on the road home

monday was a very dark, stormy, rainy day. but you know what? i do believe that these dark, stormy, rainy days are the most inspiring. the sun may not be shining, but inspiration is glowing bright and strong through the fog.
i look out into the distance, and watch the rain fall softly to the ground. my finger traces the water droplets raceing down the window, and i wonder which one will win the race. i sit and stare at the landscape rolling by, thinking of life and anything else on my mind.
so sometimes, it's those dark clouds hiding the sun that shine the most inspiration down on me.
what kind of days inspire you the most?


something to photograph

My plans were annihilated when I woke up to find rain slowly dripping out my window.  As I stood on my toes (I'm quite short), I saw the soggy grass, the darkened wood fence, the trees soaked with moisture.


It hardly ever rains here in dry Idaho.  Basically, it never rains.  
Which is probably a good thing for me since I've never really loved rain.


I had plans for this day.  I saw a cool spot to take pictures in our neighborhood the other day.  That's pretty rare, since you can be sure around here almost every inch of land is planted with houses.  Unless I want to be reduced to taking pictures of lawn flamingos and welcome mats, I have to take advantage of my clear land.


I planned to grab some person who I could bribe to take pictures of and venture out to the spot I had in mind earlier that week.  You can imagine my dismay when I look out my window to see a gray sky and soggy grounds, and to also know that it will most likely stay that way for a few days.  
See, when I get in a picture-taking mood, I really get in a picture-taking mood.


I grab my camera as the droplets from the sky start to decrease and the grass starts to dry out just a bit.  The sun still isn't out, but it's worth a try.


I check my memory card and battery and heat my water for my mocha later (I confess).


It is so peaceful.  The only sound I hear is the soft patter of water left behind in the trees.  Not birds.  Not people.  Not cars.  Not even music fills my ears, which is what usually accommodates me on my nature shoots.


Thoughts knock on the door of my mind.  Thoughts about what I should be doing.  Thoughts about what the neighbors might think of me - pajamas, boots, coat, an excited expression on my face, as well as a 4 pound camera situated around my neck.


Thoughts of things I want also try to find its way in to my mind.  But I do not welcome them as I have in the past.  I send them away, for this time is too precious and valuable to be bothered with those thoughts.


Some people may say TV or movies help them relax.  Some people may say simply a recliner helps them relax.  But what helps me is neither of those things.


 What does it for me is to be on my feet, camera in my hands, the soft click of the shutter.


Even though it was not what I thought I wanted nor how I imagined myself that day, it was good and peaceful.


I was looking at the same thing as before I had my camera in hand.  But now I see something totally different.  Now I see something beautiful.  Something to be captured and kept.  Something to photograph.


On Inspiration

Getting inspired can sometimes be quite hard. One second you're overflowing with ideas, and the next you're completely dry. Being a writer, blogger, photographer, and artist, getting inspired is a enormous part of what I do daily. I've struggled with finding inspiration quite a bit over the past few years. I still do -- all the time. Whenever I've lost all my inspiration, I have a few ways that I find it again, or even discover a new bit of it. I've compiled a list of the things I to do get inspired. Maybe they can help you, too!

Choose a topic. (it could be a photo shoot, novel idea, blog post, art project...) Start with a page. Write down any and all ideas you have. You can stay organized, or not. (I like to just go all over the place with different boxes, symbols, and font styles.) Get the ideas flowing. Think about what you want to accomplish and how you might get there. Write everything down. You can even try brainstorming with a friend. You can use flowcharts, word webs, or whatever other way you'd like. Get creative with your brainstorming!

Journaling is a great way to get ideas coming. Often, ideas for blog posts come from journaling. Writing down recent thoughts, describing what's been going on in life. You can add creativity to your journaling by pasting photographs and doing sketches. You can write down any ideas in your journal, too. You never know when you might need them!

I have a couple of inspiration books. I fill them with ideas for different subjects. I have an AOU one. A writing one. A blog one. And just a general thoughts one. They're scattered all across the room, on shelves, beside my bed, and on my desk. These books are some of my favorites because they hold so many ideas and I go to them when I need inspiration for certain things. Just grab a notebook and start writing ideas, thoughts, photographs, drawings, and whatever else you'd like to add. [CHECK OUT THE POST I DID ON MY BLOG A WHILE AGO ABOUT AN INSPIRATION BOOK I MADE /// HERE]

me on pinterest.
my writing inspiration board /// here
my artsy/typography board /// here
I may or may not have a small obsession with pinterest. Incase you aren't familiar with this website, it's basically virtual pin board. You can have all sorts of different boards for different subjects/categories. You pin photographs you like from different websites and they show up on your board. You can also repin things other pinteresters have pined. It is truly brilliant. I have lots of different board to help me get inspired. Try creating your own boards! [YOU CAN ALSO CHECK OUT THE AOU PINTEREREST BOARD /// HERE]

Create a playlist of your favorite songs/songs that complement what you're working on. I have a few different playlists for different things I do. One for just songs to listen to while doing things on the internet, another one when I'm writing, and a third for when I'm doing schoolwork. Music can be very inspirational. A FUN THING TO TRY: write down thoughts/things that come to mind while listening to a song. We did this in a writing class I was in this summer. It may spark an idea that you'll love! [CHECK OUT THE AOU PLAYLISTS /// HERE]

Sometimes, when Inspiration isn't coming, it simply means: It's break time. Do something fun to get your mind off whatever it is you're desperately wanting inspiration for. Just wait awhile. Inspiration won't be gone forever!

