Sunday, January 30, 2011

New design!

This is a short and rather pointless post, but I've redone my blog, as you've probably noticed!  I've been meaning to ever since starting my blog just to make it original and my very own, but didn't get around to it until today.

I've spent all day working on it, and I'm quite pleased with the results.  I may be tweaking it here and there in the next few days, but for right now, I'm done.  I've had my share of photoshop and html for this Sunday afternoon, thank you.  (:

And, it's in time for February and Valentine's Day!  What do you all think?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

{mirror me}

I'm entering a photo contest!  The theme is pictures in the mirror...which I happen to have quite a few of.  =]

And I can enter three photos all at once.

So I had fun with this.





My personal favorite is the first one, the one in black and white.  Which one do you like best?

 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I stink at titles

Well, it's true, so I might as well be out with it.  =]

I felt rather crabby tonight.  Just, fed up with people.  My play rehearsal had been cancelled, and I didn't get much done around here.  So, what did I do?  Ate some jellybeans and wrote a blog post about all I have to be happy about, that's what.  [and saying that seriously made me feel like Rachel Lynde]

My sister and I bought tickets to… *cue dramatic music* …Les Miserables!!  It’s coming to town in the spring, and we’ve been planning to go with a couple friends ever since seeing Wicked with them last summer.  I’m so so SO excited.  I’m reading the book right now and…heh, alright, I confess.  I’ve been reading the book very inconsistently for months, so I’m trying to be more consistent with it so I finish before going to see the Broadway musical.  It’s super long, but really good.  I’m enjoying it and getting into it.  Oh my, I cannot wait!  There are very few things I’d rather do than go to a play—a musical especially.  In fact, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do if given the choice.  I LOVE Broadways, and our theatre is seriously one of my favorite places in the world; it’s gorgeous.

I spent Saturday night at a friend’s house and went to church with them the next morning.  I know practically everyone at their church…a lot of them are my really good friends and recently I’ve been able to hang out in that group of people more.  So it was a lot of fun to visit their church and see everyone.  Such a great group of people…God has given me amazing friends.

BBC Masterpiece has been showing the movie Downton Abbey every Sunday night, and there's only one episode left!  My mom, Cassie, and I have been watching them together.  Why do I have to wait till then?

Guess who is in my philosophy class?  You never will so I’ll tell you.  =]  James McAvoy in disguise.  I’m convinced.  Ever since the first class I knew he looked like someone, but it wasn’t until last week that it suddenly struck me.  And it’s so true…he seriously looks like him.  That combined with the fact that my professor is entertaining, engaging, and pretty much awesome has made the otherwise nonsensical jargon of philosophy somewhat bearable.

Even though it was extreeeemely cold out this past weekend, that didn’t stop me from having a photo shoot in the snow.  Armed with a camera, gloves, and plenty of scarves, my sister and I marched outside to snap some shots.  We had to keep rushing inside to warm our hands before rushing outside again—the temperature felt like the single digits and my nose was red by the end of it.  But it was a blast, and we got some good pictures.  Photo credits of my pictures to Cassie, and I've included a few of Cassie that I took.  Aaand I did the editing.  (:



 I felt so European in my hat and scarf


 me being me (:


I have such a pretty sister

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Personality differences

Have you ever had that feeling that you’re just a like a little mouse?  You hear and see everything, take it in, feel it—but no one ever hears you?  I feel like that at times.  Like I’m an observer but not a participator.  Not just because I’m put in that position, but often because I just don’t want to be.

Anyone who knows me would say that I have absolutely no trouble expressing my feelings at all.  I’ve been called blunt, loud, and a host of other things.  But the people who know me best know that I’m quiet at times . . . lots of times maybe.  I have trouble talking about the deep things that really affect me.  Maybe it’s because I just don’t know how to put it into words.  But sometimes I’d just rather not talk about it.  Why bring something up that will just cause more conflict (outwardly or inwardly)?  It’s something I’ve been told that I should get better at.  I do realize that.  At least, I think I do.  Or I want to . . . I know I should.  But it’s not what I’m used to.  I’m used to holding it inside.  And then when it does come out—trust me, it’s a flood.  But then it all goes bundled up inside again, only to come out in little pieces in my poetry and prayers.

