Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Let's All be Nervous About the New Year Together!

Let's all be nervous together, all of us sitting in our homes tucked away and anxiously watching the clock tick closer and closer to 12:00. Goodbye 2013, hello 2014! 

It's not an unusual thing really, to see how many of us are nervous about the new year. It's actually pretty normal. The new year is an unknown, filled with goods and bads--and we have no clue which side will out weigh the other. It's frighting, exhilarating, daring, and new. It's the new year! 

I have no plans tonight, nothing note worthy or exciting. I'll sit tucked away in my country home watching a movie or two with my family. It suits us just fine, I'm not much of a party goer--so sometimes a relaxing day/night is perfect. 

But there is still the pervading sense that tomorrow the new year begins, and that the slate is wiped clean. For me, it's leaving what has become comfortable, and jumping into something that will either be good or bad. It's a challenge, and a new chance at adventure. And I'm scared of it. 

But 2013 was a wonderful year for me, and I feel blessed. I've learned a lot during it, and while sometimes it took a swift kick to get me to learn my lesson--I never the less learned and moved forward. I feel more comfortable with being me than I did at the start. 

I no longer feel that I have to hide who I am out of fear that others will not accept me--because, after all, if you're not yourself, and you are just projecting a false image of yourself, then the people who like you don't actually like you, but rather the image you have sold them. 

I've also learned that people really don't care a whole heap of a lot about every move you make. Therefore, I shouldn't be worried about what others will think, because most people are busy with their own stories and are concerned about managing their lives. The people who do concern themselves with every move others make aren't the kind of people I want around anyway, so I learned that it's not worth my time to worry about making them happy. 

I've learned so much more over this year, but this was one of the highlights! I've done a lot over this year too, and I've been blessed in amazing ways! :)

I got to be apart of my local theater's production of "The Dixie Swim Club" that was the first big thing that happened in 2013.

Me and my theater friend Taylor! 

I also survived my first semester of college with two A's and a B! That semester also taught me that college isn't the horror story I'd previously thought it was. 

I was a part of my theater's version of the Grand Ole Opry again! Loved being a part of that, though I do regret that there are no pictures to show. :(

I queried agents for the first time about my book, and while none of my letters got me published--I still learned a lot about the publishing world and how to approach an agent. I look forward to trying to use my new found knowledge in the upcoming year!

I had a lot of fun over the summer, but I think the highlight was my trip to Florida! 

Look me! 

We went boating quite a lot! It was one of my favorite things to do during our trip! 

These dolphins were fascinated by our boat, but still remained a respectful distance at all times.

My perch, from which I wrote a lot of my novel!

I also turned 19! One step below the big 2-0 so that was lots of fun.
Yea....not exactly grown up yet am I?

My birthday was beyond amazing, and I'm so grateful to the family and friends who made that possible!

This was night before my birthday--I believe--Jessie spent it with me and we ate lots of Subway and watched "Say Yes to the Dress". Perfect girls night in if you ask me! 

I also developed my interest in photography! I believe the quality of my pictures has grown with time--as seen below. 
The one on the far left is the first time I took Clara's picture--the one at the far right is the most recent time. She's grown so much! She's turning into such a beautiful young woman of God!
I even started doing some pictures for people I knew, which was a huge honor for me! ;) 

I spent a LOT more time with my friends! 

We've grown closer as the year has gone by, and I'm truly grateful for their friendship! 

I also had my first date this year--and while the guy and I didn't stay together, it was still nice to have gone on a date.

My friends and I had a photo accepted into a art magazine, which thrilled us to no end! 

I had my first real job, and enjoyed nearly every minute of it. I worked at a local tourist destination during my fall semester and it was great! I hope to work there again over the summer! 

I made it out of my fall semester with all As and I made the Dean's List for the first time! Yay! Huge blessing there! 

I got an iPod for Christmas, and so now I can terrorize my friends on Instagram! My iPod is my baby right now. :)

Those were just some of my blessings in 2013, and while there was a lot of bad too--I will try to remember the year by the good instead. 

