26 May 2016


I'm angry.
Angry at social media and all the ways it has changed me.
I didn't start out angry, but after going full-circle around the subject of social media, that's where I ended up. :P
It all started with a simple statement my mom made that had me thinking about the temptations of entertainment and other things that take our time away from God (and so much more). My mind immediately went to a song in our hymnal. 

"My soul, be on thy guard, Ten thousand foes arise, 
And hosts of sin are pressing hard To draw thee from the skies.
Ne'er think the vict'ry won, Nor once at ease sit down..."

I soon realized that for me personally, two of those "ten thousand foes" was Instagram and Facebook. I wanted to get rid of them! But I didn't want to do it rashly and have big regrets. So throughout the last two weeks I've put a lot of thought and prayer into the matter. 
I feel like God has given me many confirmations that this would be the right step for me to take as a solution to the million-and-one problems I soon saw that social media had created in my life. ;)

My greatest fear in doing this is that I will eventually loose my vision of why I quit and come running back to social media like a little lost child that has finally found their mother in the grocery store. It doesn't help that Facebook and Instagram do not let you completely delete your account. Which is probably the #1 reason people hardly ever stop using it. It's just way too easy to give into the temptation when all you have to do is reactivate your account. So in my down time at work I have been going through my posts and deleting them... one by one. Removing all attachment to my little space online. 
Ironically, I came upon a Facebook post I made two years ago that I still like... ;P So I'm not going to delete that one... If I ever happen to think it would be a good idea to reactivate my FB, that post will be the first thing I see. Hopefully, it will prompt me to turn around and flee back to social-media-less-ness. ;)

Reasons social media is not right for me:

It consumed my thoughts all day long in little, tiny ways.
If I was dreaming about the future... then I had already pictured what kind of post I would share with people when that time came.
If I saw a post of someone who seemed to have it "together" a little more than I did, then I would muse on how I could "best" them one day... supposedly encouraging myself and boosting my self-image. (wrong!)
In all the free time I have had this past week, I was sorting some old papers and ran across some notes I took from church that said, "We should go to bed praying, wake up praying, and have the Lord on our mind throughout our day." :) I've heard that many times before, but I still found myself opening my Instagram first thing in the morning to get my mind running and shake my drowsiness. Shame. I know. :/

I could never get a lot accomplished in a day, like I had in the past.
I didn't notice this one for a long time, because I went through a lot of life-changes during the time I had social media. I could easily blame my lack of productivity on senioritis in high school, photography, going to college, working and college and photography all at once. But eventually my life slowed back down to just working. Did it really take me three years to realize that all of those other things in my life were not the complete cause of my lack of accomplishment? So when I came to the point in my life when I was just working... I began to wonder why I never got a lot accomplished in all that extra time. Hmmm...?

Social Media had me wrapped up in unhealthy jealousy.
This is a little more of a touchy subject; but I've seen it with myself, and I've seen it with many of my friends. So I'll just admit it and put it out there because it's real.
Nope, I'm not talking about jealousy of other people's lives... that's already been covered.
A little scenario might describe what I'm talking about best...
 Suppose you like someone. And you stalk your crush's posts to see what other possible rivalry is commenting and liking their posts. Then you try to stalk what your crush does to make sure that they aren't interacting with someone who could be stealing their attention away from you.
 Unhealthy! That's the only word I have to say about it...

Misunderstandings are real. 
I'll just say that we've become pros at creating captions and writing posts that don't tell the full story. 

Living in our virtual world actually separates us from others.
This was one of my biggest things I felt like I was giving up... My connection to other people. When I would think about it, I would get sad and say, "People will think I don't care about them and what they're doing anymore." Not true. The truth is, when you are on social media, for the most part, you are really focusing on "Me, Myself, and I". You're focusing on what little virtual world you are creating. 
When my mom found out I was deleting all my Instagram posts, she gasped and said, "Don't you want to create a photobook of all your memories first?" I told her ,"No... I have the pictures already saved elsewhere. I don't want to remember my life in this way." And the best way I can describe why I needed to completely delete all the posts is because they held the key to re-entering the door of my "virtual life". I don't need my virtual life anymore because it's not me, and it's hindering me from being ME. And I'm sorry that it took me so long to really realize this. (Because, believe me... I had heard ALL the points that I've just gone over mentioned before, but I needed the Lord to open my eyes to see how it was actually happening in my life.)

