December 8, 2014

Mending like Jesus

I realized yesterday (while sitting at my sewing machine patching some jeans) that I really like mending.  I like making the mending pile disappear, yes, but more than that, I like fixing things.  

When my sister’s favorite pair of jeans gets a tear, when a button pops off my Dad’s shirt, or my brother’s shirt needs tailoring, I love fixing it.  Whether it’s just hemming a pair of pants, or completely refashioning a dress, being able to infuse new life and usefulness into something brings me joy.

Jesus does similar things with people.  He takes broken people and fixes them.  He heals the brokenhearted. (See Psalm 147:3-5, Psalm 34:18) He restores relationships.  He tweaks and molds his sons and daughters till they are able to fulfill his purpose for them.  (Isaiah 64:8)

It looks a little silly in writing, but being able to put fabric and thread back in order is one way makes me look a little more like Jesus.  When I was mending those jeans I really felt like I was feeling God’s satisfaction in the work of restoration after him. 

As we live the Christian life, we strive to be more and more like God.  Not desiring his position, as a friend said at Bible study, but desiring his character.  When people look at us, they should see the Maker.  They should see what “Christian” actually means: little Christs.  As we grow in Christ we can’t help but look more and more like our Father.  Of taking joy in creation and restoration is part of that, then so be it.  Mend on!

October 28, 2014

And when life gets rough, you dance.

I have never been so busy in my entire life.  Four College classes, three jobs, prepping to lead a Bible study, Speech club, Messiah rehearsals, helping plan a friend's wedding, a Halloween ball, hygiene, eating, Pen-pals, sleeping, gym.  I just realized that it isn't humanly possible to finish everything that I have to do this week.  No matter how much I do in a day there's more to start the minute I wake up again.  I feel swallowed.

Sometimes when I'm about to drown I start to laugh and think about what it will be like to look back in a couple months and remember how stressed out I was and how small a part of my life it was.

Sometimes I need to close the books, delay the meetings, put off the dishes, and take five minutes to forget.

Sometimes I need to slow dance by myself in the living room to this^ song.

Then things seem a little bit brighter,
a little more possible,
and a little more at peace. 

October 20, 2014

3 Things

Emm wanted to make a doll, and when she saw Lupita Nyong'o on this magazine, she knew exactly what she wanted it to look like.  She named it Latisha.

September 19, 2014

The Water's Cleaner on the Side

In my daily Bible readings (daily is more on an ideal than a reality at present) I have been crawling through the old testament and most recently dwelling in 2 Kings.  This morning was a good morning, meaning I didn’t sleep in and am able to read in peace and quiet.

2 Kings 5 is like an old friend to me.  The story of Naaman and the servant girl and the leprosy and the washing and the happy ending is one of the most memorable of my childhood.  Maybe it’s the young girl in the story, maybe it’s the miracle, or may it is that Elisha’s servant Gahazi has such a fun name to say. Either way, I was looking forward to reading it quickly this morning and going away happy.  Then I came to Naaman’s response to Elisha in verses 11-12:

“But Naaman was angry and went away, saying ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.  Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?  Could I not wash in them and be clean?'  So he turned and went away in a rage.

I was cut to the quick.  I was shocked, because Naaman is just like me.  

At a very basic level, here we have an individual who has come to the almighty God (as a last resort) with their problem.  God shows mercy and gives simple easy instructions for how to miraculously fix the problem.  What a deal right?  Wow!  The God of the universe has given me exactly what I need to do for my well being which, I think we all can agree, he knows about best.  But what is the response?


I heard my words in Naaman’s mouth.  “What?!  I thought that I was worth more than this.  I mean, look at who I am, look at where I come from! And while we’re on that topic, how far I’ve come!  First, I was expecting a little more decorum, like, show your face already!  And then, why are you telling me to go somewhere else and wash when I know you could just wave your wand over my problem and make it go away!  How insulting and unfair!”  Disappointment, frustration, and anger leave him puzzled and defeated, but why does he respond that way?  Why do I?  


