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 - - 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: 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

Sunday, October 11, 2009

books make me cry

[Spoiler alert: I give away some details of these books, but I'm just trying to entice you to try them! :)]

These are the two most recent novels I've read. Both made me cry. Both impressed me. One I bought from the Christian section of Barnes and Noble, one I bought from the fiction section of Recycled Books in Denton, which is seriously the coolest used books store ever - it's like a wonderful, dusty maze! (Garret was there with me that time, and he tried to play hide-and-go-seek with me, but I found him ridiculously quickly - our minds are starting to work really similarly, it's weird.)

House Lights by Leah Hager Cohen

When I first started this book, the prose was like WOAH. Like, stop you in your tracks, woah. Like, I haven't read a really quality novel just for fun in a stinkin' long time! The words were too much! They made me stop, read them over and over again, encircle them with pencil, and then ask myself WHY are they so affecting? And how can I learn to write like that one day!? In the first few chapters, I had to look up a few words in the dictionary, and that was so fun! (And yes, this made me realize that I should probably pick up more intellectual books more often. maybe. how 'bout once a year?)

The basic premise of the book is that 18-year-old Bea learns that she no longer want her psychiatrist parents' seemingly controlled, porcelain world - just as it simultaneously crumbles - and she instead ventures out into the world of her Grandmother, a renowned actress.

I really really enjoyed most of the book, but at certain points did not appreciate some of the choices the main character made. I know that doesn't make it bad, it just... yeah, just read it. And there are some mildly shady parts. Needless to say, I think it's bound to make you think.

I wanted to find an excerpt, but it's hard to find one that does it justice, without giving anything away... so here's two....

"My dream is to act, I had written, and I believed I meant acting as in theater. The words sound different to me now, as I look back at who I was then, fast approaching my twentieth birthday, still living at home, playing the same role I had performed all my life, and all the while so critically unable to act." (p. 78)
"The next morning my dismay grew. It was June 21st, my birthday, and although I had looked forward to this day, to all the promise contained in the notion of officially entering my twenties, becoming an adult, I awoke out of sorts, not for any reason I could put my finger on, but as if in premonition of a sinking heart. The air hung muggy and dirtyish, like rinse water for paintbrushes." (p.103)

The Moment Between
by Nicole Baart
Depth. This novel had depth - emotional depth, spiritual depth, literary depth.

One thing that really drew me in about it was that although it was a Christian novel, it was very very genuine - not that all Christian books are fake, but they do sometimes do edge on overly-processed corn. But here, Christian themes of grace and redemption were not forced, but naturally and powerfully built-up to.

For most of the book, in the back of my mind I was like "okay... when is the Jesus going to come in?" It was worth the wait: I read the last fourth of this novel in my pinkandgreen bed, in the earlyearly a.m., covered in tears, and not giving a lick that I had to go to work in hours.

(I had bought it in the first place for 3 reasons: the pretty cover design, and the recommendation of it by Francine Rivers on the cover, and the theme of sisters. So, I was thankful that, just as I'd hoped, the book had so much more to offer than just a persuasive cover!)

I don't know if I can give a plot summary for this one without giving it away. Maybe just read the back cover on Amazon. Yes, I'm lazy :)

To summarize, here are some more things I enjoyed about this book: showing the complexities and layers of relationships b/w sisters, the character Eli and his name (my affinity for that name also comes from here), the word pictures abounding in a vineyard, and the messy-ness of learning to hope and believe.

Okay... excerpt, excerpt, find an excerpt...

I loved this part a whole lot. Yes, it's where the Jesus part starts to come in. Eli is talking about taking communion outside of a church service:
"Whatever. I do this for those times in between, those long stretches of waiting when i start to forget about the miracle. The mystery. The power of God for those who believe." The corner of Eli's mouth was still upturned mischievously, but his voice was tinged with awe. "It's a mighty thing, girl." (p. 313)


"She didn't know if she deserved it, if she had the right to sit at this table to eat and drink, to partake of something that she felt she had no part in. But for this one moment in time, with the candle glowing and the bread and wine before her, inside of her, it didn't matter. She was drowning, but she didn't struggle for air; she opened her mouth and took it in. It washed over her, in her. She felt it fold against every hidden place, every secreted thought and hope. It felt absolute, unconditional.
It felt like home." (p. 320)

Okay, sorry this was a little lengthy. I have a passion for stories and books that are powerful and meaningful and purposeful. And... writing the teasers on the back of said books is definitely on my list of dream jobs...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shnniiippits of life

