Different Light

Recently I’ve been so busy substitute teaching and working on my thesis that I haven’t found time to blog. But this doesn’t mean I’m not getting out and enjoying nature in my free time. I’ve been making it a habit to hike up the mountain (a very small one at that) behind my house in the evenings. Depending on the weather and the time of day, the landscape can look so different. I thought I’d share a few photos from my hikes.

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This is the same hill.

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The wildflowers are so tall right now! PC: Hollie Macomber (whose photography blog can be found here).

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Hope you all have a fantastic week!

Goodbye 2016

Another year is coming to a close. It feels like I haven’t had a chance to blog for months (which isn’t really true. It’s all about priorities and mine have been elsewhere). I have been really busy with school and an internship in Los Angeles and just surviving my schedule. A lot has happened in 2016, and I’m glad it’s coming to a close. This year has been one of the most challenging in my life. So many changes have occurred. From losing loved ones to ending relationships to cultivating new ones, I’ve learned, lost, and loved more than ever before. 2016 has changed me a lot, but I am more than ready for a new year to start. Here are a few snapshots of my life in the past few months.

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I got a kitten from my boyfriend. Her name is Toast and she is perfect.

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I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas. Wishing you a safe New Year’s celebration. Until 2017!

Alaska

In the beginning of June I had the privilege of going to Alaska on a mission trip. We went to build some cabins and bath houses for a summer camp out on Lake Aleknagik. We had no wifi or service for the entire week and a half. It was really great to unplug, enjoy nature, and reconnect with people on a more personal level than we’re normally used to. Alaska is so gorgeous. I can’t wait to go back someday.

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged or even thought of posting anything on here. My summer is coming to an end soon. It’s been a busy one. I went to Alaska, to Northern California, to the beach, to the fair, and just recently to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Summer has always been bittersweet for me. While I enjoy having free time to explore and spend with friends and family, I am easily bogged down by the feelings of boredom and unproductiveness. Having finished my first year of grad school with only one to go, I decided not to get a summer job. (I was also in charge of selling the 8 puppies, which turned out to be more work than I had initially thought). I wanted to spend what would potentially be my “last summer,” before entering the real world, by going on adventures.

Quite spur the moment last week, a few friends and I decided to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. We secured a camping site in Kings Canyon, loaded up the car, and made the 6 hour trip up north. We took over 2 hours trying to find the campground in the dark, but we did see a bear! We visited the world’s largest tree, took a tour of Crystal Cave, saw a few waterfalls, and swam in a river. With no real agenda we explored the parks and had a really great girl’s retreat!

On Monday it’s back to reality. It was nice to be unplugged and take a breather in nature before the hectic school year starts up again. Until next time Sequoia.

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Our humble abode

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We floated down this river for a while

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Our group

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Flashpack nation

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Some of the Sequoias

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Do you see the little moon?

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We stopped by a lake

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Sunset in the Sequoias 

New Life

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While there have been many difficult things I am learning to cope with in my life, there are also some refreshing changes. I became a grandmother two weeks ago (tomorrow). How can this be possible at the age of 23 you ask? My dog baby, Soleil, had a litter of puppies! We have 5  black, 2 yellow, and a chocolate lab wriggling about. They are absolutely adorable and have stolen my heart. As we cannot manage 10 dogs, we will be selling all of the babies. Until then, I will be bombarding my social media accounts with pictures of them!

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They sleep a lot right now.

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I posted this picture on my Instagram account for National Donut Day. She really is so cute I could just eat her up!

Grief

 

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I’ve had a really good life. I’ve been blessed with so many things. A good education, more than enough food on the table, an amazing family. I had never really experienced anything difficult. Sure, I’ve been challenged, but nothing has compared to this.

A couple of weeks ago I really experienced loss for the first time in my life. My grandfather passed away, quite unexpectedly. The week and a half he was in the hospital are some of the worst days of my life. It was heartbreaking to see him there, lying in a hospital bed, unable to communicate with us. We talked and sang to him, hoping he could hear us. We discovered that there was nothing we could do to improve his health. We could only make him comfortable at the end.

I have never had to say goodbye to someone knowing it would be the last time I’d be able to tell them how I felt. To know that I could never tell him I loved him again, could never thank him for the huge part he’s played in my life, to never kiss him on the cheek again. I did say my goodbyes though. As hard as it was, I would never trade that moment for anything in the world. I pray with all my heart that somehow he heard me.

The days that followed his death were very strange for me. I felt numb. I wouldn’t let myself think about him for fear of breaking down. I knew I needed to let myself feel, but between teaching and finals I was so overwhelmed that I kept putting it off. But I  could only put it off for so long.

Church is what really did me in. Having people come up and say how sorry they were triggered all of the emotions. Since then, I frequently think of him and cry. I miss him so much. It has been so weird not having him around. It feels like he’s on a trip and will come back soon, but I have to keep reminding myself that he’s not coming back. I feel denial, anger, and depression all at the same time. I’m learning to deal with these emotions every day.

