Tag Archives: photography

Check Point

I’m twenty days into my “365 Reasons To Give Thanks” challenge. I can’t believe it has only been twenty days. Sometimes I question my own judgement–what have I gotten myself into? Other days, I’m quite pleased with myself because I know I am finally pushing myself to use my camera more. I can’t deny that I’ve already had some trouble. I got behind on the editing process and found myself backed up with a slew of unorganized photos. I’ve also struggled to find inspiration on some days. Or effort. Or even just time.

But regardless of my excuses, I am thankful that I was able to take this challenge on. I’ve taken more photos of random things in the past twenty days than I probably have over the previous six months. I just wanted to share some of the photos that didn’t make the cut (and a few that did too) in celebration of my twenty day mark. Here’s to 345 more.

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Jan 14

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Jan 10

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Jan 8

Have a beautiful and inspired week!

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New Year’s Resolution: 365 Reasons to Give Thanks

The ball dropped. Did you see it? Within a quick ten second countdown, the clocks struck midnight and we were once again faced with a new year. Besides the cliche horn-blowing and excessive hugging, I always love those first few moments of the new year. It marks a simplicity that I cherish. For those first few moments, the complicated build-up of the past twelve months seems to disappear and I am once again greeted with a fresh start that is liberating and unknown. Even though it is really just another day, the new year gives us the opportunity to start anew. It’s magical, really.

I always make a New Year’s Resolution. Sure, it’s cliche to do so, but it doesn’t have to be. In past years, I have made those typical resolutions–exercise more, start a new hobby, go on a diet–and like many others, I have failed to keep them. But for the past 4 years, I have challenged myself to make more practical resolutions that will make me a better person. Resolutions that are actually tough to do, but will reward my character. Change my thinking. Inspire me to become a more joyful person. And I’m happy to say that I have been pretty good at keeping those resolutions. So much so, that I look forward to not only making, but keeping them each year.

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My first “real” resolution was to be more optimistic. It was inspired by a thought I had one summer when I realized that I was putting too many expectations on myself, and instead wasn’t appreciating the moments that came–how they came. I realized that being happy required removing any expectations from particular experiences and instead finding that great parts that just happened. That year, I obviously still had my down days but I was generally a more joyful person. I learned to appreciate friends, moments, tough times. Life. That resolution changed my entire attitude.

The next year, my resolution was to devote more personal time to be spent with Jesus. This resolution scared me. It was vague and quite challenging. I had never really had a relationship with God that was so personal–before I just spent lots of time going to church, hearing messages, attending youth group, and listening to other people talk about how God spoke to them. But I knew that I needed a more personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. I didn’t know how to tackle this resolution, but I quickly became really keen on journalling and reading straight from the Bible. It was an incredible year. I look back on it now and realize how imperative it was in making me who I am today. I learned so much about Jesus and myself in that year that I don’t even think I could express it in words.

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Last year, my resolution took a way more practical approach. A friend introduced me to this incredible book called “Everyday Justice” by Julie Clawson. As I read through the book, my heart was stirred by the way in which our everyday choices impact so many people around the world–people we are called to love. It exposed me to the horrors that other people face because of the clothes I buy, the food I consume, and the waste I produce. I was heartbroken but also inspired. As a result, I challenged myself to go an entire year without buying any new clothing. Not because I wanted to save money (which I did–double bonus!), but because I wanted to force myself to own up to my impacts and research how I could change them. By the end of the year, I had made some clothing purchases, but the majority of them were from thrift stores or places I had extensively researched and knew were fair to those who produced them. I also had developed a new hobby in sewing as I even opted to make some of my own clothing here and there. It was an incredible experience and I know I will never go back to just buying the most cost efficient (for me) shirt I can find.

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So that brings me here. 2013. I thought about this year’s resolution for quite some time, as I wanted an equally practical and spiritual challenge. I am once again intimidated by this year’s challenge, as it requires a daily commitment. But I am also excited and inspired by it. So this year, I am going to attempt to do a photo challenge called

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My resolution is to take at least one photo every single day that represents something I am thankful for. There are a couple of reasons why I chose this resolution. First of all, I don’t exactly pride myself on my photography skills (if you could even call them that). But like many other things, I know that learning good photography requires time, experience, and experimentation. It is something I enjoy and am definitely interested in learning more about, so I made a resolution that forces me to use my camera. Second of all, I chose this resolution because I’ve come to realize that the majority of my prayer time with God is spent asking. I want to take the moments to quiet my mind and just praise God for his faithfulness. Photographing, editing, and writing about these things that I am thankful for will hopefully give me that time to simply thank Jesus.