Back to the fear of loosing that connection with people, though! 
The connection is good... right?!
But is it really good? I didn't know... And I still don't know.
However, I found an answer that satisfied me when I was talking with a friend about it.
They mentioned how the icon for the internet was originally the tower of babel. It was supposed to connect people. Which again, we ask ourself, "Hey, that's good, right?"
So the original tower of babel from the bible was supposed to be a rallying point and to keep the people from being scattered. This was not in God's plan, and He was not pleased with that at all. He had a better plan! We all know the story of how God separated the people by languages to stop their works. So in reality, man's feeble attempts to connect people ended up separating them more. I can't help but believe that there is no coincidence with this correlation of the tower of babel to internet/social media. 
We've come a long ways in society's thinking to connect everyone, only to really be isolating ourselves.


So what about my experience of being media-free so far?
Well, I'm still in the process of getting everything shut down. But I honestly haven't had a desire to even get on and do my normal browsing through social media. The first week was definitely rough, and I felt so lonely all week. Even through that time, though, I wasn't craving that online connection. 
This past week has been amazing though. I've really felt light and happy. :) I've been able to make other REAL connections with people over the phone and visiting them in person. Plus, I've got a lot accomplished on a project we have going on at the house.
This evening, as I was deleting more posts, I allowed myself to scroll through Instagram a little. And guess what? I was soon was battling unhappy thoughts. Go figure. Lol

By writing this post, I'm not challenging others to give up Instagram, Facebook, entertainment, etc.
I'm challenging you to look into yourself and see what hinders you. It may be none of these things mentioned above... or, it may be that and more. ;P


By, the way... it still feels weird that I'm doing this. Am I a total psych? :P 
No... I imagine that it just has a stronger hold on me than I realized. Making it feel weird to be breaking above it... to be free. :) 

08 May 2016


Where do I begin? I guess I can begin by thanking these two crazy girls, Kelsey and Christy, for roping me in to this Hawaii trip. I've never dreamed of visiting Hawaii, but I can tell you that it definitely is a place to dream about ;)

I have my complete album of pictures from Hawaii (from my DSLR, GoPro, and iPhone) in an online album. If you'd like to see all of them, click here. :) (click on the menu button to navigate between the regular pictures and the iPhone pics)

Tuesday, April 19th

Traveling was terribly long!!! By the time we arrived at the airport in Kailua-Kona we had travelled roughly 22 hours straight from Guthrie to Hawaii and we were exhausted! The airport in Kona, HI was a complete culture shock because it was all open air and seemed really unorganized and very low security! Lol. We got a big blessing from God when our car rental turned out to be a four door instead of two door for he same price... And an even greater miracle when they knocked $150 off the price because we had to wait so long for them to clean the vehicle up. 

We had a terrible time finding the place we booked to stay for the first 4 nights. We called the guy finally and he said he was standing out in the middle of the road to drive towards him. We get out and he was an old man with longer gray hair pulled back in a pony tail. (Why?) I was beginning to feel like this place might not exactly be the private house I had thought it to be. And nope... It was this old guys house that he had converted two rooms into a Hostel. He wanted to show us around the house at 11pm. And I was trying to handle it like a big girl and be nice and professional to him. But I think we were all just getting plain put out (at the situation) and grumpy (and so ready to drop into bed)! Thankfully the only other person who was staying with us was a girl (who had been staying there BY HERSELF and the old man a few days already). I text momma and told her about it that night because I knew she was awake (5am central time) and because I knew she should want to know so she could pray for us. 