Okay so this is actually a pretty random assortment - not really of my life per-se (sp? per say? hmm - help, the English major is floundering!) but maybe more-so just an assortment of things that I have had in or around my brain in the last few days/hours. There really is some interesting stuff in there I promise! ;)
  • This wedding video is magic. Garret works with 8mm film a lot at work, so maybe he could somehow both marry me and film our ceremony at the same time... hmmm! Jk, I want his FULL attention, I promise! (I'm not really worried about that, either.)After watching that video, I'm definitely putting visit Aspen in the summer and ride in a ski lift through the mountains on my life to-do list. Oh wait, we're hopefully going to get to do that on our honeymoon, except it will be the Smokey Mountains - whoop!
  • I looove this sign, and that song. :)
  • Today I went to a lunch workshop held by an organization of university/local communications peeps - ProComm, held in The Zone. I felt like a grownup, the food was really yummy, the view was great, I enjoyed getting out of the office a little, and the speaker, Jackie Huba, was really engaging. It's interesting figuring out how we could use social media well in our office.
  • If you ever have a craving for awesome, random dance mixes (that one contains Dolly Parton's "9-5"!), check out this DJ's blog! He's got lots of free downloads and it makes good background or dancing music! A few of the songs are shady, sorry, but most of it's just plain random - a really unpredictable, fun mix of old and new.
  • This post about "telling time" on Girl Talk was really good. As I seek to get ready for marriage, this balance of being both a strong and submissive wife, definitely comes up. I want to learn how to "tell time" in a godly way! I've been reading about the book Womanly Dominion and I def want to pick it up soon. I think we studied similar stuff in the first aspect ("Mistress of your Domain" - mistress as in in-charge, not as in adultary - just clarifying) of the Five Aspects study we are doing in D-ship. It's packaging/presentation isn't especially trendy, but I HIGHLY reccommend that study!
  • Some more Etsy favorites (that I won't be buying this month bc I'm trying to be good): Fruits of the Spirit print, Love Defined art, and this is SUCH a cute print!
  • Yes, I am fairly addicted to looking at wedding blogs. There, I admit it. Me and my Google Reader are, like, almost-bffs. Anyhoo, this was one of the most attention-holding posts that I found today - so many things in these photos that make me smile and giggle - that happy-go-lucky blue sky, those yellow shoes, and... llamas!?!
Alright already, I'm out.

Monday, October 5, 2009


This past weekend i got to escape to the country. Our family's farm doesn't boast many luxuries, but I thoroughly enjoy the quiet. the loose schedule. the sleeping in. The space. And... the quiet.

And of course, the people. This is my beautiful sister Melissa (Flo) - the best sister ever - and Rocky - the best dog in the whole world. Have I told you about him before? If so, sorry. He is the best dog in the world because he is even-tempered and tough, gentle and wise. Good with kids, and never snarls - except at coyotes. And he has three legs. And he still runs really fast. And my sister loves him a whole lot. Best dog ever.

This is my momma. She likes to go for walks and look for fossils - we actually find a lot out there. She gets pretty excited about interesting rocks. I love my momma!

That's our lake, or at least that's what we call it. A creek flows into it, and the dam that I was standing on to take this photo creates this huge tank. In the bottom of the photo is the valve for the draw-down - turn the wheel to release some of the water out the other side of the dam - but we only use that if the water is way up and... it hasn't been way up in a while.
One time last spring Garret and I were riding on the 4-wheeler and got to watch a gorgeous sunset from the top of the dam. That was a really peaceful moment.

Speaking of Garret, here he is fishing with my dad (while I play paparazzi).
If you asked me what was the most exciting part of this weekend, I would probably tell you that it was taking engagement pictures with Garret in town and out on the farm. We got to be cuddly and sentimental and goofy, and had a blast - despite the drizzly rain! Our photographers are a lot of fun, and we really enjoyed getting to take photos in neat places like inside the old barn (surrounded by hay, old wood beams, and the occasional hornets' nest) and by the "snake house" chimney. We'll get the pictures back in a couple of weeks, so we're looking forward to that!

All that said, if you asked Garret about this weekend, he would at some point definitely, and excitedly, tell you about all the fish he and my dad caught, which was about 20 each. See, last summer our lake turned over because of a process called eutrofication - which I now better understand because of my job - and that caused a fish kill. All this ironically happened right around the time my dad's mother passed away.
Today, the lake has been restocked, the fish have grown, and Dad and Garret caught some that were more than 2 lb.s - which is way exciting compared to zero fish last fall.
A little glimpse of restoration, I guess.

This is our grandmother, with baby cousin Hannah a few years ago. I was in China when Grandmother died. This picture is how I choose to remember her; she had a sweet spirit, loved the Lord, always had a kind answer, and loved to say the 23rd Psalm. I really enjoy remembering stories about her, both nostalgic and poignantly funny ones. ("Who's that walkin' heavy?")

Saturday afternoon, rambunctious Hannah was playing with my grandmother's walker, which for whatever reason still sits in her old bedroom. Hannah's mom, Jen, explained to her that yes, that used to be Grandmother's, but now she doesn't need it anymore because she's in heaven with Jesus and she can walk just fine. Just fine. My sister and I were in the bathroom working on getting my hair ready for pictures when we overheard this conversation, and I'm really glad we did, because I treasured that reminder.
Thank you Jesus for beautiful hope to rest in now, and for the sure promise of ultimate rest, restoration, and glory.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


So, tonight my friend Sydney and I decided that we're going to have a "blog-off."

For the month of October, whoever posts the most entries wins. (Wins what? Haven't figured that out yet. Syd - we should also probably make some rules for this, like what qualifies as a truly legit post. Don't try nothin' shady!)

This is us in happy, less-competitive days ;)

It all started bc she was in town and hangin' out at the shalom shack, chattin'. When the subject of blogs came up, I accused her of not blogging recently, and then she put that evil back on me and the truth came out that I hadn't posted anything since... Aug. 17. Her last one was Sept. 11.

So we declared a it contest: The Blog-off. Me & this blog vs. Sydney & The Vault.