Friday, March 25, 2011

A Something of Things. Do you know?

My favorite something from yesterday was a something blue
not just blue, cerulean
clear, clean, crisp
like a perfect fall sky

Or maybe, it was yellow
pale and warm,
like fresh, soft, creamy butter

Or perhaps it was red
bright, brilliant, and crimson
like donated blood in a little glass vial

Or was it green, a sort of turquoise
Maybe orange or purple or magenta

What was the color? 
What was the thing?
This something, something, something
that so struck me
and became
my favorite something from a yesterday

What was it? Where? and Why?

I don't know. 
I don't know.

I don't know

The Value of Photographs

This is my paper on the value of photographs from last quarter...

Carrie Latet said, “a photograph is memory in the raw.” This is such a true statement. Photographs are reminders of who we are and where we've been. I can walk into a friend's house, find their photo album or peruse the photos displayed on their walls, and get to know them. Their families and friends are exhibited. I can see where they've been on vacations, who they spend the most time with, their smiles, memories, and essentially their life. Similarly, I can peruse a friend's Facebook page. I can see how much value they put in photographs by what they have uploaded to their account, how many photographs they have put on the internet, and what these photographs depict. Once again, their lives are displayed. I can explore each moment that has been captured and saved to this database. I can share their memories with them. But is there more appreciation for the printed photographs or the digital ones? There is a definite difference in the value of a printed image versus a digital one. By the same token, there often seems to be a greater value for older printed photographs.
There is a significant difference between printed and digital photos. One is physical, you can touch it and bend it and hold it in your hands. The other you can still visually interact with, but not physically. However, they still have similarities. Both are visual representations. They both capture a moment and preserve it forever. Whether high quality or poor quality, both are a memory or documentation of a moment, object, person, feeling, etc.
Another difference between digital and printed photographs is their value. Overall, printed
images appear to have more value than digital photographs. This is not to say the content of one is valued or appreciated more than the other, but that the image itself seems to have more value when it is printed rather than pixels on a screen. Part of this comes from the physicality of the photograph. When you hold it in your own two hands it is more vulnerable. It can be smudged by greasy fingers, ripped in half by a small child, or crumpled into a ball and tossed in a wastebasket. Part of the value comes from the fact that it is destructible. Photographs are important for preserving memories. This makes preserving the photograph vital, because the memories and moments linked to it are important.
The memories and moments connected with at digital image are just as special and worth preserving; they simply possess more durability. Although it is quite simple to hit the “delete” button on the computer and exterminate an image, the photo still seems less fragile. It can't be crinkled or cut or thrown away in the same physical way a printed image can. This causes one to more highly value the printed image over the digital image.
An excellent example of this concept can be found in family photo albums. There is something thrilling, interesting, and special about pulling out a photo album and looking back at the documented years. Smells, sounds, tastes, laughs, smiles, and events come flying back as the memories pour from the pages. Carefully examining the snapshots and then turning the page to see what the next page holds is exciting. There is a bit of anticipation right before the page is turned as you can't quite remember what comes next. Or, if it is a photo album that has been virtually memorized, there's a moment of excitement as you remember the favorite photo that is ahead.
I remember my mom telling me about when she was a little girl. She adored her grandma, who we call “Memaw,” and spent hours at Memaw's house after school and during the balmy summer months. My mother has many fond memories from these days. She loved spending time with my great-grandmother and playing outdoors in the spacious backyard. Yet, one of her favorite activities wasn't playing with dolls, painting ceramic figurines (one of my great-grandma's favorite hobbies), or
adventuring in the “great outdoors.” Some of her most enjoyable afternoons were spent browsing through Memaw's many photo albums. The albums were kept on the large, wooden coffee table in the middle of the sitting room. My mom would sit on one of the big comfy chairs, pull the large album out, and spend a few blissful hours looking through them. “I loved looking through those photos!” my mom told me. “And I didn't just look through them once or twice. That was one of my favorite pastimes. I'd look through them often. It was a connection to her, and I loved seeing her life's story right there, before my eyes. It was an adventure I got to take with her through her memories.” The pictures depicted Memaw's life. They told her story, held her memories. My mother could travel back in time and see the places my great-grandmother had visited, the people she had known, and the moments she had experienced. Her travels, interests, smiles, friends, and family were remembered in those pages. My mother could share those moments with Memaw without ever leaving the sitting room.
A similar tale can be told of my own family and siblings. My mom generally keeps the family photo albums in the top of her closet. Still, whenever she gets them out there is an abundance of excitement and chatter. Most of my five siblings (the six-year-old isn't too terribly interested yet) grab an album and being to eagerly flip through them. We all laugh at the funny pictures (of which there are many!), running around showing each other the old photos and giggling at our old hair cuts or clothes. Many times “I can't believe I wore that!” or “Oh my gosh! I look SO funny!” can be heard. Sometimes we can't remember the places the photos were taken so we'll dash about, find our mom, and ask her to recount whatever tale accompanies the picture. For me, flipping through the pictures from my childhood is fun and interesting. I get to see things I don't remember, like living in Russia or vacations to Turkey or Hungary.
All these memories are special, and the physical photograph makes them more tangible. When asked what they would grab to save in case of a fire, many people's response is, “the photo albums!” I
