got up the courage to tell her how sad I was about our fading friendship, but her response kind of confused me. She just seemed so distant and somewhat apathetic. Hearing from her made me feel a little better, but at the same time I'm wondering if this is as far as we can go and now we're parting ways. It really made me think about how growing out of friendships is a reality. But strangely enough, I'm kind of coming to terms with it. I really don't know how else I can be her friend.

 

Spring came early this year. It's been breezy and cool, the sunshine settling on my skin as I dig my toes into the soft new grass shoots that poke out of the moist dirt. I've been wanting it to rain though. I miss the rains of winter. My mom's azaleas have bloomed all around our house and reconciled her to the fact that she lost most of her bushes and a palm tree to the January freezes. I love photographing their blooms. Everything seems fun to photograph now, even the ducks that I've been posting about endlessly on this blog. :P Most of those pictures above are from a day I was playing with my mom's 50 mm portrait lens on manual focus.

 

I've also been craving seeing mountains again, and this wanderlust keeps tugging at me to look farther than my street once again. That feeling has become so familiar. It's kind of sad, but It's almost like I need to travel now. I need to see other places to feel happy. Or maybe it's just the relief that comes with running from the problems that accompany being home in a place I don't care much for. Grey days are coming—they always do in the spring. I get restless, and sometimes a little depressed because I need to move. I need to go places and feel new. I need to explore. all that has inspired my Camp NaNo novel, which is about a ghost girl and a boy who have never been outside their hometown, which int heir minds has become a sort of prison. It's not that depressing, but I'm in love with the grays of mist and mountains and rainy days.

 
 
A the end of February I got the chance to settle that craving for a while. My family took an impromptu trip to my grandparent's and to my delight it rained almost every day we were there. It was beautiful and I felt so cozy!  The first day I didn't get a chance to explore outside, but the second day it was so beautiful and it smelled like rain, and so I couldn't resist romping around in the woods. There are these large rocks in the lawn around the driveway that my siblings and cousins used to call whales. They seemed like the backs of whales sticking out of the waves. I I went to the far ones though, which were our "cliffs". I didn't climb them, because I had my mom's camera with me, but I did take some landscape photos of them.


I really wanted to take pictures of the flowers there. There were purple and blue ones all over the lawns and the peach tree, apple tree, and pear trees were blooming in pink, white, and blush.


 
After photography, my dad took Danielle and I on a four-wheeler ride. We went up into the woods on one of the trails, headed towards my uncle's log cabin. But about halfway there, the four-wheeler just stopped, and we got stranded in the woods. My dad made me and Danielle get off and push it down the mountain. XP At the bottom of the trail there's this steep hill. Well, the four-wheeler was accelerating so fast that Danielle and i had to chase after it. We ran out of the forest shouting and laughing. Previously, my dad had said I could drive it, so I got on at the end of the hill on this stretch of grass. It was my first time learning how to drive it (I decided not to learn at twelve, unlike some of my cousins) and I think I was doing pretty well, but then it died again so I only got to drive it for about 30 seconds. Sad, I know. XD


On the day we came back, we woke up and it was raining. And OH, by breath was GONE. It was like the ridges of the mountains were melting into the clouds, a perfect ombré of gray and silver. I wish I had gotten pictures, but the camera was already packed. :'( Maybe next time, though, I'll be lucky enough.


How have the last two months been for you? Did you go anywhere exciting/beautiful/cozy? What are your favorite places to visit, and do you like photographing flowers? 

Smiles!
Nicole



Friday, February 2, 2018

nostalgia


Dearest darling,

Remember when it would rain and you would make tiny origami boats out of scrap paper from Daddy's desk? You would walk two houses down the street and then release them in the little stream that ran in the gutter. The warm spring water would slosh against your ankles as you followed them down the current, chanting encouragement and pushing them along when they got stuck. And then they would catch in the little cement sandbars, and you would pick them up and take them inside to dry. Sometimes you would push them over and watch as they floated down into the pipes, wondering what kind of world they were entering. 

Remember the phantom cat? It was this white cat with a blue eye and a brown eye, and sometimes he would jump into the briar patch behind your house and you and your siblings would chase him out because you thought he was a bad omen. For so long you were terrified of him, but then once you realized he was just a cat, you tried to catch him so you could stroke him because you didn't have any pets. At the time you didn't know you were allergic to cat hair.

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Remember when your brother's parakeet died and how he cried in the bathroom all morning? And for some reason you thought it was your fault because you were in charge of taking care of her when he wasn't there. And you wanted to comfort him, but you didn't know what to say to him. And so you cried by yourself and the whole day seemed to be gloomy because it hurt to see your brother hurting. You weren't the best at comforting, but that's okay. You were there and I think that helps people the most.

Remember when you and your friend biked down to the pond and decided to explore because you were tired of being left behind by your brothers? You found this ravine, and a whole adventure formed in your head. The forest became a jungle, and you were an explorer. And then your friend lost her phone and you all freaked out. She said her mother would kill her. Remember that? It was kind of funny, but amazing because God really does help you find lost things if you ask Him to help you.

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Remember when you and your best friend walked out behind the house and followed the cows as they grazed? She named every single one of them, and you suggested names like "Lavender" and "Sir Walter Brinklehorn." You had a lot of fun, and found so many daffodils, but they were all on the other side of the fence in the pasture and you were too frightened of the bull to climb over and get them. But that was one of the last times you two hung out together before you moved. You two haven't talked in a while, have you?

Remember when you went back last year? Do you remember that strange feeling that made you want to laugh and cry all at the same time, because everywhere you looked, you saw yourself doing something you loved? It's strange how we can feel like ghosts in our own minds. All we have left of the past are memories. But that's the way things are, dearest. Don't let memories chain you down because you have so many more to make. Instead of looking back, look forward. 

Be strong, dearest.

Love,
nostalgia