Go read it yourself!  Look at how he approaches God’s prophet and then responds:
-He bring silver, gold, and clothes
-He brings a letter from the King
-He comes with all his horses and chariots
-And stood at Elisha’s door (probably more like a hut) 
-He is insulted that he isn’t met personally
-He expects a fireworks-and-trumpets kind of miracle
-He says his water is much more sanitary (like seriously, I know better than you God)

But what did God want?  Simple obedience.  From where Naaman was there was a ton of humbling that had to happen for him to just simply do what he was told.

How do I come to God?  When I have a problem and I come to God for help, what is my attitude?  I can tell you exactly what it was this morning: pride.  I didn’t even realize it, but it was.  See, here’s the thing: I’m awesome.  (shocker) I grew up in a Christian home and have been saved for close to 16 years.  Because of the Holy Spirit in my life and my wholesome upbringing I was (blessedly!) kept from a lifestyle of lying, cheating, swearing, physical rebellion, drugs, promiscuity, fornication, and gossip.  I had my own sins, believe me! But I didn’t look like all the other sinners, so I got prideful.  I’m currently and active member of my local church, I’m in Bible studies and I want to see others get saved and grow.  My heart beats for ministry, I’m a pretty nice person, and, by God’s grace I’m getting better (becoming more like Jesus) all the time.  And that just the spiritual aspect.  SO. . . there’s my reputation, my family, my job, my status, my silver and gold, my horses and chariots, my letter, my background.  Don’t I deserve something special, after all? Let’s just do this my way, it will be much more pleasant.

Granted, I don’t consciously think this, but it is there.  Way. deep. down. it is there.  I’ve expected God to treat me a certain way because of me, and when He doesn’t I react the same way as Naaman.  Different words, if any, come out of my mouth, but the feeling is the same:puzzlement and frustration — the anger.  Instead of going and washing in the Jordan (whatever that looks like today.  It might be reading my Bible everyday.  It might be a long month of prayer and waiting.  It might simply be confessing my sin.) I get upset that God didn’t just snap His fingers and give me what I want.  Talk about being a Brat of a child of God!  That’s not the way a family works.

So, I was wrong.  I seem to be admitting that a lot recently.  I’m wrong.  I struggle with pride.  BIG TIME.  I can’t properly express all the different implications and applications from this piece of scripture right now, but I know this: I am just a sinner that Jesus saved.  I love Him.  He has my best interest at heart.  He will heal me(my ailment is called sin).  He loves me.  He expects obedience.  He expects me to struggle with and work through my sanctification (Philippians 2:12), but He hasn’t made it impossible.  I need to change my wrong expectations and humbly do as He says.  

Then, can I joyfully say with Naaman, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but [the LORD]. (2 Kings 5:15) 

September 11, 2014

Final Draft


It’s me again.

I find though, that you don’t really know who that is.  It’s been so long since I started this trifle of a blog that even if you knew me then, you’d still wouldn’t know me now.  I considered for a moment starting a new space — finding a clean slate and beginning again.  But these 550 pathetically “written and illustrated” are as much a part of who I am as my current pool of thoughts.  They made me the writer (and seamstress, if we must go there) that I am today and though they are embarrassing they are still a part of me.

Yes, that one you don’t really know.

The me that writes and journals and prays her life back into order, but rarely ever shares because she is wary of the darkness.  That darkness you see when you get on stage.  You’re nervous to perform and a little scarred because you cannot see anything but the harsh light on your retina.  But you know there are people out there.  Real people.  Unknown people.

So instead of walking on stage you stand in the wings; a speech on your lips, music in your fingers, drafts in your mind.   

As a friend so aptly put it, we have "lives composed of drafts."  Words and feelings and thoughts that are always written and never shared.  Written on our hearts, written on our hands, written in one thousand and one little notebooks. . .written on the web.  Only God knows if even this will ever be published.  It is so much easier to keep things inside sometimes.  To stay in that blessed place you may call a mind but we introverts call a home.  But what then is the point?

As beautiful as it is, this simple solitary state, there is a beauty far deeper.  There is a calling far greater.  There is a God so much bigger, and he created me to relate.  That breath he breathed into me wasn’t meant to fill a balloon.  It was a wind that is supposed to keep on moving.  To spread the good news like wild fire, to fill the sails of a child’s imagination, to  lift up the wings of the brokenhearted, to carry worship straight up to His throne.  I think I was created to be a river, not a reservoir (There I go mixing up my metaphors again).  My Dad says we’re faucets, not sponges, but that not nearly as poetic as a river.  