Wednesday, April 20th

Our first full day in Hawaii! :) We got sooo much done today! We woke up at 6am and left the house/hostel as soon as possibly could because we didn't want to be around that guy anymore! We got breakfast at Starbucks, got some stuff at Walmart and went to the beach! We stayed there until 11 or 12 and then we went and mailed some postcards then found a farmers market place and got some fresh avocados, fresh rolls, and golden nuggets and mountain apples, and a fresh cold coconut (which was the best!) We couldn't find a very secluded spot to have a picnic lunch, so we found this cattle field that overlooked the ocean and we climbed over some rock walls, laid out or beach towel and had us a little picnic!!! Kelsey and I COULD NOT stop laughing while we were out there!! I think we were maybe laughing due to exhaustion. Apparently I was the only one who slept last night, and I must have been sleeping hard because I started to talk in my sleep. They laughed and laughed at me in the morning because they said I started calling out "here kitty kitty kitty!!!", really loudly in my sleep!!
Anyway, after lunch we headed out driving. We just wanted to drive and turn up the music and relax. We decided to head down to South Point, the southern most point of the U.S. On our way there we took some detours and stopped by a fresh fruit stand and got Dragon Fruit and Guanoabana. Driving to South Point was AMAZING! We went by lava rock fields. Then we went through a HUGE open prairie where people had cattle. There was also some wind turbines... So it actually looked a lot like Oklahoma, just with the Ocean wrapped around it. Once we got to the shore, the water just amazed us!! It was such a bright blue! It looked like toilet bowl cleaner 😜 or blue raspberry koolaid. There were some ladders that went straight down the cliff that they used to pull boats up to for unloading their fish. Maybe they still do it some, because one of the ladders was intact and we could have climbed down there 30 feet or so if we wished to do so. There was also a weird sink-hole like cave that was right near the edge of the bluff. You could walk down there a ways and watch the water crashing in to the sides of the rock in the hole! It was very pretty. Then we went on down to the rocky shore line where it is actually the most Southern point, and the ocean was just rolling in HUGE waves! We were kinda in a time crunch because the Sivyy's cousins (from the Russian Church of God) had called us and invited us to a camp fire that they were having on a beach park somewhere 2.5 hours north. It was already 5:30, and the bonfire started at 7pm. BUT... we just couldn't leave the place! It was the best thing ever watching those ~20ft turquoise waves form from out of no where and roll up to the rocks and crash against them! We finally left and drove up north to meet up with the young people. But we were ssoooooo exhausted. We lost all our energy and Christy was so tired of driving. She's the only one who is supposed to drive, but after we stopped and got Subway, I ended up driving the rest of the way and let her sleep. We had the hardest time trying to find where they were, and it didn't help that the area there had low cell coverage so we couldn’t contact them easily. We finally found them. At least our search for them woke us up and gave us some more energy because we were about to just fall asleep driving there. Anyway, Max was there - a guy that Kelsey's brother, Michael, met last summer when he was down there. Max was from Hilo about two hours away and I think he came with Samuel who was one of the Sivyy's cousins. There were three other girls there besides us. They were all very friendly and nice! They sang us some Russian songs from their church with Max playing the guitar. It was all very pretty. 
They told us about some of the best places to visit. They invited us to their youth night tomorrow night but we told them we probably wouldn't make it, but we did plan on coming to church with them in Hilo on Sunday. Christy drive home and we were sooooooooo tired when we got in around midnight to old creep’s house.

