Running Log Day 2: Finishing is the Most Important Part

•October 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Get your mind out of the gutter ya jackwagon, I’m talking about running here.

Today was the second day on my “let’s get back in shape ya lazy bum” initiative.  I didn’t sleep well last night and really didn’t feel like going this morning.  I was woken up way too many times, whether it was my mom asking where her camera was, my cat yowling outside my door (shut up kitty), my cat yowling to get out of my door (shut up kitty), or whatever else the sleep gods had cursed me with.  I finally decided to put on my big girl pants and got my gear and set off.

I noticed it was a lot easier at the start than yesterday’s run.  Probably because I knew what to expect, and was more prepared for it.  Most times I set out at a fast clip, burn out by half way or so, take a 5 minute walk break, and drag myself home.  Today I decided that pace was irrelevant, I just wanted to run the entire way.  I ran the same loop as yesterday, but found myself more keyed into my surroundings than myself- that definitely helped the process go faster.  On multiple occasions I thought to myself “you don’t have to run all the way up there, just take the shortcut, no one will know” or “you can walk, no one will find out” and almost gave in.  Then I thought what is the point of doing something if you’re just going to cheat yourself.  That was a good life lesson for me as well.  Well, two life lessons.

1) Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  If you go too fast right out of the gate you’ll always burn out.  Dedication and hard work > quick bursts of passion and excitement.  Not that passion and excitement aren’t important, they just won’t sustain you through your whole journey.

2) You are your own worst enemy.  If you can fight off the little demon in your head telling you to give up or rationalizing your bad choices you can do anything.  Whether it’s the little guy telling you to take a walk break, the little guy telling you to give in to a temptation, or the little guy telling you you’re not good enough- if you can get past him you can do anything you want.

Sure I didn’t break any land speed records, but you know what the funny part was?  By running at a constant speed the whole way, rather than sprinting and burning myself out, I knocked my time down a minute and a half.  That’s like some tortoise and the hare biz in action right there.

Song of the day: Marchin On by OneRepublic

Life as of Late

•October 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a good writing sesh, figured now was as good a time as any.  It’s been an interesting few couple days, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching the last few weeks and am really finding out about who I was, who I am, and who I want to be.

Looking back on the past has been bittersweet.  Like I said before, I wish I knew back then what I know now.  I see how some of the choices I rationalized back then really impacted my life, most of them having negative effects.  It wasn’t life ruining by any means- I still did fine in school and liked who I was, but I see what effects my double life had on my academic life and also on my personal life.  I won’t dive into details- I’ve already done that, but I’ve learned a lot from looking backwards.  I don’t look back with regret, but rather to learn from my mistakes and make sure that I never fall into those patterns again.  I’ve learned that sometimes the right people come into your life at the wrong times, whether it’s the wrong time situation-wise, mindset-wise, or otherwise, it’s a fact of life.  I’ve also learned that sometimes you have to lose these people to snap out of your funk and really get your proverbial shit together.  It hurts to see them go, but knowing that if you never would have lost them you never would have had a reason to change is a bit of a silver lining.

As for my mindset now, I feel good about myself.  I haven’t given into my vices in quite some time (31 days on one of them, 58 on another- feels good man).  I’ve been writing more (obviously).  I’ve gotten back into running and hope to run a half marathon in 3-4 months.  I’ve gotten back into my spirituality and feel great about it.  I’ve sorted out a lot of questions that I really wrestled with and feel really good about it.  I love my job and can’t wait to be a dentist.  I’ve been comfortable being me and have a lot more self esteem.  I’ve always been confident on the outside, maybe borderline cocky (it’s all in jest, I swear!), but on the inside it’s been a sine wave.  One week I’d be king of the castle (I have a chair, I have a chair), and the next I’d be beating the crap out of myself.  I have found myself a lot more level headed lately- I still have my ups (and trust me they’re up there), but my lows aren’t nearly as low.  I’ve been on a bit of a “flatline” lately, where everything is just kinda meh, but I know it’s my brain rewiring itself and its reward circuit.  It feels good knowing I’m in control of myself again.  Not that I was ever not in control, but just that I have the discipline to stick to my commitments, even when every fiber of me wanted to crumble.