So if all of this is true, and sharing really is caring, then why am I living a life of drafts? Why am I afraid to let God use me?  Yes, I am incomplete.  Yes, I am a work in progress.  But if my pride will be hurt by not being perfect, is that such a price to pay for another’s blessing?  God uses broken things.  He heals the wounded, and he makes the unclean thing clean.  

So this is me.  And my final draft.

"And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.  And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”"
Isaiah 6:4-8 

September 9, 2014

Of Selfies

This is a journey.  Stick with me to the end.  Please.

I remember the days when pictures were scarce.  When every picture meant something - it held a memory and was valued either as art or as a little bit of the past that would never come back again.  I got into photography to preserve the moment.  To be places, and being there at just the right time to catch a moment and save it, to cherish it.  It was about seeing things differently, or maybe just more clearly, and showing that.  There was substance and purpose.

Then the selfie was born.  At first it was fun to see my friends as they were —  right in the moment!  Getting on the roller coaster, seeing an old friend again, discovering the best coffee they had ever tasted.  They were being raw and open in a way I hadn’t seen before, and couldn’t have unless I was right there with them.  They overflowed with genuine.  There was positive emotion all over the place; excitement, happiness, joy, and surprise.  It made sense.  I’m excited and happy about this, of course I want to share it with the world! Think about it. You finally graduate!  You get engaged!  Your baby walks for the first time!  These are things you want everyone to know, almost regardless of personal relation.

But then the tide slowly started to turn.  Here’s my new haircut! My new lip-stick, my cat, my food, my sad face, my trip to the dentist, my trip to the mall, my roommate, my new shirt, friend 1, friend 2, friend 3, my dinner, my ride, my grade, my shoes, my provocative face, my pajamas, my tongue, my bathing suit. . . There was. . .so much.  I got exasperated for a number of reasons.  
1. If I didn’t take a picture of it, it didn’t happen. I started to feel this pressure to talk about and show everything on Facebook.  Having lunch with a friend? Post to Fb! Getting a haircut? Post to Fb!  Mowing the lawn? Post to Fb. Saw a cloud that looked like an alligator? Post of Fb.  Now.  Otherwise it didn’t happen and it doesn’t matter.  Instead of taking pictures because they meant something to me and I genuinely wanted to remember how this moment felt, I had to bestow meaning on an event by taking a picture and - oh wait!  One more time, that wasn’t quite perfect … hmm. move here, put that there and . . .

2.The picture isn’t real anymore. No problem with posing people - I’m a portrait photographer.  I’ve posed the daylights out of people.  Trust me.  But a medium (selfie) that used to be the epitome of genuine and spontaneous became a search for “perfection.”  Like, that one “real” picture of a messy bun?  Yeah, I spent 20 minutes fighting with my hair and then took 30 pictures with different expressions and angles till I achieved the perfect effortless look that is so popular these days.  Talk about lying through your teeth, er, hair that is. . . phone?

3. All purpose yuck category.  Self-obsession, masks, sexting, you name it.  Granted, it’s a fallen world and every medium has been corrupted in some way.  The selfie provided an acceptable medium for being utterly self obsessed.  It also provided a channel to show everyone a false version of yourself.  I won’t get into despicable things our sex-obsessed culture has skewed the selfie to be.

My exasperation grew to disgust.  “What is wrong with my generation?!” etc.  When camera came out my insides tightened and I felt like glaring at it instead of smiling.  When people who don’t speak more than 10 words to me every time I see them run up with a camera and want a selfie with me?  Yeah, I lost even more respect for them.  I was done. 

I hated the culture of fake and unconsciously started to hate the pictures and despise the people (p.s. not the right response!).  I missed sweet, sincere, and deep and I guess I thought selfies had become the opposite of that.  Slowly that attitude spread to pictures in general and I stopped taking pictures. I’m a photographer, remember?  Photos are my medium.  They were my love, and I couldn’t even pick up my camera without dread.  I would not — could not — perpetuate this fake.  I lost the vision.  I went from photographing an event because it had meaning to seriously doubting the meaning of the event if I saw someone taking pictures.