know I personally have many of my old(er) photos (the ones I don't have on the computer) stored in a
firesafe box, just incase. Photos are incredibly important to me and even all the digital ones are backed up at least twice. Despite the thousands of photographs I have on my computer, when I came to college I still printed many of them out. I could have easily browsed through my digital albums when I missed someone or wanted to revisit a past memory. Yet the physicality of the photo made it more important. I printed about two hundred photographs and carefully put them in a photo album. Each photo represents a person, place, or memory. There are moments I fear I would forget if I didn't see them. Many more photos are plastered to my walls, all great memories and moments to be reminded of daily.
Not only are printed photos valued, but many people highly value old photographs. A huge factor in this is that old photographs are one of a kind. Due to the fact that there are not digital copies (unless one has scanned the photo), the value of the image increases. If something happens to the photograph, it vanishes (an exception being if one has the negatives or scanned copies). This fragility automatically gives value to the printed photo.
Another important aspect to be taken into consideration is the historical significance of older photographs. When one holds an old photograph in their hands it feels as though they are holding an old artifact. Looking at an old picture feels like glimpsing a bit of history. The frayed edges, crinkles, and tears, add to the unique effect. The photo encompasses a feeling of traveling back in time to a moment far past, but a moment not forgotten. The memory lives on, captured forever in that black and white or sepia photo, the memory preserved.
My cousin in Louisiana loves these old photographs. She has searched far and wide and has quite a collection of old images of our family. That part of the family has lived in Louisiana for many generations. She managed to find a picture of my great-grandma's house from the late 1800's. My great-grandmother (we called her Annie) was born in 1915 and I have visited her house many times, though she has now passed away. It's unbelievable to see such an old image of a place I've been countless times through my life. Through the photos my cousin has found she has been able to learn
about our family's history. So many stories are told in the images. Collecting them, she has been able to piece together this tale. It's thrilling and fascinating for her. And she isn't the only one to benefit from her passion. The rest of the family, as well as future generations, will be able to see these old pictures. They will explore the past, while continuing to add to the collection, furthering the documentation of our family's history.
Similarly, my sister loves old pictures. For her though, it isn't so much the subject of the photo as the photograph itself. I talked to her about it, wondering what attracted her so strongly to these old black and white or sepia tone images that she has hung about her room. “They're just so cool!” she said. “I mean they're so old. They're like antiques. It's a picture no one else has from years and years ago. And it's so fun to see the old clothing or hair styles. They're so different from now. I like looking at them and seeing how styles have changed, or how we are changing back to those old styles. The old buildings look cool too. It's neat to just see how things were a long time ago, and how they've changed. I love it. And the fact that the pictures themselves are so old is awesome too! I like thinking of how someone fifty or a hundred years ago took this picture. It's like history.” Every time we go to a yard sale or resale shop my sister looks for old photos to add to her collection. Her high value of the old pictures is their history. By looking at them and saving them, she's preserving a bit of the past. She gets to experience moments that she would never get to be part of any other way. It's okay that she doesn't know the people or recognize the places, the age of the photographs still gives them a quality and value that can't be priced by money.
Photographs are so important. The often quoted statement, “a picture's worth a thousand words,” holds true. Photos take us back to a place or time and remind us of a moment. They capture
that second forever. People are visual, and photographs make memories possible to remember in a way that words cannot. Photographs are everywhere. They appear on billboards to advertise, they fill magazines, they sit in albums in our homes waiting to be admired and examined. We can find photos
all over the internet, documenting our every moment on our Facebook pages, or plastered to our walls. We don't just want photos, we need them. They're essential for preserving our memories. They make us smile, laugh, or cry. They evoke emotions and tell tales.
For these reasons, photos are greatly valued. No matter their medium, whether printed or digital, they are still cherished. Though all photos are highly regarded because of the memories they preserve, printed photographs hold rich value and appreciation. There is something significant about a tangible object. Being able to flip through the pages of a photo album is better than scrolling through images on a computer screen. The excitement of turning the page, holding up the picture and closely examining it, or being able to put it in a frame on a desk to periodically glance back at while at work or around the house holds something special for us.
Old pictures are extremely valuable as well. They are artifacts, containing bits of history for the viewers. Sometimes it is an individual's personal history, which is fascinating to explore. Being able to see one's ancestors – their friends and families, the places they visited or lived, and the moments they experienced – is priceless. These photos hold a connection to the past. They allow us to visit people who are long gone, people we could never see any other way. Even pictures of people or places we do not know are still interesting. There is history and adventure in those pictures, they hold people to meet and places to visit. The photos pull the viewers back in time and show them a different world.
Printed or old photographs have a certain special quality about them, but all photos are valuable and cherished. The expressions, faces, buildings, giggles, vacations, moments, and memories they preserve are more precious than gold. They exist everywhere, constantly reminding us of the people, places, and moments we love and want to remember forever.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Currently Untitled and Subject to Change

