power through music.

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music has the ability to bring forth emotions you thought were long gone; but as you listen to that one song you’re transported to that time in your life when you were heartbroken over a lost love.  maybe the melodies bring you to a happier time, when you had no worries or responsibilities.

music can make you happy or sad, laugh or cry.  it can make you go from feeling hopeless to feeling that anything is possible.  it tells you what to feel when you are lost in your emotions.  music gives you words when you have none.

the lyrics you listen to relate to your life in one way or another.  love songs are not always about a significant other.  you might relate a song to a relative or friend and find the lyrics just as meaningful.  over time the lyrics might mean something entirely different to you, but they never change.

music remains the same, a constant.

you are the one who gives it meaning.

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7 Things I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

As most people do, I associate this holiday with the abundance of food my family and I are about to eat and feeling stuffed silly for the next few days.  However, since we call this holiday Thanksgiving, I just want to publicly list a few of the many things I am thankful for in my life.

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1.) Firstly, I am thankful for the grace of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the sacrifice He made so that humankind could be saved and have everlasting life and without Him I would not be here or the person I am today.

2.) I am thankful for my mom still being here with me today after all the health issues she’s endured and that God brought her home safely after almost going over a ditch during the snowstorm yesterday. (Also, today is her birthday, happy birthday Momma!)

3.) I am thankful that God has restored my friendship with my old middle/high school best friend.

4.) I am thankful that I have been able to go to school and work for a degree that will help me to get a job in the field of work I wish to be in, even if it has taken a little extra time to get to the end of my degree plan.

5.) I am thankful for every single one of my friends and family, even though we might not always get long; I love and appreciate their faces regardless.

6.) I am thankful for the internship I will be starting next month that will give me a chance to grow and learn in the media field.

7.) I am thankful for my talent and passion for making videos that make people smile.  I may not be the best out there, but I know what I love to do and I’m thankful for this ability God has given me and that I discovered it early enough in my life so I can enjoy it for many years to come.

So, those are seven things I’m thankful for… what is something that you are thankful for?

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Thankfully Content

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’  So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'” – Hebrews 13:5-6

I just read this passage this morning, which I find very fitting as tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Not that I only want to be thankful for what I have one day of the year; as I said, I came across it this morning.  I have been trying to do what this passage says in the beginning, which is to ‘be content with what you have’ and it’s not always easy because human nature is to want more and greater things. 1 thes 518 However, I know that I’m blessed just with what I have and honestly, I don’t need more than what I have.  I have food, I have shelter, I have clothes, I have my health, my family and so many extras that I really have nothing to gripe about.

If I ever do feel like I need (or should I say want?) more, then I remind myself of those who don’t have what I do.  There are so many people that struggle to find food or a place to stay warm and it breaks my heart that these people are out there struggling while a majority of us are about to stuff ourselves silly tomorrow on a holiday that is supposed to be about being thankful.

I mean, I guess as long as we’re thankful for the food we’ll be eating tomorrow, that’s good, but it doesn’t excuse taking it for granted or eating more than what we need to and being wasteful with our food.  Personally, if we have leftovers we make sure to give plenty away because there is no way that my mom and I will eat all the food we’re cooking tomorrow (though it is less than previous years).

I guess this was God’s way of reminding me that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and not “stuff-yourself-silly-while-other-people-are-starving” day.

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True Colors

As children we grow up blind to those around us; who they really are.  We see the good in people, not because we refuse to see the bad, but rather that’s the only side we ever see.

As we grow, we learn that’s not the case.  We learn the reality that blood is not always thicker than water; that those who say they’ll never abandon you, will.  We learn that if we wear our hearts on our sleeves it will come back broken and bruised, yet we still keep it out there.

As we grow, we learn to see the true colors of those around us.

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Give It Another Try

First impressions are important, but they only go so deep.  You can’t really know if you’ll like a person just by talking to them one time; you think you can, but in reality, you just can’t.  You need to talk to them a second time at least.

The same goes with food, movies, music, etc.