But my friends, I was wrong!  I was right, too, but I was in a ditch.  

Last weekend I dropped everything to spend the day with a friend.  I friend who’s moving on (both literally and figuratively).  There were 4 of us.  And it was special.  Nothing super exciting happened.  In fact, it was a pretty run-of-the-mill shopping trip.  But it meant something.  The conversations we had, he relationships we built, the fears we got over, the smiles and looks without words.  I’ll remember that silly trip to IKEA and I’ll treasure it.  I can do that, because someone took selfies and pictures.  Not a million, but enough.  Pictures by Natalie. :-)

And it was then that I looked around and saw dirt around me.  I realized the ditch I had been in and took a slow step towards the road.  I was wrong guys.  And I’m sorry for being a grump.  I’m trying to come back to the middle.

I got this saying from my Dad that I’m trying to live by.  It’s simply, “Keep in the middle of the road.”  We, ok, me.  I’m talking about me. I tend to polarize.  I land in the ditches on either side of the road.  I tend to think in Black and White, even when the reality is a beautiful grey.  So my life is this constant search for the truth.  A pendulum swing between the subtle lies of the world and the even subtler lies of the church.  And by church I mean religion.  But that is a topic for another time.  Today we’re talking about selfies.

I can’t say I’ve landed right in the middles and “arrived” at balance, but I’m getting there. I’m rediscovering the beauty of a moment.  The concrete memory in a picture and the joy it can bring.  There can be sincere and there can be deep and there can be precious in a selfie. 

 And there is freedom in this truth. 

August 11, 2014

3 Things

A picture from my trip to Chicago
  • Amidst all the news on crisis around the globe, I found this article SO refreshing and motivating.  Let's pray together! #WeAreN
  • I'm getting back into my workout routine for the fall semester and this article explains the best reason to exercise.  It isn't about being "fat" or "thin" it's about being healthy.
  • I don't watch Game of Thrones, but I think this article can apply to any movie with "sketchy" parts in it.  It is hard to find one these days that doesn't have at least one scene.  It may be something you can skip, but if not, ask these questions before you watch!

July 12, 2014

3 Things

  • I've always loved reading.  This article talks all about why you should fall in love with a reader, but that isn't really the reason I like it. ;-)  It's just SO true.  Their descriptions of a reader are so spot on.  That first paragraph?  Yeah, it makes me want to shirk all of my responsibilities and go pick up a good classic.
  • I have some friends who left a church for the correct reasons, and my heart aches for them.  This article is about the wrong reasons to leave a church.  I found it a good read and a good reminder that I'm where I am to serve and to give, not to take and be served.
  • Oh, and just an awesome video from my new favorite YouTube channel.  Anglophiles, you're welcome.

June 25, 2014

Rockford, Il   10:08

I went to bed early.  I woke up a little late.  I slept, but I did not rest.  It doesn't make sense.  Even though I physically slept, my brain has not settled for the past 48 hours and I remain physically, mentally, and emotional unrested.

Days keep moving.  Things keep doing.  The sun still shines.  

I'm in the doldrums I suppose.

I keep paddling, but the farther I go the bigger the ocean gets.  I'm stuck in this little dingy and there's no land in view.  I'm getting dehydrated.  Time keeps rolling by.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God."

Psalm 42:5-6

June 23, 2014

3 Things

  • This article was written to single guys, but I found it refreshing as well.  Having 3 brothers and many psuedobros I feel personally responsible at times to train them how to be men by expecting great things from them.
  • This article is perfect to summer!  Your neighbors are out fixing their lawns and walking their dogs, but do you actually know who they are?  This is something I'm going to work on this summer.

June 20, 2014

Thrifting Haul

I'm not much of a shopper.  That is, I don't like spending money on frivolous things because I have nothing better to do.  I DO, however, enjoy spending the time and money it takes to find treasures at a thrift store.

Today I invested an hour (yes, a whole hour or more) and $33 and came home with. . . 22 clothing items and 8 beanie babies.  22?!  Yup.  1.23 day at Goodwill. :-)

Edit: I also got rid of 20 items I already had.  Less is more folks! :-)

So, I don't think I've ever written a "haul" post, but if you want pictures of everything I got, keep reading.