Thursday April 21st 

Today we saw a completely different side of the Island! We started out on our way to Hilo a little later in the morning. So we had breakfast at a little place called Lava Java. We just had bacon and waffles and pancakes -- it was really a skimpy meal for how much we paid! Anyway, they had the best coconut syrup to eat with it! Then we shared a berry smoothie. It was a beautiful place too, and we had a native guy serenading us with his guitar and ukulele and singing.
From there we headed out on the road again hoping to hit up Parker Ranch. We stopped and toured their homes out on the ranch and then stopped in town to shop in the Parker Ranch store. We had a terrible time trying to figure out where we wanted to eat because Christy was craving a real good steak... And we even ended up leaving one restaurant because they didn't serve steak except for supper. Haha! So we found "the Fish and The Hog" which seemed to finally fit our style and we got tons and tons of meat! :) After that we had a few more delays and we were feeling a little unproductive, but we just set out on the road once again for Rainbow Falls in Hilo. Once we got closer to Hilo we literally pulled over about 20 times to take pictures of the view! It was awesome! Last night, they had told us that Hilo was a lot more beautiful, and I was beginning to be really convinced! We finally made it to Rainbow Falls around 4:40pm hehe! It was a really cool experience! Here in Hawaii, these type of attractions don't have a lot of restrictions or park rangers out making sure you do the right thing! I love it! So we were able to climb all around the falls and get some awesome pictures! And there was a cool short trail we walked through nearby there. Then we drove around and found a Starbucks and took our drinks to a beautiful shoreline park and took a lot more pictures! :) Finally it was time to go because it was getting dark and we could smell a lot of people who were smoking weed. It's crazy how openly people do it here in Hawaii! We started on our way back to the Hostle, but we kinda wanted to see if we could find a way to go to a harbor to watch ships come in and out. We ended up going down a few different roads, but finally just stopped in at a beach park and walked down quite a few stairs to get down to the shore, and the waves there were just so big and pretty! I was taking pictures down there and it was like pitch dark, so we started feeling uneasy about being there. And finally Christy was like "we've got to go!" And all I could understand her saying was "there's somebody..." Her and Kelsey started hurrying across the rocky shore to run up the stairs. So I bolted from the place I was taking pictures and tripped on the rocks and my camera and I ended up on the ground. I gashed my toe open and my flip-flop broke… so I had to run up with only one flip flop on. We got out of there as fast as we could! We never saw anyone, but I think she was mostly talking about more cars that were pulling up at the top of the road. We finally called it a night and decided to just head back to Old Man Creep’s.

Friday April 22nd

We went into town (Kona) for breakfast at Evolution Bakery. It was a pretty healthy spot, and even their pastries weren't terribly sweet. :P
Then we drove down to Captain Cook area to Two Step beach and went snorkeling! I had a super rough start...! I got a mouthful of salt water several times and came up sputtering and couldn't get around easily because I had the GoPro. But I finally was able to learn how to just relax... I didn't realize that you actually just float! It's 100% effortless after you learn to just relax and keep breathing steadily. I went out for three good snorkels and got quite a few fish and all on video. It was kinda just the best thing ever! After that we were so salty from the ocean that we went back to old man Creep's house and took showers and grabbed all our wet clothes before heading back to town. Christy was craving some "real" food, so we went to Outback so she could get her steak, potato, salad, and beloved broccoli. :P We started to hang out on the beach and then remembered that we had to take our wet clothes to he laundromat. So we got the clothes started and walked to a health food market nearby and had a grand old time, just being our goofy normal selves. We went back to the beach and parked in an area that is more in the touristy "shopping" part of town hat has lots of restaurants. After we parked, we noticed that there was a creepy middle aged man with binoculars watching people passing by. Ugh. What a weirdo! We wandered around trying to find the best place to sit and watch the sunset over the beach and also watch some ships go in and out of the small harbor there... But we ended up finding ourselves in a shopping plaza type thing that was all open air and each little shop had a big open window. We walked into a little wood and art shop, and there wasn't anyone around that we could see who was the owner or employer. So Christy walked to the huge open window and pointed out and was like "guys, this is where we want to go!!" Outside was a huge grassy lawn with palm trees and a wall lining the sidewalk that would be perfect to sit on and watch the sun. So Christy just jumps out the window!! Down like 4 feet at least. And... The rest of us crazy girls followed suit and flew out of the window onto the big lawn and proceeded to walk over to the little wall to take a seat! Oh what trouble makers we are! Haha! The sunset was just spectacular, though! I just wish I could take all the people I love there and let them experience it for themselves! Ah!! I’m sure I took a million and one videos and pictures, too... :) We shopped around through some more of the shops, and then found a coffee shop that was called something like "Golden Gate". It also had ice cream, so I got passion fruit sorbet. (It was super good!) We walked back to the Jeep and made sure that we watched out for the creepy man that was stationed in an old window above the shady looking restaurant. The we buzzed away to the old mans' hostel 😬. Thank the Lord we made it safely to the last night at his place!

