Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Truth

I was encouraged by two really sweet things from blogs today. I hope you'll slow down and take the time to view these...

* Here's a neat video about Christmas, that tries to reach out and explain the real heartbeat of Christmas, and its history. For me, it was a bonus that the backdrop for the whole video was wonderfully wintry Londontown.

"That's Christmas"
by St. Helens on Vimeo

via Life Together

* A Piper sermon on one of my favorite passages.


The Life-Giving Words of Jesus

The two verses are John 6:63 and 68. The link between them is that both refer to the words of Jesus as life-giving. Verse 63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

Then, after “many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him,”

Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69)

I love these verses so much. I really identify with Peter's sentiment here a lot of times - I'm not sure about everything, but I do know that there's only one place I can go for Truth and grace, and that's sitting with Jesus. Piper expands on this really powerfully...

No One Like Jesus

And for many of us, what keeps us from going to any of these is the same thing that kept Peter. Verse 68: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” In other words, we may not have all the problems solved—the problems of following Jesus and saying yes to his teaching and his Lordship and his saving work. He may confuse us at times, and baffle us with things he says, and provoke us, and offend us.

And yet, we say with Peter, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” No one ever spoke like you. No one every acted like you. No was ever so strong and meek, so tough and tender, so authoritative and gentle, so profound and simple, so powerful and so willing to be killed, so just and so willing to be treated unjustly, so worthy of honor and so willing to be dishonored, so deserving of immediate obedience and so patient with people like us, so able to answer every question and so willing to remain silent under abuse, so capable of coming down from the cross in flaming judgment, and so committed not to use that power.

Come Back, Like the Prodigal Son

Where shall we go? There has never been anyone like you, Jesus. No one ever taught like you teach. No one ever loved like you love.

This is how thousands of people come to Christ. Not without tremendous struggles as they look around for a philosophy of life, a god, a world without God, a world without the sovereignty of God, a world with some kind of explanation that makes more sense of more things. And they come back, like the prodigal son, and say, “Where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Last Christmas, God graciously wrote it on my heart that Christmas means hope.
Against all odds, against all earthly "wisdom," the Father of the Heavenly Lights brings hope - hope wrapped in flesh and blood. Immanuel.

He alone brings the words of eternal life. Why should we turn to anything else?

... I hope that the Lord will keep placing this on my mind this Christmastime.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Everyday waiting

Today I developed 7 rolls of film. As I've begun hoarding film cameras and venturing out more with them, I've been thinking about how (obviously) film involves some type of patience that digital does not. Especially w/ these plastic lensed toy cams, you just don't know what you're going to get, and that's part of the beauty. In life, for me patience usually seems overrated, but today I was reminded (in an everyday way) that waiting is a good thing. I took this picture almost two weeks ago during a super fun lunch break, and had only a hope that it might turn out well. Today when I popped my cd of new pictures in and saw this, I was just so... happy. Something there just makes me lift my shoulders up and in, and sigh, and... relax. Rest. Open up.

{On a slightly related note, I decided to get a flickr account. So, you can now see all my plastic lense adventures @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/lelijo/}

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peace on Earth

I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet the words repeat,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

'Til ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, first published in 1863

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend soup

  • The Border Film Project. I bought this book today at Half Price, as a gift, and I couldn't help but read through the whole thing right there in the store. It's seriously compelling to see both sides of the story. There's so much voice and nearness in the photos.

    (This project also only furthered my current lean towards analog photography...)

  • One day at work, after paying 30 cents for an afternoon pick-me-up and then re-applying my dark plum lipstick that I recently unearthed from the bottom of my makeupbag, I realized that lipstick on my Diet Coke can makes me think of my mother, and summer.

  • I love it when Garret quotes Oh Brother Where Art Thou. He’s predictable, but it’s endearing: "I don't want Fop! I'm a Dapper Dan Man!"

  • OMG this is hilarious - http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1752195 – STEP BOMP, STEP BOMP BOMP! Why have I never seen I before? I know it's not real, but it's still crazy funny.

