Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Have a Fabulous Chistmas

I woke up this morning feeling as if a train had hit me and then quietly rolled out of my room. I'm currently bringing you this post to you in an alka sezter haze and I wish I could write more but I have some Tylenol calling my name. 

Needless to say, the Christmas post has been postponed, but here's a sneak preview:

Have a fabulous Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Until Then

I took an unintentional turned intentional week and a half break this month. I had a lot of final homework that was shoved in my face the week before we got out for break and although I've been out of school for almost four days, I'm still trying to tie up some loose ends.

Also I feel I need to address something that I wrote on my last post. I've been planning this super fantastic new blog series that I intended to start last, last Monday (not yesterday, but the week before). The thing is, I totally chickened myself out of it that day during school. I had everything written and typed and all I needed to do was get myself to click publish. I had a lot of anxiety in starting the new series to begin with, and I'm just not there yet. Until I can talk myself back up, it'll sit in the drafts folder, but maybe some day in the coming new year I can bring myself to share it with you.

Not only have I not written one word on the blog for almost two weeks, but I haven't taken a single picture. You'll have to live with a re-share for the time being, but I've got some ideas for a post tomorrow that will include pictures and real thoughts and a post that hopefully has a meaning. Maybe.

Until then, have a fabulous day.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nothing to Write, Yet Lots to Say

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read my post from a few days ago. It felt good to get all that struggling and confusion off my chest. I'm hoping that I can get myself together for a second post of that sorts so fingers crossed. Also thanks for all those who took the simple measure to click on your reaction (it's located at the bottom of every post if you're unfamilar) and for the comment and email I received! I know the whole unplural wording of comment and email seems very insignificant, but as a blog writer to 14 followers that's a pretty good outcome.

I love being able to read my comments, emails, and even the reactions that people click at the bottom of my posts. It all seems silly and unimportant, but it's something I enjoy. I love feedback and opinions and advice and thanks so much for sharing them!

In all honesty, I have nothing of signifigance to enlighten you all on today. I'm probably going to ramble on about who knows what because I'm getting that feeling that it's about time for a new post and not having anything to write should never stop anyone.

I'm having a hard time getting myself outside to take pictures in the increasingly cold as a popsicle air. I'm also in dire need of a change of scenery and perhaps a slight change in picture taking devices. I've been using my iPhone for almost a year and I'd love a DSLR, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. My parents have talked about buying one for our entire family's use as they know very little about my photography career, but who knows if that'll ever happen. I also get such fear in the whole choosing a camera process. There are too many choices and brands and models that I don't know if I can ever figure out which one will be just right. I don't want to spend upwards of five or six or even seven hundred dollars and then find out there's a better camera. Sigh.

I'm also holding my breath for some snow.

We had a slight shower a few weeks ago, but it didn't stick in the least and I've been DYING to photograph a snow covered yard. It's such an interesting element and considering I'm always confined to one picture taking space (my yard), a change in anything is a cause for celebration and photo taking.

Also, the countdown for Christmas seemed to have started ages ago and we're already coming really close to the end. If we're being honest here, I always dread Christmas day. We build it up so much in the two months prior to the holiday and yet once my clock hits 12:01 a.m. the day after Christmas, I feel so awful and depressed and yearning for it to all come back. I want to go back to the 24/7 holiday fantasticness and the anticipation of the day that seems to have so much meaning even though I've outgrown the childhood image of it. Christmas is too fleeting and I wish there was a way we could change that.

I always find it so hard to end Christmas and have to somehow continue on with life. I've recently decided to start a petition for a year round Christmas feeling which I hope you will join.

Here's to one more day till the weekend. Enjoy Friday. Throw some confetti and eat cake batter on Saturday. Read a nice book and stuff your face with a few or ten packs of gummies on Sunday. And even enjoy yourself on Monday.

Also, I've just started planning something that I hope will take place every Monday from now on till forever. It's something that I have a lot of interest in and can't wait to share and write every single week.