June 14, 2014

Bonding with Brothers

Hud gave me an odd compliment the other day.  At least I think it was a compliment.  You tell me.
"Jo!  Why are your hands always so soft?!"  The end.  Haha.  Gotta love it.

Anyone else live with one or more brothers?  They're an interesting thing.  Sometimes you can't live with them, but you certainly couldn't live without them.

See this brother?  This is Hudson.  People used to think we were twins.  I'm starting to understand that, looking at these pictures from last night. :-)  He's rather obtuse, but he teaches me grace.

We were best-buds through middle school.  We played house and make-believe everyday.  One Christmas we were jointly given the Bitty Twins.  Don't know what the Bitty Twins are?  They're baby dolls made by American Girl.  Yes, my dear brother here got a baby doll for Christmas and was just as psyched as I was!  The moment I grew out of dolls we started to drift apart.  I guess when you're used to playing with each other for 12 hours every day stopping is a drastic change.  I became obsessed with books and schoolwork and we didn't talk.  We weren't giving each other the silent treatment, we are just both introverts and don't especially like to be the first to start talking.

Now we've both grown so much.  We're SO different now.  We're adults.  We're broken humans. It's plain hard to connect sometimes.  But I've been thinking.  No matter how hard it is to put yourself out there, isn't it worth it?

Isn't HE worth the effort?  How far are you willing to go for your family?  Will you fight for them?  

Each of my brothers has different love languages, and I'm trying to learn to speak them.  Because honestly, saying "I love you" in house doesn't go very far.  We're not a touchy-feely family physically and we don't really say touchy-feely stuff either.  Yeah, I guess we're sorta dysfunctional like that.  It is uncomfortable to show affection, but I'm learning that this really isn't a negotiable point.  I need to learn to show affection.

Maybe this sounds totally weird to you.  "What, she doesn't know how to show affection?!" But yeah, it's true.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm super emotional (which may be part of the problem.  I hide it by not showing anything) and I feel things almost too deeply.  How to show this in the right way though?  That's something I'm working through, and I'm starting with Hudson.

So we're going to start painting together.

June 4, 2014

Just missing Jamie!

Dad: "I love this quote by Cicero, 'If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.'"

Emmy: "But if you don't have a kitchen. . ."

Obviously we girls have our priorities straight. :-)

Oh, and I love my family.  As broken as we are (which you don't really get to see over the inter webs...), we are beautiful and we are redeemed.

May 22, 2014

Leavenworth, KS

"Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.  So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands"  Psalm 63:3-4

my car didn't break down today.  my cold wasn't miserable today.  we didn't get lost.  i spent the whole day with my best friend.  we talked theology, blessings, struggles, jokes, and embarrassing anecdotes.  the temperature was perfect.  we're staying at a wonderful new/old friend's house.  we drank tea.  we reconnected. we laughed. we relaxed.

In other words?  Life is good.  But you know what?  God's steadfast love -- his mercy -- is better than life.  This life I lead and the life that keeps me breathing is just nothing compared to God's mercy and love. 

 That's pretty great.

It's time to praise HIM.

May 12, 2014

only human

God, this human needs you.
I need you.
I'll stop my raging.  Remind me who you are.

"be still, and know that I am GOD.  i will be exalted among the nations, i will be exalted in the earth!"       Psalm 46:10

April 30, 2014

3 Things

  • Need some career advice? Just ask Mike Rowe
  • Did you ever say "Sooorrrryyyy!" as a kid? I sure did.  Apologizing is so much more than just saying the word "sorry" though.  This article on saying sorry is quite good. 
  • Can I get a resounding amen to this?!  Jeff Bethke makes some very good points. Modesty is good, but when it breeds legalism it can destroy. 

April 15, 2014

3 Things

  • We've recently rediscovered the Sons of Korah band as a family and constantly have them playing over the big BOSE system.  Check them and the Psalm project out!

  • I shot my brother and his friends before they went to the homeschool prom and had such a good time.  You can see more photos here. These are two of my favorite people.  Oh, and I made the dress and bow tie. :-) More details on that to come. Pinky promise.
  • I don't want to spoil the video by telling you what it's about, but this is so great.  Talk about under appreciated! 

