Wednesday, December 31, 2008

To the Year's End

Well, another year has come and gone. What an interesting one it has been. Most of this past year was quite rough, but in the end things are looking up. I am hopeful that 2009 will be a great year. Here's a recap:

The year started off shaky. Jason, the man I had been dating for nearly two years, and I were no longer together. We were still talking and working through some things however. By February, we were back together and things seemed to be better than ever.

Meanwhile, I continued taking graduate classes at ETSU, which was more of a pain than anything really. I was quite burnt out and stressed. My internship in Greeneville didn't really help my situation at all. Politics just don't agree with me and it made (makes) for a very unpleasant work experience.

By June, I couldn't take anymore. My relationship with Jason was deteriorating at a rapid rate. There were issues there that I could no longer handle. It was affecting every aspect of my life and turning me into someone I did not want to become- bitter, hateful, and extremely unhappy. In addition, finances were very tight, which was only adding to my stress level. Thus, I began looking for jobs anywhere and everywhere. I had high hopes for a couple job opportunities in Greenville, SC so I quit my job in Greeneville, TN and made plans to move a little further south. However, this plan failed after Jason and I talked and worked through some things again. So, I decided to stay put and came back to my job in Greeneville, TN a few short weeks later.

By late July, I knew I needed to move closer to work. The commute was horrible and gas prices hovering around $4.00/gallon didn't help my financial situation in the slightest. After a long, frustrating search, I finally found a phenomenal apartment through the help of a co-worker. I finally moved the last week of August.

August was, in general, a great month. In addition to moving, I was able to get an adorable puppy, Sally. She has been so great for me and she couldn't have come at a better time. I hadn't planned on getting a puppy quite yet. I had wanted to get moved in and settled then find one. However, when I heard about Sally and saw her, I couldn't resist. She was one of 14 puppies (2-3 litters) found on the side of the road by a co-worker. They were approximately 4 weeks old and all near death. They were all so sweet and sad looking. Sally stole my heart from the first moment as she looked so different from the rest and had been the lone puppy walking along the street when they were discovered.

A few weeks after moving, Jason and I broke up again, this time for good. Things weren't improving and my emotional and mental states were in horrible condition. I needed to move on and I think having Sally around really helped me move on all the more quickly. After the break-up, I rediscovered my passion for creativity which I had pushed aside and ignored for the last 2 years. I find that I am happier now than I have been in years, even on those harder days.

Not much really occurred between September and December. I did decide to go back to education. Working in politics for the last year has really made me realize that I cannot do this for the rest of my life. So, I have done some research and will be looking for a job to start next fall teaching math or economics. Also in the fall, I will begin working toward obtaining my teaching certificate. I am quite excited about this opportunity and kick myself for not sticking with education many years back. But, everything happens for a reason, and I may not understand it fully right now, but I will in a few years I am sure.

The year did end on a high note. I was able to go to Disney World for the first time last weekend. It was amazing! My grandparents took my family as well as my aunt and uncle's families. We had a great time (well the rest of them are still having a great time, I had to come back early because I couldn't afford to miss any more work). I can't wait to go back though.

As this year ends, I look forward to what is to come in the next. Though the past year wasn't the greatest overall, I learned a lot and for that I am greatful. I have high hopes that 2009 will be the best yet. And I look forward to bringing it in tucked quietly away in my warm bed with my wonderful puppy lying beside me. Just the way I like it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008




Monday, December 15, 2008

Must See

I highly recommend this film.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another good song

Icicles by Patty Griffin

I sing soft and low
Just like the moon
Over the snow
I hear icicles falling in the dark

We're just like anyone else
We just want a little bit
Of sun for ourselves
And a little bit of rain
To make it all grow
Maybe a minute or two
To get lost in the glow of love

There's always someone throwing matches around
Waving the shiny new knife
The first to run when the house burns down
I've seen it everyday of my life
I must confess there appears to be
Way more darkness than light
I want to fall like a pearl
To the bottom of the sea
There no one will find us tonight

It might look pretty bad
We might lose everything
We thought that we had
But shadows will pass
Smoke, it will clear
If something survives of us around here
I'll be glad 'cause I know
I was lost in the glow
Of love

Sappy...very sappy

I am in a very sappy mood today and songs like this really seem to sum up my thoughts from the last few days. I have been listening to Pandora Radio and have the Gillian Welch station going at the present time. I dont think it is helping my current state of mind in the slightest. Probably only nurturing it actually.

I truly dont know why I am like this right now. I am completely fine with being single. But something has come over me lately which causes me to dream/yearn for a mate. I really just dont understand it at all. And it is driving me insane!