There is also a lot I look forward to in 2014--though I hesitate to say it. 

First off, in the new year, I will be changing my blog name from Just me--which has been it's title since its beginning--to Within Me a Lunatic Sings. This is a big change, but I've been wanting to do this for a while and what better time to make such a big change than at the beginning of the new year, a time when changes are welcomed and exciting! :) But don't worry, I won't be changing my URL, but my blog's actual name will be completely different. 

I look forward to a new year of school, and what new people God will bring into my life. 

On a nerdy note--I look forward to seeing Sherlock, Supernatural, Doctor Who, and The Walking Dead in the new year--I've missed those shows so badly! I also look forward to the first installment of Mockingjay and the final installment in The Hobbit! 

I look forward to all of the writing I hope to accomplish in this year. 

I look forward to turning 20, which is a HUGE milestone when you think about it. My teen years will be gone, and I'll be starting a new part of my life!

There are no New Years resolutions for me, nothing of importance I can think of other than trying to be the best person I can be. 

So whatever your new year brings, I hope it's good and blessed! :) 

Happy New Year, my lovely bloggers! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hello, everyone! :D Merry Christmas! How has you holiday been? Ours was very busy, but even that is an understatement.

It all started yesterday--which was eventful in more ways than one. You see, I injured myself all day long. The first thing I did was ram my small toe into an eight pound dumbbell--behind which sat another eight pound, two five pound weights, and then two three pound weights. My toe is now a nasty shade of maroon--no pictures will be forthcoming. So, limping through the remainder of my day--I discovered that Shark Week had arrived, which rendered me practically useless even with the added pain killers and caffeine. Seriously...can't Mother Nature just text me instead? :( Later in he evening I burned my hand on our fireplace. I decided after that, that maybe I should avoid all dangerous activities--like being awake.

We had endless cleaning and cooking before our Christmas Eve dinner with our family friends. My dear friend Jessie was even there with her mother, Mrs. Stacie. It was a great night! We exchanged Christmas gifts and I discovered that my lovely friend had made me a scarf! I absolutely love it and I can't wait to wear it out in public! :D I will post a picture as soon as I find and outfit that compliments it! :D Mrs. Stacie also gave me a jewelry box with my aunt's favorite Bible verse on it. Haha, I will have to keep her from stealing that! ;)

I gave her an infinity scarf, a pair of sunglasses, and some Bath and Body Works stuff! :D No really good pictures of last night, sadly. When you are running like a chicken with it's head cut off you don't really have time for pictures. :( Today we did get some good pictures though. I was exhausted though, I woke up at what I thought was 5:30--but it was actually 4:30 because my little desk clock can't be set back. It did give me a chance to shower and clean up early though. :)

After having Christmas morning breakfast with my grandparents and family friend Mrs. Cynthia, we opened presents to each other. I gave my mom an MP3 player with my brother, I gave my dad a gift card to one of his favorite stores, my sister a jewelry making kit, and I gave my brother an Imagine Dragon's CD. :) In return, my brother gave me the first season of Gomer Pyle USMC, and my sister gave me "Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"--a book that I have been wanting to read for quite some time. So far it's really good and very intriguing. I'm nearly halfway through it already! 0_0 I must pace myself because I will need a book to take to college with me this semester.

I have a distinct feeling, however, that this book will get a bit scary before too much longer. Now I really wish I had gotten that Castiel I asked for, for Christmas.

After Christmas breakfast we went to my grandparents house, where all the 'adults' play a Dirty Santa game--where basically everyone brings a gift and you all steal gifts from each other. I'm not a big fan, but this year I did manage to snag a Bath and Body Works kit that was even in my scent! :D Very happy about that.

After Christmas there it was off to my aunt's house (my mom's sister) where we had some light snacks before opening even more presents! There I got a pair of black, chandelier earrings, a aqua infinity scarf, and an iTunes gift card. :) The gift card was great, considering the fact that today I got my very first iPod!

