summer skin.

And so with the sunshine and the bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

– F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 

Oh, how I adore this quote. It is one that rings true, even in my own life. I find myself feeling ecstatic as the summer begins, flooding my town with sunshine and good vibes. The grass is turner greener, and the trees are bursting with leaves. The flowers are blooming in the garden, and I’m sitting outside on our patio listening to my neighbors mow their lawns and work on outdoorsy projects. There’s a certain universal joy that everyone is experiencing as they enjoy the wonderful weather. It feels fresh and new, like nothing that has happened before.

And perhaps that is what the summer does to us. Perhaps it reminds us that we can start over and that the trials and cold of winter is not eternal. Perhaps it reminds us that things can begin again. 

So I shall shed the skin of winter, the hard and tough armor that I suited myself with. I will leave that behind me and take on my summer skin, ready for all of the new adventures and promises of this season.

dreaming of travel.

Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.

– Jack Kerouac

Oh, be still my heart. I have such a fond spot for the ever wonderful Jack Kerouac and his contributions to literature. I often imagine what it would have been like to live in the Beat Generation, adventuring across the U.S with he and Neal Cassady, experiencing things and writing about them. I dream of living on the road for some time in the future, simply writing stories of the people I meet and taking photos of the things I see.

You see, I have a hunger for adventure and discovery. I’ve never been content to stay in one place for too long. I’m fascinated by the fact that we all have stories, and I yearn to go to different places to hear other people’s stories. 

Perhaps one day I shall hit the road with a select few friends and learn more about this world through the eyes of others.

stories and screaming reminders.

You are empowered to remind people that they are utterly free.

– jack kerouac

I stumbled across this quote today, and it made me stop in my tracks. I pondered this simple sentence for a few minutes, marveling at its simple yet powerful truth.

We are all stories. Don’t think otherwise for one second. The people you come across every day are stories. The barista in your favourite coffee shop, the kid who sits next to you in class, the man on the street who begs for your spare change and grace… they are all stories. And our stories are all different, unique, but equal. Just because someone’s story is different than yours does not mean it is irrelevant and unimportant. Don’t be deceived. We have more in common than you think.

You’re probably thinking, “Great, Erin. Now what does that have to do with me and my personal story?”
It has everything to do with you and your story. You were given a story for a reason, though you may not realize it yet. The bumps in the road and the chasms in between are all for a reason. Look at where you are – you’ve made it here and that is what counts. Look behind you for a brief second, think about everything you’ve triumphed through. Think about the pain that has got you to where you all. It all has purpose. Now what can you do with that?

I’ll tell you one thing – you can use that story to inspire others. You can help other people get through their own messiness by showing them that we’re all a little messy. You can be an inspiration. I’ve had a few people tell me that I’ve inspired them through this blog, and they often say, “I wish I could do the same.” But the thing is – you can! Don’t be afraid to let your story shine like a lighthouse, showing people that the safety of the shore is not too far away.

the cross = love.

I think I’ve written before of my inabilities to forgive and my struggle to have a gracious heart. I’ve told you of my trials and tribulations, and the redemption I’ve found in Christ. I’ve bore my heart to people I don’t even know through this little blog of mine, and I really couldn’t tell you exactly why. Maybe it’s because it is a healthy outlet for me as I continue to walk this road of recovery. Maybe it’s because I want you to feel like you’re never alone. Maybe it’s both.

Maybe it’s because I feel like my story is worthwhile and worth telling. I could be burdened with the weight of things I’ve done, things I’ve said and things that have happened to me. But I am not. I am no longer chained to the past and my regret. Although the past haunts me in my waking and my sleeping, it no longer binds me. I’m learning to live a life without shame, for I have been made new. I have been set free through the blood of Christ Jesus.

The cross equals love. He does not look on me as a sinner, stained with regret and worry and mistakes. No, He sees me as a new creation – crafted by His careful hand. He looks at me with joy and pride, for I am HIS child, blameless in His sight. Even on the lowest days, when I feel absolutely repulsive from the ick of my mistakes, He still sees me as a beautiful work of art. Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand this. So often I don’t believe it. But it is true.

And I want you to know that. I understand that many of you don’t believe in God or share my convictions, but I want you to know that you are loved and accepted. Your past does not define you. You are present, you are here. And your future holds so many unexpected, wonderful things. I believe in you. I believe that you can be valiant. 