April 7, 2014

3 Things

  • The first part of this post by Kenzie Kate made me gasp and hold my breath till I was done reading.  This is my heart-beat.  people over places.  Take me to see the world, but it's the world's people I want to be with, to share with, to laugh and cry with.  Show me the beauty of a building, sea, or mountain, but I'd sooner see its beauty reflected in the eye of a friend.  These things are fleeting, but these people are eternal.  Give me your eyes, Lord!
  • This photo story brought tears to my eyes.  The photos are good, but the stories are remarkable.    When I studied Rwanda two years ago I found a special place in my heart for it's people because the genocide of Rwanda was happening when I was born.  For my entire life, these same people have been hurting and angry, and finally there is peace and forgiveness.  I've seen people forgive one another. I've read stories of forgiveness. I've seen pictures of forgiveness. And you know what? I cry every time.  I am so reminded of my crimes and my sins and the forgiveness that God has so willingly granted me that I break down and cry through my smiles.  I've felt that peace they talk about and am forever grateful.
  • I've got an engineers brain like my Dad.  It's usually very useful, but sometimes I feel like this "expert." I can do anything.  :-)  If you have 7 minutes and know an engineer you'll find it super funny.

March 27, 2014

3 Things

  • YNAB: You Need A Budget. I know, I know, BORING! But you're so wrong. I love this program.  Especially for those paying off debt it is a fantastic resource. On top of the software, there are tons of awesome webinars and videos online about finances. Seriously.  Invest the money.  And, for college students, it is now FREE!  I wish I'd known before I bought it, but it's still worth it. :-) If you're a college student, check this out.  If you're not, use my referral link: and we both get $6 off. :-) That's 10% folks! Do it.  Make your life more orderly.
  • These videos of adults acting out their kids'  scripts are so funny. The first one I saw (Salesman) is still my favorite, but there are so many more. Kids are geniuses. Check it out.
  • This passage of scripture. NO, DON'T SKIP IT. Read it.  I've saved the best for last. Read it slowly and let it sink in. Psalm 127:1-2
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
 The last couple days have left me emotionally and physically exhausted.  Sometimes God needs to give you way more than you can handle to teach you to give it all back to him.  You don't need to worry, you need to give it to your Savior.  Only then can he put you back together in way that is more like Jesus Christ.  I feel like the Grinch when his heart grew to three times it's size.  Blessed freedom. Thank you Jesus!  Can I get an amen?  You know it.

                    March 17, 2014


                    Did you know that a billion means a thousand million in the U.S., but a million million in most countries?  So, unless you're communicating to a strictly American audience you'll be writing out those zeros.

                    Why, yes!  I am study for my Technical Writing DSST at the moment.  How did you guess? ;-)

                    And in other news, I shot a wedding last weekend and am making a friend's prom dress!  Life is crazy busy.  I'm so glad that the sun is still shining at 18:30.  Spring is coming!

                    Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

                    March 12, 2014

                    3 Things

                    • A new look at fashion.  My favorite line?  The last one: don't get jealous - get dressed!
                    • This speech by Lupita N'yongo brings tears of joy to my eyes.  
                    • All of Me - John Legend and Lindsey Sterling

                    March 10, 2014

                    Dear world,

                    Today is a big day.  Today is the day I launch my website/blog for Joanna Kay Photography!  It has been in the works for quite some time now and it is officially up!  Go leave some love and enter the giveaway!  I've managed to work my three top hobbies into the giveaway.  That takes talent y'all. :-)
                    That's all for now.
                    Joanna Kay

                    February 24, 2014


                    L'eau.  Or Water, as we say it in english.  It is incredible stuff.  I've read a number of articles on it recently and then I came across this succinct graphic on Pinterest and decided it was time to actually do something about it.  

                    Being a full time online student I spend a lot of time as a couch potato.  I wake up and then sit down for the rest of the day.  I'm reading and taking notes or I'm on my computer and I don't realize that hours have passed.  I'm starting to implement some changes for my physical and mental health now and water is just one of them.  I read a statistic that said you should take your body weight, cut it in half, and that is how many ounces of water you should drink a day.  I don't drink anywhere near that amount!  This handy graphic says 8 glasses, which is a little more reasonable.

                    So I'm starting tonight. :-)  We just got a reverse osmosis water filter recently, so there is no excuse that the water doesn't taste good.  Water, water, everywhere and every drop was drunk...