Won't let the clouds of this

This rainy day


Get in my way

Won't let the rains

Rains of love

And loss


Take my joys away

The Bestest I Can Be

I want to be the best Katy Owens I can possibly be. By that I don't mean the most attractive, best-dressed, smartest, best at art, more likable, or most loved. I don't mean the best at things that can be measured by others. I don't want to be the best version of myself that I can think of. I want to be the best version that God can think of. I don't want to be my version of Katy Owens. I want to be the version of Katy Owens that Jesus planned, that He loves, that He delights in. I want to be Jesus' bestest version of Katy Owens.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


 The world is white. A blanket of freshly fallen snow softly drapes over everything, the swings and slides outside our apartment building, the benches along the paths, the fences and gates. It is piled up like giant, fluffy pillows outside on the windowsill. Fresh, pure, beautiful, and thus far untouched by man, the snow simply begs to be admired and experienced first-hand. This isn't the sort of snow one unabashedly dashes into without cares or concern. It is a peaceful, quiet snow. It asks for a slow walk, for appreciation, for respect for its pure beauty.
So, bundled up in hats and scarves and coats and boots and gloves, we went out to meet the snow. Strolling along, we could only guess at where the path was. The world was white, quiet, and peaceful. It was truly magical.
We walked to our best friends' thousands of times while living in Russia. The walk wasn't too terribly far. There were fences to walk past, a path to follow, and a forest to pass by on our left. And there was a lamppost. Just a lamppost...commonplace, everyday, ordinary, no. In our white wintery world, on our journeys to our friends' house, it was magical. The world of snow and ice and the snow-drenched lamppost became our Narnia. We would trek along the path, passing the great dark forest, and see the light of that lonely lamppost and feel hope. Our young, childish minds took us on an adventure every time we passed it. The walk to that house was wonderful and anticipated, because of that one lamppost and the adventures it held and places it allowed our imaginations to take us.
I long for the effortlessness, ease, and simple faith of childhood. Oh to be whisked away to a land of mystical creatures and eternal winter by the mere sight of a lamppost along the pathway, snow-covered and magical.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Insecureabilities and Fearfullnesses

Yeah, I know those aren't words. I just didn't feel like using legitimate words, it's so much more fun to make them up!