  • I made my hair curly this week, and wore my fuzzy brown hat and furry boots, and it reminded me of last Christmas, in China :)

    This potato mound was the best Christmas Eve Day snack ever.

  • I bought another toy cam and it came in today; it was only $12. That means I've bought 4 this fall... I'm taking a break from buying them now. (But I also put 2 on my Christmas list...)

  • At various points this week, I really missed these face masks like we wore last Christmas. I still have mine, so if you see some girl running around CS with a face warmer on...

    it could be me, or Kay, or Kristin - we all learned to rock them :)

Tonight, I am grateful. Grateful for a warm house, encouragement from strangers, the Lord pulling me towards new things even when I'm scared, good books, and sweet people. Even in the midst of unsure-ness, Father is faithful to sustain us and provide.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

i want

FreyaArt's Etsy shop is so charming!
I absolutely lovelovelove this print and I would really like to have it in my future home - with different names, obviously! ;)

This one is also quite sweet. Wings... hmmm....

*Update: just realized I'd already posted a link here to that first image once before - oops! Guess I just really like it...

Jo, from Little Women

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

oh winter..

Winter things I could do without:

· My dry, scaly old woman hands

· Shivers

· Sickness

· Icy roads

· Desolate skies

Winter things I enjoy:

· Naturally rosy cheeks

·Twinkle lights

· Soft hats/beanies

· All the rattlesnakes at the farm are hibernating

· Snuggling!

· Hot chocolate

· Hoping for snow

· Giving

· Soup

· It’s a lot warmer here than in northern EA!


the day part of today

The day part of today was pretty darn good.

I Went to bed at midnight last night - got good sleep!

I tried to be more thoughtful and introspective throughout the day, instead of just coasting. I'm beginning to hate coasting. Tried to think on Hebrews 2:1-4, and Deut. 6:5 and Josh 1:8-9.

Lunch break:

funny fun time with Megh & Jules / Skidaddled to the nearby park with the fisheye and Igor (new name for my crotchety new/old Russian camera). / No kids were on the playground! I could climb around and take pictures w/o feeling like a weirdo – yay! / Sat at the top of the playground for a bit and gazed at the clouds. / Shiiiinnnyyyyy, fast-moving, wintery, amazing clouds! / Hilarious roomie email thread involving being “neck-id” (naked). / Getting stuff done at work!

So, Father really energized me with random and fun things, and I was really thankful for that. But then tonight I feel melancholy and introverted. hmph.

P.S. A new banner for December is coming soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Country girl

So, I've pretty much always listened to some country music. But, lately I've been realizing that I really only listen to either Christian music or dance music now, lol. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) This semester almost every time I turn on a country station, it just sounds unappealing. What's happening to me!?! ;)
So, tonightI decided to rediscover some quality country songs that make me happy/nostalgic/thoughtful/dancey. Here is my list. Judge as you will, but maybe try a few out, too!

Bring it on Home by Little Big Town
Will always make me think of Garret Austin.

Oklahoma Breakdown by Stoney LaRue
I JAM to this.

Life in a Northern Town by Sugarland, with Little Big Town
Could listen to that all stinking day.

The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert
Just recently started listening to this song. She's SO hardcore. And a little scary.

House of a Thousand Dreams by Martina McBride
Good greif I love this song.

Don't think I can't love you by Jake Owen

In Color by Jamey Johnson
Garret loves this. It makes me cry - I'm a sucker for story songs.
(Don't get distracted by the singer's nasty beard...)

Johnny and June by Heidi Newfield

You're Gonna Miss This by Trace Atkins
Cheese from creepy Trace, yes, but it really resonated last year.

Sick and Tired by Cross Canadian Ragweed
"Memories, overrated, all they do is get you damn frustrated."

