January 30, 2012

Days like This

It was fifty eight degrees today.  I stepped out of the church building where I was in class all day, and immediately a hint of warmth hit my face and a light smell of spring was in the air.  I love days like this - the ones unexpected, almost taunting.  Days like this are a reminder that spring isn't just a date on the calendar, but a season that will arrive in it's time.  For now, we make do when it's too cold (or just plain stupid) to be outside.

This weekend, I spent time with my bestie, Shelby.  We took photos around her farm, and made some crazy fun memories with her sister.  It was one of the best weekends I've had this month.

It's Monday.  And remember that goal of getting straight A's this semester?  That's what I'm focusing on this week.  I'll be posting a few times over at Sealed for Redemption.   

What are you focusing on this week?

psst....click on this link if you want to win a camera!

January 27, 2012

Scenes of Home

Sure, there has been a lot of change recently, but I still love home.  Sometimes, I love it so much, that I don't want to do anything except stay.  Currently, the counters and tables and every other available space is covered in school books, but I love to walk around with my camera and find the things that stay the same.  Like the paper butterfly that has been taped to the window for over a year.  And the cat's long whiskers that tickle when I pet him.  These things are constant, even if the paint color or clean meter or people aren't.

January 24, 2012

sixteenth year

Today is my sixteenth birthday, the birthday I've awaited ever since I knew what being sixteen was like.  To me, it was always "the age" to be, and now, it's here.  Sixteen means a lot, I think.  Closer to being a woman than a girl.  (Though I think I'll always call myself a girl.)  It's an age that, by just saying it to someone when they ask you how old you are, makes you feel mature.  (Even if that's not the case.)  Maybe I should just stop talking and say, "Oh my goodness! I'm sixteen!"

I love birthdays in our house.  They are never forgotten or looked over.  They are celebrated with loud singing, ripping of gift wrap, and wishing on candles.  Our traditions are so strong that a birthday wouldn't feel real without them.  For me, it was lunch with my dad, phone calls from both grandparents, and a family party after dinner.  And this year, it's the first seriously celebrated birthday since the adoption.
I'm excited to be another year older, excited to have a life ahead of me, that with God's grace and mercy, will allow me to become the person He has made me to be.  I wrote in my diary last night the things that I want to do this year, and though the list is extensive, my main goal is to grow closer to Him.  Even in this year, I have been blessed with books from friends and a Bible reading plan that are allowing me to do just that.

The other things on my list?  Get my license.  Start my photography business.  Go on a roadtrip - with or without my family.  Meet Kiley.  Get straight A's second semester.  Travel to Ethiopia again.

Maybe that's why I like my January birthday.  It's like New Year's all over again.
My sixteenth year of life - I can't believe it's here.
I think I like birthdays.

p.s. New design?  I'm kind of in love.  :)

January 19, 2012

Description of a Winter Morning

crunching snow under boots
camera bag slapping hip
flapping of bird wings
squeak of coat as arms move
piles of snow falling to the ground
the quiet that comes with a snowfall

flakes falling
footprints in the drifts
black dogs turned white
heaps of snow on every single thing
leaves and sticks poking through their white blanket
gloved hands and booted feet
ice on tongue
winter wind
melting snowflakes on chapped lips
creeping cold down neck
hat holding heat
snowflakes on eyelashes
camera in hands
numbing fingers
red nose

January 18, 2012

Figure it Out

(Sometimes, I write posts like this.  I just have to get it out of my system.)

Some things I've been pondering on:

1  Why I'm the only one in my family of thirteen who doesn't like iced tea.  I've tried it.  Several times.  But I just don't like it.

2  How to fold the sheets with the tight band around them.  Know what I mean?  It looks like a wad when I get done with it.

3  What to do for my sixteenth birthday party.  Kiley told me that a party is imperative.  Now I just need to do something about it.

4  Why, every time we go somewhere, my family walks in a row like little ducks following their parents.  It happens, without fail.  Especially in church.

5  What the people at CVS think when they hear who's calling.  Again.  (We've been sick.)

6  How it can be so cold and still not snow.  I'm a snow + cold kind of girl.  Not cold + sunshine.

7  Ways to get out of the house, even for a little bit.  I have gracious friends.  :)  But in all seriousness, I feel like I've been living in my house for too long.  Is that ironic?

8  How many loads of laundry I've folded over a two day period.  I don't even want to know.  It's probably some ridiculous number.  It feels like 200.

The end.

Got anything you've been trying to figure out?  I'd really love to know.  :)

January 13, 2012

Orphan: The Unfair Name

I have four siblings with a different skin color.  And I'm OK with that.
I have four siblings who speak a different language.  And I'm OK with that.
I have four siblings who have lived in America for three weeks.  And that makes me happy.
Adoption is kind of a crazy thing.  It's hard and it takes work.  But the results are so beautiful.  Adoption - it's an oxymoron.