I’ve really been keying into people who exhibit traits I admire and working to get to know them better, rather than just making friends with whoever was available.  Rather than feeling like I don’t fit in, I see them as positive influences to raise me up and build me into the type of person I want to be, even if they don’t know it.  I have probably creeped a few of them out by seeming overly interested and talking to them too much, but I just think they’re really awesome and I want to make them my friends.  BE MY FRIENDS GOOD PEOPLE LETS BE WEIRD AND AWESOME TOGETHER.  I PROMISE IM ONLY WEIRD IN PRIVATE, IM VERY WELL BEHAVED AND ACTUALLY SEEM LIKE A COOL KID IN PUBLIC.  REALLY, PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT MY SECRET ALTER EGO.

I’m learning a lot about myself lately, and it’s been really good.  At first it seemed like this gap year was going to be a drag, but it has really been a huge, huge blessing.  I can’t imagine being successful in dental school with the mindset I had before- it just wouldn’t have worked.  I honestly believe that I can do it now, and am really excited to do so.  Other things have brought me down in the last couple months, and though they still hurt, I see the benefits, even through the storm.  Everything really does happen for a reason, even if you can’t see it at the time.  The amount of times that statement has rung true in my life is uncanny, and I’m learning to look for the positives in every fall.

Thanks for accepting my feels bloggies, you’re moving up in my book.  It’s actually nice being able to write and not have people I know read it, I’ve got an image to maintain here.  It’s good to have a place to feeldump though, even if no one cares enough to read it.

First Run: Success

•October 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Finally got back around to running again after a 6 month or so hiatus.  Figured it’d be good to stop being a lazy bum now that soccer ended and there’s a lull before basketball starts.  I’m pretty proud of myself: 3 miles in about 27 minutes, not bad for someone who hasn’t run in a blue moon and a half.

The old “the first step is the hardest” cliche has been in full effect lately.  I told myself I was going to go the last 3 days and never got around to it- though one day it did start pouring as I walked out the door.  Looks like mother nature had other plans.

I love being outside and seeing Clarkston in the fall.  There’s a lot of little trails and riverside spots to run, away from traffic.  I checked out our beach area and some other wooded spots; that’s the cool part about running- you can go where ever you want.  I’m going to try to start running some races, I think a 10k is a good starting spot to work towards.  Eventually I’d like to run a half marathon but that’s a ways away, gotta start small before I burn myself out.

On Religion and Science

•October 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Recently I saw a comment made by a friend (the pink blob) on my Twitter feed and decided to throw myself (the attractive, green and purple blob…the gaussian blur really brings out my eyes) into the fray.  Keep in mind that this is a girl who used to regularly attend church, mission trips and the whole nine yards.  Let me also say that I can’t blame her at all for how she was feeling- I went through the exact same thing.

 

Religion

 

 

Having spent four years studying Human Biology in the Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State, I know how it feels to put your faith through the gauntlet of science, as well as how it feels to be surrounded by those who mock you for believing something with so little concrete evidence.  The church made it very hard to be both a scientist and a Christian.  For so long, science was condemned as work against God, and scientific viewpoints were cast out of society.  It is unfortunate that the people who most frequently speak on the matter of religion and science have little to no knowledge in either regard.  One may be well versed in religion, but has never studied science past grade school.  The other may be a brilliant scientist, but never took the time to see what religion is really about.  It is often the uneducated who are the loudest, and who get heard, which often drives people to one extreme or the other.

To me, science is equatable to the Wizard of Oz, where the crew finally see the man behind the curtain.  This quote from Richard A. Simmons sums up this thought quite concisely.  He says, ““God conceals from us vast stretches of ultimate reality.  As the centuries and millennia pass, however, God slowly pulls back the curtain and opens up the door…the Creator has allowed us to see new spiritual truths and scientific principles that demonstrate His nature.  As the ‘glass darkly’ lightens, our understanding of the greatness of God deepens” (http://www.davidmays.org/BN/SweMore.html).