Wes Anderson and Summer Blues

I adore Wes Anderson films. Moonrise Kingdom is definitely in my top five favourite films of all time. There is something absolutely captivating about his videography and directing. His characters are often magical and lovable in a strange sense, and again… the camera work is so incredible. I love the subtle symmetry he uses, along with the distinctly 60s vibe. 

I find myself wishing I live in a “Wes Anderson film”, which means I wished a little more adventurous, ethereal life. 

Call me a day dreamer or a dumb romanticist, but I catch myself wishing that a new, daring friend would come crashing into my life to take me on new adventures. Often when I’m in town at the coffee shop reading Kerouac novels, I watch who comes in, wondering if they will be a new, exciting addition to my life. That’s pretty dumb, isn’t it?
Well… maybe it isn’t. Maybe I shall enter a tight knit group of artsy fartsy people on campus. Maybe I will meet people who my heart adores, and we will embark on our own adventures. Maybe my days will consist of longboarding around campus with a cool, creative posse. One can only hope, I suppose.

And perhaps I will not have to wait until college… maybe I will have a very Wes Anderson-esque summer. I can already envision it, me and my two best friends chasing sunsets and laughing until our stomach hurts while roadtripping across our state. I certainly hope this summer is something to remember.

the finish line.

Today was my last day of high school, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. I worked hard and I learned a lot over the course of these last four years.

But now I begin to think about the new adventure I shall embark on starting in August – college.

And I am scared and excited and nervous all at once. My stomach turns in knots whenever I think about it. Will I succeed? Will I make friends? Who will I hang out with? Will I like the professors? Will I enjoy classes?

All of these unknowns swim around in this brain of mine and I can barely handle it. I have hopes and expectations, yet I am terrified that they all will crumble around my feet. In complete honesty, I am not world’s most sociable person. In fact, I probably would be considered painfully shy. I get nervous around people I don’t know and fear that they won’t like me. 

But the thing is… every one of my classmates next year will feel the same way. Many of us do not know each other or even know who we are. We will fumble around, trying to make sense of life and make sense of what we want to do/who we want to be. None of us will have it completely figured out, though all of us believe that every one else does. It will be a chaotic mess, but there will be beauty in the chaos. We will learn alongside of each other and discover things we did not know about ourselves. We will learn and learn and learn, though not just academically. We will learn who we want to be and where we want to go together.

So, as I have crossed this finish line of high school, I prepare for the starting line of college. And I think I’ll be ok.

one.

One final day of high school and then I will be free. One last day to call myself a high school senior.

I am both terrified and excited all at once. In three short months I will be packing up my room and moving in to my college dorm with my future roomie. I will be saying my farewells and “i’ll see you soon”s. I will be shedding tears as I watch my best friend depart to a campus a state away. I will be looking back at everything I did do and everything I didn’t. Perhaps things will be like you see in movies, where the main character gets flashbacks as they watch their hometown grow smaller and smaller in their rearview mirror. 

I have learned more than I could ever write about these past four years of high school. I can’t sum it all up even if I tried. I’ve seen so much and experienced so more than I could ever tell you, dear reader. People have left and things have changed and life has moved on in ways I never thought it would. But others have come into my life, and I’ve learned that change happens for reasons I can’t comprehend. Life does move on, but always because of progress. 

I suppose I shall tell you the greatest lesson I have learned. I have learned that no matter what you do or where you go, life never stops. It never stops changing and spinning and going on and on and on. You cannot resist that change. Some people will go through many of life’s changes with you and others will no, but no matter what happens… you must press on. 

souvenirs // switchfoot // senior year

Here’s to the twilight. Here’s to the memories.

These are my souvenirs,

My mental pictures of everything.

Here’s to the late nights. Here’s to the firelight.

these are my souvenirs.

my souvenirs.

Senior year. It feels strange just saying that out loud, and even weirder to think that it’s almost over. It feels like freshman year was just yesterday. I struggle to even remember the occurrences of sophomore or junior year, for they seem to have rushed by too fast. The past few years kind of blur together for me. I often wonder if they even happened… it seemed like I simply blinked freshman year and was suddenly transported to senior year.