On the completely other hand, sometimes I think that I talk entirely too much.  Have you ever come back from someplace thinking, “Why didn’t you just shut up for once?”  Sometimes I wonder if I come off as totally annoying.  I took a personality test that told me that I was a “performer.”  I am.  I like entertaining people.  But I don’t want to be like that to the degree that people think of me as an amusement rather than just . . . a person.  I want to be genuine.  And while I realize God has given me the personality I have (and it’s not like I don’t like myself), it’s definitely possible for me to take that too far.  To talk and tease and laugh and forget to stop for a minute to listen.

Another thing: I focus too much on what other people think of me.  Because I am that “performer,” I like people, and I like people to like me.  But I need to be focused on what God thinks of me, and that’s struck me more and more recently.  Who cares if I look like a complete idiot to everyone else, as long as I’m glorifying my Savior?

You know what?  God is good.  God is always, always good.

“No one is good—except God alone.”  -Jesus’ words in Mark 10:18

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm still alive!

So, maybe it's really not been all that long.  But I feel like I haven't posted in awhile . . .

My little sisters had a friend over tonight and it was so much fun to watch them laugh, especially as they danced to reeeeaallyyy loud music in the living room.  Just before dinner, I happened to look outside and notice that there was a glorious pink sunset behind the trees in the back.  I was (and am) super tired (partially why this will be so short) because I've had a busy weekend.  First of all, I led worship for the first time ever.  My older sister Cassie and have helped lead worship for the 1st through 5th graders' kids' ministry at our church for awhile now, but we've never done it by ourselves.  Well, on Saturday, we did.  No one else was available, and so we had to actually lead by ourselves.  And I had to be the main one leading since Cassie was on her guitar and it was easier for me to move around doing keys and hand motions.  So--that was an adventure.

After church I headed over to my friend's house for a spur-of-the-moment sleepover.  We had a blast, talking in German accents the entire time, running to redbox at midnight, making fun of Zac Efron in 17 Again, staying up till 3 in the morning, and waking up too late only to lay in bed and talk.  It was marvelous.

That was a long detour from where I started.  (I warned you that I was tired.)  ANYWAY, the sunset this evening: it was lovely when I glanced outside, but by the time I called the little girls for dinner, grabbed my coat and camera, and tramped to the backyard, it was dying slowly.  I tried to get some pictures through the trees because I really didn't feel like going all the way out to the field, but it just wasn't working for me and the colors were fading.  So I stepped over to our "gray barn" (which is really more blue than gray) and tried a different focus, though you can still see the sunset back there.



And there it is.  Goodnight all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Simplicity

Yes, I realize that I just posted this photo, but I am doing it again because I am now entering in a photo challenge--my very first.  ;)  The theme is "simplicity" and if this photo doesn't say exactly that, I don't know what does.  A single snowflake...so simple but so beautiful.  I had to take this at a really awkward angle since it was on my coat sleeve, but I was very pleased that the focus turned out right.  ;)




Mikayla: my life in words


**EDIT 6/1/2011**

Mhmm, a super long time later, but when I saw Kate's photo challenge prompt, I knew that this was the perfect photo.  And since I already had it posted, why not?  The theme is simple.  And so is this shot.  :)


Sunday, January 9, 2011

in which I highlight random things that have occured

1. I absolutely adore the word adore.  It it so much more unique and...well--original :)--than just saying love or like.  I consider it to be "my word" since I don't hear other people use it much, and thus, you shall probably hear me use it often.  And what makes it even better is saying "I adore" in French: j'adore.  ;)

2. I adore the movie Chariots of Fire.  If you haven't ever seen it, I'm very sorry for you.  Your life must be quite pathetic.  Probably the reason I love it so much is because I grew up watching it ever since I was really little and didn't understand a thing that was going on (and that was relived last night as my little sisters constantly asked, "What's happening?  I don't understand!").  Eric Liddel has been added to my list of inspirational people--right up there with C.S. Lewis (though not quite that high...it's almost impossible for anyone else to get quite that high).

