instagram lately

i love when the light streams in in my bedroom like this.  and yes, that is my blank countdown (*tear*). Just 144 days and I'm going to begin it again.

chores.

really messy slept-in braids recently

guess who i was holding?  i love this view.

i love when the light streams in like this pt 2.  and yes, he was talking to me :) 

my favorite kind of desktop photo

stayed up and read in this corner of my home.

everything is better with a vintage fan.  especially 6 hours straight of sitting staring at a computer screen.

i miss this place.  and the people that were sitting next to me when i took this photo.  

my favorite thrifted shirt ever ever ever ever.  it was such a good find.  i love goodwill. 

class for the hundredth time.  + water + granola in coconut milk and honey.  

i got the loveliest letters from some of my dearest friends.  i wrote them back and listened to mumford & sons.

iced coffee and... oh, more class.  

more coffee and reading something other than school books.

6am is rough.  it's better when you wake up to this new album.

i wore my favorite shoes and tights last sunday.  you could say i'm really craving fall. 

and yes, the only food photos i take is of peanut butter and honey + apples.  i have an addiction, i know.

my view a few nights ago @11:30pm.  bottles in the sink, two rootbeer bottles and a single rose.  interesting.

jj heller!

invitational.  all day.  in the sun.  with blue dye on my hands.  my life.



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let's keep it real here

We went to the grocery store yesterday.  My mom and I.

I felt the stares this time.  I really really felt them.

Usually when people stare it's just out of surprise.  A white mom and a chocolate baby...what?  It never has and never will be a big deal to us... we expect it and always will.  We understand it really isn't normal to see that when you go out.  I have learned to not get annoyed with it because it's people's way of reacting to this surprise.

But yesterday was different.

I held him while my mom pushed the cart.  We were only getting a couple things.

I grabbed some eggs.  The girl standing there was staring.  Plainly obvious, too.  At least most of them try to be discreet.

Walking back to my mom it felt like everywhere I looked someone's eyes were on me.

I grabbed some orange juice.  There was the same girl staring at me plainly obvious again.

I felt the eyes this time.  It was more judgement or maybe even hate than it was curiosity.  And I didn't like it one bit.

I'm sorry if you think that white people shouldn't adopt chocolate babies.  I really am.  But you're not us.  You don't know.  There is no reason for you to judge us based on our own convictions.  And I'm truly disappointed this is the way the world reacts.

I realized, yesterday, that stares are never okay.  People with disabilities often talk about how horrible it is when they go out and people just stare and stare.  I never understood that.  Even in the past five months with Trey I hadn't experienced it this plainly obvious.  Yesterday changed that for me.

I swim at a pool twice a week where I continue to see an adopted probably 4-year-old holding his mom's hand as they were leaving the pool.  This past week, I watched them go out.  There were two ladies standing there staring and even discreetly pointing it out to the other person.  I was horrified.

To those that do stare: Yes, we feel your eyes.  We feel them.  Nobody wants to go out in public and feel like someone is watching your every move just because of the baby you're holding's skin color.  And I'm sorry you feel you have to stare.  I hope you realize that to us he is part of our family and I wish you would honor that by treating him as so.  I know that if I was holding a baby with the same skin color as me you probably would not stare as you have.  I know you have questions and I know it's so completely strange to you to go to the grocery store and see a white teenager carrying a chocolate baby.  I know what you assume.  I know there are many possibilities going through your mind about how this child ended up in the arms of these white people.  I hope that next time you see something like this you react in a different way.  Not in stares.  Encourage them.  Or just don't stare.  We feel your eyes and the judgement in them.




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"daaaaadadadada"


be still my heart.  i love him x a million. 

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the simple things

I like the simple things.

You know, the way the sun streams in in your kitchen or the way he looks when he sleeps.



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new

I redesigned my blog.  Again.

I like things new and fresh.  I can't leave it the same for too long or else I start feeling really lazy and unmotivated.  This helps.


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Some of the moments you capture on your camera are worth salvaging... even when they aren't quite in focus.

