What a little yellow car taught me about life

Let me take you back to June, 2016, and the smell of decadent breadsticks, garlic, and roasted tomatoes filling the air. The location is Olive Garden, and the day is my birthday. My small family surrounds me, good food anticipated by all. The day thus far had been quiet and fun, and was ending deliciously.

A year before that, around the same time, my birthday had been celebrated by a big dance, lots of friends, bagpipes, and too much cake and pie. It was magical. And yet somehow, not quite as magical as that simple, easy restaurant meal with my family.

We're taught to believe that life is best with more. More cars, more food, more friends, more... the list goes on. Quantity is key.

My birthday party had all the quantity (and the quality, I don't deny); and yet somehow the simplicity, the ease, the lack of things at that dinner at Olive Garden was just... perfect.

Let's switch back to the scene at hand. The meal is eaten, in all it's steaming, Italian glory. I'm sitting next to my sister and her beau (now husband), and I ask her to finally reveal the gift she and Gabe had been keeping secret from me all day. She pulls out a little box, sweetly wrapped. I undo it, and reveal a little yellow Volkswagon beetle.

Sorry, got to give a backstory again: Yellow Car is a game that is a favorite of our's to play with Brigid and Gabe. It has an inside-joke behind it, and from it I developed an undying affection for little yellow cars: more specifically, little yellow Volkswagon beetles. 

When I held this little yellow car in my hand, bliss was mine. It sounds absolutely silly, and maybe I am easily impressed and overjoyed. I got to eat at my very favorite restaurant, and I got a little yellow toy car. That was all I needed. Big presents and birthdays are fun, and have their place. But this birthday furthered my love for simplicity. For little things. For those fun gifts that don't provide much function, but are loaded with memories and joys.

Now, when I see that little yellow car on sitting on my desk, it takes me back to that happy time. Pulling back the tiny black tires and watching it zoom across the table brings me back to that childlike feeling of joy, utter joy, in that simple, sweet, delicious evening.

So what did a little yellow car teach me about life?
That you don't need a lot to be happy. Sweet memories, and little things to remember those times by are enough.

Impatience is my Middle Name

So here's the thing: I'm not a process-loving gal. I want a result, and I want it fast. I've told my friends that impatience is my middle name; and though this is often a weakness, it can also be a strength. My impatience drives me to get things done, get results & finish a project asap. If I have an idea, my turn-around time of idea-to-product is always as short as possible. If I see something that needs to get done, I get it done STAT. It's in my blood.

But here's the downside: God puts me through processes. Enjoying those processes has to be the most sanctifying challenge for me, just about ever.

When God puts my family through a trial, I'm always looking towards the end result of that trial, hollering from the back seat "are we there yet??"

Although I like to view each challenge and trial as a sanctification process that will draw me closer to my Lord, my impatience often sneaks in from behind and whispers impatient thoughts.
"Come on already, haven't I waited long enough? I'm ready to see the result!!"

Yep, that's me. Impatience is my middle name.

Now here's where it gets complicated: when my Dad tells me that I need to learn to enjoy the process, I get impatient with myself to finally get the hang of this whole "enjoying the process" thang.

Like I said, it's in my blood.

...And then God stoops down to whisper in my ear:

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven..."

Charlotte, I've got this. I AM the great I AM. My timing is perfect. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

And, just like a fussy baby suddenly cradled up in the loving arms of her Father, my restless heart falls back asleep.

This makes me reflect on just how much of a babe I am in my faith. But then what do I do with that realization? Get impatient to finally get to toddler, nay, adult stage?

Nope. God will take care of getting me there. I just need to stay humble, and keep on praying.

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Thanks for reading my rambling thoughts today. I needed to get some stuff off my chest, and am blessed by those of you who read and resonate with my restless heart. Love ya!

God's Will

"As much as you want to plan your life, it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things that will make you happier than you originally planned.

That’s what you call God’s Will."

/ Anonymous /

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I've decided to attempt to photograph the essence of several quotes that I collected in my Commonplace Book over my Senior Year of High School last year. As I was studying rhetoric, and was having to seek out quotes and paragraphs to inspire the development of my speech and writing, I was utterly entranced with the beautiful phrases of speech that I stumbled upon. Opening up that collection again revived that entrancement, and inspired me to express my interpretation of these quotes through my favorite medium: photography.