Saturday April 23rd 

We woke up at 6am and planned to leave Old Creep's house as soon as possible! Since it was our last day there, we had already packed everything up the night before. Unfortunately, he was awake when we left... So we had to be civil with him. Actually, I explained to him that we have a very conservative background and liked our privacy. Because I could sense that he was feeling that we didn’t like him too much. I think he understood a little better now why we didn’t just come to his house and hang out with him like he wanted. I was even nice enough to tell him that his dogs could have some of our leftover bbq meat that we left in our fridge. (He called later that morning and told us that it was very delicious... Whaaaa? He ate it himself?! Weirdo!) 
We went straight to the beach and had apples and peanut butter for breakfast. The waves were amazing there and we mostly just laid in the sun, but we also stood on some of the rocks where the waves actually came up and crashed against us, knocking us down. It was crazy how strong they were! We left there around 10:30 and fueled up and grabbed a bite to eat and headed up north to Waipio Valley to ride horses around the top of the valley.
Our horse tour guide was amazing! We felt super comfortable with him (finally a guy who wasn’t a creep!) We rode to a beautiful lookout over the Waipio Valley. He shared so much cool information with us about the Island. One being, Hawaii Island has 11 climates of the 13 climates that exist in the whole world. No wonder we would travel 1 hour and see totally different trees and land forms…! At the end, our guide told us that we had to get some malasadas (their donut specialty) and he gave us directions to Tex Drive In. We actually ate there as well and, yes… their Malasadas were a-maz-ing!!

We drove straight back to Captain Cook where our new place we had booked was. Once was arrived, we fell in love with the place!!! It's so spacious and PRIVATE!! ;) 

Sunday April 24th 2016

We left around 8am and got the best smoothies in Kona at the Evolution Bakery. It had bananas, strawberries and spiraling powder (which is actually natural algae... and it still tasted great!)  Then we drove up north to hit up a sandy beach before we went to church in Hilo with the Russians. We ended up at Hapuna Beach and it really did have a nice sandy shoreline and nice calm waves. We stayed there and laid out on the beach for just as long as we possibly could! Then we tried to get some Mexican food, but the place was closed 😩😩 so I got fried rice and Christy and Kelsey got something from Lava Java again. They had to wait FOREVER for their food so we were slightly late for church. A 17 year old girl (Yelena Kochergin) translated for us into a mic so we could use a earbud to listen to her. They had a lot of special songs and people that got up to read poems that we couldn't understand because she didn't translate all of those. They wanted us to stay and eat with them, but our time was running short on the Island and we had a few more beaches we wanted to hit up. We went and got us some ice cream at Baskin Robins, then we went to Richardson Beach Park -- which is a black sands beach. I got out and went snorkeling and immediately ran into a turtle face to face. It was crazy!! When I got out of the water, some people from Colorado started talking to us because they saw the same turtle by the shore that I had seen out snorkeling. They told us to go up the road to Coconut Island... So we went there and stopped by, but it was getting dark and some of the people there seemed a little annoying. On our way back to our place at Captain Cook, we stopped on the side of the road and turned our lights off for a bit because the stars were so bright and we could see so many and they seemed sooooo close! It was amazing!