I stumbled upon this quote yesterday, and it was eerily relevant to where I am in life right now...crazy how that happens sometimes...

“If someone wants to be a part of your life, they’ll make an effort to be in it. Don’t bother reserving a space in your heart for someone who doesn’t make an effort to stay.”

As I've said before...I'm a bit of a worrier. I'm also insecure, and have trust issue. I think the trust issues are definitely valid. I've lost pretty much every friend I've ever had. They just...leave. I think I've written about this before too! It's not so much that I expect everyone in my life to leave, it's just that I'm aware of the distinct possibility that many of the friends I know and love may, at a certain point, cease to be friends with me. History tends to repeat itself. I don't know what it is about me, but I don't seem to give people a desire to stick around. And maybe I've just known a lot of crappy people. Or maybe I am the common denominator. I don't know what to change though (if there's something I do that makes you hate my guts, let me know so I can change it purty please).

The result of this is that I'm often in a state of fear or worry that I've done something wrong. If someone is especially quiet that day, I assume they're upset with me. A friend isn't texting back, I'm afraid I've said something wrong, annoyed them, or just generally screwed up. This results in a lot of apologies. Sorry if you've been on the receiving end of them.

It's not that I'm a people pleaser exactly. I'm just...tired of being hurt. Another result of this is a lot of worry about the friendships I currently have. They're all going great, and I have amazing friends here, but there's always this fear in the back of my mind, this little nagging voice quietly wondering, "so when are they going to leave?"

It can make me a bit insecure too. I look around and wonder what is wrong with me, why have I lost so many friends. What do I do or say or not do or say that makes people not want to be my friend? I compare myself to other people, become a silly insecure mess, and it all goes downhill. That doesn't happen that often. Now I sound really pathetic :P I promise I'm not that lame. These insecurities and fears are usually more of tiny voices in the back of my mind, not overbearing screaming thoughts.

So while I'm sitting around comparing myself to all the people who are far superior to me, I gotta stop and remember some important thing. Most importantly, and cheesily of course, I'm sorry, is love. And you know me, Jesus' love. I've got that. He loves me no matter what, and He'll never leave! In addition to that, I have my family. And, despite their many annoying features, they're really pretty awesome! I was reminded of that when Megan came to visit this past week. Of course we had our few (very small) disagreements, but she's my best friend. She'll be here for me whenever and whatever, because she's my sister and we love each other. That's a great thought :)

And then there's the quote above. Yeah it kinda sucks, but it's a good reminder. Sometimes people do just suck, and they don't care, and they do leave. And that hurts and is awful and induces many tears, but it's life. It's better to keep living, not take up all your time dwelling in past or failing relationships and trying to force people to stay who don't want to be there. If people love you, they love you. It's mutual. You both make sacrifices, you both have space for each other. And if people don't really love you, then no matter how many thousands of miles of heart-space you save for them, they won't stay for long, if at all. So it's better to keep living and loving everyone, but save room for the people who want it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


BUBBLES! That's Dory from Finding Nemo's favorite thing, and jellyfish of course!

Today's weather was spectacular. I can't even begin to describe it. There was a slight breeze, a plethora of sunshine, and a high of sixty-two. Nothing beats that...nothing but a long walk with your best friend in said perfect weather! Which is of course what Katherine and I did after my Russian final and her shift at work. That was lovely, we walked around talking for about an hour.