Which Will by Lucinda Williams

Which will you go for which will you love
Which will you choose from, from the stars above
Which will you answer which will you call
Which will you take for for your one and all
Tell me now which will you love the best

Which do you dance for which makes you shine
Which will you choose now if you won't choose mine
Which will you hope for which can it be
Which will you take now if you won't take me
Tell me now which will you love the best

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Amazing Raffle!

Wow, would you like to have the great opportunity to win a HUGE prize package and help out 3 wonderful organizations in the process? Well, you can. Simply click the link at the top of my page or go to MckMama's blog to enter.

A $10 donation will purchase one raffle ticket and enter you into the drawing for the package containing a 12.2 Megapixel black Digital SLR Camera, a Canon 75-300mm zoom lens, a Jill.E camera bag, an ATP ProMax 2 GB SD card, a custom-made, adjustable camera strap from VM Jess, a 16 x 20 canvas print from iPrintCanvas and a complete blog makeover from Uptown Design Studio.


And each $10 donation you make puts YOUR name into the drawing. How amazing is that???? You get a chance for a great prize package and you help out some deserving organizations in the process.

All proceeds go to help: String of Pearls, No Hands But Ours, and The Elison Project.

You can find out more information by clicking on the link at the top of my blog.

Please do all you can to help these organizations.

Note: The raffle ends Dec. 14

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Marriage.

"We're so arrogant, aren't we? So afraid of age, we do everything we can to prevent it. We don't realize what a privilege it is to grow old with someone. Someone who doesn't drive you to commit murder or doesn't humiliate you beyond repair." - P.S. I Love You

I watched P.S. I Love You last night and this quote really stuck with me. It sums up exactly what I desire to see in my life. I want to grow old with someone. Someone who I enjoy being around even after many years. But really, I believe it is just a great thought and so well put. It saddens me how few people truly care if they spend the rest of their life with their mate. The word marriage has lost so much of its value. The vows one takes on their wedding day are so frequently said in vain. People don't truly mean 'for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health'. What so many seem to really be saying is 'as long as I get my way and as long as I am happy', 'as long as you can buy me everything I want and entirely more than I need', and' maybe in sickness and in health but it depends. I can only handle so much you know'. Maybe it isn't that extreme and maybe most people don't go into the marriage thinking they will end up divorced. But I think many, way too many, go in to a marriage much less committed to the other individual than they should be.

This is not something I want for my life. I come from a broken home because at some point in my parent's marriage, my father decided that he no longer agreed with the vows he took. He was no longer interested in 'for better or worse'. He was only interested in 'as long as I get my way and as long as I am happy'. He was and is very selfish. And his selfishness led to the demise of thier marriage.

I hope that when I get married it will be for the rest of my life. I hope that I can grow old with that man. That I can love him through everything, through good times and bad. I hope that the first thing I want to do every morning is roll over and see his face. I hope that I can fall in love with him all over every day. I hope that he desires the same. I hope that he values the marriage and the vows we took. I hope that he values my committment to him and seeks to return the same.

I know this is all a bit sappy but it is something I fear has been lost with my generation. I am not niave. I know that marriage is not easy. I know that there are hard times beyond belief. But I also know that a happy, committed marriage is not impossible. Many have succeeded at marriage. My grandparents for one have been married for nearly 51 years. And are still very happy. What makes is possible is selflessness. What makes it possible is communication. What makes it possible is love. What makes it possilbe is committment not only to the other person but to oneself. What makes it possible is compromise. What makes it possible is work and diligence.

This is my deisre. I hope I realize it. And I hope that if you too desire this, that it will be realized.

Are these sacred anymore?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sewing Projects

The background.

I grew up watching my mother sew. She made a good bit of our clothes growing up, especially church type clothes. I hated it! During my teenage years, she would frequently suggest that I learn how to sew. However, this was not even a small desire of mine. I could do the basics: sew on a button, hem a pair of pants. What more did I need to do? I certainly did not want to make my own clothes, much less anyone else's. So I passed.

Well, back in June or July of this year, 2008, I decided it was time for a new hobby and sewing sounded quite fun. Over the years, I have grown to love homemade items and desire to be more efficient with my purchases/consumptions so I thought sewing may be a great way to do this. Basically, I wanted the ability to create very unique apparel and gifts.

I called my mother and asked if I could use her machine for a while in order to give sewing a try. She had no problem with that as it was tucked away under her house, obviously not being used. She gave me a brief lesson on how to operate the machine and I left her house with the machine in tow hoping I could teach myself to sew. And I must say, I picked up on sewing much faster than I anticipated and I absolutely love it!