I have decided to keep myself accountable for this resolution by posting my photos on here. I have created a page under the ABOUT section that is specifically designated for this challenge. I will update it as frequently as I can with the photographs I have captured.

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I can’t wait to see what I learn from this year’s resolution. It is such a blessing to be able to challenge ourselves to grow and evolve and learn. I know there are great things in store for all of us in the year ahead. Bring it on, 2013.

What are your resolutions? What have some of your past resolutions been?

Happy New Year, everyone. May you experience joy in new ways in this year ahead!

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Many Reasons To Give Thanks

This past weekend, people across Canada celebrated Thanksgiving with the ones that they love. Most Thanksgiving celebrations involve turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie (…lots of pumpkin pie), but I didn’t get to indulge in this tasty feast this year. My family and I packed our bags and hit the road enroute to our nation’s capital, Ottawa, instead. Even though we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving the traditional way, I still have many reasons to give thanks. Freedom. Beauty around me. Family. Laughs. Good health. Jesus. The list goes on and on. So in honour of giving thanks, I wanted to share some photos from our weekend road trip that represent some of the reasons why I am truly thankful.

I have such a beautiful and fun family. I am so thankful for the times we spend together and the adventures we find ourselves in. Life truly is beautiful and there is always a way to find a smile each and every day.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, friends (Canadian or not!)

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Everyday Choices, Everyday Justice: Earth Day 2012

As ridiculous as it may sound, Earth Day is one of my favourite “holidays”. I have been celebrating Earth Day for as long as I can remember, beginning in elementary school and carrying on up till today. As a young elementary student, I signed up to be an “Eco-Wolf” (my school’s mascot was a wolf). Being a member of this club entailed the bi-weekly collection of each classroom’s recycling, the odd eco-themed event, and being an active member in the Earth Day tree planting and garbage pick-up. Okay, I’ll admit that I initially signed up to get out of having to go outside for recess during the cold winter months. But the membership in this club developed into so much more.

In high school, I joined the “Eco-Team” as well. But this time, my decision to join was backed with a genuine care and concern for the current state of the environment. My love for natural landscape and geography flourished at this time. This love was accompanied by an understanding of how current human activity is greatly affecting the natural world. Not just an understanding–a fear. I developed a passion to make personal changes that would contribute to a more sustainable future. Along with the other “Eco-Team” members, we did garbage audits of our school, sought to confront local businesses on their waste practices, and developed plans for tree-planting in the school yard. I loved doing these things for the natural world.

In my final semester of grade twelve, I took a “World Issues” course. This course exposed me to a lot of the injustices around the world–injustices that don’t have a simple solution. This included human injustices, economic injustices, natural injustices, and political injustices. My heart broke when I was exposed to some of these things. Although a lot of the issues are rooted in foreign countries around the entire globe, all of them are caused by humans and our selfish desires and tendencies to consume more, have more power, and go to every length to attain personal wealth.

I must admit that since I began university, I haven’t joined any clubs. I attend a very big school and don’t live on campus so I find that the commitment isn’t the easiest to uphold. But just because I am not a part of an earth-saving-super-team doesn’t mean that I don’t care. Recently, I have been more and more exposed to some of this world’s injustices through literature and reading. I believe that seeking justice is an important thing for us to do. It can be daunting and intimidating, especially when we live in our own little freedom-bubbles, often blind to a lot of the poverty, despair, and destruction that is going on.

I’m thankful for Earth Day because it acts as a fantastic reminder for us who so easily forget. The reality, especially in North America, is that we easily get trapped in our little bubbles and forget about the people and the places that deserve justice and care. Earth Day focusses on global environmental issues, but it should also be about remembering our brothers and sisters around the world. Earth Day is about educating ourselves and seeking change. Earth Day is about celebrating what we have and appreciating it for what it is. Earth Day is about finding solutions–whether big or small–even when they seem impossible.

I’ve been reading an incredible book by Julie Clawson called Everyday Justice. The book outlines the impact of our daily choices, not just on the physical environment but on people all around the world. It discusses things that we take for granted in North America like chocolate, coffee, food, clothing, waste, and gasoline. A lot of us think that saving the planet is impossible, and honestly, maybe it is. But taking it one small step at a time can make a major difference. Tweaking even the smallest things in our daily lives can make a major difference. That is how we can seek change…one small step at a time! I encourage you to check out this book for easy steps that can be taken to make simple changes in your everyday life.