Crazyfun party songs - for all the wild partying I do:

Love by Roger Creager (!), and The Everclear Song also by Creager
The Road Goes on Forever by Robert Earl Keen
Wear my Ring by the Bart Crow Band

Monday, November 16, 2009

Modge podge

November has flown by. I can't believe Thanksgiving is only a week and a half away! Awesome! Right? I think so. This entry is going to be a bit of a modge podge. Haven't had real clear thoughts lately, so I'm just going to go for it. Thought I was going to go to bed early tonight, but I think writing will be good. Thanks for reading :)

Tonight I listened to more than one JJ Heller song in a row for the first time, and it has been reallyreally life giving. "Love me" is powerful.

This post from Piper was good. I don't know if I've fully internalized these concepts:

....God's free and sovereign heart-changing work is our only hope. Therefore we must pray for a new heart. We must pray for the "want to":

Incline my heart to Your testimonies. (Psalm 119:36)

He has promised to do it:

I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes. (Ezekiel 36:27)

I definitely struggle with trying to manufacture my own "want to," putting my confidence in it, and then eventually failing because my strength is insufficient. Sometimes, my own human motivation to do the right thing will work for a good while, and maybe I don't even realize I'm relying on it, but I've learned that it can't truly sustain godly actions. Because, the world and my flesh will thump away at whatever construction paper morals I had been relying on, and one day I will look up and my "want to" is gone without a trace. Grasping through that shame and helplessness towards the neglected power of the Holy Spirit's gracious changing of my soul has been very challenging for me lately.

I really really like this blog. I read the Bright Side Project (and try to win sometimes), and one day I read on there that they had a new weekend editor - Lindsey from A Great Full Day. So, I hopped on over there and was quite pleasantly surprised by the fresh, friendly mix of spiritual Truth, style, and exuberance in her blog. I'm also enjoying this blog that I randomly found. (Both of these ladies' posts often remind me that I too am a font nerd, and really enjoy working with typefaces.)

Along the lines of creativity and typefaces, I've been sitting on a lot of ideas about different prints that I'd like to create. I'd been sketching a lot, but finally spent some time with Illustrator this past weekend. Garret had to go up to work for a little bit on Saturday to transfer some 8mm film, so I tagged along to keep him company. I brought my laptop and it was fun to hangout, help him with his work, work on some of my own projects, and watch strangers' vacation movies from the 60s, lol. So, this is the first thing I came up with.

And here's a zoom of it so you can tell what's going on. A little cheesy maybe, but I got the idea in my head, and was just excited that I could remember how to make my own pattern in Illustrator and apply it.

I've been toying with lots of different ideas of things to design for the wedding, and I'm looking forward to making more of them come to fruition. More is coming soon :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lomo love

So, I've now developed a few rolls of film from my fisheye lomography camera and I'm starting to learn how to work with it... I think. The roll I just picked up today turned out really really fun - I just wandered around a field in C-Stat and then downtown Bryan for a little bit, and I really liked them. So, here are all of my favorites from all the lomo pics I've taken so far - some in Dallas at the fair, some farm, some here in aggieland...

P.S. this is my last post for October - posted at 11:50 (edited at 11:55) on Oct. 31 - who's going to win the blogoff!?!? dundundun!


So, for a long time I've wanted a space where I could work on scrapbooking and craft projects and just be able to leave my stuff out, not have to put it all away. This week I started thinking about how I could rearrange my room to make it happen, and today I did it! It took several hours, and it's definitely a little cozier in here now, but I like it!

This was the chaos in the midst of rearranging. During the process I found one long lost earring, and then like two hours later I found its match! That was one of those little things that made my day, lol.

And this is the (mostly) final product. A big long table to keep my computer, printer and crafty stuff on/under/in - yay!

I was proud of myself for thinking of this - repurposing an old CD rack to hold paint and such.