My sweet and very generous parents got me the iPod 5 for Christmas this year, and I am SO excited! They also gave me a gift card to Radio Shack so I can get a case for it--which it desperately needs because I don't want ANYTHING to happen to my new baby. I believe I'll try to hit the store in the next few days, as soon as the craziness wears down.

I also got "The Fault in Our Stars", more Bath and Body Works goodies, a Union Jack/British mug set (tea included), a sketch book and some beautiful new colored pencils. The movie "Hotel Transylvania", aloe socks, a wide assortment of candy, and a sweater with a really cute owl on it. Over all it was a very generous and blessed Christmas! :D

But now that Christmas is over, it's time to focus on going back to school. Books have to be ordered, and new supplies bought. The truck's due for a good wash and vacuum (I basically live out of it during the semester). One good thing is that I have already gotten my official paperwork in order (months ago) so I don't have that stress on me or my mother.

I've excited to go back to school, but I'm also nervous. But we've gone over this song and dance a million times already haven't we? So let's break out of the loop for a bit. School is coming--no more shall be said until the actual first day! After that I'm probably not going to shut up, either because I'm complaining or I'm a little too eager to tell any and all good news I have.

But I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Christmas, and that you have all been blessed! :) Now it's onto the New Year, and I hope that God blesses every one of you!

Merry Christmas, Lovely Bloggers! :D

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Caught Between Boredom and Excitement

It's crazy, to be caught between boredom and excitement. My life's been nothing but busy, and now that I'm out of school and 'relaxing' for the Holidays--I find myself bored most of the time. There are a few times when I'm not so bored, when I'm doing stuff with my family, friends, or sending out a quick post to you lot. Hints why I've been posting so much lately. :( But most of the time I wander about aimlessly, thinking about all the great things that are yet to come.

I'm excited about Christmas--but it's so close now, that's the problem. It's close but not here, and that drives me crazy! Maybe it's because I'm not patient, or maybe it's because I'm really excited about the iPod I may be getting for Christmas. I've been dying for one for a while now--and while I always swore I'd never cave and get one...I will admit now that I have completely caved and I'm really thrilled about getting my hands on one. Only problem is, I have to wait. Tedious days that tick past slowly are absolute torture for me. Just let the Christmas celebration start already! I'm going to go insane!

Then I'm excited about going back to school. I miss the friends I met there, and I'm really eager to start back. I hesitate though, to be excited here because I could have a completely rotten semester. While I hope that won't happen--I still worry. I'm praying hard about it. I'm praying that God will amaze me and make this semester even better than the last.

But in the meantime I have to sit and wait for my school to start back--which means, for me, worrying over this semester will be too much for me to handle or that I will have a really hard time with my fellow classmates and or teachers. I'll admit, I'm a worrier--and God is working on me in that area. I don't like unknowns, I don't handle them well--but I hope to get better. Trusting God is hard for me, I confess.

It's tedious, to say the least, to wait excitedly for things. When you do everything around you becomes less than thrilling and you quickly become bored. It's strange because, before, I was more than content to stay cooped up in my room and busy myself with a few of my own personal projects--but now all I want to do is go places and see things. I want to go cool places with my family and friends, make new friends (choosing wisely), and even have some busy work that moves me towards an ultimate goal of mine! 

But God has me here, and I think he wants me to spend this time with my family--and working on a few things in myself. Sometimes I reason and say "Oh, you're fine right now--but look at all you can't have right now!". Reasoning, refuting God's word because it doesn't make sense to me, is a problem for me and it enables me to create a million and one excuses for not doing what God has called me to do. 

I have to also remember that while there are some pretty cool things that I have to wait for--there are also some REALLY awesome things I have right now! 

Things I Have Now: 

Time to spend with God, and time to grow in Him. (It's a rare time to readjust my priorities and work on a few things in myself.) 

Time with my family, (Holiday times are always special!)

Time to write and work on my book, (I have twenty eight chapters out of forty done! So happy! But I still have a long way to go! I'm making some big changes to the middle of the book--basically dumping what I had and writing new material. 0_0 Giant thing for us writers!)