Anyways, back to bubbles. Earlier, when I was walking to my Russian final, I saw a bunch of little kids from the day care a few blocks away playing on Driscoll Green. They were all running about, frolicking in the grass and warm rays of sun. And they were blowing bubbles. It looked so carefree! The bubbles were so beautiful, just floating about, their soapy surfaces glistening tiny rainbows in the sun. I think being a bubble might be kinda fun.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tea and Cupcakes

There really aren't any cupcakes...well there's a picture of them! I just thought that would sounded like one that went with tea. Currently I couldn't even have cupcakes if I wanted them. I've decided to go vegan for two weeks. One week has almost been reached! It hasn't really been that bad. I don't eat much animal product anyway. The biggest thing has been milk because I like putting milk in my tea. But thankfully the cafe I usually go to has soy-milk. I like that too! Also protein's a little harder since I can't put hardboiled eggs or cheese (I just tried to spell that "chease" ... silly me!) in my salads. But again it's been ok because they had hummus and chickpeas and beans! So it's actually been a quite nice little adventure. I don't think I could afford to go vegan ALL the time, and I think it would get a little annoying. I accidentally put honey in my tea this week before realizing that it's from bees. Oops. But I think I'll probably periodically go vegan for a few weeks or month or something. It's probably a good thing health-wise too since I can't slip up and eat ice cream or cookies or sugary cereal! 

So I don't really have a specific purpose with this post. I just felt like writing in general, but not a paper. I HATE writing papers for school! They're miserable. Even if it is something I'm interesting in, I hate writing for someone. The great thing about blogging is that it is 100% mine. It's free. There are no restrictions. If I don't want to capitalize my words, punctuate, or spell correctly...I don't have to! I don't have to worry about the correct word order, subject-verb agreement, having everything perfectly outlined, and best of all, no thesis statement. I'm awful about thesis statements, and have never written a paper that automatically had one. I always have to write the paper, then have someone else read it, figure out my thesis, and then I add it in somewhere in the introduction. I'm just not an organized writer. I ramble, I rant, and I don't like to re-read it later to make sure it's formatted correctly. I just want to get my information or thoughts or feedback out there and be done with it. That doesn't work so well in school papers! I feel like if I hadn't been homeschooled, and had therefore actually had legitimate writing classes, I'd be a little better with the correct formats, thesis statements, and the like. 

So I'm writing this paper on the value of photographs. I'll post it on here when it's done. I have to give a presentation in class about the paper. Though I'm not really a huge fan of the assignment, primarily since I hate writing papers, it has been super fun to find old family photos! 

My great grandma, Annie, was so beautiful. 

When I was little, I loved Peter Pan. I mean, I still do. But this was a bit more of an obsession. It was definitely my favorite game to play, favorite fairy tale, favorite movie, etc. Megan loved it too. We played Peter Pan ALL the time. So for Christmas that year my mom made Megan a Wendy costume and me a Peter Pan costume! I think little Jamie got to be Michael. 

My Grandma Gloria is the best woman I know. I love her SO much. She is incredible. I wish every girl could have a grandma like her. 

This photo brings back so many random memories. We'd just cut down that tree in our front yard. I was so sad! It had some disease and was dying, but to me it still looked fine. I liked it, it turned pretty colors in the fall and I loved jumping in the millions of leaves it shed after we'd raked. So dad had just cut the tree down that weekend, and we went to the Deer Creek block party for the first time that year. It was super fun and mom and dad let us get our faces painted. For little kids, that is the epitome of a good life! 

 This picture of my little brother, James, makes me laugh!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Like We Used To

One of my favorite songs, ever :)

I can feel her breath as she's sleeping next to me 
Sharing pillows and cold feet
She can feel my heart, fell asleep to its beat
Under blankets and warm sheets

If only I could be in that bed again
If only it were me instead of him

Does he watch your favorite movies?
Does he hold you when you cry?
Does he let you tell him all your favorite parts?
When you've seen it a million times

Does he sing to all your music
While you dance to "Purple Rain"?
Does he do all these things
Like I used to?

