Sep 4, 2015

13 going on 20 {The last seven years of my life}

My twentieth birthday was August 2nd. This is one of those birthdays that marks a new season for you. No longer a child and no longer a teenager.
That morning, my grandparents called to sing Happy Birthday to me, and my Papa told me I was a woman now.
I laid in bed a bit longer, thinking about the things I wanted to accomplish and who I want to be during this new era of my life.
I tried to figure out a song to devote to my twentieth year. I went with Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" as well as "Marvelous Light" by Ellie Holcomb. I have a lot of personal obstacles I'd like to overcome, as well getting my business up and running.
It seemed only fitting.

I thought it would be fun to go over the last seven years of my life. So, here we go. Back to the awkward age of thirteen....

On my thirteenth birthday, my mom got her friends together and asked them to write an encouraging letter to me, specifically talking about the walk with the Lord.  My mom had me walk down a park trail, where I encountered each of her friends one at a time. I retrieved an encouraging message at each stop. To this day, I still think about how some of the letters impacted and spoke to me. To end the day, my mom gave me an album of photos that I had taken. She included the physical letters that each of the women had written for me. It is still very special to me. 
This was the year that I went to my first Daddy Daughter Dance. I was really excited to do this. I got to pick out a fancy dress (a Taylor Swift dress!) for the occasion. I got my hair done, and I bought a new pair of shoes. That was a fun night spent with Daddy. I still have the corsage my dad gave me to wear. This was also around the time that I was feverishly building clubhouses and digging holes in my backyard. The idea of a MOVIE hit me one day, and I was bit by the film-making bug from then on out. Can we all take a minute to look at the VIDEO camera I am holding in my hand? Anyway, that was my first ever film I directed. It was called Little Clinic in the Woods, and still to this day, one of my proudest accomplishments. 
^^Ok, so technically I think I was twelve in one or two of these photos, but I had to keep the blowed up skirt one because it is so majestic.^^
Around this time, I was discovering selfies! Of course, we didn't call them that at the time. My pink 5mp Kodak camera and I were the best of friends. I was starting to get into photography as a hobby at this point. In order to find these pics for this post, I had to wade through the bajillion selfies I had (embarrassingly) posted to Facebook... *awkward turtle*. Above, you can see my two extremes; either looking nice for the camera, or showing off  my weirdness. 
^^Rock those duck lips, gurl^^ 
 Horses, horses and more horses were my life at this point, because I had quit gymnastics that year and had moved onto new interests. I trained in an English saddle for awhile, then switched to a Western saddle, which I still prefer, even though I don't ride anymore. The horse in the photo above ended up throwing me out of the saddle once. That was an adventure.
^^This was 'my' horse Sassy. I spent a lot of time training and pursuing a "relationship" with her. True to her name, she was super sassy. The owner was going to give her to me, but I was unable to keep her due to having no money, so the real owner sold her to someone else. I was very sad to see her go. That was the only horse I have ever ridden that I felt like I really understood.
^^This pic captures my sense of style at the time so well. Mismatched dark layers with boots...^^
I have always enjoyed dressing up. We were involved in a home church fellowship at this point, so we kids spent a lot of time going through our friend's dress up box while the adults talked. ;) This pretty much describes my style in the first photo. I had convinced myself that I didn't look good in color, so I wore lots of gray, blacks and navy blues.  I also didn't really like bathing or changing clothes. I mainly wore the same t-shirt....

I've always liked to build, and my first creation was a loft-like tree house. It lived on my patch of land, that I named "Sikestone" where I built all my forts and tree houses for my films. Here are some pictures of my "Clinic" and the main fort. My friends and I built the main fort together.
^^The Clinic was where my character (the doctor) in my movie lived. In the bottom pic, you can see the main fort, and my loft tree house above. My friends and I spent hours and hours out there playing house and cooking, cleaning and making coffee out of dirt.^^
 ^^Anna, me and Sarah, on our way to the Little Women play^^

