in your short six years, you touched more lives than I could hope to touch in three lifetimes.
thank you for your example, your courage, your spunk and your spirit.

you will always be a forever survivor, sweet girl.

say hello to Maddie, Meg and Mary for me. Send them my love.


evening shift.

"She was one of those girls who pretended that she was an animal when she was seventeen, you know? A weirdy."


i am meant to teach.

fingers crossed that my petition to change my major to English Education will be approved...the second time around...


Observations at the beginning of the Fall Semester

I'm overwhelmed and that is an understatement. I'm up at 6:45 every morning and on campus before eight to go to class and attend work and I'm lucky if I get home by seven at night. And then I get to do homework for the most rigorous history class offered on campus, prepare lesson plans for the 6th graders I'm going to be teaching this semester, ready a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne and write out notecards for my World Civ. class. Working 20 hours a week, taking core classes and trying to feed myself, spend time with my sister, best friend and brother is exhausting and overwhelming. But I'm finding my passion for my classes and being passionate about what I am learning makes it all worth it.

I love learning. I love being busy. And even though I'm exhausted all hours of the day, I think I'm going to like this semester. I feel at peace with where life is taking me and with my plans for the next few semesters. And I feel determined to succeed.


Nathaniel Hawthorne

"I took shame to myself for having been so long a writer of idle stories, and ventured to hope that wisdom would descend upon me with the falling leaves of the avenue"

Fall always seems to be the most perfect time to write.


observations at the end of the seven week break.

I'm wide awake at 6:00 AM and this time, I can't blame the construction workers across the street, because they didn't start hammering away until 6:30. My alarm was set for 9:00, but I guess that plan went down the tubes. Anxiety gnaws away at my stomach; my jaw aches as I try to stay away from one more does of advil before I go visit the dentist this morning.

I get thoughtful at times like these; in the early morning hours when I'm supposed to be sleeping or in the mid afternoon lull of transitioning seasons. I feel the pull to write; and I never know what will end up coming out of my fingers. I just know that I have to something in written word; to document it all as I experience it.

I look back at my goals for this seven week break and realize that I obtained almost none of them. The every day routine of getting up, going to work, and coming home sucked me into a monotony that was only punctured by the empty ache in my gut that belongs to China. Maybe I needed the down time; a break from the crazy life I have lived this year. The constant traveling, working, serving, loving-it can all be so exhausting at the end of the day.

But living life in a way that leaves you tired at the end of every day, and not just sleepy, but tired...well, I feel like that's the only way to live. It means you've worked your hardest; loved the loudest and above all, let nothing escape you. No regrets. Just living fully.

And I realize that I want to come home every day, tired.


Into the Black Hills

After spending the afternoon in the Badlands, Dad and I drove onward to see Mount Rushmore! I was so excited to see this monument; it's been on my bucket list for years! As we pulled up to the entrance, there was a huge thunderstorm coming in. Dad and I got caught in a hailstorm while we were walking around and had to hide under a tiny arch. I'm also a sucker for visitor centers at places like this, and the one at Mount Rushmore did not disappoint! It was FANTASTIC and I learned so much and could have easily spent over an hour in there alone. 

I had to find the New Hampshire flag and take a picture to represent.


turns out I have been mispronouncing "decal" for my whole life.

me: "Did you see that lightening!"
her: "Where?"
me: "...in the sky!"
her: "I bought nose hair trimmers the other day."

Into the Badlands

After driving for 27 hours straight and then spending the night in a small town in the middle of South Dakota, dad and I ventured into the Badlands National Park. I have never seen anything like it! The way the earth was just carved and weathered away was absolutely stunning. Dad and I spent the afternoon driving through the park, experiencing the wildlife and understanding what "deafening silence" means. In the quiet of the vast prairie and canyons, my ears felt like I had a million pounds of pressure being pushed in on them because it was so quiet. It was awesome to experience such an untouched piece of land and incredible for me to photograph it. I think the following are some of my best shots to date:

Super unflattering for both of us; but I still like it.

My dad thinks I'm crazy, but I kept on taking pictures of my car as we traveled, to prove that Cazz made it.

Dad experiencing the deafening silence, as a storm started to roll in.

So stunning!


on the road

My roommate/co-worker Melissa just came back from a week-long road trip with her dad and has started writing about it on her blog. It made me realize that I haven't posted a single photo from my week long road trip with my daddy that I took at the end of July.

Dad and I have been planning on this trip since the days of Hamilton (and the epic fail that happened in upstate New York). So, it was long over due when we climbed into my Cazz Machine and headed West. We had a BLAST! We saw so much of the country and stopped as so many amazing places and talked about so many things.

I'm slowly going to post photos from the week, but I easily took over 3,000, so I'll do it a little at a time so I don't get overwhelmed. Here we go:

On the road! I took this as we passed the place where Dad and I had to turn around with Hamilton the first time we attempted this trip:

The locks at the Erie Canal.

Beautiful sunset and incoming thunderstorm in upstate New York:

Dad drove through the night and switched out with me around 4:00 AM. We drove through Chicago around 6:00 AM, as the sun was rising. And I survived it. 

Dad and I at a rest stop in Minnesota:

Driving over a bridge in South Dakota, where we finally stopped; after driving for 27 hours straight!

The prairie of South Dakota. It was stunning:

(Dad is still learning how to use the focus on my SLR)

Filling up in Wall, South Dakota. 

Dad scraping the bug guts off my windshield. We had to do this every time we filled up. The guts were NASTY!

Dad at Wall Drug, in South Dakota. It's a giant drug store turned into a tourist attraction. We 

We snagged lunch before we headed towards the badlands.

Seriously though; America is beautiful and I loved every moment I spent in the car seeing it.