Here's just a tad of my scrapbook/crafty projects to do list:
- Jordan/Turner Family scrapbook that I started 2 years ago and am halfway through with. The goal is to finish it by Christmas, for my dad! Some of the pictures are like 90 years old - I rescued them from my Grandmother's bathroom drawer, but now I really need to finish the book!
- Bowls and coasters out of tons of reject magazines from work that were just going to be thrown away. (see here and here and here)
- Jr. year of college scrapbook (Yes, I'm way behind)
- London trip scrapbook (again, a year and a half behind...)
- Garret and I's relationship scrapbook - I'm about a year behind on it. Goal is to finish it before our first shower, or at least the wedding :)
- Pink and green canvases that link together (I'll post a pic when I finish it)
- Paint/update boring flower sconces

So, I'll post updates if I finish/make anything exciting! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bits of days

So, at work I'm responsible for keeping up with mailing lists for our newsletters and such. When we mail stuff out, we get some back - undeliverable, return to sender, etc. Today, we got this one back:

That little sticker made me sad.
So, I was curious. I tried to find the person's obituary, but all I found via Google was an entry on someone's blog about the person's whole career. It felt a little weird that I could find that much information, but it was really interesting. (Needless to say, I never really figured out why they were subscribed to our magazine, couldn't connect those dots. Who knows!)

This is a moon plant that my sister gave me back in March or April. It's supposed to bloom only at night, hence the name, but I've only checked on it during the day/evening, and the bloom has been about half opened. This was the first time it had ever bloomed, and I was SO excited. I'd been watching it grow for months, and then last Tuesday or so I was walking in the side door of our house and noticed that this big green bud was growing - woah! After all that waiting, beautiful growth! It reminded me of how God faithfully brings unexpected blessings to us.

This is my lomography fisheye camera. I like it a whole lot! I learned about toy cameras for the first time when tahni got a holga, and then I got curious and eventually I decided to buy this one. It's SO fun! The photos are really unpredictable, but that's what makes it an adventure! (I'll post some of my favorites so far - like the above banner image - from it sometime soon. I am far from good at using mine, but I think it will be really fun to learn! Slightly unrelated - I found this image today and was inspired - it is titled so strikingly well.) So... the more toy cameras I find online, the more I add to my mental Christmas list - like this Russian one, this adorable lil guy, and this digital (!!) one.

Yesterday after work the sun was shining and I had some free time so I ran across town to a field that I had been reminded of on Monday. I snapped some shots with my lil digital camera and my lomo, but since I haven't developed the film yet and who knows how it will turn out, here are a couple of the non-lomo shots...

I love College Station sunsets. They always seem to be brought to your attention at just the right time...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A longing fulfilled

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12

Today I was rummaging through some files of photos at work, trying to find a good one for our Christmas card. I ran across this one (which was taken by one of my talented coworkers), tweaked it a bit, and was taken aback. It reminded me of this verse, because it looked like a vibrant, thriving tree of life.

God gives us so many longings. And we want them fulfilled so quickly, so specifically. But I think that the longings that we wait for, cry for, and eventually seek to surrender back to the Lord - it's those longings that are so clearly vibrant and sweet when they are fulfilled.

Anyways, I don't know if this image will be on the Christmas card, but it was a good part of my day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

my office

I've been meaning to post this for a while. I guess it's a little late since I've been at my job for 4.5 months! I like my individual office - I have lots of privacy, and freedom to decorate how I want. And although I do sometimes miss having more interaction with people throughout the day, it's easy to get up and go talk to some of the sweet ladies I work with. I am very grateful for my job and the kind people I work with! Anyhoo, I've decorated my office some, and since most of you probably won't ever come visit me - which is a shame since I'm just in Research park! - here are a few photos of it. I've added a few things since I took these, but you get the idea.

This bookshelf is very functional, but also randomly light blue and unattached the the wall it is beside. I took all of my teal and red things up to my office, and I like the mix of pictures from London with ceramics from China (and home).

