Monday, December 15, 2008

Year in Review

So I decided that I would combine my desire to experiment with putting pictures on here and my desire to review my year. So...I picked my favorite picture from each month of 2008. Some I picked for purely photographic value, some for nostalgic value, some for both, some for neither. Anyway...let's begin.
January: Sedona, AZ

On New Years Day I took a trip up north with Ashley, Katie, and Amanda to do our favorite hiking trail near Sedona, which we've done periodically since high school. It was a beautiful winter wonderland, and I was actually pretty excited to be back in the kind of cold I hadn't been in since New York. The creek that we've gone swimming in before was completely frozen over, and we had fun testing its strength. Here they are in the middle of the creek.

February: Tempe, AZ
When my friend Jeremy came back to Tempe with his wife Tracy for a visit, it made for a lovely little reunion of college friends. For the first time in a long time, all of the members of my original church small group from early college were under one roof. Cassidy, Matt, me, Kiki, Jacob, Jeremy, Nate, and George. God used this group of people to encourage, edify, and entertain me in the beginnings of my adult life. He still uses them in my life today, but not usually all at once.

March: Tucson, AZ
There are hundreds of pictures from March 15th, my sister's wedding day, but I picked my favorite of the ones from my own camera. My cousin's daughter Chloe was the flower girl, and because of an accident on the I-10, she was almost late for the wedding. This was of course a source of stress for everyone involved, and it was such a relief when she finally showed up. Her mom had done her hair in the back of their car on the way into town, and you'd never guess how frazzled everyone had been. She looked amazing, but she wouldn't smile when she first arrived. I made it a personal goal to get her to do so - and succeeded!

For the month of April, I encounter a problem with this blog idea - I didn't take any pictures. So instead here's a picture (taken in June) of my friend and roommate Pam, who was the top quote-getter in April. Her quotes that month were:

"I was going to take a shower, but then I remembered the child life gadget."
"I maybe should only eat purple goldfish once a day."
"I guess she assumed we were at home - you know, not out on the streets with a popsicle."
"Oh my gosh, I was kind of a player."

May: Grand Canyon, AZ
This was another month with many pictures, including a ton of the Grand Canyon at sunrise, which I think every person in the US should try to see before they die. But since one of those pictures is already the picture at the top of this blog, I picked this one instead. My Romanian friend Vasi was visiting for a long weekend. I met Vasi in Romania my first year there - he was one of our translators. It was really bizarre for me to have a part of that world here with me in my world. Anyway, this pic was taken on our short hike partway into the Canyon.

June: Palm Springs, CA
I went to Resolved Conference in June with about half of my church. This was my 3rd time attending, and as usual, it was full of really impactful sermons and sweet worship. Fellowship was a lot of fun, too. But since impactful sermons and sweet worship can't be captured on film, and the fellowship pictures are mostly just typical pictures of people hanging out, I decided to go with this one. The conference was in Palm Springs this year, which was unfortunate because it was nowhere near the ocean and was 115 degrees. But the mountains nearby were pretty incredible, and I love it when I can capture something beautiful in the foreground. This pic was taken from right outside the conference center.

July: Coronado Beach, CA
I took the annual trek to San Diego with my mom and sister to visit my great aunt. We went 4th of July weekend this year. On the 4th of July itself, my mom decided to stay at my aunt's house - it gave them a chance to catch up and to look at photo album after photo album. My sister and I journeyed out on our own to Coronado Island to pay the beach a quick visit. Little did we know there was a parade there that day, and parking was impossible. It made for a really fun adventure with my sister though - some quality sister time that we hadn't had since her wedding. And having to walk for a long time to get to the beach was really no problem at all - beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, and everything all decked out with patriotic spirit. This is my favorite picture from that little journey.

August: Harris, NY
My trip to New York was everything I hoped it would be. I got my fix of both New York City and Sullivan County, where I'd finished my internship last year. I spent time with lots of dear friends in both places and had such a welcome break from life here. This picture was taken at our intern reunion. These are the 3 girls I went through the internship with, who are now dear friends. And Conio was our director - so nice to know him now as a friend only and not someone I feel the need to impress and please.
September: Mogollon Rim, AZ
One hot weekend in September, I escaped the Phoenix heat with a group of friends and went up north. The group that scouted out the campsite did so in the dark, and then they woke up in the morning to this view, just a few steps away from where they'd pitched their tent. If you look carefully, you can see Cassidy standing out there on the edge. Anyway, by the time i got there, it was late afternoon. Camp was already set up, and I got to simply enjoy the view and the company. We got to watch the sun both set and rise from this amazing spot and enjoy sweet fellowship and time out of the desert.