I have only come to realize this fact in a few different scenarios in my life.  A few being with food for sure, although that can be explained by the fact that I’m older and have a better taste for foods I didn’t like as a child, including broccoli, green beans, cucumbers… most vegetables actually.

Except celery, I still hate that.

onesheetHowever, a more recent example that isn’t food is a movie.  I’m sure most of you have heard of and/or seen Mr. Deeds.  I didn’t see this movie until about a year or two ago and to be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed with it.  Before you all get your pitchforks out though, let me continue.  A few months ago I saw it on TV and since I was too lazy to change the channel (I might have been sick) I watched it again… and I liked it.  Since then I think I’ve seen it another 2-3 times, not that that’s a lot of times compared to the number of times I’ve seen other movies, but you get my point.

It’s like the saying, “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

Well, you can’t really judge a book, or movie, by the first time you read/watch it.  Well, okay, maybe with books you can because of the 50-page rule.  Then again, I’ve also gone back to read a book or two that I gave up on and ended up enjoying it.  So the same applies to people, relationships, food, anything really.

You should really give it a second chance.

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Education: They’re Doing It Wrong

“You can’t judge a fish based on its ability to climb a tree.”  

Ever heard of that?  Well, it’s the same with education.  Someone who is good in math might not be as good in science or history (and I may or may not be talking about myself here…).  The reason is not because a person is stupid in one subject and smarter in others, it’s because we tend to learn differently and therefore test differently.  However, because this is how our education system works, students will go through life thinking they are terrible at certain subjects and as a result, their GPAs will suffer.

If you can’t tell, I have an issue with our education system.  I understand that much of what we learn in primary school will follow us throughout our lives (i.e. math, basic history, some science, and english), but as we get older and focus on what we want to do with our lives, I feel that the education system should become more individualized to what it is that adolescents and young adults need to learn to get their dream job.

You’d think that’s where college comes in.

For the most part, yes.  However, there’s that one thorn in the side when attending college that is known as “general education requirements” or more commonly, “gen-eds.”

(Sound like a disease, don’t they?)

I’m sorry, but as a Communication major specializing in Media Production, I just don’t see why I need to take 7 credits of science to edit videos.  I realize gen-eds are so that college students can have a good base of knowledge, but again… how is dissecting a frog going to help me in video production?

It might sound like I’m complaining, but I’m really not.  I’m just making a point.  Plus, I’m not the only person who has thought that education needs to change and be more individualized and I’m sure I won’t be the last.  In fact, many past psychologists including B.F. Skinner, Edward Thorndike and Jean Piaget all have made statements in their works that people should learn what will be useful to what they will do in life.

I know people can change their minds, I know I have, but in that case you would just go and learn the skills for that new career.  It’s simple, really.  So I guess the question is, why hasn’t education made any of these changes?

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Taste of Winter

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful
And since we got no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

Admit it, you sang that.

I’m going to be honest though, I have a rocky relationship with snow.  I like it and I don’t like it, but I guess that’s how a lot of other people feel.  Personally, I love the first snowfall because it’s just so beautiful, but after that, I’m done.  I don’t need anymore than the first snow of the season and snow on Christmas Day.

So, really, I guess I don’t like the snow more than I like it.

However, since I’m trying to not complain about things and instead being thankful in all that I have in my life, I’m not going to bore you all with the reasons why I don’t like the snow.  After all, snow is another one of God’s creations and as I said before, snow can look quite beautiful.

What I am going to do is show you a picture of Connecticut’s first snowfall of the fall season (as it’s not winter yet).

©2014 - Taken with iPhone 5s

©2014 – Taken with iPhone 5s

We didn’t get much, barely two inches, but it was a very gorgeous sight to wake up to this morning.

But I can wait until Christmas for another small batch of snow.

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Recreating Classic Images

I’m sure everyone has seen the classic ‘pages shaped into a heart’ book photo.  Well, it’s an image I’ve been wanting to do myself for a long time now and I finally grabbed a book of mine and went for it.

