The Bethadilly Challenge: April 20 – 30th

April turned out to be more stressful than anticipated. We finished our online TEFL course, and went to New York City to complete the in-class portion of our hours. I also finished my Teacher Work Sample, which was the major project I had to tackle for Student Teaching. I also taught full-time again for two weeks, and while that is hardly any time, it felt like an eternity.

In the end, I survived, and took a few pretty pictures along the way (at least in my opinion).

Here are the rest of my April Bethadilly pictures.

april 20: the weather today {it rained and little rain drops accumulated on our bird feeder}

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april 21: a product I love {honey from Lancaster. p.s. my toast burned a little bit. oh well}

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetapril 22: my perspective {my dinner date}

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april 23: technology {thankful for technology that allows me to capture things like this, and to share them with the world}

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april 24: delicate {delicate flowers from my grandma’s house. she has a way of making even fake flowers beautiful}

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april 25: me {I decided against the selfie, but chose to take a picture of my grandparents. without them, I wouldn’t be “me.” they have given so much of themselves, and constantly pour wisdom and promise into my life. I am so proud to call them mine}

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 april 26: even {a pair of binoculars}

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april 27: alive {the city makes me feel alive}

Processed with VSCOcam with kk1 presetapril 28: movement {we took another walk, and saw these beauties moving in the wind}Photo Apr 28, 4 55 32 PM Photo Apr 28, 4 55 37 PM Processed with VSCOcam with kk2 presetapril 29: arrow {this trail has no arrows, and is as close to the wilderness as we’re going to get here in Phoenixville. I’ve loved the times that Caleb and I have had together scouting out birds, and never want to stop finding joy and happiness in something as small as hearing a Common Flicker. marriage has proven to be my most favorite adventure}

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april 30: starts with t {this turquoise vase & the tree this bird landed on}

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Exton Park

Recently, we discovered a new park here in Pennsylvania. It’s been so incredible to see different types of birds – and I’ve been able to capture a few of them! Today I discovered manual focus, and it changed my whole world.

I’m still not sure about why my pictures look fuzzy/pixelated after I upload them, but I thought I’d share them anyway!

UPDATE: I figured out the fuzz issue. Yay for photography forums!

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The Bethadilly Challenge: April 14 – 19

april 14: my drink of choice {tea. tea always}

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april 15: a piece of jewelry {my engagement ring}

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april 16: local {a chipmunk from a local park}

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april 17: i found this {Caleb and I have been going on so many walks that I keep finding cool things – like this statue}Processed with VSCOcam with kk1 preset

april 18: emotion {free & peace: my beautiful friend Sarah let me take pictures of her & she is flawless}

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april 19: fresh {ducks on a fresh spring day}

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I am falling more in love with photography (and my camera) as I continue with this challenge, and I am always looking for new things to shoot for extra practice.

If you’re interested in having a photography adventure with me, let me know! 🙂

Sarah

Today I met my friend Sarah at the park to take pictures. I’m currently taking a photography class, and our assignment for the week is to take a picture of movement. I had some ideas for jumping shots, and Sarah was willing to experiment with me. She is such a beautiful person, and I am so glad that I was able to take pictures that also capture her heart.

Here is Sarah

p.s. after I posted this, I realized that most of these images look fuzzy! 😦

I’m still learning about Photoshop and how uploading them online changes the quality…but here they are:

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My very first VoxBox & the time I made a YouTube video

Last August I joined the site called Influenster.

Influenster rewards people for using social media, and calculates their social impact score based on how many followers they have on twitter, instagram, facebook, and other social media sites. When you join, you’re able to answer “snaps” which are questions about random things like what beauty products you use, how much coffee you consume daily, and what brands of frozen dinners you’ve tried. There is also the option of writing reviews about different products, which give you extra points, and help you to unlock different badges.

You also have the chance to complete surveys, which make you eligible to receive VoxBoxes. A VoxBox is a box filled with free things that you can try out and eventually review. I have been wanting to receive a VoxBox for a reallyyyy long time, so when Influenster emailed me and told me that I was picked for their next product campaign, I was SO excited.

For my first VoxBox, I was given a free sample of a shampoo and conditioner from SoapBox, which is a company that strives to promote health and wellness around the globe. For every SoapBox product that is sold, the company gives free bars of soap, vitamin supplements, and clean water to children in need all over the world.

After you receive your VoxBox, Influenster asks you to complete different tasks (like tweeting about your box, and sharing the product with your friends on Facebook). One of my tasks was to make a video of myself opening the VoxBox. I have never had a desire to be on YouTube, but I thought I’d give it a shot….I can’t tell you how many times Caleb snuck in the room and laughed at me as I attempted to start the video. Vlogging is really hard, guys.