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all the time

Sometimes, I have to ask myself.

What if I was not born in the family I am in today?  What if the things I have been through in the past year had never happened to me?  What if we hadn't adopted?  What if I was born in a family of two children instead of five?  How would that make me different?  What if I wasn't home-schooled, what if I went to public school?  What if I never got a camera five years ago?  What if God didn't bring Trey into my family 5 months ago?  What would I be passionate for if I wasn't passionate for orphans or photography or adoption?  Where would I be without this blog?

It all goes back to this....

God chose it all.  Every little bit of my life that I could have never chosen for myself.  The way that I'm passionate for orphans and adoption... not everyone is.  Not everyone would sometimes rather live in Africa and not everyone has a deep passion placed in their heart for orphans.  Everyone is different and everyone is special... obviously.  But what is even better... God chose it all before time.

The whole point of this is... life is lovely.  No matter where God put you and no matter how it was all planned out before time.  It is lovely.  So lovely.  I hate it when people say their life sucks.  Because it really doesn't.  I understand that sometimes it does suck.  I understand that sometimes it's completely horrible.  But you have to learn to find the beauty in it.  The everyday beauty that you would otherwise not ever see.  That's what it has taught me.  Not to dwell on the bad parts.  The lovely and beautiful parts that are oftentimes overlooked.


Like... looking down and seeing skinny jeans with baby toes... and seeing him play with that little thing attached to his carseat at my favorite restaurant ever?  usually i'd see it and look straight back up.  this time it was beautiful. 

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even when he's sassy


He is becoming quite the little sinner, I must say.

When trying to grab my plate full of food and I took it away from him... he cried.  And tried to bite me with the teeth he doesn't have.

When trying to hold onto my headphone wire and pull on it and chew on it and I took it away from him... he cried.

And baby boy, I'm sitting right next to you.  Is it really necessary for me to put you on my lap?  (...the pic.  i give up)

Oh my goodness though.  Even when he's sassy I love him so much.


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thoughts


If you would have told me a year ago that abortion needed to be abolished, I wouldn't have really cared.Today, I have a 5-month-old baby in my home.  A 5-month-old baby that does not share my DNA.  That does not have the same skin color as me.  Whose birthparents had a rough background.......
To think that he had the same probability as any other child coming from parents with rough backgrounds who is seriously discussing abortion and/or adoption.....

To think that his life could have so easily be taken away from him... because of someone's own convenience?????  Ummmm no.  It should not and can not work like that.

Did you know that in 2008 1.21 million abortions took a child's right to life away from them?  And did you know that 22% of pregnancies in the US are terminated?  And that abortions cost about 40 times less than adoption does?  And do you know how sick this all is?

Did you know that a fetus' heart starts beating at week 5 and that at 10 weeks their vital organs begin to function?  And that at 3 weeks that "ball of cells" actually includes things like their eye color and gender and other traits from their parents?  And did you know that at 24 weeks (which is when it's still legal to abort your baby), the baby has hair and weighs more than a pound?  

Do you see from all of this that life is beautiful?  That the babies that grow in the womb... whether they are 5 weeks pregnant or 10 or 28 or 40... they are all perfectly human and have the same right to life that you have... at 40 or 16 or 4????  What I really don't get is how absolutely disgusting it is that we can say that a little tiny person inside of another person that has a tiny brain and who's heart would beat if you listened to it is not a human.  That "ball of cells" is just a fetus and a fetus is not a human being.  What I also don't get is that if a women were to kill her baby after she gave birth to him she would go to prison.  But that at 20 weeks... a "ball of cells" whose heart beats and who could can move and who has fingers... it is okay and right to kill that child.  Because, as we all know, we're free and able to choose what to do with our bodies.

Ummmmmmmmm.  No.

Not when we're talking about a life.  Not when we're talking about something that could very well change the world if only you gave them a chance.   A chance which they deserve.  A chance which only you can give them.  And a chance that only you can take away.  But, in the end, a chance which you receive the moment you are conceived.  Because every life is equal and every life is beautiful.  Life at 3 weeks in the womb or 30 years out.