The blessing.

Sewing has really been a great creative outlet for me. For a few years now, I have pushed my creative desires/hobbies to the side. I stopped taking pictures on a regular basis, I listened to less of my preferred music (folk & singer/songwriter type stuff, I guess you could say) and more to mainstream crap (though not all is crap), I quit watching indy type films which I love, and more. Why? Well, a lot of reasons: time, school, work, relationships, rose colored glasses, etc. It is very unfortunate that I let my creativity and my hobbies fall away, but I am so glad that I am once again nurturing this side of myself. I must say, it is stronger than it ever was before. And I am loving it!

The projects.

My first project was a dress. It turned out much better than expected though not perfect by any means. I still have some work to do on it so I do not yet have any photographs of it.

The following photos are from more recent projects.

This is an apron I made from scrap pieces of fabric. (I apologize for the poor picture quality). I had actually cut the fabric for a skirt I was going to make. However, I decided that I did not like the fabric for this particular skirt so I started playing around with different ideas for the material and settled on an apron. I started just piecing the apron together with no pattern and no set design in mind, which was a little scary but I had nothing to lose. I was merely making it for the sake of making something, anything, as I desperately wanted a sewing project.

I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

Since Jessica is having a baby in the near future, I had a great excuse for making some gifts. I made 4 burp cloths and 6 bibs. After Christmas, I plan to make a small play quilt with the remaining fabric.

The material I used is Woodland Friends, designed by Kate Honarvar for Timeless Treasures Fabrics. I just love the material. Jessica and Brian are very active in the outdoors and I thought this would be a great fabric for thier little Logan. But, when I learned of Brian's fascination with owls I definitely couldn't resist this fabric. (I had originally purchased some Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar fabrics for their gift, but my machine broke days before the shower so I had to put the gift on hold. Blessing in disguise I quickly realized.)

I have decided to make all my Christmas gifts this year so I will post pictures from those in late December!


My cousin Joanna linked me in her blog, asking that I post the fourth picture in my fourth picture file on my computer. I also have to list four things about this photo.

1. This is from a camping trip in Unicoi County this past Memorial Day (there were about 10 or so of us).

2. We traveled quite a ways down old logging roads to find our campsite...quite fun...and a little unnerving at times.

3. Around midnight, some people from a group camping close by came to our campsite, quite drunk and loud. By this time I was already in the tent asleep. Waking up to strange voices, made me quite uncomfortable. All I could think of was a gun fight...haha...a bit dramatic I know, but I was half asleep, we were in the middle of nowhere and drunk individuals are quite unpredictable. Thankfully no guns were displayed and they left after about 30 minutes or so.

4. This fire got quite large during the course of the night as one of the guys with us just kept piling logs on...and is amazing that some of the trees above us didnt get a little scorched.

I will also link some people to create a similar post if they so desire: Danielle, Emily, Jessica

Friday, November 21, 2008

Great Lyrics

Lyrics from I Came Here To Hear the Music

Artist: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

I came to hear the music
I came to hear the sound
The music, God knows it brings me down
A long, long road
From now to then
I know your song, sing it again

'Cause there's so many things I don't believe I understand
How the days turn into weeks, turn into months
The years become a moment in the ever-changing sand
Did God make time to keep it all from happening at once?
All at once...

I came to love the music before I came to be
To know the music before it came to me
A long, long time ago, I don't know when
We sang a song
Along with the wind

And there's so many things I don't believe I'll understand
Why the days turn into weeks, turn into months
And the years become a moment in the ever-changing sand
Yes, God made time to keep it all from happening at once
All at once...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I decided to post some pictures I have taken over the years. Most of these are from my travels in 2004 to Nicaragua and Jamaica. The rest were taken around my apartment and Greeneville. Sadly, I haven't been as active in capturing images as I used to be, however, I am working hard to change this.


This shot took me a while to capture. Each time I was close to getting it, the girl would move her arm. Thankfully, she held the position just long enough for me to snap a shot. It was not posed at all, in fact, they had no idea I was photographing them at that time.


There are so many photos from this trip that I love. I have included only a small handful. I may post more in the future. (Please note that none of these pictures were staged. All were taken as people were naturally, with no direction.)

This little girl was adorable. I love her eyes.

One of the girls I was with had just given out some gum, she is holding a pack in her hands. The kids went crazy over the gum. It really made me appreciate all that we have here in the states.

