It’s Easy

Life

I hate you because you’re happy. I hate you because you have what I wanted. I hate you because everyone loves you. I hate you.

Hating someone is easy.

Loving someone takes a certain kind of strength.

The concept of hating someone is so vague. What does it mean to hate someone? Why do you hate them? Is there a reason to hate them? Hate is a powerful word.

Some of us hate people because we are petty. We hate people because of their quirks and their habits. We hate people because they’ve done something “unforgivable.” We hate people because they’re different from us.

I tell myself everyday that I’m going to be a better person than I was yesterday. It’s in my nature to always be kind to everyone I come in contact with. I’m not always kind behind peoples’ backs though. I can be a sneaky mean lil snake that spits out venomous words.

I strive to be this ideal person that I have in the back of my mind. I strive to be kind, honest, and genuine. I pursue love in all things. I choose to be kind to others because I know that I want someone to be kind to be. I empathize. I aim to live by Ephesians 4:31-32.

 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Usually in my very sensitive moments (which is probably all the time), all I can think about are the people who irk me, which eventually turns into hatred. I don’t want to hate people, but it’s so easy to tear people down and criticize them to build myself back up. I tell myself that I’m better. I’m cooler. I’m smarter, when in reality I’m a vile creature who chose to hate over the pettiest things. It’s so easy to roll my eyes when certain people walk into the room. It’s simple to whisper to my friend all of the mean things I wish I can say to their face.

Hate makes you a coward. We hate because we don’t know how to love. Or we don’t know Love. Hatred is the absence of love.

Love is such a simple yet complex subject. Verb, noun, feeling? Depends on how we use it. What does the inspired Word of God say?

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Romans 12:9 

Let your love be sincere. Let it be genuine. If we choose to hate, then choose to hate what is evil.

And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

Love your neighbor even if they get on the last of your nerves. There are people I can’t stand 80% of the time, but the other 20% I love. Though they irk me to my core, I still love them for who they are. There are good qualities in people. The bad qualities are always screaming at you, making you want to hate them. Look past them. I believe there’s at least an ounce of goodness in someone deep down in their soul. It’s just clouded with darkness, and we must show them love in order to pull them out of it. Love fiercely.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

If you don’t know love, then you don’t know God. If you don’t know God, then you don’t know what love is. There is love in this world. There’s love from your families, love from your friends, and love from your significant others. No amount of love will compare with the love the Father has for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5) God’s love is forever present in His Word.  Seek Him. Find Him. He is there.

Choose to love even when you really want to hate someone for treating you terribly. Choose to love when you really want to back hand someone and snatch them by the hair for making you angry. If you want to be the person who radiates love, genuineness, and kindness, choose love.

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Behind the Scenes Pt. III

Life, Photography

 

Don’t worry, folks. I grow more awkward with every photoshoot.

What really happens behind the scenes as a photographer? Well, I do my research to prepare my mind for the chaos that is about to happen. I almost always panic before a photoshoot because of nerves and fears of all the things that could go wrong.  The only equipment I have right now is my sweet Nikon camera, my 18-55mm lens, coffee, my personality, and coolio the stoolio (my step ladder that I carry everywhere).

So, what’s the plan? What is a little girl like me going to do with her life? Honestly, I have no idea. Right now, I am pursuing this art by hopefully attending a lovely university known for their football team but also for their art department. I’m hoping to jump into the competitive business of wedding photography. So if you’re getting hitched soon, let me know and I will travel to you. All proceeds will go to college tuition and living.

The shooting side of photography is a blast. I love the cameras, the lenses, the subjects. I adore the light. I try my best to capture the best versions of my subjects. The business side of photography, on the other hand, is absolutely the worst. No worries though. I am learning as much as I can through experience and guidance.

Families

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Sutton Fam

I’m not a fan of family photoshoots. It’s not that I don’t like families. I just don’t believe it’s my forte. There’s always a crying child. Other kids are running around yelling. Parents are fussing at their children to not bite each other, and I’m just standing on my cool stool awkwardly smiling. It’s chaos. It’s hard. It’s fun. But when everyone behaves, oh my, the photos turn out so lovely.