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©2014 – Taken with Canon Rebel T3i

I had wanted to try to do an isolated color image since I have this nice pair of purple glasses, only the Canon T3i doesn’t have that feature.  Now, I could’ve done the isolated color feature in post, but I do have another camera that provides this for while I’m shooting.

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©2014 – Taken with Canon Powershot ELPH 130 IS

I love the look of glasses resting on top of the book in this kinds of photos because a lot of people do wear reading glasses when they read.  I don’t necessarily need to wear my glasses when I read unless I don’t have my contacts in. The purple glasses in the picture above are actually my old set from about, 2 or 3 prescriptions ago.  I tend to keep an extra pair or two in case I lose or break my current pair and have no contacts left.

After I had finished with my mini-session in the sun room, I decided to bring my gear and everything up to my room to try something different with the book photo.

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©2014 – Taken with Canon Rebel T3i

I had seen some where there was a white-ish background which, to me, looked like the books were placed on a bed. I could be wrong, however, I still used my bed and turned down my sheets so the white was showing and began to take more pictures.  I didn’t like many of them as much as the earlier batch, but this one happened to stand out.

So I feel my little project of recreating a classic image was a success and I had fun doing it.

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God’s Not Dead [movie review]

This past weekend I watched God’s Not Dead with my mom.  I didn’t know much about the film other than that my mom had been dying to see it since she heard about it.  When I did find out what the movie was about, it’s needless to say I was very, very interested.

Synopsis (from the official movie website):

MV5BMjEwNDQ3MzYyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDE0ODM3MDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him? GOD’S NOT DEAD weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action. The film will educate, entertain, and inspire moviegoers to explore what they really believe about God, igniting important conversations and life-changing decisions.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

After all, this is a huge debate between atheists and Christians, proving the existence of God.  Now, while the main focus is on Josh proving to his professor and his class that God exists, we also see the story lines of a few of Josh’s classmates and others who have different views on faith.  One thing I loved about the film is that for the majority of the film these other characters remain separate from Josh, but in the end, their subplots all tie together.  Sure it’s been done before, plenty of times actually, but if the shoe fits…

I don’t really want to talk too much about what happens in the film since I don’t want to give it away, but what I can say about this film is that it was one of the most emotional films I’ve ever seen.  Personally, I went through a variety of emotions in the 113 minutes the movie lasted for and at the end of it all I was crying for many different reasons.  There were happy tears and sad tears.

Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one crying.  As it turned out, my mom was crying during parts of the movie as well.

All in all, this is an amazing movie and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a really great movie to add to their “watch” list.

“You do not know ‘the feels’ until you see God’s Not Dead!”

– me.

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Learning to Lean

For social creatures, we’re so independent.

Someone asks us if something is wrong or if we’re okay, the response is always, “I’m fine.”  Even if we’re clearly not fine; we just want the person not to press on.  We want to handle it ourselves.

That is the worst possible thing we can do.

I’ve learned so much over the last few years that I cannot handle anything on my own.  Sure, it helps to know my family and friends have my back and I can talk to them if I need to, but they can only do so much.  They cannot take care of my health issues, my mom’s health issues, my school work, finances… well, you get the picture.  You’ve probably been there yourself.

What I’ve learned to do more and more is rely on God because He’s the only one who can take care of every aspect of my life, including my mental health to ensure I don’t have a nervous breakdown.  In fact, if I didn’t have God in my life, I think I probably would’ve broken down by now.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

I’ve had plenty of setbacks and there’s no doubt that I will (unfortunately) have more, but that’s what happens in life; we have setbacks.  And many times for Christians it’s a trial to see if we will handle it the right way and leave what we cannot handle to God.  Sadly, I’ve failed many times.  I wait too long until I’m at the breakdown point to turn to God and I know that I know better.  So no, I’m not perfect at casting my cares to God, but I’m better than I used to be, especially when it comes to encouraging my mom or my friends that “God’s got it.”