One event, one fact, one person can change lives in the matter of a second.  For The Four, one person meant a whole new life.  It meant and means a different future than the original one.  You see, we're Plan B.  This new forever family that they have didn't even know they existed until several months ago.

Just think.  Close your eyes and imagine.  At the edge of a valley lives a family.  A small family, working to survive, but happy.  The children love their parents and the parents love their children.  Can you see this family?  Now, picture a map of the world.  How many of those families are there on that map?  How many of those families live in this world?  But, one day or maybe over a few months, that family is changed, ruined.  Their future is bleak and only a few options remain.  What would you do?

Life might not be fair, but being an orphan isn't.  Living without a family - it isn't right.  
There is a side to my siblings that I will never know.  Their first steps, their first loose tooth, the clothes they wore, the places they saw and things they did.  Unless they speak about it or remember those things, I'll never know.  Those things, they're supposed to be remembered - by a mother and a father.  But they won't.  We missed twelve years of a boy's life; twelve very important years.  We missed a lot of years.  No.  Actually, we didn't even think about those years.  When these children were born, they weren't even in our thoughts.

There are 147 million orphans in this world.  One hundred forty seven million.  Do you know how many that is?  That's an unfathomable amount.  In this house live just four.  My family didn't even make a dent in that number.  They need you.  They need all of us.  Being an orphan isn't fair and ignoring their cry isn't either.  Please.  If you can.  Change a life for one of the 147,000,000.  

Your family might be Plan B, but any plan is better than none.  Orphan.  It's an unfair name to place on a child.  It's like a condemnation.  But God.  But you.  Together, you can change that name.  You can change a life.  

January 12, 2012

The Winter Girl

A winter girl.  Her eyelashes catch a scattering of snow flakes - the first flakes to fall for several weeks.  Gloved hands reach for the coldness, and when it is caught, throw it, creating a personal snow-globe.  It's hard to resist throwing her head back to catch the wet crystals.  Her nose wrinkled and her smile flashed.  Cold, but content.  A winter girl.

January 08, 2012

On this Sunday

When I don't have a pile of school to do, Sundays are my favorite.  Today was one of those days - almost perfect, full of smiles and laughter, and busyness in a good way.  I love days like this.  It was one of those times when I remember - since it seems like I always need reminding - that my family is one of the most important things in the world.
The day started out with Ethiopian church, which might not have been a good thing because now I want to learn Amharic even more.  In all seriousness, I love Ethiopians.  They radiate love and kindness, and their love for Christ is so evident and encouraging.  Today was no different, and as the pastor introduced and prayed for our family, I had tears in my eyes.
Afterwards, we went to a restaurant for the first time all together.  We actually survived, despite the stares and turned heads.
Though the English barrier has been hard to break down, slowly, piece by piece, it is beginning to fall.  Today we made so much headway.  We were able to have a real conversation with the boys, which was filled with laughter.
His first accident in America.  He ran into a pole and had to get two stitches.  
When we came home, almost all of us did a little work outside.  There's something about yard work that makes me feel so connected to my family.
This photo describes me right now, I think.  So many possibilities lie ahead - ones that include my parents and siblings, and ones that don't.  My last two and a half years of highschool and what I will do after, have been in the forefront of my thoughts lately.  There's a future out there for me, and as of now, it feels real instead of like some far-off dream.  I've been posting over at Sealed for Redemption about some of these things, if you want to read more about them.

Have a lovely Monday, dear followers!

January 04, 2012


Christmas break does wonderful things to a person.  There is time to read new books, take longs walks, pray, relax.  I love to curl up in a cozy chair with a book, simultaneously reading and listening to the activities around the house.  (And lately, there's been a lot of activity.)  Voices in both English and Amharic fill every corner of this well-loved house.  

I admit, at points, those voices have not been happy ones; rather, ones of screams and cries.  Slowly, though, I am seeing my prayers answered.  The littlest Ethiopian princess laid down for her nap and bedtime without screaming for the first time.  The Four are picking up English, some faster than others, but picking it up all the same.  That's the hardest part - the language barrier.  

On another note, I ended my 365 project.  Too much stress and a lack of inspiration were threatening to reach up and drown me.  (Or something like that.)  As soon as I stopped counting the days, I felt free.  A rush of creativity has hit me.  Some photos I've taken recently: 
Yes, Christmas break is good.  Definitely good.  In my case, I have the month of January to finish finals and shadow a photographer and relax and refocus.  My teachers call it a J-term, I call it wonderful.  A wonderful time to release the stress that has built up and refocus on the things that matter the most.  

January 03, 2012

I Like Typography

These are just my few short attempts.  Because of the lack of Photoshop on my desktop and my nonexistent skills in Gimp, this is about as good as it gets.  Someday....