For me, studying the sciences strengthened my faith.  Studying topics like Immunology, Genetics, Physiology, Biochemistry, and others made my head spin.  Not because of the difficulty of the classes (yes they were difficult), but because there is no way that all of those came to exist through random action.  I know that the Earth has been around for a long time, and had a long time to develop, but I just can’t accept the fact that a single celled, heterotrophic “organism”, if you can even call it that, developed and differentiated itself into every type of living thing that exists today.  I won’t get into the complexities of the human genome, cellular replication and modification or any of those other subjects, but trust me when I say that the accuracy that those systems operate with did not come by purely through chance.  One tiny alteration or error, at the sub-microscopic level can send the entire organism spiraling towards death.

On the other hand however, I cannot accept that everything in this world was put in place just as it should be.  I know that the Christian in me “should”, but the scientist in me just can’t do it.  I really struggled with this for the longest time, I felt like I had to believe one or the other.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this world recently, it’s that there is a lot, and I mean a lot, of gray area.  I have seen evolution with my own eyes- your immune system evolves every day.  Your genome is mutating and evolving every day (AWWW YEAH WE GON BE TERMINATORS SOMEDAY).  So where do we draw the line as to what is wrong and what is right?

For me, I feel that intelligent design is the most accurate answer, and the one that I feel most comfortable supporting.  We weren’t plopped down 4000 years ago ready to rock- look at the Bible and how much the world has changed.  Shoot, look at 10 years ago and how much technology and medicine have changed.  I believe that everything was put into the world with a purpose and room to grow and adapt.  Maybe someday there will be evidence to change my way of thinking, but for now that’s where I’m at.  The beauty of this?  No one can tell me if I’m right or if I’m wrong.  They can debate it, sure, and I love talking about it and kicking ideas around.  But at the end of the day, nobody really knows for sure.

What science can’t explain, however, is why my mom still wants to serve in every way she can, despite losing her parents at 16, having a brother in jail and a sister struggling with drugs.  It can’t explain why I am able to forgive those who have deeply, deeply hurt me- and not give in to the primal urges of anger and bitterness.  It can explain the mechanics of cancer; the oncogenes, the cellular promoters and suppressors, the genetic mutations; but it can’t explain why the person survived uses their story to lift others up who are going through the same thing.  Science can explain the “how”- that is actually in the definition of the word- but it cannot explain the why.  It is the mechanism, not the answer.  You can understand how everything works, down to the most minute quantum particle- but you still won’t know the “why”.

Christianity has been a huge part of my life in making me complete as a person.  Where science makes me thirsty for knowledge, spirituality makes me thirsty for grace.  Just as I am compelled to learn how a bird flies, or how lightning works, I am drawn to serving others and showing compassion and grace to the best of my ability.  Once I started reading the Bible, I saw that science and religion can co-exist.  So much gets lost in translation between the Bible and what we are told.  The church puts its own spin on it, the news spins it another way and the neighbor up the street has his own twist.  What I have found, though, is that the Word is pure.  There is no one telling you how to read it or interpret it, that is between you and your God.  No one is telling you what is right or what is wrong, or what to believe- that is for you to figure out.  For so long I just based my understanding of Christianity on what I was told, what the media showed, what the church did, and how “Christians” acted.  I have since realized that the Word gets twisted so many times, that it not only loses its original meaning, but gets bent into completely different interpretations, depending on who is using it and what they are trying to accomplish.

At the end of the day, I do believe that both can exist in harmony.  I won’t look to the bible to learn how cancer works, nor will I look into a textbook to see why we get it.  The way I see it, they are two different answers for two different questions- science as food for my head, and spirituality as food for my soul.

 

Captain’s Log: 3 Weeks Progress

•October 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment

So it’s been 3 weeks give or take (23 days) since I began my journey.  At first it felt like each day was an eternity.  I was in pretty rough shape; a lot of things were going on in my life that were really taking a toll on me.  In retrospect, it’s those things that made me change, so I really can’t be totally upset.

What changes have I seen so far?  Well, let me tell you!