That is a really comforting thought:

“God’s got it.”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

He’s proven it to me many times in my life that He knows what’s going to happen and why things are happening in my life, particularly when it has come to my path in my education.  He’s led me to the right schools to meet the right people, make the right connections and of course, get the right education.  No matter what choices I make, even if they’re the wrong ones, God has it and He’ll make it right by turning a bad situation into something good.

So yeah, I get to the point where I panic and worry because I’m still human and I make mistakes.  I’m just learning more and more to lean on God and know that He’s working in all areas in my life all the time.

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Need vs. Want

“What do you want for Christmas?”

Each year I find this question harder and harder to answer.  It’s not that I don’t want anything, of course there are things I want, but when it comes down to it, I don’t really want many of those things that much.  As in, I might not want them a few months from now.

Think about your Christmas’ as a child.  You wanted something so badly so your parents (or “Santa”) got it for you and you were the happiest child on the planet.  What happened to that toy/thing you wanted?  You probably don’t have it anymore, do you?

In fact, I can even think of things I got as a late teenager that I really wanted at the time, but I no longer own because when it came down to it, I only wanted it for a short time and it was eventually useless to me.

(Except my Legos, but I’m saving those for my future children.)

I also find that when it comes to getting my family and friends something for Christmas or their birthdays, it’s much easier to give them something they need or something they can actually use instead of something they may or may not want. Take my dad for example, he insists that if I intend on buying him something, I get something that he can either use or eat.

Want_vs_Need_by_rogaziano

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten the same way.  I’d rather get something I can use (like photography gear or food gift cards) rather than a video game I might want right now, but I won’t bother playing in three months time.  However there is the exception of books, I always want books, so I will never be disappointed with a Barnes & Noble gift card.

I’m not saying that it’s bad to want things or ask for something you want for Christmas, but in my personal experience, I find that it really helps to think ahead about whether or not what I want is something I’m going to want and use this time next year.  If I don’t see myself using that item in the future, I take it off my list and replace it with something I will use.

This way, I’ll know that the people who want to buy me presents aren’t wasting their money, and that is something that money can’t buy (literally).

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Things I Believed as a Child

As we all know, kids have imaginations large enough to believe that anything can happen.  Anything is possible for a child, even if we adults know that it really isn’t.  Sometimes I think back to the things I really believed as a child and laugh because some of them are just so silly, even though they’re common beliefs among the majority of kids.

poke

1. My toys came alive at night or when I was away.

Yes, we can thank my seeing Toy Story when I was four years old for this one.  Even though my stuffed animals would be exactly where I left them when I returned to the room, I still believed they would have adventures when I wasn’t there.

2. My teddy bear could understand what I said to him.

I would have daily conversations with my teddy bear whether my day was good and bad.  I realize I’m not the only kid that did this, as I would often respond as if he had said something back to me because in my mind, he did respond.

3. There was a man called Santa Claus who traveled the world in one night delivering presents.

This one I didn’t believe in for very long as my mom told me that Santa was just a story for kids when I was about five years old.  I had to keep up saying that I believed in Santa though since my friends and younger cousins believed he was real until they got a little older.

4. Pokemon could become real if I wished for it.

I remember looking up at the first star I saw and making a wish that Pokemon would be real so that I could live out my favorite game/cartoon in my actual life.  I wanted so bad to be able to train Pokemon and have battles with my friends.

5. Animals have conversations with each other.

Okay, I won’t lie, I still like to believe this one.  I just remember watching cartoons like The Wild Thornberrys or The Lion King and believing that when animals made their sounds, like when my cats meowed, they were having a full-on conversation that I could not understand.

6. Different time dimensions existed.

Since I saw time travel a lot in TV shows and movies I watched, I believed that one day time machines would be real and I’d be able to go back in time and see past events or go into the future to see how my life turned out.

7. When I became an adult, my mind would change to an ‘adult’ mind.

Well, obviously I don’t think the same way as I do when I was a kid, but honestly I’m not that much different than when I was a teenager.  I’m just as imaginative, just in a more realistic way and I still have a hard time picturing myself as a parent even though I do want to get married and have a family someday.  But as a kid, I felt that becoming an adult was this big transformation that happened to everyone.

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