Until then, have a fantastic day.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Religion (My View as a Teenager)

As a teenager, I've found that I often speculate on things that other teenagers don't seem to think too much about. I'm a self proclaimed deep thinker. One of my favorite things to do is sit in my room windows open and just think to the tune of whoever makes my soul happy at the moment. I like opinion sharing and exchanging and knowing where I stand on certain subjects, and I often take this time to decide where exactly I'm going to stand.

And the one thing I can't seem to get my grasp on is religion.

I'm suspecting a few people quit reading after that final word. Religion is a big huge boulder that some people run away from entirely, while others let it hit them full on with acceptance. Then there are some who stand under it cautiously, but run away as soon as it seems that it could possibly topple onto them. You're either completely against it, totally immersed in it, or somewhere in the middle that may or may not gain you the acceptance of the two other sides.

If you're unaware, I live in the deep south. For those either foreigners to America or unfamiliar with the concept, the deep south is easily characterized by God and sweet tea. We face a huge stereotype that most can never overcome.

There are two main types of people living here. Strong willed Christians who love Wednesday night potlucks in their church's basement and sporting around their republican t-shirts who have quite the opinion on gay people, Obamacare/the Affordable Care Act, and abortion. Then there are those who seem to want the exact opposite of their counterparts. They love gay marriage, their pro-choice bumper stickers, and sleeping in every Sunday morning. And don't get me wrong, there are people living below the Mason Dixon Line (aka the south for those unfamilar with this phrase) who don't fall under either of these categories. I know many of them and currently I'd declare myself as one of them, but the above are the main stereotypes that live in my community.

But back to the current point. With such differing religious viewpoints filling my life, it's easy to let myself wonder about God and the Bible and Jesus and all that jazz.

Before I go any further though, I feel some sort of back story needs to take place here. I often think these types of conversations must include your own religious background just to help make the muddled picture a little less muddled.

All my life I was fed Bible stories and scripture verses until I could repeat them myself. The amount of sermons I've sat through I can guarantee is in the thousands. I'm Lutheran, which is a branch of Christianity that was started by a pretty rad guy named Martin Luther. He's honestly one of my favorite people. He didn't like what the Catholic Church was doing at the time and didn't hesitate to let them know how he was feeling about all this. Martin Luther stood up for what he believed in, which is basically the holy grail of things that you can do to impress me. He didn't intend to start a new branch of Christianity separate of Catholicism, he just wanted to reform the Catholic Church, but one thing lead to another, and now we have Lutherans. If you ever have a spare moment, put Martin Luther's name in Google's search box.

The main point here though, is that my religious upbringing I'm sure was done perfect according to the books. I wasn't smothered by religion nor was I brought up in a household of Christian hating Bible burners. But no matter the upbringing I had, I've found so many doubts in my own religion.

You see, the south is extremely conservative. People often wish that "all those homosexuals" (imagine that with a southern accent and it'll make that statement even more realistic as I've probably heard it a hundred times by my fellow southerners) and abortion clinics would just go away. And I don't care what others try to say, the south is very intolerant of other religions. They think all Muslims are terrorists/women's rights oppressors who are out to ruin our 'Merica (thanks 9-11) and atheists just need to be smothered in a blanket of bible stories and "you're going to hell" statements in order to bring them back to Christianity.

The shunning of homosexuals and judgmental lives of others, makes me question so many of the things I was brought up believing. Most of the things I've mentioned in this post haven't really come from people within my own church. We have a large population of Catholics and Baptist (both conservative branches of Christianity) living within my community and although I by no means want to put the blame on them, a good portion of these comments have stemmed from their mouths. I specifically remember on a field trip in sixth grade (for those unaware of the American education system children in this grade are usually 11/12 years old) the topic of gay people was brought upon our minds by a young girl on the bus ride home. The girl had an uncle who was gay and as she was never one to shy away from personal matters, this was somehow shoved into our conversation. Now another young boy who is a very devout Baptist and I'm actually very good friends with, made his view known. He spewed memorized Bible verses into the girl's ears about how her uncle needed to change his ways and how homosexuality was a sin and he would for sure go to hell.

The conversation ended in yelling between the two children and with tears streaming from the girl's face, she was moved to a separate part of the bus.