On my 14th birthday, I got my friends together for a horse party. We spent the day at the stables riding, then we came home and played telephone with my family, and had cookie cake.
 I was still making movies with my friends and siblings during this point. Usually at fellowship, my friends and I made tons of short silly films (hence the turtle on my head).
I became assistant coach at my old gym, and my interest in gymnastics had resurfaced. I wanted to compete again, but that never came to be.
I got a new camera; it was fancier then my Kodak 5mp camera. I spent a ton of time in my basement working on my sewing interest that year. The dress on the right was one of my favorites. It was (and still is) known as my Galadriel dress. My facial features started changing this year. I started feeling more "grown up" and was taking waaaaaaay too many selfies.
^^(From left to right)
1. I had way too much fun taking erm...flattering selfies.
2. Me and little bro acting in our friend's movie
3. I have always been a night owl. I would spend hours every night wolfing down books.
I can't help but laugh when I see the above pics *face palm*. I thought that hat was so cool, therefore I felt cool in it. Oh, and that flower sniffing pic? Totes adorbs. ;)
 So I was getting more into photography at this point, and was starting to learn a little bit of photo shop. Or, what I thought was photoshop. These pics are awe worthy.  I didn't really have a very eventful year at fourteen.

On my fifteenth birthday, my family took me to Helen, GA to go tubing. This was my first birthday that I spent solely with my family. It was also the first year where I was in charge of making my own cake. It came out terrible. I was so mad at its results, I just started to squirt the icing all over it in no pattern or design. It was literally being held up by icing. A week later, I had my "friends"  party, where we went and mall walked. 
 I have always liked Claire's. I think I was twelve-ish when I discovered it. Every time I go to a mall, I make a stop in there. My friends and I spent a while in there that day. If I remember correctly, we made two or three stops. This was the age where my mom allowed me to start dyeing my hair. Since seeing Spider Man at an early age, I wanted Mary Jane red hair. However, I didn't go that bright at first, but I still went red. I loved it, and consistently dyed it brighter afterwards.
 I think this was the age where I started getting into big sunglasses. My eyes have always been super sensitive to light, so sunglasses were always on me. I made sure to have stylish ones. ;)  Random, but I always had a fascination with that face I'm making in the top right corner pic. ;)
 ^^This was a film I had made at the beginning of the year. Before, I had been stringing a lot of random clips from various film projects together, and created a story, then went out and filmed the real thing with everybody. ^^
 ^^Abby and I always had interesting sleep overs^^
 ^^Halloween night. This was the first time me and my siblings went trick-or-treating. And we weren't even planning to! We happened to be at our friends' house that night, and they lived in a neighborhood, so we thought we'd go trick-or-treating. It was a lot of fun. Afterwards, we went into Abby's sheet hammock, and the boys were swinging us sky high. I was a *little nervous, hence my worried expression^^
^^This is how I would go out to Sikestone to work. That blue skirt was my first sewing project- and it is still my favorite. I still have it.^^
^^This was my second film of the year. It was a lot of fun- and went a lot smoother than my first film. I never finished editing this one for some reason. ^^
 Not long after my birthday, I got my learners! I loved driving, and had been dreaming of that day for years. However, driving scared me once I actually started doing it. I had this big fear of passing cars on one lane roads. Once, I even closed my eyes whilst doing so. Oops.

I spent a lot of time with my friends this year. We came up with nicknames for each other during one of our sleepovers. Of course, they didn't stick, but it was fun anyway. I have always wanted a nickname, and up to this point I didn't have one. Now, I find myself with enough nicknames to almost fill a page.
We had gotten a pool that summer and spent almost everyday in it, and I went back to coloring my hair something more similar to my natural color. My hair was a mix of several colors then.
^^Me and my favorite cat, Mama Kitty. ^^
^^ I LOL'D when I found this pic.. Here I am, standing in our sink hole, in my PJs. Majestic.^^
 Around this time, my family started getting ready to host a child from Ukraine for the summer. We spent a lot of time fundraising and preparing for when our host child would arrive.
Here I am with our friends and siblings, at their house selling lemonade and having a yard sale to raise money for Yuliya (our host child) and Sasha (their host child).
This summer was different because we were constantly doing things we normally would never do. Because we were hosting, we had to bring our host kids to "check ins". Basically where the Ukrainian chaperone makes sure the kids are all being treated well and are ok. We usually had to do these at water parks, pools or ice skating rinks. We were constantly busy. At the end of the summer, right before Yuliya had to go back to Ukraine, our family was in agreement of adoption, so we asked if Yule wanted to be adopted. She said 'yes', and then we were on a whirlwind of activities trying to fund raise.

