Monday, December 26, 2011

My Perfect Man

So I’m sitting here, watching The Perfect Man and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and I see that one of my friends recently got engaged. I don’t know the whole back story, or how he did it, but the pictures were adorable. They got engaged on a snowy hill in Colorado, him standing in rose peddles, her cheeks red more from anxious excitement than from cold.

And the perfect man is about a girl who creates a fake, perfect man for her mom, who keeps landing in bad relationships. It’s about stumbling into love and not looking for it. After all, isn’t that why they call it falling in love? Because you don’t mean too, you just do.

But on the subject of the perfect man, I sometimes love to dream. Okay, no, I always love to dream. I tell myself that whatever guy I end up with in the end, he’ll be way better than anyone else, but it’s fun to make up your own perfect man. What would he be if you could chose? What color hair? How old? What color eyes? Muscular?

I would want him to be a blonde or brunette. He’s be taller than me, and be maybe a year or two older. He’d have the body of a soccer player or rock star. You know, they’re all tall and skinny, but not gangly. They still have muscles, but not overwhelmingly large ones. It’s adorable. He’d have an accent, preferably British, or even Irish. He’ll have strategically placed dimples and a smile that brightens the room, and his, and his eyes lights up the room. His intense emerald eyes will light up when he smiles, and he’ll make adorably funny faces when I’m upset or we’re fighting, or just for fun. He’d be his own person, and know who he is. He’d be the same in the dark and in the light. He’d be silly and know how to have fun, but also know when to get serious.

But then again, those are only from my imagination, things I like to pretend about. It’ll all change by next week. Some things I am serious about, like my perfect man needing to be the same wherever, whenever, whoever he’s around, no matter what. He needs to know who he is. And also I need someone I can have fun with, someone who I can be both silly and serious with.

There are silly things I want, like accents and dimples, and serious things I want, like a growing relationship with Christ and honesty. And I’m not giving up until I find a guy who meets all my requirements- requirements, not wishful dreaming. Who cares if a guy has blonde hair or black hair? What matters is what he’s like. Call me picky. Call me close- minded. Call my standards too high. Call me whatever you like, but I’m not settling until I find my perfect.

“Because a flower like this is perfect. And giving a woman a dozen of them, it’s like saying there is such a thing as perfect. And it’s out there. Don’t give up. You’ll find it."


Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Wrinkle In Time

Day 13 – a fictional book

My favorite book in the entire world would have to be, no contest, A Wrinkle in Time. My mom and I used to read it together when I was younger. We’d lie in her bed, our cat beside us, and we’ read one chapter a night. One night she would read it, the next night, it was my turn. So part of the reason I love it so much is probably because of the memories, but it’s really a good book.

“A Wrinkle in Time is the story of Meg Murry, a high-school-aged girl who is transported on an adventure through time and space with her younger brother Charles Wallace and her friend Calvin O'Keefe to rescue her father, a gifted scientist, from the evil forces that hold him prisoner on another planet.

OCD? Who, Me?

Day 12 – something you are OCD about

I’m not really OCD about anything in particular. I am, however, OCD about little things, like if I’m sitting on my bed, and I glance up and see a shirt inside my closet with the sleeve inside out, I can’t focus on anything until I fix that shirt. Or really, anything like that. If I’m cooking, and there’s a mess, but I notice one little part of it, I have to clean that part before I do anything else.
I’m not sure why, honestly.

Taking Time to Smell The Flowers

Day 11 – a photo of you recently

I love this picture. Don’t you just love posing for pictures?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When Bridget Comes to Town

I just realized, I never told you what happened when Bridget came back to Ohio for a weekend, so I’ll let these pictures tell the story.

11:11 on 11-11-11!
We wished for world peace.... Going big!

We had a great time, and I can’t wait until I get to see her again!

Memories Always Come With Pictures

Day 10 – a photo taken over 10 years ago of you

I’m not sure how old I was in these pictures; probably around three or four. We have so many pictures from our childhood, and I love these three of me when I was younger. Wasn’t I precious?

Strength, Courage, Confidence

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence in which you really stop to look fear in the face.. You must do the thing you cannot do." -Eleanor Roosevelt

To Pluto and Back

Hey, guys! I entered a scholarship contest recently, and I need your help. I wrote a short story, and entered it on It's judged by you guys. The stories with the most "heart it's" are chosen in the top finals, and after that, I believe that actual judged chose the winner.

So, if you'll do me a huge favor, If you'll go on and read my story, and click "heart it", I would love you to Pluto and back. The story is called "Thank You", and it's the one that I shared with you in my last post.

Here's the link: Thank You

Thank's so much!
Love, Nell

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thank You

My wide eyes searched the huge room, scanning each person’s face, looking for the only one that really mattered. Two years ago, I’d stood in this same place, walked this same path. Only then, my heart had been hammering like a jackhammer in my chest from fear and sorrow, not anticipation, like now. Tears had been pouring down my cheeks, my heart following the guy who’d just boarded a plane.