If you notice, I was out of breath because I ran across the room to get a hair clip. Obviously, I need to do more exercise. I also really don’t have a hair care regimen – as you can see from my super wavy locks because I’m too lazy to dry them in the morning (sleep > everything).

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box & checked out the products, was that the shampoo and conditioner smelled fantastic. I have never heard of the Bataua Fruit (nor do I know how to pronounce it), but if it tastes as good as it smells … I really need to try it ASAP.

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I was so excited to try these out that I sacrificed a few extra minutes of sleep and took a shower. Overall, I was really happy with the product – it smelled amazing, and made my hair smell amazing too (which is a huge plus). I didn’t notice anything significant in how my hair felt afterwards (neither did Caleb), but I was happy knowing I wasn’t using something that would affect my hair with too many chemicals.

I’ll definitely buy SoapBox products in the future, and think you should too. 🙂

(I received this free sample of SoapBox products in exchange for an honest review.)

The Bethadilly Challenge: April 8 – 13

april 8: letters {started reading the letters in this book for my very first photography class! not too excited about reading another book, but super excited to learn}

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april 9: yellow {I was a bit lazy & didn’t feel like leaving the house or using my camera…so here is a picture of the yellow Seinfeld logo}

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april 10: what i’m listening to {my ABBA record. I’ll love them until the end of time}

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april 11: my view today {pictures I already posted, but nevertheless, I had so much fun taking pictures on the Audubon Loop Trail with Caleb. it’s always so exciting to find new things that we can do together – Caleb with his binoculars and me with my 300 mm zoom lens. we make a pretty good birding team}

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april 12: from above {we went birding again, and a robin was sitting in the tree above me}

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april 13: classic {a classic science experiment: planting seeds}

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audubon loop trail

Winter is finally coming to an end, which means hikes, and walks, and bird watching for me and Caleb. We finally found a good pair of binoculars (Nikon Aculon A211) and we also bought a squirrel proof bird feeder to put outside our apartment. So far, the binoculars work amazingly, and I would definitely recommend investing in a pair. They were $80 at Dicks Sporting Goods, and while you can pay up to $2500, I think this is a good (and relatively inexpensive) pair to start as beginner bird watchers.  We’re really excited to see what types of birds we can spot this summer when we travel out to the West. Hopefully I’ll have a nice new lens to use too… 😉

Today we ventured on the Audubon Loop Trail. Audubon, Pennsylvania is the birthplace of birding, and the town itself is named after John James Audubon – the first person to attempt to paint and describe all the birds in North America. The trail we walked on is also where his property used to be.

Here are a few snapshots from our nature walk today:

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We spotted: Cardinals, multiple Downey Woodpeckers, two Red Bellied Woodpeckers, a Black Capped Chickadee, a White Breasted Nuthatch, and so many more beautiful birds.

We’re practically experts.

As we walked the trail, I was so excited to be outside in the warm weather again. I was reminded of this poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Spring is strong and virtuous,

Broad-sowing, cheerful, plenteous,

Quickening underneath the mould

Grains beyond the price of gold.

So deep and large her bounties are,

That one broad, long midsummer day

Shall to the planet overpay

The ravage of a year of war.

{Ralph Waldo Emerson}

How have you been able to enjoy the Spring weather?

29 days & an incurable case of senioritis

senioritis.

 a made up word that should be an entry on WebMD.

my mind unable to sit still, like a child in time out.

i wish i could diagnose myself

but i don’t have the credentials to do that.

i’m just tired, tired, tired…

but only when i have to lesson plan.

give me a weekend away, sleepy mornings in a cabin, and i’ll move mountains.

productivity soaring all the way to the moon.

but force me to sit on the couch and dare to tell me i have another paper to write, and i’ll crumple up like a dried flower.

two short pages will take 36 hours to compose.

my words sticky and sweet like the coffee i drink to stay awake.

in 29 days i’ll be free and i’ll bake myself a cake.

a cake that tastes like tassels, and diplomas, and new beginnings.

(in reality, it will taste like chocolate with buttercream frosting)

but for now, i struggle.

trudging five days a week to teach students that don’t listen, and like to talk over math problems and Bible lessons.

students that roll their eyes, and mock me as i pour my heart out about respect.

students that write stories where i portray the villain because i wouldn’t let them get a drink during instructional time, and forced them to put away the toys they decided to bring from home.