This little girl was amazing. Her looks were so sincere. It is as if you could see directly into her soul. Probably one of my favorite pictures of all time.

I love this photo as well. Pure joy!

Cool shot.

This girl was dancing for us at an orphange we visited. I will post more from this in the near future.

As you can see, I love photographing people. I especially love close-ups of faces. I have many of those that will have to come at a later date. You can truly see so much about a person through their eyes. I love capturing just a little of that.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Name is Laura and I am a Sentimentalist

Ok, well, I have been experiencing problems when it comes to blogging about last weekend for some reason even though so many wonderful things happened but here goes. Warning: This is all over the place.

I had the great opportunity to travel to Charlotte to take part in a baby shower for a wonderful childhood friend, Jessica. It was a great day and the shower was wonderful.

Going back to the Charlotte area for this type of event brought back so many fond memories and proved to me that I truly am quite the sentimentalist. I had the great opportunity of seeing many people from my childhood: my old preacher's wife, a classmate and cousin of Jessica's, and most importantly Jessica's family (aunts, grandmothers, parents and brother). All was great until I completely lost it though when I saw Jessica's younger brother Benjamin for the first time in probably 10 years (things were still great afterward, just a little unnerving for me for the rest of the day).

So here's the story:

Someone entered the house, so I turned around to see who came in. I didn't recognize the young man so I turned back around to watch the gift opening. A few moments later, I heard Patti (Jessica's Mom) say something about Benjamin coming in.

I quickly turned around again and asked the person next to me if the young man that just entered was Benjamin. When they responded with 'Yes', tears immediately filled my eyes (as they still do when I am typing this). I couldn't believe that the little boy I knew was no longer little. I quickly left the room for fear of making an even bigger spectacle of my emotional self.

By the time I made it the few short steps to the nursery I was nearly weeping. Patti and Rachel followed me in to make sure I was okay. I was but I couldn't even grasp why I was such a basket-case.

Actually, I am still not exactly sure why I am so torn up about Benjamin growing up as my younger brother Kevin is less than one month younger than him and I am not nearly as upset about him growing up.

Anyway, Patti called Benjamin into the room to meet this crazy 25 year old girl in tears because he is a teenager. I can still see his face: completely confused and uncomfortable with the whole situation. I must admit, I was too. He did vaguely remember me, well, my name more than anything. Once I gathered my composure, things were better. Although, I did apologize to Benjamin numerous times, ensuring him that I am usually not like this. (Really I am not). I truly felt so bad that he had to endure that.

The drive home later that evening was not much easier as I cried on and off the whole way (190 miles). I was in a great state of reflection, which is not a good place for an already emotional person with a predilection for sentimentalism. I think the problem is that so much time has passed since I have seen anyone other than Jessica and so much has happened.

Jessica and I have been friends since we were three years old (we are 25 now). We were, for the most part, inseparable as children, constantly coming up with schemes to go to one another's house, talking on the phone if we couldn't do that. There are so many wonderful memories I could share but I will not at this time. Well except this one as it's my favorite:

I am not sure what age we began developing this idea but we were convinced that we were sisters, twins actually. We believed that we were separated at birth and Dolly Parton was of course our birth mother. I mean who else would it possibly be??? (oh the imaginations of children!)

Since we were so close, her family was my family. In fact, I was closer to her grandparents growing up than I was to my own as they lived nearby and mine did not. Sadly, everything changed after our seventh grade year. While at youth camp in the summer of 1996, I recieved a phone call from my parents stating that my dad had accepted a job in Tennessee. Initially, I was quite excited about the news and if I remember correctly I did not handle myself well. Shortly after camp (a matter of weeks I believe), my dad and I moved so that I could begin the school year in Tennessee. This move greatly changed my life and my greatest friendship.

Looking back on it, I know that God had His hand on my life and on my family. We have had our fair share of problems but they have only made us stronger.

My family was torn apart as a result of adultry and selfishness. However, the trial only served to strengthen the relationships between my mother, my siblings and myself. The five of us are now a closer family than we ever were before and for that I am truly thankful.

We have lost loved ones but these losses would have meant much less had we not had the opportunity to develop the relationships in the first place. The move to Tennessee gave me the opportunity to develop a close relationship with my granny, my hero. During the nine years before her death, I developed a deep love and admiration for Granny and I am forever changed as a result.

Friendships have forever changed. Jessica and I are not as close as we were. Thankfully, we have managed to remain friends and despite all the time that has past, and the miles that separate us, when we are together, it is as if no time has passed at all. That my friends is the sign of true friendship. And somehow, I have been blessed with not only one great friend for a lifetime but two. I would have never met Veronica had I not moved to Tennessee. She too has been such a blessing in my life and I can't imagine it without her.