Weddings

I have done one wedding as a second shooter, but I learned how it worked. There’s a schedule for the whole day. From getting ready to the reception, we are always shooting. We were there from 1 pm til 9 pm. We photographed details such as the rings, bouquets, and guest book. Next, I had to interact with people I didn’t know and tell them to pose. That’s always so nerve racking for me because I have a love-hate relationship with talking to people, especially people I don’t know very well. Throughout the day, people would ask us to take certain photos. Weddings are fast-paced and time oriented. Lots of details are involved and I love to document them.

Engagements

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Brent + MC

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Whitney + Jared

Oh my heart. I always do my research of poses when I do engagement shoots because I don’t want all my engagement sessions to be the same. I know the couple feels as awkward as I do, so I try my best to make them laugh by saying weird stuff and doing strange things. I always encourage them by yelling, “LOOKIN’ GOOD” or “WOW THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL.” They work all the time. I am the number one fan on this photoshoot.

Portraits

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My fab lil sis, Am

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MV

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GG

Shooting portraits are fun because I get to learn more about the people I’m photographing. We talk about our dreams and our plans. We make lame jokes. I’ll do anything to see a genuine laugh. Everyone loves to feel like they’re models in magazines. Why not pretend and play the part?

Since I’m only in the beginning, my photography has worth. It’s about time, creativity, and passion. I always end up doing more than I should because I love what I do and I want people who invest in me to absolutely fall in love with my work. I am willing to go above and beyond because that’s just who I am as a person. I love to serve and love on people with my photography.

A few packages are available on the blog. If you’re wanting to schedule a session, we can talk about it over coffee! I’d love to meet my customers before I shoot them (HA HA) or shoot me an email.

So if you’re a struggling artist, keep struggling because it’s definitely worth seeing faces light up when you show customers your work.

Behind the Scenes Pt. II

Life, Misc., Photography

I never thought I would step foot in a place I had a love-hate relationship with for four years. Booker T. Washington Magnet High School was where I learned a little bit of myself. I don’t compare to those who had all 4 years of experience, but I learned just enough photography my junior and senior year of high school. Sure, the school is still a little dilapidated and crusty, and our buildings may be falling apart each year, but I will always be proud of where I came from.

I didn’t just pick up a camera and decided to be a photographer. Through lots of encouragement, anxiety, and self-doubt, I learned.  Art is always open to interpretation. Photography is not easy. A good photograph consists of so many elements. This place encouraged, developed, and nurtured my creativity.

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I entered the familiar double doors and was greeted by some photographers in the gallery shooting with studio lights. When I stepped foot into the vast room, nostalgia hit me real hard. I was a little girl trying to be cool and artsy. I always photographed jars, coffee, and sunflowers. I was lame and basic. I stood on stools to reach things (I still do that).

Photography fumes immediately hit my nostrils. I missed the smell so much. I actually missed how much my instructor and classmates encouraged me and believed in me. The place was always filled with constructive criticism and positivity. I have two years of actual photography classes under my belt. I miss the the process.

Being terrified of the dark is not exactly the best thing for a photographer. We loved light, but we also need darkness. The film closet was where we rolled film. We would finally open the back of the camera after shooting 24-36 exposures and roll the film for development… completely in the dark.

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Film Sink

Here is the lovely film sink where you stood for about 30 minutes, filling, dumping, and agitating chemicals to develop your film. I always loved developing my film with someone, but I also hated it when there were more than two people were at the sink because we would always end up bumping into each other. There were days where I did the process perfectly, then days where I accidentally skipped a step because I’m an idiot.

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Chemicals

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Film tanks and film reels

Once you finished rinsing your film, you get to see the magic of the negative. It always fascinated me how pretty much nothing turns into something with just the exposure to the right amount of light and chemicals. After going through the process of film development, we move on to the film dryer.

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120 film

Classes were about an hour and 20 minutes long, so the most you can accomplish in a day is rolling your film, developing it, and drying it. There would be some time to make a contact sheet.