Time to spend with my really close friends (My friends Jessie and Clara are coming over tomorrow and I am really looking forward to seeing them!)

Time to work on personal projects (Like cleaning out my closet....dun dun DUN!) 

Time to read (this is VITAL to writing...a good author needs to read just as much as they write!) 

Time to celebrate, 

Time to relax (I won't have uninterrupted relaxation time for a while after I start back to school!)

Time to get my health and caffeine intake back on track (slipped up on that these past few days) 

Time to practice my photography! 

Time to reconnect with old friends,

Time to catch up on some of my favorite shows! Just finished "The Office" and, by the by, LOVED IT! Dwight is hilarious and I want to marry a man just like Jim someday! I'm trying to get my brother to watch it now. 

And, also....a few more days before The Doctor regenerates. 

Christmas Tunes, And Yes I Know I Have Weird Taste in Music!

Christmas is right around the bend, so I thought I might share a few of my favorite Christmas songs! Warning, I have weird taste in music. 

Love this song! 

I grew up with The Kingston Trio's songs, my mom always loved them. 

The Civil Wars are a personal favorite, and so is "O Come O Come Emmanuel" 

Another one of my childhood songs. 

This was a must, every single Christmas! We always had this playing so it is a very BIG Christmas memory for me. 

Well, I don't know when I'll talk to you guys again, but if I don't before Christmas, I hope you all have a happy holiday! :D 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thank Heavens, I Got my Hair Cut! :D

Before and after--that is my surprised face. 

Yes, finally I got my hair chopped off. I got about three inches chopped off, and I am very happy! Having thick hair is a real problem when it gets long because it actually physically pains you! Seriously, try pulling thick hair into a pony tail--it's basically the same as having a weight tied to the back of your skull. Unpleasant and headache inspiring. 

But now it's lopped off and I am so happy! Now maybe I can speed up my morning routine! 

However, I didn't just come to talk about my new haircut. We've also had some other interesting news. There was a possum on our back porch this evening! Yes, a little marsupial decided to drop in for a visit while we had company over. No pictures--sorry, I'm falling down on my job. This little guy has been raiding our cat food for several days now, and unlike other possums he was actually rather cute. Though, I'm sure my mother and her friend Mrs. Tamera would disagree heartily. :) He's run off now, and hopefully he won't be back any time soon, because while I may think the possum is cute--I'm pretty sure the cats won't feel the same way. 

P.S: I know possums are disgusting little things, trust me--I'm just not really that terrified of one. I mean, I've seen them all my life, so....not really a big deal. 

So...any other news? A lot, but it's bits and pieces. Christmas is coming at a pace so my family has been really busy. I'm still trying to find someone to go to Stone Mountain with me--my parents prefer I go with an adult. It looks now like we may go as a family which would be loads of fun! :) 

And, now I've got to go make ginger bread houses. So until next time! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Eating Up Christmas Time!

I love Christmas time! 

It's one of my favorite times of the year, even if I have to share my abode with sometimes cumbersome decorations. :) 

Currently I'm enjoying the Christmas tunes and the new photography opportunities. Christmas always posed a problem to me with photography--even back when I was just snapping candids for the family. My camera never wanted to 'digest' the lights correctly, and I usually ended up with a blurry mess--unless of course I submitted to the flash, in which case I got an overbearing, overly detailed, glimpse of everything. Trust me, flash on people isn't always great. 

I've also been happy because I got my final grades back for the semester. I was blessed with all A's--shocking considering that one of them was in Physical Science, which I had been expecting a B in. Wonderful, blessed feeling there! :)

But I'm loving this season so far! :D It's so great to have family around for the holidays. :) I've got almost all of my shopping done, which is a relief! All of the big gifts are bought; I just have a few last minute gifts to get.

We're not in the cooking part yet--but once it gets here I'll be making chocolate fudge, pecan pie, and a vast assortment of cookies. There are usually a lot of sweets around for us during the holidays. I'm going to gain so much weight over this holiday season! :( That's okay though, I'll lose it all over the Spring semester. Stress does that to you...grrr.

