Midtown New York

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Silhouettes in Central Park
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My media team enjoys a casual stroll through Central Park
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Buildings reach up to the cloudy skies

At the beginning of my Spring semester I accepted a job as a contributor to the campus yearbook, The Chinook. I was honored when our Editor asked me to be a representative at the College Media Association conference in NYC.

I would spend four days in the Big City with other team members who work for the Office of Student Media, learning media strategy in the morning and exploring the city at night.

The conference itself was fascinating, but the city took my breath away. Continue reading “Midtown New York”

Unworthy

IMG_0415We live in an era of comfortable Christianity where girls strut through church pews in yoga pants with calligriphied-tattoos of “worthy” on full display trumpeting the slogan of the redeemed while they sip their skinny vanilla lattes from Starbs (hold the foam, there’s hidden carbs in aerated milk). A society which neglects the truth of the gospel in exchange for a lie, we are the Romans 1:25 church.

We are so uncomfortable at the recognition of our unworthiness. In a world where we strive to classify every person as good and holy, it is suffocating to actually believe what the Bible says about our human condition – there is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). This means that with every fiber of my being I am wicked, to the core, there is poison in my heart and venom in my veins. There is nothing redeeming about me, my sins are blacker than night and thicker than coal. I am unworthy. Continue reading “Unworthy”

January Diary

There are some weeks when sitting down to write out my thoughts for the whole world to see is the most appalling idea. I’ve been feeling that way for months. When the stressors of life pile up, its always this blog that seems to be the first thing to take the hit – which is unfortunate since its the best way that I seem to process through things.

January has been an interesting month for me. Each moment of it felt intertwined with some form of a lesson. God has been present this month, even when my faith hasn’t; and its both extremely frustrating and relieving. He has revealed a lot this month, and without getting too deep into it, it’s been a month of what feels like perpetual digging where He is bent on dragging out all of the poison in my heart, and its a painful process. Most of my time this past month was spent reflecting rather than adventuring, so I think this post might be a bit short. Regardless, here goes…

January Journal

I guess it makes sense to begin at the beginning of the month with New Years. I’ve decided that I don’t believe in resolutions. This really began to occur to me when I attended a sermon at my church back in Spokane in which my pastor spoke on the topic of new year’s resolutions and graciously explained that according to the Bible the life of the Christian is really just one big process of refining and sanctification, and while the world encourages resolutions that we will forget in a week, the Lord encourages us to be in constant pursuit of him and through that be transformed in Him.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasingand perfect will.

-Romans 12:2 (NIV)

I challenge us to be a people that does not thrive in month-long resolutions thought of at the start of the year, but rather a people that thrives in the grace of continual sanctification.

The first days of January were spent with my family, mentally preparing for the horror of returning to Pullman after a hellish semester. It snowed an awful lot this year, especially over here on the Eastern side of the state – a fact to which my parental units were acutely aware and overly excited about. IMG_8792

Their response to the snow was probably riddled with more excitement than a baby who tries chocolate for the first time. I snapped some pictures of their tomfoolery and posted them up on Wonderlust early in the month.

My brother and I spent some time in the city chasing down the perfect winter shot in the snow, but eventually resigned to sipping coffee at one of the hipster shops up the road to avoid the mass amounts of cold and snow.

I came back to school a couple days before the semester began to unwind and relax enough to handle the impending semester. Syllabus week was relatively painless and it gave me a chance to catch up with all my fellow Pullman-ites after the break. My classes this semester are higher level courses aimed more directly at my majors, and it has been refreshing to study the things that I am really passionate about.

I’ve had a bit of a mid-college crisis and reconsidered my choice of major, which is an ongoing battle that I believe will continue to rage throughout the entirety of my collegiate career – regardless I’m halfway there, I’ve got to keep plugging on!

The last weekend of the month I spent back in Spokane with my family to celebrate my little brother’s sixteenth birthday. It was a glorious affair.

The two of us media nerds got to teach a Boy Scout Merit class on Movie-making and then spend the day exploring downtown. We went out for lunch at Chipotle (a rare treat) and watched Caged No More in theaters to celebrate his last day of being fifteen. Most of it was all a distraction, because the real party began at night.

A month ago my Mom started planning a surprise birthday party for my brother at the local roller skating rink. He was ambushed by his friends and family and we spent the evening on treacherous skates attempting to stay upright. As evidenced by my brother and I, our family is not exactly the most coordinated, and the feat of not breaking any body parts in an event so perfectly designed for doom was a triumph!

We finished out the weekend, on his actual birthday, with a family brunch. Here’s a video of the events:

It’s all rather exciting.

January Favorites

Rimmel London Kate #8

In step with the usual we must begin with lipstick. Like I said last month: I’m a big fan of anything in the “Kate” line of lipsticks. She has created such a beautiful series of Matte  colors that seem to suit every possible look. It’s basically the perfect lipstick AND its cheap! You can buy it at your local drugstore and it’s just as good, if not better than some of the more expensive brands that I own. If you don’t own at least one “Kate” lipstick, who even are you?