So, here is the first edition: God's Will.

When we bottle up our life into our own plans and short-sighted desires, we limit ourselves more than we know. Thus the first photo: it's full of tension, inflexibility, distrust, and uncertainty as the subject attempts to plan out his life.

When we let go, and trust God for His plan for our lives, there is incredible liberty and a sense of renewed joy in the vigor and spontaneity of life, trusting that He sees the big plan and will play it out. We're just the actors and actresses, acting out the script and embracing our roles to the best of our ability. Ultimately this will leave us so much happier, truly happier, than if our own narrow-minded plans had worked out in the first place. Thus the second photo: more free, light, and full of energy and flexibility, embracing the uncertainty and letting go.

So, About this thing called Film...

There's this whole world of photography that I haven't yet explored... that of film and material photographs.

My Aunt gave me a film camera with a roll of film, and I am contemplating putting in that roll of film and experimenting, seeing what magic I can make capturing an image onto that translucent roll.

But, if nothing else, they sure are pretty cameras, aren't they?

Of Friends, Farms, and Cameras

The other day I met up with one of my sweet girlfriends, Hadassah, and we spent a whole precious hour photographing and learning together about the art we are both so passionate about.

Everything from kittens, chickens, goats, cool logs, and each other were the subjects of our photography. I upgraded my lens this year, and it was one of the best things in the world sharing my equipment with another, and getting to gush together over the images we created with it.

_ _ _ _ _

I am so thankful every day for the sweet, sweet friends that God has given to me. 2016 was a year in which I was searching elsewhere for my friendships and fulfillment... and then I discovered that all I needed in friendships was literally just few miles down the road. The community that the Lord has given me to thrive in is one that I will be forever grateful for.

Blueberry Pancakes

Looking at these pictures takes me back again to that morning in the kitchen. The room was filled with the delicious scent of coconut oil and pancake batter sizzling together on the griddle. 

Fresh, homemade blueberry pancakes.

I can't help but smile inside every time I hear those words together.

As I sat at the table, and took the first bite of my plateful, I couldn't help but think how special are small things like this. Food tends to do that to me, I guess... Whether it's making a beautiful, tasty meal, or eating and giving thanks for something absolutely delicious that someone else thought to make for you, it brings me so much joy and thankfulness. The Bible tells us to "eat, drink, and enjoy the good of our labor," right? Even if it's small, I'm thankful for good tastes, beautiful food, and the good and beautiful people who love life enough to find the joy in making and eating.

And blueberry pancakes.

Now, please excuse me as I go and make calzones for the family. It's "Friday night pizza night", you know.

17 Things

1 / It's funny how putting your hair up just so, and walking around barefoot in your favorite dress can make the world seem a whole lot sweeter.

2 / 1.4 aperture is bomb

3 / Thanks Grandma and Dad for the crazy awesome hair genes

4 / Finally got down the self-portrait thing. I think. It only took a mirror, chair, desk, vintage suitcase, and more blurry pictures than I'd care to count, but ya know #goalz

5 / I finally whupped the January grey, and I'm walkin' on sunshine (wa-oh)

6 / Thankful for small things like blueberry pancakes and patient sisters.

7 / It's beautiful and liberating to embrace your own, unique personality...

8 / ...Even if your Myers-Briggs result is the same as certain pop stars and politicians that I'd rather not mention... o.O

9 / You're future doesn't rest in the hands of people. It only rests in the hands of God.

10 / ^^^ that's a beautiful thing.

11 / I get to see a sweet friend and photograph up a storm soon, so that's happy.

12 / I'll be driving on the public road for the first time ever soon, so that's scary.

13 / Thankful for days like today where you just plain don't care about the future, since the moment you're in is so, so sweet.

14 / I love piano. And George Winston. And Canon for that matter.

15 / Also Canon cameras, but I meant Pachelbel's Canon ^^

16 / I'm on a roll with these ^^^ things

17 / The rest of my 17th is going to be amazing. Even if it's bad, it's still going to be rock-start amazing. #optimism