I've also--finally--finished my Christmas list! About time too, considering the fact that Christmas is next week. 

iPod,(Yes I still want an iPod.) 

Loki t-shirt from Hot Topic,

"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Greene,

Tardis Necklace from Hot Topic,

And that's about it for this year. I mean, asking for a new iPod is a big deal, so I'm keeping my list simple. :) I really want an iPod.

In other news, I also wrapped a dinosaur...

I got my cousin, Michael, a dinosaur toy for Christmas--more specifically a T-Rex toy. 

It was not so much I had to wrap the dinosaur--as I wanted to see if I could wrap a dinosaur. I'm glad to say I succeeded, though his tail was sticking out. 

Don't worry, he's nicely put in a bag now--this was more of a random idea to use up the bits of wrapping paper I had left over. Fun idea I guess, though kinda messy. 

Today, I also babysat my cousin Michael and my little sister Joanna. We had a great time riding around on the golf cart while belting out Christmas carols--albeit the wrong words. 

I also survived a ten year early driving lesson. My sister has already learned to drive the golf cart--but my cousin was a newbie. So I let him drive a little on his own--basically I let him steer the cart while I handled the pedals. He really enjoyed it, and was thrilled with himself afterwards. Yep, ten years from now I'll be the cool cousin that lets him drive an actual car. 

I also finished a lot of the editing on my aunt's Christmas card photos. I don't do much with editing, I just adjust a few things and then leave it be. 

This is one of my favorites. 

This is a really fun shot, fun for Michael anyway. Haha, now he can bargain for better Christmas presents! 

Well, now I've got to head out! :D 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

You Rarely Think About Where You're Going, Until Someone Asks

Yesterday I finally got to take pictures of my friends up in the warehouse! I was absolutely thrilled! 

Taking pictures of the cool objects up there was fun, but my favorite area of photography is portraits!

Our trip was short, and we only spent about thirty minutes in the warehouse. We got there later than I would have liked because we had a lot we had to do first. One of them was actually opening our Christmas presents to each other, which was really fun. I gave Hannah a Downton Abbey shirt, Clara a scarf and cameo, and Hannah gave me a photography book! I haven't given Jessie her present yet because she'll be joining us a week from now on Christmas Eve. Can you believe that it's a week till Christmas? I can't, I really can't. It's flown by so quickly I've barely had time to digest it all. And to believe that after that I have a week and a half until my school starts back. Yikes is an understatement! 

When we got to the warehouse we had a lot of fun taking pictures, but we had to be really REALLY quiet because they were still running the business downstairs and the sound travels. We didn't cause any problems though, so that was a blessing.

I also met a very nice young man who was running the store yesterday. We talked about photography and it turns out he modeled for a bunch of really big league clothing brands in New York a few years back. He said he was trying to get back into the photography/modeling business--and he said if I ever needed a male model he'd be happy to oblige! I reminded him that I was not a professional, but he said that he liked the pictures I'd already taken and that he was looking to add to his portfolio. It's a great opportunity, and I have his number now. :) But when he asked me about my photography and where I wanted to go with it..it made me think. Where do I want to go with it? 

I mean, it's a hobby, yes...but I don't know the first thing about making money with it or actually photographing a real model. 0_0 It's a scary proposition in the sense that I could fail miserably at it. There again it's a great opportunity if I want to actually go somewhere with my photography. Question is...do I? 

IDo I want to take on that responsibility, along with the rest? School, personal life, declaring a major this year, and my main hobby--writing...all of that is very important to me right now, so do I really need to be adding yet another thing to my list? Then there's the fact that I've only been in this game a short little while, and to a lot of professional photographers who have been around for many years--my suddenly declaring photography as a viable part of my life  might seem a bit premature and silly. They've seen people come and go in that, with only the truly dedicated remaining to slog it out. I don't like to be a quitter in anything, it makes me angry, so I guess what I have to decide is--how dedicated am I? It's a burning question alright..one that I will have to answer soon.  