I get that most of the people that are for abortion are not believers.  They do not see what God has put in their wombs was planned and is not surprising to God.  I get that they don't look at life as a gift from God and they don't look at children as a blessing.  I totally get that.  I'm not saying everyone should just read the Bible and then they'd get it.  No, it (unfortunately) doesn't work like that.  They think we are kooks too.

What I do get, though, is the fact that life is precious.  Babies are precious.  Adoption is precious.  And yes, there are waiting families.  There is not a shortage of families waiting for babies via adoption.  So many people that would so gratefully take that child you are so selflessly giving up.  Yes.  Always.

Life is one of the best chances we can ever get.  And we only get one.  What I've learned through adoption is that every single life is precious and that we do not have the power to say who deserves it and who doesn't.  One way adoption has changed my life is in the topic of abortion.  I have developed my thoughts on that.  And... I am going to use this one chance that I got from God to inform the world and help abolish abortion forever.  I am no longer going to just think about how horrible it is.  I want to do something about it.  Because it is sick.

Life is precious.  Life is valued.  Life is a gift.  Wake up and realize that you have the same right as the unborn.  Jeremiah 1:5.  Psalm 139:13-16.

& Psalm 127:3 // Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb are a reward.


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5 months






Today, Trey is 5 months old.  

In the past month, he became ours forever, giggled, and ate real food for the first time.  And oh my goodness, he is such a joy.  The way he smiles is my favorite thing in the whole world.  His eyes are the most beautiful I have ever seen.  We've all come so far since this date five months ago, and I love him even more now than I did then.  Adoption changed my whole life and I will always look back on this year as one of the best in my life because of adoption and how God used it in our life.  I love you, Treyday, you are the best ever.  


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When he laughs like this for the first time at the dinner table.......

video

Ohhhh my goodness.  He is such pure joy.

And....

When considering that God could have given us any baby... literally any baby... especially this one.... but instead he gave us this one?  This sweet, giggly, happy, chubby, super perfect because God chose him little one?  Ohhhhhh my goodness.  It is overwhelming.  His first real belly laugh?  Be still my heart.  He is too much.  It is all too much.

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I remember the first time I saw her in person.

She looked exactly the same way she did over Skype.  Except more beautiful.  She was wearing a hat, I remember.  And high heel shoes that she regretted because they tore her feet apart walking around in the Vegas airport for a 7 hour layover (do you know who you are yet?).  And I just had to stare at her for a moment because this was the first time I'd ever see her for the first time.  And I loved it.

And then we got to the hotel and it was awkward and I didn't know what to say.  But then we woke up the next morning and we were the same crazy insane girls we were together over Skype.  Except better, because it was face-to-face.  We started writing down our inside jokes.  It all went downhill from there.

And then she came to stay with me for four weeks and I had the time of my life.  I'll never forget every one of those nights that we sat on the couch just talking with my brother and her until midnight.  Or the nights where she'd fall asleep on the couch while we were watching Say Yes to the Dress or Dog the Bounty Hunter or, our favorite, Police Women of Broward County.  And then I'd have to get that weird Oryx tail and sit there tickling her feet with it while she didn't move.  Or blast the JBiebz in her ear until she'd open an eye and I'd say, "Come to bed!   You fell asleep on the couch.  Again.".  And she'd hobble back, running into walls occasionally, and not remember it the next morning.  Sometimes we'd go back to my bedroom and talk for another two hours.  I loved those nights.

She's one of those people who sticks with you forever.  And ever and ever and ever.  I've known her for 4 years now.  And I have to say, those were some of the loveliest 4 years of my life.