My sixteenth birthday was a combination of Yuliya's going away party, as well as my parents 25th anniversary celebration. We rented a space and hired our square dancing teacher for the evening. We did lots of fun dancing with all of our friends and family. This was one of my favorite birthdays. It was even more fun when a party crasher joined us at the end of the evening. ;)
 Sixteen was one of my busiest years. Between trying to raise money for our adoption, I was in the midst of getting serious about photography, blogging and filming a movie at the same time.
^^Anyone notice my new pair of stylish sunglasses? ;)^^
 Matt and I were working at a pizza shop nearby at the time. We were the official pizza box folders. We had been there a few years, and really enjoyed it. While folding boxes one day, I had the idea about another movie: Robin Hood. Matt and I just started spewing ideas all over the place, and by the time I got home, I had already emailed all my friends asking for their help and participation. Robin and Rowan Hood was my biggest film to date. I learned so much and had so much fun making it.

 My photography interest was taking off. I still didn't own a dSLR or a professional editing program, but I used what I could and learned from there. I was constantly asking my little sister to take pics of me. I had been blogging since I was twelve, but now I was trying to get more professional about it (i.e, get rid of the blogger polka dot template). My older sister had introduced me to Pinterest at this time, so I was spending copious amount of time on there.

Some friends of ours had loaned us their big barn in their backyard for us to use for yard sales. We spent almost all of our time fundraising or thinking of ways to raise money.
^^Here I am taking a very majestic selfie with my friend Lindsay^^
 In December, my parents flew to Ukraine for almost a month to finish up the first half of the adoption process. My older sister and brother in law "moved in" with us kids, and it was like a party almost every night. Those are some of my favorite memories. A week before Christmas, Matt and our friends wanted to film a movie. This was a different experience for me because I was not director or anything. I was more of props supervisor (we were using an old, empty BB gun and the boys were a little too interested in playing with it, hence me holding it in the above pic). Since Mom and Dad weren't there for Christmas, we did something called "Snoggle Tog" on Christmas day. We still had a good day, but it was a first not having our parents there.
^^We made a short silly film a day or two after Mom and Dad left.^^
 One of the days during that month, Matt and Lauryn went to go stay with my grandma. Me and Ash had the whole house to ourselves. We ate a lot of sugar and watched a couple of chick flicks and curled our hair. That was fun. Ash also let each of us kids drive her car (later my car) around an empty parking lot. I loved that car- I would still take it over the car I have now.
And here are some shots from our glorious Snoggle Tog. A lot of our gifts to each other were hand made- us girls got a lot of pinteresty crafts. :) I made my brother-in-law a GA Bulldogs blanket- he seemed really excited about it. That day we went to Ihop for breakfast, then chilled the rest of the day. We went and saw a late night showing of War Horse, and then Chinese food for dinner. Ashley and I watched half of The Help that night- it was one of her gifts from Matt.
Robin and Rowan Hood was ready to premier by the time Mom, Dad and Yuliya got back from Ukraine. We had a little premier party, which was really fun. I had made a big leap with my hair, and lopped it off right before mom, Yuliya, dad, and Lauryn got picked up from the airport. Mom had no idea. ;)

On my seventeenth birthday, my family had a big breakfast for me. Later, Mom and I went out to the mall and to Starbucks- where we spent almost five hours there just chatting and chilling. Afterwards, we did a little more shopping, then went home to meet my friends and the rest of my family. We had a bonfire, star gazed and made a ridiculous Star Wars skit for the parents. This birthday is on my favorite's list. 
 ^^Stinky, sweaty and happy.^^