1) Happiness.  This is the single biggest change I have seen in my life.  My personality hasn’t changed, save the fact that I am comfortable with being myself no matter the company.  I still love all the things I loved before- video games, sports, music, nature, and I’m still the same laugh happy goofball I was before.  What has changed, however, is my mindset and attitude towards myself, towards others, and towards life.  I am proud of who I am and who I am becoming.  Like really proud.  Not many people are willing to serve others and reach out to those in need, and I really enjoy being a person who does.  I don’t think about what others think about me anymore.  I used to dwell on it.  Is this manly enough?  Is this lame?  Am I too weird for everyone?  Now I embrace my uniqueness.  I have a lot of qualities that I am really proud of.  I can be a manly man, hunting, fishing, playing sports and drinking beer.  I love art and I love music- drawing and playing guitar really calm me down.  I can talk sports or I can talk philosophy.  I can joke around, have a great time and be the life of the party, or I can get serious and talk about things that are really hurting people who are too afraid to reach out for help.  Which brings me to my next point…

2) More in tune with my emotions.  I do have a sensitive side, I’ll admit it.  I don’t parade it around (I’m not an emo kid or a hipster, nice try Tumblr) but I don’t have to hide it anymore.  I can open up about my problems and let people in.  Vulnerability was a big issue for me, especially with everything I was hiding.  Now that I’ve put it out in the open, I have no problem talking to friends or those close to me about what is on my mind or what I’m going through.  I also recognize what emotional state I’m in, and realize that it is something that can be controlled.  Pissed off at the guy that cut you off?  Take a deep breath and appreciate the good in your life.  As Dr. Kabot says, it’s not cancer- we’ll get through it.  I am a lot more open about showing emotion as well.  Really happy?  Let it out.  Laugh like there’s no tomorrow; make everyone else feel good.  I used to get really happy about something and feel like I had to hide it.  I felt vulnerable if I was genuinely happy.  Why?  I have no idea.  Being happy with others is one of the best feelings you can have.  Where I used to reject affection, I now crave it.  I don’t want to push people away anymore, I want to bring them closer.

3) More social.  Instead of wanting to stay in and not put in the effort of being social I look forward to getting out.  Going to a new bar?  Cool, new friends and people to meet.  Going to a friends?  Alright, let’s go hang out.  I used to need constant stimulation in social settings- I was always looking for a ball to throw, a game to play or something to entertain me.  I still do this, but I’m also fine with just being in other people’s presence.  I never used to be able to just sit and shoot the breeze, and actually enjoy it now.  When people ask me to do things now, rather than make up an excuse not to go, I look forward to the adventure.

4) The world is more beautiful.  Colors are much more vivid.  Nature is much more beautiful, the leaves on the trees, the landscapes, the sunsets.  Music really impacts me again- I haven’t felt moved by a song since probably 7th grade.  People are much more amazing.  I don’t see the person per se, but I see the positives the offer the world.  This is not all due to the physiological change, of course not.  But I believe that it is a by product of my discipline, and of my letting of the chains that held me back.  Freeing myself of my demons has freed my mind as well, and with that freedom has come a recognition of how incredible the world is.  The little problems in life seem a lot smaller, and the good things seem larger than life.

5) I act on my feelings.  This is one of the bigger things I’ve noticed.  In the past, I would be hesitant to tell someone what I think of them, especially if I thought they were an awesome person.  I struggled with giving compliments, again probably due to how twisted my worldview had become.  Now if I think someone is awesome I tell them.  What good does it do keeping it inside?  Tell people how you feel about them, being vulnerable isn’t a bad thing.  It actually brings those you appreciate closer to you.  Honesty and trust are catalysts to great relationships.

6) I see people as people.  Looks are transient, personalities stick.  I no longer want to be friends with the “cool” kids, or the attractive people.  I am drawn to the people who are beautiful on the inside.  Call it soft, call it lame, call it what you want.  But they are the people that bring me happiness, and who I want to be with.  And no, I don’t mean I seek out ugly people who happen to be nice- I just key in on how someone treats others and what they bring to the world much more than their interests or how cool people think they are.

7) Patience.  I have come to realize that everyone has problems, even if they hide them.  Shoot, I seemed perfectly normal my whole life, maybe even more than normal.  People thought I had a great life and that I had it all together.  Even my girlfriends and family couldn’t see what I was hiding.  That’s how good I had become at it.  They knew something was up, but couldn’t put a finger on it.  Now imagine how someone who wasn’t as upbeat I was going through something similar.  Maybe their family member died or they lost a job.  Maybe they’ve been hurt or are struggling with demons.  I think this is in part due to my recent interest in religion as well, but I don’t take it personally anymore if people are rude or mean to me.  I keep my rose tinted glasses on and believe that everyone is inherently good, and that the rudeness or anger is situational.  Everyone has demons, they just handle them differently.