It's all these things and more that makes me question the validity of the Bible and the God that I for sure without a doubt thought existed only two short years ago. There's so much in religion that's left to faith and simply believing in what's fed into your mind and I have a hard time doing that. I like questions and what I like even more are answers and clear answers are hard to find in the world of religion, you're just expected to believe and continue on with life. I strongly think that the Christians who try so hard to mold atheists into born again Christians are doing it all wrong. If they want them to turn back to God, they need solid evidence to help them understand the whirlwind of Christianity. Atheists often hold on to the foundation of "there's no evidence of any of this happening" and simply shrug off the "Jesus freaks" who won't quit pestering them.

I hate a lot of things about my own religion to be honest. I hate that they can't accept gay people. I hate that they feel it's okay to judge others for their own sin, when they are sinners themselves. I hate that a lot of them rely on their own interpretation of the Bible, believing some things and discrediting others. I mean, what ludicrous method do they use to decide what still applies today and what doesn't? Shouldn't you either believe in the whole thing or none of it at all?

And I hate their notion of who is/isn't going to heaven. I don't understand how a person in a small village in Africa who dies at the age of three and has never even heard the words God, Jesus, etc. ever escape from someone's lips go to hell. If this is true, how can God place a child in a family of non-Christians who will never be spoken the word of The Lord and place another in a Christian, faith based family and expect them both to live up to the same religious expectations. If God loved us all, wouldn't he place us all in picture perfect religious households so we could all learn about Him and go to heaven?

I also don't understand how divorce and remarriage after divorce is acceptable (even though the Bible deems it as a sin unless the spouse partook in adultery) while gay marriage and the acceptance of homosexuals is constantly beaten down by Christians every where. I honestly just want one of the Duggar's kids to come out as gay. Or the Pope to be gay. Or for every over zealous conservative Christian to be given a gay child to show them that they are just like them, a sinner. If they can get into heaven, then so can their gay child. Just because they're committing a sin doesn't deny them their place in heaven just like all the sins YOU'VE committed hasn't denied your place. There's also nothing in the Bible that justifies shunning and hurting gays. Does love your neighbor as yourself mean nothing to you?

I don't really know how to end this properly. I'm full of other doubts that I want to write about, but it seems another post may need to be written. I'm having a hard time facing my religion that I've known for 16 years. Or maybe I'm having a hard time facing those who call themselves "Christians".

It's really really hard and it sucks ass, to be honest.

I feel like I just need to pray and read the Bible or something, but this post helped. It feels good to voice my struggles.

Re-sharing this picture, because I hate posts with no pictures. And not to mention I love this picture. 

Have a fabulous day.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fall and Stuff

Fall seemed to end just as quickly as it arrived with its pumpkin decorated lawns and pretty leaves and chilled air that may or may not require a coat. Although autumn isn't essentially over according to the calendar, the trees and weather begs to tell a different story.

I'm enjoying things like snowman plates and half days of school because of icey roads. We even got our first snow last week, little tiny puffs of white that didn't bother to stick to the millions of blades of grass on hopeful kid's front lawns, but it was alright. It was a good omen for the upcoming winter, which we are all crossing our fingers has a forecast littered with snow.

Most of my pictures today are in black and white as I'm finding that's my new favorite filter (although it's not really a filter at all). I love how the two colors allow you to focus on details and the usually unnoticed aspects of pictures. Tiny ridges and wrinkles and spots seem to dance when they're colored with black and white.

But back to fall. It's been cheerful and crayon-y and warming to my soul. Colors and happy things like cider and sweaters melt in my pot of fantasticness (a great thing to have by the way). Fall always seems to slip away unnoticed after the cold weather and snow slam into the atmosphere and nobody every wonders whatever happened to the season of red leaves and chilly air.

Poor fall, you will be missed.

And my apologies for the shortness of all of this. I'm way behind in school and people time and blogging and reading other's blogs and life, but who isn't nowadays? I'm currently averaging three mental breakdowns every week over classes, but shoutout to those fantastic people who made sure I could go to school as a female. I'm also struggling over the thirteen hundred (just a rough guesstimate) things on my to do list which I haven't even accomplished the first thing which is to write down the to do list.

But who cares. Let's all take a deep breath and makes some Christmas cookies or something.

Have a fabulous day.