Taylor, I love you.  I love the way we have matching laughs and how we always laugh harder when we realize they sound the same.  I love how easily you make me laugh-so-hard-I-cry.  I hate Monopoly now because it's not being played with you.  I hate Goldfish now because I'm not eating them with you.  I don't cook tortillas right on the stove anymore because I'm not burning them and almost lighting a fire and making the entire house fill with smoke and getting in trouble about it with you.  I don't like turning my head to the right to watch the TV when I'm on the computer because I don't turn and see you sitting there on your iPad.  I don't look at that little space underneath my bedroom window the same because your suitcase used to sit there for that whole month.  And Taylor, I don't look at my life the same because it wouldn't be the same without you.  I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you.  I miss you I miss you I miss you I miss you I miss you.  Don't hate me cause I'm beautiful.  VRH.  I OWWWNN THAT.  I am titaaaaaaanium.  Come see me, girl.



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milestones

Today was a milestone.





(Oh my goodness!  Can it seriously get any cuter than this?!)

He is such a joy.

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we love him a lot

There is no doubt that he was meant to be here.  And yes, people, the rest of us are "adjusting" to the idea of a new baby brother perfectly fine (yes, people ask that).

There are no words to explain how much we all love him.  He can recognize us now, by our faces and by our voices, and I love that.  We all have nicknames for him.  We all dance with him.  We all love that he is here and that he is here forever.  We all do.  There was no need for an "adjustment" to him being here.  He came and we fell in love with him.  And then he became ours forever and maybe we all didn't express how lovely that feels but I know, deep down, that we were all screaming inside.  There is nothing sweeter than forever.




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raw photography

In my opinion, the best kind of photography is the raw kind.  The kind that presents people as they are... no matter where they are.  I know life can be horrible at times.  But through a photograph it can capture that specific time in your life perfectly.  Maybe you have a scratch on your face or you're in your swimsuit.  Maybe you haven't taken a shower in a few days and your hair's looking a little crazy.  Maybe you didn't dress up.  Maybe you're just in that new t-shirt you just got.  It doesn't matter to me.  I like to capture people as they are no matter where they are best.  Whether that is dressed up, in a swimsuit, with crazy hair or in a t-shirt.  I like it best raw. 






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I made a tumblr.

Not to reblog things.

But for my photography.

For real life, for those times when I capture a moment through a photograph and want to share it somewhere besides this space.

This tumblr is like a new beginning for me.  I like photography blogs a lot a lot.  Especially when they don't have an agenda.

If you want to check it out. 

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home-education

I love being home-educated simply because I get to watch my little brothers grow up.  I love that I will never miss anything that happens at home, because I am home... all the time.  I've learned to love being at home all the time.  I would never want to go back to public school simply because I would miss everyone and my home so much.

Sick baby and sick sister together in pajamas in my online Algebra 2 class.  Love.


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One Hundred Followers

It's crazy, really.  How far I've come.  I just got my 100th follower.  I'm not quite sure what I think.  To be honest, I'm sometimes not sure why people read my blog.  It's more like a journal to me at times.

I read on a blog recently that you shouldn't treat your blog as a journal.  That's popped into my mind at times while writing.  That maybe I shouldn't publish a certain post because it's more journalistic than most others I publish.  But then I remember... this is my blog.  This is my space.  This is not a place for other people's words on what you should and shouldn't write on your blog to become true.  I will not choose to change my blog and my space for the sake of a few extra followers.  Because that's not simply why I blog.  It's much more complex to me.

I could never write down all the reasons I blog.  There are too many for me to remember.  All I know is... I love it.  I love the community it forms and the people I've met.  I love the comments people make.  I really love every comment.  I like words.  I like the words blogging helps me write down.  But most of all, I love how blogging has helped me find out who I really am and who I really want to be.  I may not be the best writer.  I may not take the best photographs.  But I write and I take photographs and I write this blog, and it's the real me.

Thank you to every single one-hundred of you.  I love all of you.  There were times I wanted to give up... but then I read your comments.  Or I thought about people in a similar situation.  And I keep writing.  Not only for me, but also for all of you.  Even the ghosts that read my blog that don't follow me.  Because I like to see the world in a different way and observe the words people say.  So that I can write it down and record it.  For me, but mostly for you.  Because people have hard times.  People go through similar situations.  I blog for them, too.


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