3. Despite the fact that she just had five teeth pulled two days ago, my 7-year-old sister is as witty and irrepressibly funny as ever.  Some quotes from her:

"Who needs people?  All you need is chocolate!"

-while I was having an imaginary phone conversation with a department store because Tess and I were buying new swimsuits to go to a waterpark-
department store clerk: "Will you want martini glasses with your order?"
me: "...Ha, no, I don't think so.  Well, maybe we could just use them for lemonade."
Tess: "No no no, get them!  In case the water has chemicals in it and we need to protect our eyes!"
me: "Whaaat?!"
-turns out Tess was thinking of glasses, like for your eyes, because she (thankfully) doesn't know what martini glasses are :)  ohh, I had such a laugh over that-

-during an imaginary phone conversation with Tess, who I thought was my friend Linda that I was inviting to my party-
me: "Now, this is Linda, right?"
Tess: "No, but I can take his place at the party because I know Linda and he's sick."
-Tess...Linda is a GIRL-

4. And with all that being said about the hilarity of my youngest sister, I must also say that my 9-year-old sister makes me laugh as well, though for a slightly different reason.  (Brooke is seriously one of the blondest people I know, so just keep that in mind. =P)

"When I grow up, I'm going to have six children--two boys, and two girls."
-and just how did you pass kindergarten?-

5. I've lately been having a lot of fun loading new brushes into photoshop.  It makes me happy.  Though I must say--it really frustrates me when it says, "Oh YES, these brushes will work with your version of photoshop!" ...and then, after downloading it, it doesn't.  THEY LIE.  I can just hear my computer's evil chuckle.

6. All of our Christmas decorations have officially been taken down and packed away.  Quite a grueling task, I assure you.  But it's good (though slightly sad) to have the house back to normal again.

7. Today, I went outside in the GORGEOUS new snow to trek around with the camera.  =]  I never get near as many *good* photos as I get total photos, but altogether I was quite satisfied with the result.  Here are some of my favorites . . . and perhaps I shall post more later.

this is my mailbox :)

cutest snowflake ever on my coat

my road


the funny thing about this one is that I was out taking pictures thinking "mmm...I would love to take a picture of some red berries right now." and then I was down by the mailbox, but there was a car coming, and I looked like an idiot (literally...you should have seen the get-up) so I went behind a bush and found...some red berries! it made me happy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

So many things to be grateful for

2010 had its ups and downs, but seriously, a lot of amazing things happened during the past year.  Here are just a few of them that I’m so grateful for.

New Year’s Day with the fantabulous fivesome

winter boots and scarves

TeenPact

the first flowers of spring

movies with my classmates

National Convention—just about the best week of my life

making new friends and reconnecting with old ones

my piano (broken key and all)

late nights alone jumping on the trampoline and singing “How He Loves” at the top of my lungs

laughter


little sisters growing up

weddings (I love weddings…drinks all around!)

experimenting with photoshop

prayer

fun midnight conversations with my brother

photo shoots with amazing friends

watching as me and my friends grow up into a different stage of life

random accents and foreign languages

dancing in the rain

watching Phantom of the Opera for the first time and getting addicted to the music

trapshoot friends

seeing Wicked on Broadway!

visiting my grandma in Colorado for two weeks

singing

laughter over nothing in particular

starting a college class after being accepted to the PSEO program (ugh)

Labor Day Camp—the best weekend of my life

auditioning for Little Women and getting a role

researching Narnia

a “surprise” 16th birthday party

getting my lovely aquamarine purity ring

going to the theatre

swing dancing

photography

beautiful fall days with my big sis

dances, balls, and fancy dresses

a white Christmas
playing poker with my uncle

my mom feeling well enough to be goofy again

Tenth Avenue North’s “Hold My Heart” which has seen me cry through many hard days

getting my ears pierced

bokeh

God’s everlasting saving grace


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wow

Wow.  Happy twenty-eleven.  I didn't even realize that it was a new decade until my pastor at church tonight said it.  Wow.  For some reason, 2011 suddenly makes me feel old.  =P