I found this cute little tiny bus from Panama in my office and it is seriously now one of my favorite things ever. (It probably was left behind by our old director, who traveled a lot.) It's just so cute! I like to look at the tiny little people and vegetables in it, and then drive it across the top of my monitor. :)

Lots of knick knacks, including: my Mary Englebreit tear-off calendar, the box of scripture Mag gave me for my bday, Garret and I from our 5-year mark, phone charms from China, and Mongolian leather products.
Clockwise: Lonely old red bridge columns in the Thames - one of my favorite sights in London, plum (I think?) tree at the farm, awesome desert in China (sorry about the finger prints), and the view through a window in the Great Wall.
I like my desk :)

This is the view from my desk. If I open the blinds of the window in the hallway (to the right in this photo) then I can see a little sunlight, so that's nice!

In conclusion, even though you just got a glimpse of my office, you should still come visit me some time! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Our engagement pictures are in! Yipee! I got the links today while I was at work, and it made it really hard to concentrate! I just wanted to look at them and pick out my favorites and have fun!

Here's the slideshow - http://www.fidelisstudio.com/client_slideshow/GarretandLeslie - my fave from that is definitely the last one. I looove that chimney by the snakehouse on our farm. And of course I love it when Garret makes me laugh, which is a lot :)

Also, here's the whole gallery of photos, where there are lots more good ones! The password is leslieandgarret: http://www.kmdfoto.com/pickpic/gallery/splash.php?gallery_id=60. Some of the kissymushy pictures are awkward, but on the whole I really like how they all turned out. That was such a fun day! Which ones are your faves? I'll give you time to form your opinions... okay - some of my faves are: 14, 3, 29, 38, 39, 5, 7 and 9.

Now, our wedding to-do list for the next month or two is: design save the dates, finalize the guest list & round up everyone's addresses, decide where we want to register and maybe start, find bridesmaid dresses, pick florist & caterer. Yeah... that's all I can think of. Planning really has been pretty chill so far. I really want to plan a wedding that is Christ-centered, but also plan it in a manner worthy of the Gospel. Confession: I have very little idea of how to do this. You've probably heard this idea from me before, but I think I'm going to start a blog about planning a wedding and preparing for marriage from a Gospel-minded perspective. See, I wanted to read this blog originally, but I can't find such a thing, so I think I should just write about my journey. I've actually already started it, but I want to get a good amount of content in it before I show it to anyone. So... yeah, please share with me any thoughts you have on that, and I'll have more to share soon!

thoughts on one year ago...

About one year ago, I was trying to decide whether or not to go overseas again. I was stressed and dry spiritually. I didn't want to leave my family during the first Christmas without both my parents' mothers. But, I didn't want to miss getting to see my friends there again and getting to tell them Truth. It was frustrating, because getting back from the summer trip had been really great, and it was senior year, and everything was supposed to be super, but it wasn't - it was confusing, unpredictable.

So God made a way, and I went, even though I was not real clear on specifically why. It was all just hard: from November to February, it seemed like nothing came easy. Gradually, I accepted serious lies from the Enemy that grew into ingrained self-deprecation, doubt and a hard heart.

And the lies didn't really go away after February. So many days, I just give-in tothe lies. They're still around, and it makes me so stinking mad! The Christmas trip was supposed to be refining and beneficial - so why did I internalize so many ungodly habits from it? Did I somehow miss the results phase of the refinement process? What's the purpose in all this battling? And do I even really want to fight for Truth?

Lately, however, I've been hearing the Lord fight for me. I think a lot of people experience this, but for a while now, when I get really down, defeated, hopeless, I hear this cycle of awful, pointed, accusations scrolling through my mind. And, they feel so true so I just allow it and wallow. (Which I realize just compounds the sin, and then I feel worse and continue wallowing.) But, the past couple of weeks when that's happend, I've heard the Lord, my Defender, say something different: "Beloved. Beloved. Beloved." So I can write down all those awful names and scratch them out until there's holes in the journal paper and instead pen "Beloved" - and believe that there is One who loves unfailingly and doesn't give up on people.

Maybe that's a piece of what I was meant to learn from the past year: times will be hard and you will hear lies and they will be persuasive - but Christ is your Defender and He is never passive in your life. Trust his defense, listen and believe what He says about you. Hold onto that truth, and fight the fight.

"My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." John 10:27-29