Seventeen was probably the hardest year for me. A couple months after my birthday, my Mom broke her leg. I didn't have my license at this point, and my Dad was working full time. This was a hard season for me for several reasons, but a couple of them had to do with it being winter and being stuck in the house day in and day out. Any chance to get out of the house was exciting. I was looking for a job, and had several interviews, but no luck. I'm not gonna lie, this was a depressing season for me. I finally was allowed to get my license, and on 12/12/12 I got it. My sister had given me her old car, and we became best friends. At the beginning of January, I went to the local town square to apply for a job. I was originally walking towards a little cafe, but I realized I had parked right in front of a little grill my Dad had suggested I apply at. Because it was a hamburger joint, I wasn't very interested in applying there, but something stopped me and pulled me towards the grill. I cheerily asked the owner if she was hiring and she said she was, and asked me to fill out an application. I was hired almost on the spot and started the next day. I later learned that the job I had ended up taking, had belonged to a girl I worked with who was wanting a different position and had just asked for it ten minutes before I walked in. I loved that job. I've been working since I was fourteen, and no job I've had compares to that one. I got to meet people day in and day out.  I was the delivery girl- which meant I got to go exploring and on long car rides. My car (Bessie) and I were the best of friends.
After I got the job I quickly wrote a blog post and shared this pic of me in my new uniform shirt.
I forgot to mention that I had made a drastic hair change, and went to a pixie. I really liked it.
After I got my job,  things got a little brighter but I was still going through a hard time. At this point, I wasn't serious about my photography and was still pursuing a career in film-making. I started working on a new film, that I (sadly) never finished.
^^Sikeston in the background, in all its glory^^

I don't know what's with me and deciding to film in GA summer all the time. It was so stinking hot, and we were filming in the woods across the street from us. We were constantly checking for ticks or pulling them off of us- as well as chiggers.

Sometime earlier in this year, my Mom kind of asked me randomly what I thought about moving to WA state. I could tell she was mulling on the idea, but I didn't think she was super serious. I just kind of said "sure" and went on about my business. Not long after that, my Mom approached me again and started telling me how she was feeling like God was calling us to WA state. I realized she was serious now, and I full heartily agreed that I was on board. We had a sit down conversation with the rest of the family about it, and everyone gave their full hearty consent. We were all very excited and started to pack immediately and raise the funds.
^^Anna and I improving our yard sale signs ;)^^
^^This was my biggest set of sunglasses- my co-workers got a kick out of them. Sadly, they are now resting at the bottom of a lake... :(^^

This has to be one of my all time favorite birthdays. Mom and I went to lunch with my Dad at Chick-Fil-A, then off to the outlet mall. We shopped for awhile, then I discovered the mall had a Disney store, so we spent some time in there. Afterwards, we picked up my friends and we headed off to my tattoo appointment. I got my first tattoo, and belly button piercing. Afterwards, we went to the mall to pick up my cake (which I had no idea Mom and Dad had gotten) then we went home for hotdogs, a bonfire, and cake. Such a fun day.
Eighteen was a fun year.  I was still going through some tough times, but I was working a lot and keeping busy with moving to WA stuff. 
^^On the beach in MI during our family vacation^^
^^The Collegiate Grill gang. I loved that job so much. My co-workers and I had a lot of fun together. This pic was taken on Halloween.^^
 ^^Anna, me and Sarah. We all got new pixie cuts around the same time.^^
^^One night I rediscovered a TV show I had seen some of when I was younger, but I wasn't allowed to watch at the time. It's my favorite TV show now.