Anywho, speaking of church--wow again.  It was amazing tonight.  If it was possible for anyone to try not to cry (in vain) in church for just about the entire service, it was me.  It was about faith.  And this New Year's, that was special to me.  2010 was a crazy year to say the least, filled with good and bad like every year is.  But my mom has been sick with Meniere's desease (vertigo attacks, hearing loss, ringing in her ears, lack of balance, general head blaahh-ness) since October 2009 and has been basically bed-ridden for a lot of the time since then.  It's only been the past few months that she's actually been able to get around more, and she still doesn't feel well all the time.  But God gave her a word--I believe it was sometime in the summer--that New Year's was when she was going to be completely restored and healed.  7 months of sickness, 7 months of restoration (ever notice that God has a special thing for the number 7?).  Anyway, having faith in her complete healing is a difficult thing when it's been going on so long and so hard.  So the sermon really hit home with me.  Trials are not for God to see how much faith we have--he already knows that.  They are for us to see how much faith we have, and to strengthen it.

Then there was this passage, which I've heard/read a gazillion times, but once again, it struck me differently this time.  It's when Jesus asks his disiples who people say he is, and the specifically askes Peter what he thinks.

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven."
~Matthew 16:15-17

And wow--do you realize what that means?  That means that God himself revealed that very thing to me--me, Jennifer Noelle--personally.  I didn't learn it from flesh and blood, but from my Father in heaven.  Wow.  I'm amazed.  I never really considered that before.

And then, there was this song.  It was written in the late 1800s by Horatio Spafford, a man who had recently lost his 4-year-old son and been ruined financially.  He and his family were to travel to Europe, but he sent his wife and four daughters ahead because he was detained by business.  During the crossing, the ship collided with another vessel, and Spafford's wife was the only one to survive.  On his trip across the Atlantic to meet his wife, Spafford passed near the spot where his four daughters died and was inspired to write these words.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.

Talk about faith.

Anyway, that was all stuff that I wanted to share.  It meant a lot to me.  I've never really liked the idea of New Year's resolutions.  Making a decision at this time of year is no different from doing it at any other time, really.  So what's the big deal?  But this year, I've realized that it's such a good place to start, to commit, to put out the effort to make the beginning and see where the Lord leads you.  I've never had a real New Year's resolution in my life.  But every year at Christmas, I give a birthday gift to Jesus, and that's basically my resolution.  Only better, because I'm committing it to him.  ;]

This year, my gift to him is to focus on keeping my "God-box" open.  We all have boxes of things that fill our lives: some that we think about very little, and others that consume our thoughts constantly.  I don't want God to just be another box that I get to every once in awhile.  I want him--I need him--to be the big box that all my other boxes are placed in.  The ultimate.  And I want that box to be constantly open to him in an effort to hear him better and glorify him more.  That includes spending more time in the Word.  I used to be so good about reading my Bible every single day, but the habit has slipped recently.  So here I am, promising not only to read my Bible every day, but if possible, in the morning, so I can really start my day off with God-time and not shove it aside.  And yes, I started this today, though it was quite in the morning because I got up veerrrry late after a night of partyin' with my wonderful friends.  (:

That being said, there are various other things I'd like to accomplish this year...

-stretch (possibly even exercise sometimes!) every day
-practice flute more consistently
-not be jealous of other people's possessions, gifts, etc. and instead be grateful for all I have and have been given
-spend more time with my little sisters just loving them
-stop cracking my knuckles--why is it SO HARD?!
-buy myself a camera, finally a really nice camera
-do more vocal exercises to strengthen my singing voice
-love my brother more
-forgive more easily people who have hurt me
-learn some HTML
-memorize Scripture
-realize and acknowledge the fine line that designates when teasing goes too far
-stop worrying so much about what other people think of me and concentrate instead on what God thinks
-be an encourager
-experiment on photoshop more often so I actually figure out how to use it
-aaand countless other things of course

There's no way I shall be able to accomplish half so much without God's help.  Also, it would be good for a little dedication on my part since all things are easier said than done.  Feel free to hold me accountable to any or all of these things!

Finally, friends...God is so good.  I've had some rough times this past year.  Some really good times, don't get me wrong, but the rough times have definitely been there too.  But God--wow, he just loves through it all.  He never changes.  He's always there for me to go to, even when he knows I don't do it nearly often enough.  I serve a great God.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
~John 16:33