October: Sedona, AZ

Katie and I decided that since Phoenix was still pretending it was summer, we would need to go find fall for ourselves. We drove up to Sedona for the day and had a lovely time enjoying cooler weather and changing leaves. We found a little trail that led us to part of the Oak Creek that we'd never seen before, and we had fun exploring and picture-taking.

November: Mesa, AZ
Not many people's Thanksgiving celebrations get to include romping in green grass and picking dandelions - sometimes I'm glad I live where I do. After dinner, I took my cousin's kids across the street to the park. They are all naturals at posing for the camera, and it was fun to see their pure joy at just being outside. They made wishes over and over again and blew enough dandelion seeds to prepare us for the next harvest - maybe Christmas Eve?

December: Phoenix, AZ
Every year, the Phoenix Zoo decorates with millions of Christmas lights. It's a really fun excuse for us Phoenecians to get dressed up in warm clothes and do something unique. A group of friends from church went, along with some of our friends, and their turned into a very random but fun assortment of people. I love this picture despite not really knowing some of the people in it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Some old poetic creations...

I hesitate to call these poems, mostly because I don't consider myself to be a poet. One of these once became a song but the chords have been lost along the way and didn't add much in the first place. I found both of these in a journal from 2005, although one had been written before and this was a rewrite. I'd been looking for these writings for awhile and had lost track of them, and I came across them today while attacking the disaster that is my closet.

The first was written in the aftermath of my grandparents' car accident in 2003, an event which led to a period of unrepentant sin in my life and a lot of questions. It's called Intersections:

Where Indian School met 22nd Street,
my Granny and Grandpa their fate would meet
In our family album we'd turn a new leaf,
for soon we would find ourselves dealing with grief

Where 38th St. met with Oak,
my fragile heart collapsed and broke
I hated You, I yelled and cried,
In Your promise to comfort me, You had lied.

Where Vista Del Cerro met Dorsey Lane
My heart became numb with pain
I knew what was needed to make things right
but was too weak to run and too tired to fight.

Where Mill Avenue met with Baseline
a dear friend and I met to catch up and dine.
I warily told her of my fall
"Too tired to run?" she said, "Then crawl."

So where Forest Ave. met Gammage Parkway,
I know I will always remember the day,
I crawled back to You, cuddled up as your child
and remembered how I came to be reconciled

For where wood met wood upon a hill,
my heart will remember still
You died to pay a sinner's fine
and Your heart intersected mine

This intersection beats them all,
You saved me when I deserved to fall
The price you paid upon that cross
Speaks louder than any tale of loss.

I did repent at that time, but still struggled with a lot of questions for a really long time. Not so much, "Why did my grandparents have to die?" but "Why am I not feeling the presence of God right now?" "Why don't I have answers for my unbelieving family members?" "Why do I have to feel alone in this?"

The 2nd one was written later, after that period too had also come to an end, or nearly had. After months of heaviness, there was a beautiful week in Rocky Point, Mexico, where I'd gone for a Spring Break mission trip. Walking and praying on the beach with a good friend was sweet medicine to a thirsty soul. then there was this really cool moment where we were swimming with dolphins...and nobody had their camera on them. I remember talking to my friend later and we decided that that moment was meant to be so special that we couldn't capture it. I also had the opportunity to simply float in the ocean. Anyway, I reflect on that trip and the months leading up to it in the following, called Tears

I will not let you know that I am holding you right now
You have to understand that I must help you grow somehow
I promise you that one day you will count as joy this trial
but until then I have to let you miss Me for awhile

My face will not be clear to you, your answers will not come
I'm watching you right now, and you're wondering why I'm dumb
I see your tears, my daughter, and I will not dry them yet,
But I'll count them, and I'll do wonders with your tears that I collect

You're driving now, it's raining, and the tears have filled your eyes
You don't know where you're going, you're half-hoping that you'll die
There is work still left to do for you, though, lives still left to touch
and if I made this struggle easy, then it wouldn't mean as much

It's months later now, I see you've found Me faithful yet again
And you see now, precious child, what I blinded you to then
Can you hurt with those who hurt now? Can you grieve with those who grieve?
Can you even understand why some just simply can't believe?

You are now a little humbler, cling to me a bit more tightly
I've done this that, now that it's through, you shine a bit more brightly
So lets take a trip, just Me and you - My love's what matters most
Let's take a trip, we'll spend some time together on the coast

Those tears that I collected, I have cast into the sea
Come ride the waves, supported by Me fully, rest in Me
Here's a moment you can't capture on your film or with a pen
A moment in My presence, which is where you've always been.

Ok thank for reading, if anyone got this far. Sorry for the extreme length of this blog...and this is me restraining myself. :-)