I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad. I know he’d want me to be strong for him, but right now this is what I’m going through. They say things get better, and I’m hoping they will. But for now, I’m just trying to get through each day, trying to cope with all of these emotions, and trying to live in a way that he would be proud of.

 

Anaheim Packing House

It’s spring break for the universities in my area as well as the academy I teach at, so I finally have a small vacation! My best friend, Kylie, reserved me for a girl date last night. It had been a while since we had gone out just the two of us. We decided we wanted to go to the Anaheim Packing House.

We ate waffle sandwiches from The Iron Press (not pictured) and had gelato from Vitaly, on of our favorite places. It was nice to chat and walk around!

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There is an open are in the middle of the building with plants hanging from the ceiling. People can sit and look down on the center from the second floor. We had fun people watching.

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The Packing House has tons of options and would be a great place for a date (even a girl one!)

Oh, hello.

I realize it’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve written and I’m not quite sure where to start. Another year has come and gone, and I haven’t written once. It’s amazing how time flies.

Let’s see. What has happened since my absence? Well, I graduated with my BA in Communication, traveled in India and Europe, started a masters program, and landed a teaching job. It’s crazy how much life can change in 365 days.

I’m not sure where this blog is going, but I want to be more committed to writing. I’ve also realized that the older I get, the more my memories sort of blur together. I want to remember things vividly, and a great way to do that is to write. I also want to take more pictures and to have a reason to take more pictures. This space will be my reason.

So, here we go again. Hello 2016, and hello world.

2015

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The new year has come and taken off. Already we’re into February. School has been flashing by, I’m busy with an internship and my job. I’m coming down with a nasty sore throat and have a million other things to do, but I felt compelled to blog.

I’ve been realizing more and more that life is short and precious. I didn’t come to this conclusion because of one occasion, just little daily reminders. Seeing my grandparents grow older, losing my fourth grade teacher to cancer, coming up on my graduation in June. The things I’ve previously put value in somehow seem shallow.

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Probably because I’ve never kept one and haven’t met people who are committed and faithful to theirs. After several months life catches up. There’s little time to food prep or go to the gym, read your Bible or spend more time with your family. New Year’s resolutions are always so drastic. But they don’t have to be.

Instead of labeling my goals and making them unattainable, I’m going to take baby steps. The older I get, the more I realize it’s not about what you wear or the current trends. What everyone’s doing. It’s about who you are as a person and what you do for those around you. Cliche, I know. But I have been feeling this so intensely lately. I want to make a change. I want to make a difference. Even if it’s just with the words I say in my everyday conversations. I want to love more.

I know it sounds very appropriate and timely with Valentine’s day coming up in less than two weeks, but I don’t mean a superficial love. I don’t mean sending flowers or buying chocolates. I mean loving people on a deeper basis. For who they are. I want to see the good in people and to cling on to it. Too often I find myself focusing on the negative, judging too quickly. I want to be more aware of how I’m treating people. There is something good about everyone. Find it, and focus on it instead of the bad.

I want to be more effective with my time. I have been going nonstop from 8 in the morning until 10 every night. The time I do have is precious. I want to learn watch fewer shows and spend less time on social media, and spend more time doing. Whether it’s hiking or just sitting and engaging in intelligent conversation with people, I want to expand my knowledge and my acquaintances. I want to learn as much as I can in this short life we’re given. Knowledge is power, they say. It really is. By knowing about issues that plague our society we can make a difference. I want to make a difference.

This year, 2015, I want to be more deliberate. I want to make a change in the lives of everyone I come in contact with. No matter how small it is.

This year, I want to do more, to love more, and to live more.

Senior Year

We’re in the middle of the second week of school already. My last couple weeks of summer I was packing in all sorts of fun trips. Beach days, food runs, Disneyland. But school life is here and has taken over. This year I am more involved with school functions than I ever have been. I will be writing for the school newspaper and am in charge of Public Relations for Revo, our school’s fashion show in the spring. We had our first meeting last night and just from talking with the team for an hour, I will be pushed out of my comfort zone to meet new people. (Which is a good thing!) I am really looking forward to the rest of this year.

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This past Sunday Pablo, my dad, and i went to the Miramar Air Show down in San Diego. It was a blistering 102 out with no shade, but the show was spectacular. We all had a really great time.

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Snow Monster in Huntington Beach

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Kogi runs!

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The last day before school started back up, Pablo took me to Oak Glen to pick apples. I’ve been up there once before, but we were too late to pick our own. We did this year though, and had a lot of fun! It’s so beautiful up there.

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Soleil is getting so big! (Granted, this photo makes her look a little bigger than she actually is).

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A couple Sabbaths ago I baked pumpkin muffins and cinnamon rolls to try to hurry fall along. It’s still in the 90’s up to 100 here. October is probably my favorite month and I’m really hoping it will cool down and start to feel like fall. I hope wherever you are, you’re enjoying the best season of all!