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Here’s a framed version of one of my contact sheets

Now let’s get to the fun part, the darkroom. Once you printed a contacted sheet and see what you have to work with, you choose the best of the best and print to your heart’s content (or until you run out of photo paper).Photography uses both light and darkness to create prints. We use light to expose our film and then use darkness to print. The only light provided in the darkroom is the light from the enlarger station and the amber light that allows us to see our hands in front of our faces. What happens in the darkroom stays in the darkroom. We would always dance like no one’s watching because you can barely see. The room full of chemicals was the party room.

I turned on the lights to photograph these.

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Contrast filters

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Paper cutting station

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Print developer

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Developing Sink

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Here’s my enlarger station with my fave footstool

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With the lights on in the darkroom, you can see print developer everywhere. Photograph things not only for what they are, but also for what else they are. People are not just people. People are silly. People are fierce. People are beautiful. My subjects are not just people. They are more than. Photographers create art with their subjects.

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Level 1 gets blamed for everything

Once prints were done, at the end of class we would leave them in the wash to rinse off all the chemicals.

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“Hanging” Prints to dry

BTW is doing such a great job with encouraging students to tap into their mind and let their creativity run wild. I will forever be a yellow jacket (no matter how silly it was to have a bug as a mascot). Be proud of where you came from.

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I never signed it lol

This was home. This was where I would be so focused on my work and wished I had more time to keep developing and printing. This place believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. I am who I am today because of my teachers and my classmates. Thanks for always believing in me and encouraging me to pursue “Excellence in all things.” It’s time to move on and find a new “home.”

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Filled with His Goodness

Christ, Life

Happy 1 year anniversary to the Filled with His Goodness blog!!!! I have written 52 blog posts in 2016. I did not expect my words to reach many people. I am so grateful that my words make sense. I keep talking about how 2017 is going to be my year, do it’s been a great start to the new year. I can’t help but be so grateful and appreciative of those who encouragement and support my work.

Thinking about it now, I have no idea why I started a blog. I know that it was an outlet for my creativity because I missed photography. Out of all of the academic subjects, I succeeded in Language Arts. I find it ironic that I’m Asian but I love English. I love the way how we can arrange words to form sentences that can bless someone or hurt someone.

My blog name is from the last verse of the old hymn, Blessed Assurance:

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This song describes the joys of being a Christian. We are His and He is ours. We have been born again in His Spirit and washed in His blood. We have confidence of being with Him once again as we wait for His return. This song is filled with so much joy and praise that it makes my eyes water and my heart swell every time I sing it.

As Christians, living in the Spirit should be natural, but there’s a constant war with our flesh. We know the things we should not do, but we do them anyway because our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak. Being filled with His goodness is a result of the walking in the Spirit. Being in His Spirit produces so many beautiful and good things. Goodness is one of the fruits reaped from the Holy Spirit. Walking in the Spirit means giving yourself to Christ, crucifying your flesh and desires. (Galatians 5:24, Ephesians 5:9)

Being filled with His goodness means you know He is good no matter what. You trust in His Word, His promise, and His plan for you. Don’t be filled with His goodness when His blessings and mercies overflow. Be full of it when you see everything but His blessings and love. Things will always work out. (Romans 8:28) His love is everlasting.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23:6)

I want to live loved. Being filled with His goodness will produce a life lost in His love and all of the good things from above. (James 1:17) It’s going to be a great year for my blog.

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Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

 

Behind the Scenes Pt. I

About Me, Life, Photography

“Hang out while I check the lighting.”

“Focus, please”

“Wide aperture, blurry background.”

“Okay, I’m going to pose you… Does that feel natural?”

“Perfect! Lookin’ good.”

I talk to myself whenever I’m on a photoshoot. 2016 was the year my photography business boomed. My 3rd semester in college, I had photoshoots almost every weekend. I traveled Alabama to photograph. (I’m going to brag on myself because I started from the bottom now I’m here.)

My love started in high school. I graduated from an arts magnet school with two years of photography. It’s kind of like a major, but it’s mostly what you specialize in at the school. I started off in choral music for the first two years of high school because I thought I could sing, and because I didn’t want to follow in my older sister’s footsteps. Well, the teacher let me in and I did that for two years. After realizing that my heart was for art, I switched magnets after my sophomore year and joined the Photog. Squad. Level 1 was where we learned the basics. By basics, I mean all the way from scratch. I learned how all of the gears and buttons worked. I learned how shutter and aperture work like a married couple in order to expose a lovely photo. I started with pinhole, shooting from an oatmeal can. Then I picked up a 35mm camera, shooting with 400 speed B&W film. So much beauty.