I know a lot of this is probably placebo, but I don’t care what it is.  I feel a lot better, have no feelings of depression or insecurity.  I don’t feel like I have to try to be something I’m not, being me is just fine.  I wish I could have found this mentality years ago, I lost out on a lot because of how blind I had been.  However, like I’ve said before, sometimes you have to fall in order to get back up.

Peace and love y’all

 

Anything but Country

•October 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It’s funny, whenever anyone asks what kind of music I listen to I always use the same canned response- “anything but country”.  I realized that was an entirely untrue statement; I listened to nothing but country on the entire two and a half hour drive home today and happen to love people moaning about their wife leaving, driving big trucks, drinking beer and shootin’ stuff.

It did make me think though.  All my life I have been unconsciously worried about what consequences being myself would have.  I had this image of who I thought I was, and would actually not do things to maintain that image.  I would tell myself that I didn’t like country, or didn’t like pizza.  I would tell myself these things because it was a cop out for trying new things, and God forbid, enjoying new things.  People would show me music and I’d say I wasn’t into it, only to find it on repeat on my iPod two weeks later.  I would get told about a show and rather than sit down and give it a shot, I would say I don’t like it- without ever seeing it.  I happen to love Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother and Parks and Recreation, why the hell didn’t I just admit it the first time?

I always noticed that I had two separate lives between my summer job and my school.  During the summer, I was a middle school camp counselor, a Pokemon playing, funny clothes wearing goofball who loved to make people smile and be happy.  Once I got to school though I (wrongly) thought that I would be laughed at if I acted that way.  This is Michigan State, you have to be cool and fit in.  I never really lost who I was, but I tucked it away, mostly because I thought it would make me less cool.  I have realized now that people gravitate to those who are themselves.  I can still be my athletic, musical, sensitive, manly self and have my own interests.  In my eyes, it’s cooler to  show your true colors.  I love Pokemon, I still watch Spongebob and I still cry when Mufasa dies in the Lion King (don’t judge me- you do too).

I’ve always worn a lot of different hats to fit in.  The athlete, the musician, the sensitive guy, the tough guy, the nerd, the intelligent one, and even a few negative ones like being the lazy one or the negative one.  If people were shooting something down as being lame or uncool I would go along with it- hell, fitting in is a lot easier than sticking out.  I would set up these labels as to who I was and who I wanted to be, completely cutting myself off from so many great experiences because I thought people would think of me differently or judge me.  To be honest, lately I’ve enjoyed people judging me or thinking I’m a dork.  It lets me see who my real friends are and who aren’t.

I always thought that I had to switch my hat depending on who I was around.  Hanging with the cool kids?  Sports and girls it is.  Hanging with the nerds?  Pokemon and video games.  Musicians?  Sensitive feelings and music.  Now I’ve found my one hat that fits all.  I can hang out with the cool kids and talk about dorky stuff- most of em are into it and just feeling the same way I was.  I can talk sports with the nerds.  They may not be as into it as I am, but it doesn’t mean they don’t care.  People, and more specifically groups of people aren’t black or white.  There’s a lot of gray in the world, and putting labels on what you like or don’t like is the absolute worst thing you can do to yourself.  Now when people ask me if I want to go somewhere or do something, I don’t care what it is.  Any adventure is a good adventure, and with an open mind and good attitude I might just find a new passion, or something I’m really into.  And when I do find something I really enjoy, I don’t hide it- I embrace it.  Who cares what people think about me learning Kickboxing or Painting?  Who cares if I want to learn Swing Dancing (I need to find classes- seriously if you know anyone hit me up).  I’m doing what makes me happy, and not hurting anyone, and that’s what matters.  Plus the people who shoot you down don’t matter- you’ll never see them again.  If anything, your happiness and passion might inspire them to put away their insecurities and come to dance class with you.

People will stick around if you are you, and not who you advertise yourself to be.  Open your mind and life becomes a lot more fun.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the world is awesome, and there is no one right way to live life.  And if you ask me what kind of music I like, I’ll tell you everything, even country.

Artprize is more than an art show

•October 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It’s an art experience.