Hannah by the window

This is one of my all time favorite shots of Clara! :D I think it's actually one of the best ones I've ever taken of her!


I also got to show them the scary mannequin room! This is a very blurry pic, I know, but it captures the moment pretty well. Hannah actually jumped when she saw the Lady of Death, standing in the back--and we were all freaked out when we actually went into the room. Though to be fair, I wasn't really creeped out so much, I was just sitting back and enjoying their reactions. Needless to say, none of them liked that room at all...and I don't blame them. The back part of the warehouse has all of the scary stuff like the rabbit and Headless Henry--plus some jack-o-lanterns that were hiding in a dark corner and that I had somehow missed. Hannah waded cautiously back through the carnage by the light of her iPod--there were many times we were sure she'd never emerge again. :) That place is horror movie central.   

Here's a picture of us when we were opening our presents. There was wrapping paper carnage everywhere! :)

I think everyone had a great time though, and I look forward to going back up there again to take more pictures--and possibly going to Dairy Queen afterwards, which is something we wanted to do this time but because of our late start we couldn't. Besides, when we got home we found that the moms had baked a TON of goodies (including brownies! Yummy!). 

Super Cafe: Who's a Hero

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cutting off Caffeine at Christmas

It seems to me, that as a child, the Christmas season eeked by slowly--mainly because we were so desperate for our presents--but we were able to savor and enjoy it to its fullest. Now it just flies by, no time to sit back and relax.It's just part of growing up, and it's not a bad thing necessarily. I like to be busy. When I'm idle I'm miserable, though I will admit I like a good lazy day every now and again. 

But with the Christmas season flying by, I am constantly reminded that my new semester of college is coming at a pace! I'm taking four classes, like before, but one of them is a Biology class--and I'm very nervous about that. My first day of class is actually a lab, and while it will probably be choosing lab partners and discussing lab procedures--I'm still nervous. I've only dissected an earth worm...so how well will I manage with something as substantial as a frog or pig? Personally, I'm going to look for a boy in camo--if he hunts he will know how to field dress a deer and that can be very useful when it comes to dissecting things. I will label, make notes, and let him handle all of the gross stuff. Praying for a good lab partner! 

So, what did I do today? 

Today, after church, I went to my aunt's house to take her Christmas card photos--which was great! I love being able to take pictures for people, it helps them out and it's great practice for me.

Afterwards we went to my favorite antique store and I tested taking pictures of people up in the old warehouse. In a few days I hope to take some pictures of my friends up there; it'll be like having our own studio! Today was a great trial run because I needed to see what the lighting would do to an actual subject. Turns out, the natural lighting (of which I am not a fan) was perfect, the old style window provided a good filter. 

This is an angle for a shot I really want to try with my friend Clara. Problem is I was trying very hard not to actually sit on the chair because it's so old--and also not mine. 

When I came home I got to visit with my grandparents before wolfing down three eggs. I was starving.

With the busy Christmas season coming to it's peak--I have decided to wean myself off caffeine. I know, stellar time to pick, but I believe that I really should do this before the stress of the new school year begins--during which time I know I wouldn't limit my soda/coffee intake. Caffeine is really bad for your heart, adrenals, metabolism and so on--so I'm trying to limit it. However, limiting ones caffeine--limiting MY caffeine--is a dangerous occupation. Yesterday I was doing good, until my friend came over with soda. I was still good and refrained from having any...though it was a struggle not to knock her out with my tennis racket and steal it. Today, I did have caffeine--as I am shooting for one day clean and then the next with only limited indulgence. However, I did noticed the decrease. I had only a little soda, not even a full cup full, in the middle of the day--to sooth the with drawl headache. It didn't work. I still have a headache, but it got a little bit better. Tomorrow I will have to go without my precious caffeine, my strategy: Get more sleep and try not to morph into an over-sized Smeagol. 

Well, that's my two cents, so I'm off for a movie night with my family! I hope that your Christmas season is going well and that you have an awesome holiday! :D 

This is one of my favorite shots from my shoot with my aunt. Little Michael behaved perfectly!