I search for Caleb’s deep green eyes, the ones I could see so brightly in my mind, even when we were oceans apart. I search for his brown hair that used to fall over the tops of his ears, and his strong hands, the ones that looked so tough, but were really so tender.

My eyes briefly pause on each person’s face, moving on when I see that it isn’t his familiar face looking back at me, etched with a lopsided smile and strategically placed dimples.

Finally, my eyes land on someone whose face echoes mine, anxiousness and impatience engraved in every inch of his countenance. His eyes find mine, and his grin spreads across his face. I start towards him, not breaking his gaze as my pace quickens, and his does the same.

A few steps before he reaches me, Caleb drops his black duffle back and I rush into his outstretched arms. My feet are lifted off the ground as he hugs me and my arms hook around his neck. His embrace is so strong, so tight I can barely breathe, but I don’t care. My feet touch the ground again, but the rest of me is still on Cloud Nine. I run my fingers over the light stubble on his jawbone as he cradles my head in his hands and presses his lips to mine.

He pulls away and holds me at arm length, hands on my shoulders. The smile on his face doesn’t fade as his eyes wander from my head to my toes and back again. I knew what he was doing, because I was doing the same. He wanted to take in everything that had changed in the two long years since we’d last seen each other. He wanted to memorize me, just as I wanted to memorize him. His army- green camouflage uniform was tucked into his combat boots, his last name stitched into a patch on his chest, and his dog tags hung around his neck. His cocoa colored hair was cut in a typical military cut, short and standing up straight.

Caleb pulled me back towards him, into another embrace, kissing me another time before he grabbed his duffle back and laced his fingers with mine, his thumb stroking the back of my hand, back and forth, back and forth. We head towards the exit of the crowded airport, and just before we reach the swinging doors, an older gentleman stops us, his hand on my husband’s shoulder.

“Thank you.”

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lighthouses, Beaches and Benches

Day 9 – a photo you took

I took this picture in Petoskey, Michigan on Vacation a couple years ago. We were on the pier at sunset one night, and I got a lot of really great shots.

This was taken up on Lake Superior, on the beach where we stayed for a couple of days in Michigan. It was so gorgeous, looking out the window and seeing the waves crashing on the sand.

I’m not sure what beach this was taken at, but it was taken on the way home from Michigan, in a nature park somewhere along the way.

This picture was taken when we got off the boat, coming back from Mackinac Island. It’s a bench along the beach in a park.

This is another bench in that same park. You can actually kind of see Mackinac Island across the water. I don’t know why I love this picture so much, but I do. It’s one of my favorites from the trip.

Tears For Africa

Day 8 – a photo that makes you angry/sad

This is a picture of a child soldier in Africa, who was abducted by Joseph Kony. He’s a dictator in Uganda, who is abducting children from their homes and forcing them to become killers and fight in his war, which has gone on for over 25 years. Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, also known as the LRA.

I’m involved in an organization called Invisible Children, which works to end the war and rescue the children. Here’s what they have to say:

“The war in northern Uganda has been called the most neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today. For the past 23 years, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GoU) have been waging a war that has left nearly two million innocent civilians caught in the middle. The GoU's attempt to protect its citizens from this rebel militia has largely failed, resulting in an entire generation of youth that has never known peace.

In recent years more and more international attention has been focused on this crisis. In 2001, the US Patriot Act officially declared the LRA to be a terrorist organization - a huge step in drawing attention to the conflict and the atrocities committed by the LRA. In 2004, Congress passed the Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act, the first piece of American legislation to address this disaster. And in 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and four of his top commanders.

On December 24th 2008, the LRA launched a retaliatory attack against the people of DR Congo. In apparent desperation and a renewed will to spread terror to DR Congo, the LRA murdered over six hundred and abducted more than one hundred and sixty children to fight amongst its ranks. More than 104,000 Congolese have been displaced since Christmas in attempts to escape the LRA forces.As the motives of the LRA become more ambiguous and their crimes more horrific, Invisible Children remains committed to seeking sustainable solutions to foster an environment that encourages peace. We are supporting and equipping a generation ravaged by war so that they can finally know peace. Invisible Children addresses the need for access to education and economic development through innovative programs on the ground.”

It makes me so furious that one man can instill such terror and fear in so many. We need to do as much as we can to make this a known conflict, since so many people are unaware of the war that’s changed so many people’s life.

Fables and Fairy Tales

Once a week, I'm going to start posting a picture and a quote, and hopefully, together, each will be mean more to you. Enjoy!

"Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten." -G.K. Chesterton

Inner Music

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. -Sylvia Plath

‎"What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window." -Burton Rascoe

“A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. -Charles Peguy

“Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake. “-E.L. Doctorow

“There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” -Walter Wellesley Smith

"There's only one person who needs a glass of water oftener than a small child tucked in for the night, and that's a writer sitting down to write." -Mignon McLaughlin

‎"A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end... but not necessarily in that order."