(i’m really the worst)

 transforming their desks into bunkers: protecting them from words like “eyes up here,” “listen,” and “work in groups.”

snow days have preserved my sanity.

i attempt to treat myself with Netflix, but the deadlines still loom overhead like vultures.

taunting me, and reminding me that i am still a procrastinator.

making me sick and anxious for the 8th of May.

in 29 days, i’ll be free.

in 29 days, i’ll be cured.

29 days…

graduation

I sit here awaiting tomorrow.

The day that has been six years in the making.

Six years filled with the taste of too much Nutella, energy drinks overflowing, and my eyes heavy due to lack of sleep. I have pushed through too many all nighters, struggling to focus, forever attempting to balance perfectionism with the worst kind of procrastination.

Six years of high expectations. Six years of subtle laziness. Six years of writing 10 page papers the night before they’re due.

Social media has become my arch nemesis, and my body has formed an aversion to coffee. Sweet, sweet coffee… I’ll still drink you with the hope that I’ll be able to fall asleep before 2 a.m. & my stomach won’t implode.

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This day has taken its time to arrive. Slowly making the journey towards me, and then approaching all at once like a rushing wind.

I have been a student in three different institutions, changed my major twice, failed a music theory class, found my niche in the education field, witnessed dreams die and become resurrected, and visited two different continents. I experienced the repercussions of my dad’s deployment, and rejoiced in his return one year later. I fell in love, became a wife, learned to cook, and we adopted a cat. My testimony has been tested time and time again, but never have I been more confident in the sovereignty of God, and the faithfulness of His promise over my life.

I will never leave you nor forsake you. 

I will not abandon you to the grave. 

I will…

I will…

I WILL…

Old friendships have deteriorated due to distance, but new ones have been born out of missions trips and spontaneous coffee dates. I’ve learned the importance of having a supportive church family, and realized that fitting in is actually a really hard thing to do.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that people will always talk over me, but I still need to try my hardest to make my voice heard.

I’ve learned so many things, but still have so far to go.

I wonder when the learning process finally ends…

(p.s.: the answer is: *never*)


These years have been a crude mixture of both the beautiful and the horrid. Excruciatingly long, yet not long enough. Confusing, but filled with purpose. I’d like to say these years were the best years of my life, but then again, how can I even begin to imagine what the next six years will hold?

Life will not look the same in 5 years, and I try my hardest to see a glimpse in the life of future me. I hear the possibility of pitter-pattering little feet, and blurry visions of little hands reaching out to be held flood my mind. My heart skips a beat. I think I’m finally ready…but then again, I’m really not ready at all. I see us moving overseas, working as missionaries, and living lives of intentionality and simplicity. I have the strongest inkling that I won’t find contentment doing anything else, and only hope this sentiment holds true.

While each season will not be void of struggle, I hope that I can read these words again and be encouraged. Encouraged when those same little feet and grubby hands make constant messes, and I feel more exhausted than I ever have before. Encouraged when we leave the mission field to itinerate, and are forced to say goodbye to friends that have unintentionally morphed into family. Encouraged when the newness of everything wears off, and I begin to miss my own family back in the United States. Encouraged when I begin to doubt everything because life is just too hard.

Encouraged to know that everything happens in God’s timing.

Everything: that all encompassing word that not only includes powerful, flourishing mountaintop experiences, but those dry, weary hikes through the valley that creep up on you and render you helpless.

Encouraged to enjoy every season as it ebbs and flows.

So I sit here awaiting tomorrow.

Awaiting the unknown, and welcoming it with open arms.

The Bethadilly Challenge: April 1 – 7

april 1: season {I’ve been missing Peru and the missionary family we worked with a lot lately, but I’m excited for the next season in my life, and I’m waiting patiently for the day we can go back for a longer period of time. I took this picture in Peru, but had to use it because… just look at that bokeh in the trees}
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april 2: next to me {we made it to Upstate New York & I sat next to George Washington. what a man}

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april 3: my morning {it was the first time we brought Milo with us. he was having a good time exploring my parents’ new house & avoiding their cat at all costs}

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april 4: pastel {it’s been so nice to see my parents finally have their own house again after renting for over four years. God blessed them ten-fold, and they have done such a great job making it their own. I especially love these curtains with pastel yellow leaves}

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april 5: eggs {I made eggs benedict with my mom. she poached the eggs, and I made the hollandaise sauce. it was perfect}

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april 6: monday {monday in legos}

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april 7: peace {I cheated and took these pictures Monday night. we went on a walk & passed by the local cemetery – it was so peaceful, and we even spotted an Eastern Bluebird!}

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