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Level 2 consisted of different camera formats, and I fell in love with medium format/ 120 film. We started off with Holga, a toy camera, that allowed you to easily create multiple exposures. An example:EPSON MFP image

I also learned how to create sepia toned prints.

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Sepia Toned

Then I moved on to the Bronica. I FELL IN LOVE. The photos were so bright and crisp. We moved on to digital. Once you fall in love with film and all of its qualities, you hate digital. I hated digital. I hated photoshop. Sadly, I didn’t get to finish the last two levels since I switched in the middle of my high school years.

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I’m still bragging that I won Best in Show for this photo; Battle of Wills | Silver Gelatin Print

Here I am. I have two years of actual photography under my belt. I miss it so much. I miss the smell of the chemicals, the cold, slippery water of the film sink. I hated rolling film, but I long to do it just one more time. I hate the dark, but I miss the dark room and seeing the magic of the negative appearing on the paper in the developer. I miss the process. I might be living in the past just a little bit. It’s not bad, but my heart aches.

So what now for the girl who’s still living her high school days? Film is not dead. It’s just expensive and hard to keep it going, especially for a lil broke college gal like me.

Stay posted for Pt. II to see where it all began

Charles + Rachel

Engagement, Photography, Portfolio

Wowowowowow. I had the opportunity to capture yet another sweet moment while out of town on a small “weekend trip” where thousands of Christians come together to praise, worship, and love the Lord. The place wasn’t ideal, so I had to bump up my ISO in such a dim area, making the photos slightly grainy (The grain gives me the nostalgic effect I loved about film). No matter the lighting, the expressions and the moment was too special and too heart-warming. Around midnight, Charles and close friends and family were gathered at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for sweet Rachel.

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That smirk

“It has to happen at midnight tonight because this was the day we first met.”

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The Bride-to-Be

Rachel radiates a gentle and kind spirit. In Charles’ words, “She’s lovely.”

They’ve been friends for about 6-7 years. Charles told me that he is not the type of guy to ask for a girl’s number at events like camp. I had the same state of mind because it’s only a week. Nothing will happen in a week. His friends pushed him to get this pretty girl’s number. Well, Charles proved it wrong. He is the example of meeting the love of your life while loving the Lord.

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Look at that ring!!!

Stealing a chair from the hotel, we trudged outside in the wind for a mini photoshoot. It was gusty, chilly, and bright outside. As a photographer, I am very observant of behavior. I’ve seen shallow couples and I’ve seen couples who were so in love. Charles and Rachel work well together, and I know that their love is pure and good because the Lord is in it.

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They just look so happy; I’m crying.

The distance was hard for the both of them since Rachel was from Tuscaloosa and Charles was in Montgomery during the first part of their relationship. Being apart from your loved ones are not fun. I couldn’t even survive being a week away from someone I loved. He would visit her almost every weekend. Now both of them are in school in Montgomery and things are dandy.

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It’s time to start your life together, and I am so excited for the both of you. It may be a while before the wedding, but I hope your love grows between now and forever. So much love for the both of you!

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P.S. Stay posted for possibly a legit engagement shoot soon and their love story

 

 

Gotkiewicz

Family, Photography

I normally don’t shoot families (haha), but when I do it’s always stressful but fun. There’s always that one child crying. The one child who doesn’t smile. The one kid looking everywhere else but the camera. There are lots of laughs and smiles. This family is absolutely beautiful.

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The fam

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Proud Grandparents

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Ryan, Julie, Grayson, and Carter G.

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Thomas, Lisa, Braden, and Addison O’Neal

Look at these lil BBs

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Braden & Addison O.

 

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Grayson & Carter G.

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Grayson

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Braden

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Addison

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Carter

Purpose

Life

Blink. Blink. Blink. Blurry visioned, you turn over on your side to check your phone. Few messages, a couple of notifications. Cool. You look at the clock to see that you have a couple hours left in your morning. You should get up and be productive, but your body doesn’t move. You lay there with your eyes open. Awake. What now? After lying in bed for 30 more minutes of doing nothing, you sit up. Okay, good. You’re up. Now you sit there are about 10 minutes, blinking away the tiredness.