Planet Earth contains a lot of beauty. But it also holds a lot of ugliness. If things need to change, we need to be the ones to do it. I hope that you are encouraged this Earth Day to make changes in your own life–regardless of how large or small they are. Inform yourself. Take the initiative to seek out ways that you can make changes. Be encouraged that the smallest things can make a difference and even the littlest bit of care can go a long way.

Well, I’m off to enjoy the beautiful day that the sunshine has to offer. How are you celebrating this Earth Day?

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Top Five Friday: “My Week in Photos” Edition

I can’t believe another week has come and gone already. My oh my, how time flies. As I pondered what I wanted to post about in this week’s TOP FIVE FRIDAY post, I realized how enjoyable and special my week really has been. Since I finished school for the summer, I have had oodles of free time. I have been maxin’ and relaxin’, knitting, crafting, and enjoying the sunshine. Oh yeah, and in case you haven’t realized, I have also been updating more regularly (which I am so happy to be able to do!).

This week has provided me with many opportunities to do some of the things that bring me joy. I am going to share with you some of the special moments from the past week in the form of photographs. Ready for a countdown?

NUMBER FIVE

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to go to one of the cutest little towns in my area. This picture shows a small section of Main Street Unionville. It is one of the cutest little historic main streets, making it a tourist hot spot. It is full of little specialty shops and cafes in historical homes and buildings. On the day that I went, the sun was shining and there was a beautiful breeze, making it that much more enjoyable. This is where I dream of opening up my bake shop. One day…

NUMBER FOUR

One of my favourite foods is potato leek soup. I love tackling anything “home-made” (I think it is just so much better than packaged food) and potato leek soup has been on my radar for the longest time. I finally got around to asking my grandparents for their delicious recipe and so yesterday I decided to take it on. To be honest, I had no idea what leeks even were. But I am happy to announce that the soup turned out delicious and it is almost completely gone. I was so happy to be able to get that off my “to try” list.

NUMBER THREE 

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to take a nice little stroll through the park. I love going for leisurely walks (especially with great people!) so this was a nice highlight. I came across this beautiful tree along the path. Although you can’t really tell in this photograph, it was a massive tree. It was so thick around and so tall–I could tell that it has been around for a long time. There’s something encouraging about that. Our earth is constantly changing and that’s not always for the better. Massive amounts of deforestation are occurring and ecosystems are being destroyed. Although this tree was not really in a forest, it was encouraging to see that it was still standing strong. It made me wonder how many little critters and organisms call this beautiful tree “home”.

NUMBER TWO

My sister and I went to our Grandma and Grampa’s house for lunch on Wednesday. I love hanging out with my grandparents. They always share so many wonderful stories of their past. One of my favourite things to do is look through my Grandma’s old photo albums. She can always tell me a story with every photo. I’m a lot like her in that I appreciate our family history. I ask her so many questions and she is always so happy to answer them. I cherish these memories because unless they’re passed on, they don’t last forever. I can’t wait to share them with my grandkids (when that time comes around). The photograph on the left is from my grandparent’s honeymoon. I believe it was taken in Chicago, but I just thought the composition was so interesting. The photograph on the right is of my Grandma’s sister with her kittens. In our time and culture, photographs are so meaningless sometimes. There are so many that they lose their uniqueness and story. I love that these photographs are one-of-a-kind and hold a special value. Even though they’re so simple and black and white, they are also so special.

NUMBER ONE

My sister and I have always been really close (one room + two sisters = about as close as you can get). We are called sisters, but I’d say we are more like best friends! As we’ve gotten older, our lives have gotten busier and busier. She works really hard at school and work and juggles lots of extra things that take up her time. But this week, we had the chance to hang out for an afternoon and just appreciate each other. We did a little photo shoot (as you may have seen with the DIY: Elbow Patch Cardigan post) and then enjoyed the rest of the day in Unionville. She is a beautiful person (as I’m sure you can tell from the photo above) both inside and out! We always laugh because people never know that we are sisters because we look so completely different. But we are close in spirit and in love. She is seriously the best!

Well that’s it. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and enjoy all of the small (but special) moments that it brings. Many blessings!

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