                    February 18, 2014

                    Tuesday 14:00

                    I love Tuesdays.
                    I get the house completely to myself.

                    Today that means:

                    Devotions in bed
                    Music or podcasts as loud as I want
                    Fancy lunch
                    Checklists to keep my multitasking organized
                    Financial Accounting/Microeconomics studying
                    Answering emails
                    Studying French
                    Editing pictures
                    Doing Laundry
                    Letter writing

                    Productivity is an awesome feeling.

                    February 17, 2014

                    4 Things

                    • Never have I read a post quite like this one on this topic.  Dressing well.  Modestly, yes, but this article moves beyond that.  Dress like a lady, act like a lady! Go ahead and read Rachel's post and get inspired yourself. . . 
                    • A beautiful read about life and abortion.  This mother is so loving and encouraging, even while she disagrees with something.
                    • The audiobook Sylvester by Georgette Heyer read by Richard Armitage.  Yep.  Mr. Thornton folks.  Check it out if you need a good diversion.
                    • A beautiful set of Thai commercials.  Such beautiful stories.

                    February 11, 2014

                    The Art of Life

                    Saturday was quite.  Snow gently fell and the temperature continued to drop.  Grandma and Grandpa had just gotten home from Panama.  Poor them.  80 degrees to -10 degrees is no fun.  My Grandma is a wonderful artist.  She is always quilting or painting or drawing or weaving or sewing something funky and incredibly BRIGHT.  She pulled out her paints and got to work on her hundred day challenge: to work on a creative project everyday.

                    She's been doing a study in poppies for the last couple days that is gorgeous.  Some she paints, some she uses chalk and today we gave her markers.  Permanent markers.

                    Mom bought this break taking set of 36 colors and we all wanted to try.  I felt like a kid on Christmas.  I couldn't wait to try something, but for fear of ruining that pure piece of paper I sat and sketched, erased, and sketched some more.  Finally I asked my brother Hudson if he wanted to collaborate.

                    We settled on a cityscape and I dug in my dusty bag of art skills till I found my one point perspective.  I dress an intersection and then mirrored it.  We were going to draw society.  Society from two opposite perspectives.

                    We got to work on the graffiti.  May I just say that I have so much more respect for graffiti artists now?  This is hard!  It's quite a bit harder to draw it in permanent marker though because you have to create your own layers and decide on everything before it happens.  We included a number of references to politics, books, movies, and our favorite tv shows.  Because we can.  Shout out to Doctor Who, Sherlock and J.R.R. Tolkien!  I spent probably 8 consecutive hours on this with occasional input and help from the Hud. (Hey!  He's a busy fellow.)

                    The official statement of meaning has yet to be released to the press.

                    February 7, 2014

                    4 Things

                    • Do we need more worship songs?  I submit to you that Christian pump up songs may not be worship. Check this article.
                    • Are you spiritually strong? There are some good reminders and probably some wake-up calls here.
                    • Truth. This has been on my heart in many arenas of life, but I have never been able to articulate it in the area of photography.  Thankfully We Are the Parsons has already done it.  And how beautiful it is. :-)
                    • I've been listening to Passenger, Andy Mineo, Linkin Park, Jeff Erb & Paul Renes, Secret Garden, Bach, Beethoven and Hans Zimmer recently. Talk about diversity!  Enjoy this mash-up of the wildly popular songs Let it Go, and Let Her Go.

                    January 23, 2014

                    Longview, TX   22:39

                    It is hard to believe that I woke up 20 hours ago. A car ride, bus ride, plane ride, rail ride, plane ride, and a car ride later I'm sitting in bed writing a blog post.  Of all things Jo!  Go to sleep!  But here I am, and my heart is full.

                    In the airport today I came across a U.S. Army service man and thanked him for serving our country. The look of surprise and sincere gratitude in his eyes made my own well up with tears as I turned away.  I had forgotten how powerful a few simple words could be.  

                    How often do I swallow the words in my mouth instead of my pride or business? Anyone can hold back negativity, but that isn't enough.  I want to go the extra mile and say kind and true things, even to strangers.  I want to speak with purpose and I want my words to bring life to the hearers.