Why am I awake?

I rise up in the morning wondering what my purpose is for the day. Why am I alive? For some reason, I cannot get up in the mornings like I used to. I love the mornings and all of the newness and light it brings. I blame all of my sadness and laziness on the medicine I am currently on, or I just blame it on my hormones. I also blame my problems on the fact that I am a girl. Emotional, dramatic, and extra. That’s me.

This semester is going to be extra hard for me. I’m taking a semester off to work so I can afford going to a university that will help me reach my full potential. No shame, but I’m afraid. My hope is having people invest in me so I can invest in an education that will benefit my photography. I have all the anxiety and nerves in the world. Once I hear the results this spring, what’s the next step?

At a Christmas party, we went around the room and explained the best thing that happened in 2016. I said something along the lines of finding true friendship. The next question was, “What do you want to happen in 2017?”

I want all of my dreams to come true. I want to be happy.

It’s a basic and generic answer, but honestly, I just want to be okay again. I’m on my way there.

There’s a purpose in everyday. There’s a reason why your heart is beating. Find it. It’s hard waking up everyday trying to figure out what to do. You feel empty and hopeless. Sometimes we can’t control how we feel, but we can control how we respond. Make your day a day full of purpose by doing things you love. Do small things that make you happy. It’s more productive that staying curled up in bed and pitying yourself. Your purpose for one day may be to listen to someone talk about their life and your purpose for the next day may be making sure that you take care of yourself. There’s a different purpose for everyday.

One way I’m going to make my day a day full of purpose is to take a photo everyday and post it on Instagram. Sounds silly, but it’s a way for me to keep photographing when I don’t have a session and to keep thinking creatively. I just want to be surrounded and consumed by art. Photographing everyday would be a way for me to reach my goal and dream of being a successful photographer. My purpose in life right now is serving and loving others with my words and through my photography.

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. (Psalm 20:4)

I hope all of your hopes and dreams come true this year. Today matters. You matter. How will you find your purpose?

It’s Been a Year

Life

Emotional. Terrifying. Okay. Three words that sum of 2016. The end of the year is always so sentimental. A million things happen in a year, in 365 days, in 12 months, in 52 weeks, even in one day. How could we possibly remember all that happened? I can only recall the big events, my most emotional times, and the end of December.

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The beginning of 2016

2016 was all about self-discovery. I learned things about myself that I wouldn’t have known if I was too caught up trying to keep a relationship alive no matter how much I knew it was falling apart. I would love to go through the big events that happened in each month, but that would probably take a novel and most of it would repeat anyway.

2016 was all about opportunity. There were opportunities to form new long-lasting friendships and to grow old ones. There was a way for me to follow my dream, and with the help of a few special friends, I reached for it. I am currently waiting to hear my results in the new year to make a final decision.

A few highlights from 2016 include starting my photography business, making huge decisions on my own, leaning on my friends, taking a step toward my goal, lots of coffee dates, seeing Ben Rector in concert, traveling on my own, and a whole lot of soul searching.

It’s been a year,

 of being okay,

of tears,

of uncertainty,

of being single,

of awkward,

of living in the past,

But it’s also been a year

of joy,

of hope,

of laughter,

of lots of love,

of having a blog,

of following my dreams.

Though many terrible things outnumbered the positive things, blessings will still flow into the next year. 

I am a very cheesy, very sentimental person even though I hide it with sarcasm, glares, and sass. I love letting people know how much they mean to me because I know I want to be appreciated as well, and it brings me so much joy to always see a smile on someone’s face. I caused that smile. Thanks for all of those who touched my heart in 2016.

May the blessings flow into 2017. May it be full of all good things from above. A new year doesn’t mean it won’t be terrifying and emotional, so I’m bracing myself with good thoughts. If the Lord was good then, He is good now. I cannot wait to see what insane, terrifying, yet amazing and good things happen in the new year.

Three words that will start the new year: Joyful. Loving. Aspiring.

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The end of 2016

Bring it on, 2017.