I finally got around to checking out this awesome event.  I had heard a lot about it from friends who lived in the Grand Rapids area, but that’s quite a trek to make for an art show.  When my mom told me that she was going to visit my sister and was planning on spending the day walking around downtown Grand Rapids, I figured it might be fun to go see what the big fuss was all about.

I made the grand mistake of staying out ’til 4am, knowing full well that morning was going to come early.  That was a gross understatement- 7am is early on a normal day, let alone after sleeping for a mere 3 hours.  I’m still amazed at how much energy I had all day, even without a nap.  Coffee can do some amazing things, it’s no wonder we’re such good friends.

The drive over wasn’t bad at all.  It took about 2.5 hours, but my trusty iPod made the time fly by.  Jammed out to Babel, Jack White’s Blunderbuss and John Mayer’s Born and Raised- 3 absolutely fantastic albums.  If you haven’t checked them out yet, do so.  You can thank me later.

We met up with sister in downtown Grand Rapids around 11:30 and walked into town.  Grand Valley has a campus downtown, and it’s actually really nice.  I was very impressed, it’s a lot cooler than the Allendale campus for sure.

The first couple pieces of art were cool but nothing that blew me away.  Once we started hitting the meat and potatoes of the event, I was absolutely blown away.  The creativity showed by some of the artists blew me away.  Sculptures made from scrap metal and garbage, faces made from shadows, fish that “swam” with the current- it was all incredible.

I noticed that I had a different mindset than I usually do as well.  I think it is in direct relation to everything I’ve learned about myself and all the changes I’ve made lately, and I absolutely love it.  Instead of seeing scrap metal and thinking oh that’s neat, I was thinking to myself how awesome it was that someone had that idea, and dedicated their life to inspiring others.  In my past I would either think about how I wish I could do something like that, or shoot something down because I personally wasn’t a fan.  Now I can see the true beauty of art, even when the piece seems mundane or boring to me.  To someone this is their child.  They believe in the message they are sending through this medium and I try to see their point of view.  It is really liberating to think like this- I have found that I absolutely love art.  Instead of wishing I could paint or draw better, I find myself wishing I could see the world through everyone else’s eyes.  I have my own set of values and interests, and other people have theirs.  It is just really cool to be able to think like that.  Someday I hope to be able to travel and see the world through another culture’s eyes.  Humankind is absolutely awesome, and capable of some awesome things.

The best part, by far, though was the piece titled “Elephants”, which won the Best Piece award and the $200,000 prize.  We had to wait in line for nearly two hours, and I’m amazed at how upbeat I was despite only having consumed a banana and a cup of coffee.  I was cracking jokes and laughing, much to the entertainment of the people around us.  It was a long wait, why not try to spice it up eh?  We finally got into the building and got to see the piece, which did not disappoint.  At first we were a little let down- we were expecting an enormous sculpture of elephants.  Instead, we found ourselves looking at an 8′ x 32′ pencil drawing of elephants, monkeys, and other animals.  Once we got closer I was absolutely floored.  It was done entirely in pencil, and was incredibly detailed- I can honestly say I have never been more excited by a piece of art.  It is by far my favorite piece of art that I have ever seen live.

After leaving the GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum), we wandered around a bit more before finally heading home.  It was an awesome day and an awesome experience.  It was fun bonding with my sister, even though it was one of those days you would like to spend with someone special- my mom and sister just don’t get my humor like they should, they’re really missing out.  In spirit of self improvement, and in an effort to keep this good vibe wave rolling I’ve really been cutting back on computer time and forcing myself to get outside and get active.  I still screw around on Reddit sure, but I do it at night when there’s nothing else to do- not as a priority.  In the past I would have skipped on making the drive and would have missed out on this awesome experience.  Now I want to see everything this beautiful planet has to offer.  I still blog and facebook and check twitter too much, but I am actually drawn to new experiences and trying new things, like art fairs and wandering aimlessly around cities just seeing where I end up.  I used to be hesitant to try new things, and didn’t have much excitement for stuff like this.  Now I can’t get enough of it.  I just wish I would have found this mindset years ago, rather than now, but I am still thankful that I changed myself- I could have been saying the same thing 5, 10, even 50 years down the road.  I’m still a work in progress, but I’m determined to keep it up.

Hopefully you enjoy the pictures, and if you can, come check it out next year.  It really is an art experience.

 
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