 ^^This was one of the last days we spent together before our move to WA^^
 ^^Shopping trip selfie^^
 ^^I had entered a library film contest that year. You can view it here. I came in first. :)^^
 ^^Another fun film I directed. You can view it here.^^
 ^^Lauryn was helping me get some pickup up shots for the film I never finished. I made a blooper reel & trailer here.^^
 ^^This was one of the most fun (and next to last) playdates we had before we moved^^
 ^^My last day of work was an emotional day for me. I loved my job, and I loved my co-workers. I always had a Collegiate cookie almost every day before work, so my boss made me a cake out of them on my last day.^^
^^The day came when we had to say goodbye to our house and loved ones. This was a super busy day, and it ended quite emotional. ^^
We had a long five day road trip across country. I've always loved long car rides, so I had a lot of fun. We finally reached WA state, and we were so happy to finally be here. Within our first week of living here, we got to meet our online friends in person. They ended up having a "Welcome" party for us (pictured above). Then we were settling into our new home, building relationships and working on projects. 
 ^^One of the first things I did was take the group photos at the Weeping Willow premier.^^
 ^^Group movie fun.^^
 ^^Scout locating for a Rogue Zohu film^^
^^Our first film project with everyone!^^
 ^^Summer reading night fun^^
 I had started to feel (earlier in the year) a desire to serve in Uganda. I started doing research on mission trips and trying to figure out how I could get from here to there. I found a baby home I was (am) interested in serving in. However, I knew that I had to gain some child experience before I moved across the world to take care of some kids. I looked into some gymnastic's centers to see about a job coaching. I landed one, and thus my training began. Teaching kids has been such an amazing experience for me. I learned a lot, and started babysitting other kids in my neighborhood as well. My whole life I have avoided children, because I convinced myself that I didn't like them, that they were annoying. The truth of the matter was that I was just scared of them. Teaching helped me come out of myself and I discovered, not only a confidence in myself, but a love for children. I love kids. I don't shirk away from them now. They don't scare me. 
 ^^Fourth of July sparklers^^
 ^^We spent a LOT of time at the lake this summer. Almost every weekend we were out there. ^^

I celebrated my nineteenth a day early by going to the mall and lunch with Mom. Afterwards, we had a night at the lake with friends. On my actual birthday, we went to our friends' film premier and had a community gathering/dance with everyone. Afterwards, some of our friends came over to our house for more fun.
 ^^My friend, Sereina, gave me some sweet gifts and pictures!^^
^^Told you it was my favorite TV show ;)^^
Nineteen was definitely the most life changing year for me. A lot of spiritual growth took place and seeds of happiness were planted. 
 ^^Group photo with our Arkansas friends that were up for a visit (they moved up here not long after that).
 ^^First time I've ever been to a dirt bike race^^
 ^^Post race sustenance^^ 
 ^^I finally got the funds to purchase a car! I had to leave my first car back in GA (her name was Bessie, and she is still my favorite car to date). This is Atticus. He and I don't have quite the same relationship as me and Bessie did, but he gets the job done. ^^

At this point in my life, I started thinking about school and the desires that were forming in my heart. I was getting very interested in becoming a nurse and possibly a midwife. I learned that an eight month medical assistant course was near me, and I made an appointment with the school. I was planning on joining in January for their winter classes. However, as the end of the year came about, I started to feel an unsettling in my heart about attending school. I had been talking to a lot of people about attending school, and was sharing my excitement about becoming a medical assistant. But something didn't feel right. I decided against it. As I look back on my desire in the medical field, and my desire to serve in Uganda, a line from A Walk to Remember comes to my mind :

"Maybe God has a bigger plan for me than I had for myself."

I still have these desires, I just know that now is not the time for them.