Though I wish some things would have never changed, that friendships would be as strong today as they were 13 years ago, I am thankful that the friendships still exist and that they continue to bless my life. But most of all, I am thankful for where I have been, where I am and where I am going.

There you have it. Many thoughts on my life, all scattered about in a bit of reflection. And all quite sentimental.

Monday, November 03, 2008


So, I have not done well blogging thus far. However, I have many topics taking up space in my already cluttered head. So, stayed tuned as there is much more to come in the next few days. This is so exciting, I finally am starting to get my desires for writing back, oh how I have missed this!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Amazing Child Singer

This little girl from England is PHENOMENAL! I truly don't think I have ever heard a more amazing young singer. She brought tears to my eyes! Wow!!!

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (the singing starts at about a minute and a half into the video)

This is about the age of 7:

"And I Will Always Love You"

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Adventure

Well, this weekend I decided to take a little journey down the road with my Sally. What an adventure we had! It started out a bit shaky. I printed a map for our little expedition and I had determined that we could make a nice loop and enjoy some really stunning views of the fall leaves and the exquisite Blue Ridge Mtns. Well, needless to say, we did get our fair share of beauty...but I was a bit frightened a few times. So, what happened?

The first road of our trek started out well. It was a dirt road winding up a hillside with the occassional house coming into view. But this ended after about 1 mile. Soon, it was just me driving my little Honda Fit along a dirt road surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest. I was in the MIDDLE of the forest. Mind you, I love being in the woods...but I was alone (with my puppy), in unfamiliar territory, and in a car that is not designed for off road adventures. My first mistake was that I did not set my odometer to track my mileage when I started down this mountain road. You see, there was a sign stating that Paint Rock was a mere 5 miles down the road. Had I tracked my mileage from the start, I would have known that I was getting close. But the further I got into the woods, the more wary I, I found a space large enough for my little car to turn around in and back we went. At this point, the light in my head decided to go off and I reset the odometer. When we made it back to the bottom of the mountain, I realized we had gone 3.5 miles. How disappointing, if I would have just stuck it out a bit longer, we could have made it to the next road in our loop. Regardless, I did manage to see many gorgeous sites in the middle of the forest:

By the time we were out of the woods, it was only 10am and far too early to head back home. Sally was doing great and I did not want to pass up the opportunity to get some great photos. (I was quite impressed with Sally to be quite honest. She sat so nicely in the passenger seat, and occassionally on my lap for a little love.)

So, back to the story, I decided that we would try to find the other end of our loop, hoping that it was a safer route than the previous.

Oh happy day! The other section was indeed much safer than the previous, and amazingly just as beautiful. This time we were in the valley rather than atop the mountain.

As we traveled along the paved road lined by trees on one side and Paint Creek flowing majestically on the other, I felt as though I was in paradise. We drove for a good hour and a half along this road. We stopped to enjoy a small waterfall flowing into a natural pool which was bound by a massive rocky mountainside. Exquisite!

We continued, entering NC and the Pisgah National Forest, encountering yet another dirt road. However, this time, it was bordered by the mountains on the northeast and the French Broad River to the southwest. The river was stunning. I longed to be in a kayak, floating along with the current, being one with the water. (But, that will have to come at a later date.) Saturday, Sally and I just enjoyed the landscape that was so perfectly designed.

We ended our expedition at Murray Branch Recreation Area where Sally was able to wade into the river a bit when I enjoyed a rest on some rocks in the river. It was a fantastic day and I am looking forward to returning again this weekend for a longer visit.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Well, starting this off is quite difficult for me. I am not exactly sure what to write for my first post. So I will just begin by sharing some of my favorite quotes for a bit of reflection.

"You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses." I saw this in a Ziggy comic about 10 years ago and it has just really stuck with me. I think on some level it has become a motto for my life. I try to live my life seeing the benefit of every situation. I have been through many things that have been less than pleasurable but I have done my best to see that even those hard times have value and purpose. I think that is what pulls me through when the pain, frustration, and disappointment become overwhelming.

"It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What every body echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood in tomorrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields. What old people say you cannot do you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new." - Thoreau

"It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is." - Hermann Hesse

"It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well." - Rene Descartes

Also, I am really enjoying the beautiful colors that are gracing the Blue Ridge Mountains right now. Just walking around my yard inspires me to get back to my photography hobby, which I have shelved for many years.

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like autumn leaves." - John Muir

Until next time,