How do you get inspired?
xo. megan kristine


Under The Lights

"Three minutes!" my director calls out. "Thank you, three minutes," we reply, following tradition. The show is about to start, and since it's my first actual show, I couldn't be more excited. I run to the mirror to make a final check  on my makeup and pull on my hat. After a final sip of water, we're ready to sneak up the stairs and funnel into the wings, where we will await the overture, followed by the opening number.

After our director makes announcements and welcomes everyone to Seussical Jr., the overture finally begins. Jojo sneaks onto the stage, followed by the Cat in the Hat, and eventually, we all creep in behind their backs. We dance energetically through the opening number and exit the stage, already excited for the next song.

We play number after number, between moments of waiting and frantic bolts to get to our places backstage. But all through the show, under the lights, costumes, and makeup, there's a little girl inside me who can't stop smiling-- inside or out. Up on that stage, I forget about the world, and being ordinary, and I even forget that most people don't see me dancing in the background. Up on that stage, I'm in one corner of my Ordinary Utopia. Up on that stage I get to feel extraordinary. I get to sing and dance and act and glorify the Lord, all up on that stage. 

But even when I'm not on the stage I'm still elated because it feels like home. My cast became like a family to me-- a big family. We work through the rough spots and help each other out. We have to work together if we want to succeed, so we do. And we have to work hard if we want to glorify the Lord, so we do.

Now of course, once I do this show six more times, it will be over and done. We won't have the same cast again, and it will be a sad goodbye. But it's bittersweet, because it's not goodbye forever. It's just 'goodbye until I see you in another show'. We all have memories from this show, so we'll bid each other goodbye until we can be together to make new ones. . . until we can be under the lights again. 


i often listen to the rain

It rains a lot here in Washington. Sometimes it gets depressing when you realize that everyday is always gray and wet... but rain is beautiful, and quite frankly, I love it.

I love the smell of rain. It makes me feel lovely and happy and refreshed. The smell doesn't come around nearly as often as I'd like it to, but when it does, it makes it all the more special. Everytime I smell it, I gasp and look over at anyone who is near me and tell them how much I love it.

The sound of rain makes me so incrediably happy. It beats against the roof and pitter-patters against the gutters. On nights when it rains really hard and the rain beats like a drum, I like to sit on my bed and write poetry or read. A sense of peace settles over me and I feel safe.

I like the rain.

xo, Hayley


night at the symphony

when i grow up, i want to go into music. specifically film composing. that means i'll be the person writing the music that will tie a whole movie together. and to go into that industry, it would help to have some sort of background in the area, no?

mommy and i volunteer at this place called the long center. we exchange our time to help the house managers and usher the guests for a free seat at the show. we've seen operas and comedians and even a broadway musical, but we haven't really gotten the chance to be a guest. to be served, instead of to serve. and on january 14th, at 8:00pm, that changed.
 a few phone calls were made, a few strings were pulled, and i soon found myself being dropped off at the long center. i paid for a student rush ticket at the box office, and walked inside. as a guest.
i've never been taken to my seat before. and it just so happens that my ticket was in the very front row. sitting next to patrons and the like, watching the violinists and the harpists celloists move in unison, seeing the pianists hands move in a frenzy. it was all so overwhelming, and all so beautiful at the same time.

at intermission, i walked onto the terrace. i'd seen couples, young and old, and children wander around this place. but never had i. a few children were there. jumping on a small stage of lights that changed color as they moved. the smell of baked goods filled my nostrils and the air was crisp and cold. i buttoned my coat some and wandered about slowly, looking at the memorials and gazing at the stars. they were full and bright and they twinkled. some even had color. i swore i saw a planet. and then it was time to go back inside.

variations of enigma were played. nimrod to be exact. sonatas by beethoven and overtures by mozart. an a soft encore at the end. and then it was time to go home. but i didn't want to go home. i could be serenaded all night.

i knew that i had to go to the symphony more often.
-kiss kiss kiss, hug plumpuppets-


the little details

my eyes flutter open. i throw the covers off, stretch my arms, and jump out of bed.
forcing the sleep to go away, i sit down in the big leather chair next to the window, and look out at the fog covering the land. finally, i wake up, and all of a sudden my eyes start to see all those little things that i've never noticed before. i snatched up my camera and snapped away. capturing those little details no one else could see.
you know, it takes those little details to see the bigger picture.