^^I remember sharing with my big sister before we moved, that I had a feeling I wouldn't be coming back to GA.  To me, moving up here was (is) permanent. As much as I love GA and the people there, I know WA is my home. I ended up writing a blog post sharing my heart. ^^
^^Me and Lauryn- mah bestie and partner in crime^^
 ^^A fun photo shoot with friends^^
 ^^Film meeting nights^^
 ^^This beauty was taken of me photographing my second wedding of 2014. I ended up renting a super fancy camera (the one I own now).^^
^^Post wedding group photos with the friendsies^^
 ^^Halloween 2014. We were at Scottish Country dance class this night.^^
^^Matt, Mom and I started working at Maris Farms in October. We spent a (rainy) day at the farm with friends. That night we went to the Haunted Woods. That was a new experience. We had so much fun running, screaming and just being scared. 
 I also did a big first at nineteen... I flew cross country BY MYSELF! My friends had NO idea I was coming back to GA to visit, so I literally just walked into their house without them knowing. I had an unforgettable week. I spent a lot of time with my Grandma, went to the mall with her and went shopping/movie watching with my friends. Ashley and I got to spend a few days together, and I ended up having her house to myself for a few days. I loved flying! I started to laugh the minute it took off the ground. It was so exciting! 
  ^^I texted this super attractive photo to my mom when I found my sister and brother- in -law in the Atlanta airport. ^^
 ^^I got to visit my old job and all my co-workers. I really missed them all. They also had no clue I was coming, so I just showed up. My co-worker's face was priceless when I walked in. ^^
^^Because I love anything related to the Loch Ness monster, I found a pattern and sewed my own plush Nessie. :)^^
^^Bleached hair, bangs and a splash of purple to spice things up ;)^^
 ^^My friends did a photo shoot and makeover on me!^^
^^I had bronchitis for a month- so of course that meant go cough and hold hands with your friends at dance night ;)^^  
 ^^My childhood besties from GA moved to WA! It's so weird running into them all over town, and them living ten minutes away from me^^
^^Easter 2015^^
^^My last day of work. This picture is very sweet to me^^
^^Memorial Day 2015^^
 ^^4th of July 2015. We had a big BBQ at our friends house, followed by an epic water fight and fireworks. ^^
^^Besties for life^^

^^My siblings and I have been busy filming with Rogue Zohu most of the summer! We're entering into an LCC (lightsaber choreography contest). It's been a ton of work, and a huge learning experience, but it's been super fun and I'm glad I got to be a part of it. This was also another crazy hair adventure. As you can see, it's purple...  ^^
^^The last photo session of me at nineteen^^

My birthday was spread out into three days for various reasons. Friday night we went to the lake to swim (exactly what we did last year.) Saturday I spent most of the day with my mom at the mall and  we went out to lunch. On my actual birthday everyone just kinda chilled, and my sister took me to IKEA for the first time. 
 My sister and her husband were here for a week. We had a great time, and it was the best visit we've had so far. Thankfully we don't have long to wait to see them again- we're flying to GA for Christmas!

First off, if you actually read this entire post, I tip my hat to you. Bravo!

Second, I want to talk about my experience as being a teen:

Growing up, I seemed to get this idea that the teen years are the years that parents fear. They are when kids suddenly become rebellious and angry and are involved in all kinds of unmentionable activities. I feel like when I was reaching thirteen, I was a little scared. I didn't want to be rebellious, or angry or move out. My teen years were the best years of my life. The most productive, the most life changing and the best darn years ever. 
Sure, I'm not gonna say being a teenager was always easy. In my later teens I was dealing with a lot of anger, hurt, grief and rebelliousness. But you know what? God changed me and my heart, and I'm here now. I don't like that people talk about teenagers with a tone of superiority. Any person of any age is capable of doing whatever you assume teenagers are doing.  There are a lot of assumptions about teenagers. 
If you're not hungry (or if you're skinny) it's assumed you're anorexic. If you wear make up, you're insecure. If you don't have a boyfriend, then something must be wrong with you. We're reckless hooligans who don't know how to think for ourselves.
My students told me it was sad that I didn't have a boyfriend. If I was tired, customers would ask if I was a party animal.  
I believe God had a different opinion about teenagers (and pretty much everyone):

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."
1 Timothy 4:12

Again. My teen years were my best and my favorite. It's bittersweet to see them fade away. Suddenly what you've been saying for two years now rings louder: I'm an adult now.  Very much looking forward to this season in my life and all God has planned for me.  

xx morg


  1. Best wishes for this new stage in your life! I very much enjoyed seeing the pictures;) Blessings!

  2. And oh my goodness, that last paragraph about the stereotypes of teenagers. Brava!