Monday April 25th 2016

Our agenda for the day was to go back to South Point and then go on to Green Sands, and then we wanted to head up north to the Volcano. We decided it would be a good day to try to take the roof and doors off the jeep. We were successfully able to get the top part of the roof off and so we stuck it in the back of the jeep incase it rained. I was disappointed that the doors wouldn't come off unless we had a wrench. :/ Oh well. Christy was itching for us to get going, so we just stopped by a little grocery store so we could get bottled water and we ended up getting stuff from their bakery for our breakfast and we ate on the run. We got down to South Point  and was going to drive back to the green sands since we had a Jeep, but there was a sign that said "no rentals". Soooo.... We parked our jeep and walked the two miles back to the green sands beach. It was a long hot walk, but as long as we walked by the shore, we got a nice breeze.  We came up to this over-look that was looking down on a beach that seemed to be just carved out of a huge smooth cliff. I looked at my GPS and it said that we had made it! So we shimmied our way down to the beach and sat there for a while. We would have LOVED to get in, but we didn't have our jeep with the change of clothes nearby, and we certainly did not want to walk back in the dusty desert 2 miles in wet clothes!!! We finally made it back to the jeep and I was just itching to get back to South Point and possibly jump off the cliff into the ocean. But as soon as we pulled up, I saw signs that said "no jumping or diving". My spirit felt defeated. I knew that the sign was only there for liability purposes, but it made me doubt the safety of jumping. Sooo... I got out of the jeep after changing to my swimming clothes and decided to just climb down the ladder and just snorkel there. But as I walked up there, a girl had just climbed up the ladder, and while she was talking to another girl I heard her mention the word "jump". So I asked her, "did you jump?" And she certainly had, and she said it was safe and didn't hurt. So I excitedly went back to the car and put my snorkel gear up. I was sooooo excited and so glad that I had just made up my mind to do it! I ended up being the next person to jump because that girl's friend chickened out. I went to the edge and then realized that I was just going to have to take a run at it... So I stepped back and ran up and kinda swung off the little wooden dock like thing that used to have a ladder underneath it. After I jumped, everything happened so fast, and I didn't even have time to think about plugging my nose. So it's a good thing it didn't actually hurt my nose. It was a similar experience to being in a car wreck or having a dream. It feels like you just kinda leave your body and blank out until you reach the surface of the water again. So several hours later that day, parts of the jumping experience kind of came back to me... I remembered something that I heard one of the on-lookers up on the cliff say after I jumped... Haha! It was a guy who was like "aren't you going to take off your skirt first?!" Hehe, too late buddy, I had already jumped! Lol! It was just weird how I blanked out and didn't remember details about the jump until later that evening. Anyway, Christy and Kelsey jumped after me, and I can't tell you how proud I was of them to do it!! It was just the highlight of our day!! I still wanted to snorkel down there, because the water was so crystal blue! So I grabbed my snorkel gear and contemplated just going down the ladder to get there, but there was another tourist there who hadn't seen anyone jump and wanted to video someone doing it. So I jumped again for him, then climbed up the ladder to get my snorkel gear and climbed back down with it. I stayed down there for a good long while until my GoPro battery died... Not to mention I was getting super hungry by this point!! And I figured Kelsey and Christy were too. So we left and drove into the nearest town and found a little restaurant. We got changed and ate up, and then headed on our way to see the volcano. The back of my legs and arms were on fire from the sun at this point and I could get comfortable. We went through a lava tube and decided to not wait around to see the volcano because it wasn't actually flowing and all you would get to see is a glow around the top at night. So we went looking for a coffee shop and ended up finding an outrageously priced cafe and got dessert and coffee. Kelsey told us that she wanted to tell us a funny story, but she didn't know if she could do it without laughing. All of a sudden, we look up and cake and coffee was coming out of her nose and mouth. Ohhhh it was so gross and slimy!! We laughed and laughed even harder after that! I ended up driving back to our place because I was in so much pain and needed something to distract me and I needed all the air I could get!! 
Back at our place, they were in the living room watching something when I woke up at around 10:30 \ hollering out in pain. They came in and put baking soda paste on me to help relieve the pain. Such kind, amazing friends I have!! :) I woke up like 4 times that night trying to stay cool and warm at the same time. It was pretty miserable. 

Tuesday April 26th 2016

I was sunburnt so bad that I stayed at our little house for as long as possible. I wish we could have stayed there all day... But we had to check out at noon. :( We didn't really have anything planned for the day, so after we ate lunch and I got a few things at a shop... We drove around and went to Starbucks, Walmart, then another Starbucks, and drove around some more. Then we finally stopped at a beach and watch the sunset... I went to the jeep to try to cool off some more and when I came back there was this guy sitting on the grass fairly close to Kelsey and Christy. Finally when we left they told me that he was creeper #25. He was actually a young man this time... But they said he basically just circled them. He first came and sat directly in front of them in the rocks, then he sat beside them... Then he went and stood directly behind them. So finally they got up and left, and of course he left too... 
We were so restless and just ready to be on our way home. We had such a long wait though... 😁 and our flight didn't leave until 11pm. 
We had definitely experienced our high points, and now we were just tired (maybe slightly grouchy) and ready to be at home.

 I didn't realize how wordy this post would look if I included my journaling from each day. But it's there if you feel like reading. :) I never make photo books with my pictures and descriptions, so I guess it's okay to have a super wordy blog post now and again. ;)