I’m a wildly nostalgic person, who stores up memories in her heart for a very long time. I can recount my freshman year trip to Florida to you in vivid detail. (Pros of having a photographic memory, I suppose.) Freshman year it felt like highschool was going to be for forever. In the moment, graduating and being done with high school classes seemed like an eternity away. But in retrospect, it all flew by. Now I and my closest friends are preparing for graduation ceremonies, grad parties, and then college. The common conversation amongst us includes things like, “do you have your roommate picked out yet?” and “when do you leave?” and “When do your classes start?”. We all talk about how excited we all are about the new seasons of life we all will be entering. I am very excited about the promise of new adventures and new experiences, but parting ways with the ones I’ve held dear here for years is disheartening.

Here’s to your bright eyes, shining like fireflies.

These are my souvenirs,

the memory of a lifetime.

We were wide-eyed with everything,

everything around us.

We were enlightened by everything,

everything.

I try not to think about the whole leaving thing as much. While it is sad and emotional, I know there are incredible things in store. The people that are in my life now have been placed there for specific reasons. Without them, I truly believe the season of high school would have been much more difficult. I’m so thankful and beyond blessed to have experience high-school with them by my side. Most people find that their high school friendships fade away as they get older, but I believe that this will not be the case for my friends. We’ve gone through thick and thin together, and it is our encouragement and support of one another that has kept our friendships from fading away. I truly hope we are all able to remain close even through college. Although we will all be making our own, new groups of friends at our respective colleges, it will be nice to be able to come home for breaks and pick up where we left off.

I close my eyes and go back in time.

I can see you smiling, you’re so alive.

I close my eyes and go back in time,

you were wide-eyed, you were wide-eyed.

We were so young, we had no fear.

We were so young, we had just begun

a song we knew, but we never sang.

It burned like fire inside our lungs.

And life was just happening.

So where do I end this incredibly weepy, nostalgic, memory saturated post? I do not know. All I can say is that I have a treasure of memories stored in my heart from trips to the beach, hiking in the mountains, laughter, simpler times, freshman foolishness, summer camps, and many other things. People speak of high school as a terrible time, filled with regret. I am glad to say that my high school experience was quite the opposite, thanks to loyal, loving class mates and friends. Leaving the only town I’ve ever known where the people I love most are is scary and intimidating, but I am ready. In fact, I think we all are ready to embark on this journey to college. I know times will get tough and overwhelming at college, but that’s nothing that a quick phone call to one of them won’t fix. And as we all leave at different times for different states, different universities, maybe even different countries, I know we will all be just fine.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything – my souvenirs.

the tulips // summer song

all the kids, they want today,

all they ever think about’s

about summer.

It’s about summer.

I’m sitting by the window listening to the soundtrack of the movie The Music Never Stopped. The hum of multiple lawn mowers fill my ears, and there’s a steady breeze coming in. It’s hot, really hot for a May day, but I’m not complaining. I’ve missed the sunshine and the bare legs and the suntanned skin. The start of summer always has felt magical to me, as it signifies the end of the school year and the beginning of summertime adventures.

All the kids, they want today

the world’s problems to go away

it’s about summer,

it’s about summer.

Summertime has always felt wildly carefree to me, with no schoolwork to worry about and no grades or due dates or what not. It felt as though all my problems faded away. As a child, summer meant days at the pool, sleepovers with my best friend, going barefoot, and eating more ice-cream than usual. It was a wondrous, free of worry and stress. As I grew older, summer became busier. I got summer jobs, volunteered at camps, and seemed to have little time to myself. (But it was all fun nonetheless!) this summer I seem to be doing much less, so maybe it will return to it’s carefree state.

thoughtful, impassioned they easily open their minds,

through the eyes of a child,

this world is truly divine

Thoughtful, impassioned they easily open…

Is summer still magical for you?

hold tight

Here starts the journey,

here begins the adventure,

hold tight to my hand.

– tyler knott gregson

Ah, how inviting that sounds to adventure alongside of someone you put your trust in. It’s always been my dream to travel the country alongside of my best friend or climb a mountain with a faithful companion. This might surprise some, for I am indeed an introvert. I need my alone time more than most people, and I do not mind being by myself for long periods of time. However, there are maybe three people in this whole world that I could be around constantly and never grow weary of them. They are the people who understand my heart and my mind, the ones who give me space when I need it and who give me a shoulder to cry on even if I don’t feel as though I need it. I feel like I say this so much, but people need other people. As much as even I hate to admit it, I do not know where I would be without the three constant companions whom I’ve spoke about. I’m stubborn and independent, but I’ve learned that I cannot do things by myself.

I will always need someone, you will always need someone. But don’t forget to be that someone for someone else.