14 months and 7 days ago
Oh, I know you know how we felt about that night
Just your skin against the window
But we took it slow and we both know

It shoulda been me inside that car
It should have been me instead of him in the dark
[ From:]

Does he watch your favorite movies?
Does he hold you when you cry?
Does he let you tell him all your favorite parts
When you've seen it a million times?

Does he sing to all your music
While you dance to 'Purple Rain'?
Does he do all these things
Like I used to?

I know, love
(Well, I'm a sucker for that feeling)
Happens all the time, love
(I always end up feeling cheated)
You're on my mind, love
(Oh sorta let her when I need it)
That happens all the time, love, yeah

Will he love you like I loved you?
Will he tell you everyday?
Will he make you feel like you're invincible
With every word he'll say?

Can you promise me if this was right?
Don't throw it all away

Can you do all these things?
Will you do all these things
Like we used to?
Oh, like we used to 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ears Open, Mouth Closed

Last Sunday's teaching/discussion at Passage definitely pertained to me. Granted, it pertained to a past me a little more, but still.

We're currently inching through James. In this case, our slow pace is a good thing! Way too often people don't take the time to read the Bible. Instead of really getting anything out of it, the goal is just to read as much as possible. I guess quantity seems equal to holiness? Anyways. We're slowly making our way through James, usually a verse a week. It's really good because we're able to really focus on what we're reading, as well as discuss it. Always good to hear lot of opinions on matters. 

So I used to be a very angry person. Not in the "I hate the world! Kill everyone!" sense, but just that I got mad a lot. Well. I still do. Just not as much, it's definitely a work in progress. God has been super gracious and helped me a lot though. I was able to finally recognize that my automatically frustrated responses to my family was hurting them, and injuring our relationship. That made me want to change. Wanting to change meant I was putting forward effort as well as asking God for help, and I think I've at least started improving! Not being around my family 24/7 helps of course. I pray that when I'm home over the summer though I'll still be able to treat them with love and respect. 

So James 1:19-20 talks about anger. Anger hurts God, it doesn't please Him, and it doesn't glorify Him. That's good to hear. It's yet another reminder of how important it is to change. It reminds me that I'm not just working on this for myself or my relationship with family, I need to be working on it because of God.

Anger is such a bad example to the world. If I have a fish sticker on my car (and virtually everyone knows that represents Christianity) and then cut someone off, flip them off, develop road rage (which I can periodically have a tendency towards), then that anger is associated with God/Christianity. It's hypocritical and absolutely 100% does not glorify God. Our lives should be about honoring Jesus. 

If you think about it, we aren't here very long. I mean maybe 80 to 100 years on this earth. Currently that seems like an eternity, but in actuality, it isn't. Every second of the life we have should be living for Jesus. It should be full of love, compassion, care, service, and joy. That's super hard. But Jesus knows that, due to sin, living a perfect life is impossible. He still wants us to try though. He wants us to trust Him also, trust Him to help us. We have to place our lives in His hands and let Him shape us into who He wants us to be. 

He'll work through us, through our crazy, sinful lives. I think that's really cool. God will use me. He doesn't NEED me in the sense that He cannot survive without me, but He still wants me. He wants me because I can bring Him glory. He wants me to share His great love with others. He wants me to love Him. He wants me to love others. He wants me to live for Him. He wants my life...and He can totally have it. 

A super huge part of living for God is loving and listening. Listening is harder than it seems! I know I have a way too difficult time with it...just ask my sister. Or maybe my problem is more that I love to help. And by help I generally mean give advice. Half the time people haven't even finished their story and I'm trying to fix it. At times that can be good, but often people just want someone to compassionately listen. 

Listening = loving. When we take the time to legitimately listen to someone we're showing them a lot of care. We're taking time out of our busy schedules to spend with them. That's a sacrifice of sorts, and people really appreciate it. Really genuinely listening  means so much to people. Asking them questions that prove you really heard them and care is huge. People love to talk, and we should love to listen. That's what I'm working on at least!