"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." - George Orwell

"I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody's head." - John Updike

‎"Books want to be born; I never make them. They come to me and insist on being written, and on being such and such." -Samuel Butler

"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes." -William Makepeace Thackeray

“Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind.” – Catherine Drinker Bowen

"If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it." -Anais Nin

"To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music the words make." -Truman Capote

"Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write." -Rainer Maria Rilke

Erin and Lyss!

This is a picture of me and my two friends, Alyssa and Erin. They’re cousins and they’re both hilarious, they’re constantly cracking me up and leaving me wondering why I have such weird friends- in the best way possible.

Alyssa is so funny. When you're with her, you can't help but laugh. She's so gorgeous, and great at so many things. I'm honestly really blessed to know her.

I've known Erin since third grade Sunday School at our church. She always says that she used to be quiet, at least until she met me. Now she's the craziest person I know, and I love her with all my heart.

They’ve both been through a lot- we all have- and we stick together. They’re both really amazing girls and I’m so glad to have them as friends.

I love you guys!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hello Beautiful :)

Operation Beautiful was started by twenty- six year old Caitlin. It’s a mission to make women feel beautiful and love themselves. Caitlin says “The goal of the Operation Beautiful website is to end negative self-talk or “Fat Talk.” If this little blog only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically."

She says "Through my own experiences fighting Fat Talk, I’ve realized the power behind an anonymous act such as Operation Beautiful. When I post a note, I’m saying, “I CHOOSE to be positive!” I began Operation Beautiful by leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms — at work, at the gym, at the grocery store. I scribble down whatever comes to mind — "You are beautiful!" or "You are amazing just the way you are!" My personal goal is to leave as many Operation Beautiful notes as I can. Maybe some people read them and just smile, but I bet some people are truly touched by the effort of a random stranger.”

Ever since I found out about Operation Beautiful, I’ve posted notes….

Seen notes on desks…

Even posted one on my bedroom mirror!

I recently went through a stage where every time I looked in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw. I really just didn’t like it. Finally, I decided that I was tired of putting myself down and being miserable. After all, how could I tell other people that they were beautiful, if I couldn’t believe it about myself? So now, every time I find myself putting myself down, I simply tell myself "You’re gorgeous," and smile.

Every time I find a note, like the one to the left, it makes me smile, and I can’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the day. It’s one thing to see the hundreds of pictures on those are beautiful, don’t get me wrong- but seeing them in real life makes it so much more… real. I think “I’m not alone in this. Other people see the importance of this.”

Something’s messed up. If girls feel the need to skip a meal, or throw up after eating, or cut to ease the pain, or are constantly putting themselves down. If they feel the need to pluck, wax, shave, dye, straighten, color, clip, something needs to change. They’re- WE’RE- spending way too much time in front of the mirror, obsessing and scrutinizing, wishing our faces were more acne-free, our stomach thinner, our legs more toned. We wish we could be more like that girl in the magazine, the mall, on TV. We live in the land of “if only’s” “If only I was thinner, he’d like me.” “If only my hair was curlier, I’d be beautiful.” “If only I don’t eat this, I’ll be skinny.” “If only…” And everywhere we look, it’s telling us that it’s okay. All the women on TV are thin. All the women in magazines have perfect skin. All the woman in movies have perfect hair and teeth and legs. We feel worthless. We can never be good enough to be what society says is beautiful. We aim so high but can never hit the mark. And I, for one, have a problem with that. Because real beauty doesn’t come from dieting or tanning or dying. Where does it come from? It comes from inside. And I know that sounds cheesy, but real beauty is strong, and real, and confident, and powerful. It loves who it is and doesn’t care what society wants it to be. You can’t find it anywhere but inside of you. You won’t find it in the gym trying to lose just 10 more pounds. You won’t find it in fitness magazine. It’s not something that comes out when its covered with makeup or swallowed with a pill.

No, darling, beauty’s what lies inside.
I’ve been where many of you are, and I’ll probably be there again one day. I’ve hit rock bottom more than once. I know that feeling ugly and worthless brings you down. But a beautiful woman is a confident woman, and she is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Nothing can bring her down, not the words of others nor the pictures in a magazine of a size one model. And believe me with what I’m about to tell you. From one woman to another: You are beautiful. Just the way you are. You don’t need to change a thing to be gorgeous. You, just as you are, enough. I know that you’re reading this and thinking “That’s so true, except for me.” But no. Don’t believe that lie, because it’s coming straight out of the mouth of the Devil. You aren’t the only exception. Be confident with who you are and who you’ve grown to be. You’re the only you there’ll ever be, so why waste the only life you’ve been given with trying to be somebody else? Beauty comes in different forms for every woman. Natural, wonderful, healthy, fabulous, unique. That’s what you are, and that’s what beauty is.

“So society, consider this the official Declaration of The War on Beauty. Because we are a thousand voices strong, and a beauty that’s our own, we are so beautiful. More SIMPLY saying; bring it on.” (