Matt Corby

This one might actually be detrimental to my heart because of the massive, fatty crush that I have developed for Matt Corby. This is what I imagine Heaven to sound like: a combination of Amber Run acapella (featured in last month’s favorites) and the sound of Matt Corby, which can only be described as the product of God’s love for humanity and the birth of an angel. I mean, just listen to it. I dare you to listen to his music and tell me its not the best thing that has ever graced your ears. Matt has a gospel growl in his music that is rivaled by none, its so unique that it might burst your eardrums with goodness.

I’ve been in love with Matt Corby for a while, but this past month my affections for him has come back full force. He’s just to magical. Maybe it’s the hair.

You’re welcome in advance.

Kate McKinnon

On the note of  celebrity crushes, allow me just a second to dwell on Kate McKinnon – arguable one of the funniest women on the entire planet.

Just watch this and try to hold in the pee induced by the massive bought of laughter that you are sure to experience.

Navigator’s Bible Study Plan

Like the rest of the population I have often fallen prey to the idea of reading the whole Bible in a year only to be stopped by a couple missed days, a broken spirit, a confused mind, and a lack of discipline. This year I am testing out a new tactic. My small group leader posted a link to the Bible Study plan that he uses and I checked it out and have been sticking to it.

It’s great because it gives you four different readings each day – one OT passage, two NT passages, and a Psalm or Proverb – which helps to hold attention. It is based on a 25 day system so that if you miss a day you don’t have to feel guilty and behind, and if you have left-over days at the end of the month you can revisit important passages that really resonated with you.

I really love it and it has been a huge step for me in getting back on track and genuinely pursing the Lord first. I try to do it in the mornings before I start classes or at night before I go to bed, and it has revolutionized the way that I spend time with the Lord.

Click here to check it out for yourself!

Sunsets

If you know me then you probably know that the sky is often where I feel the most pursued by the Lord – there is nothing in the world that rivals the breathtaking sight of a night sky full of stars or a morning sunrise or a vibrant sunset.

I have been so incredibly homesick for Arizona skies this past month (in addition to being homesick in general). The Arizona sky is unlike anything else in the word. I’ve been privileged to have travelled to many different places and seen many different things, but there is nothing in the world that takes my breath away quite like the sight of the Arizona sky. I’ve been praying a lot for comfort this past month – in missing Arizona, and for the past couple days there have been some pretty beautiful sunsets in Eastern Washington. If only for a second the clouds have parted to let the light in. It’s like a big, cosmic hug.

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That’s all for this month! Until next time, Wonder On!

December Diary

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The month of December is a notorious time of year in the college realm. It simultaneously ushers in the end-of-semester-bliss and launches us into full fledged panic mode as Finals threaten to cramp our style.

My December went a little something like this:

December Journal

In the fight against human trafficking, as a woman, December is a great time to get involved to raise awareness. It is the host month of the “Dressember” campaign in which ladies all around the world pledge to wear a dress every day of the month of December in an effort to raise visibility of an often ignored issue.

 Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who’ve been exploited for their femininity. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women.

I took the pledge and jumped into my dresses throughout the month – despite the freezing temperatures and abnormally massive amounts of snow. IMG_9360IMG_9361IMG_9362

If you would like more information check out http://www.dressember.org

The first weekend of December saw the Honors College Yule Ball come to fruition. In attempt to dance the wintery blues away, I stepped into my Senior Prom gown once more and danced the night away with some of my closest friends.

The second weekend ushered in the preparation for finals week and I found myself at numerous coffee shops working out the final details of projects and essays.

It was also the weekend that my good friend Garrett and I discovered that we had successfully completed Communication 300 – the notoriously hellish class that Comm majors are required to take the semester after certification. I have never been so excited to pass a class in my entire life.

And subsequently, finals week lent itself to more espresso evenings and scattered goodbyes amongst holiday parties. IMG_9116

The third weekend I found my way back to my family in Spokane. The Palouse was looking particularly breathtaking on the afternoon I left, blanketed in untouched snow and blue hues, it looked like a background ripped straight off of Pinterest.

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I made it back in time for my cousin’s tenth birthday and ushered in the break in the company of my family. In the next week I spent my time attempting to unwind from the semester. It was a long week…

Toward the end of Fall semester I had started getting headaches again and my vision was getting a little blurry, so while I was back in town I stopped by the optometrist. He gave me reading glasses but says that the symptoms were most likely the result of stress… so that’s not sketchy at all. (Read this post: Sophomore Slump Almost Did Me In)IMG_9190

And, finally, it was my favorite day of the year: Christmas!


Freibott Family Christmas, 2015 from AJ Freibott on Vimeo.

There’s a lot to be said about the Christmas holiday, even though Jesus most likely wasn’t actually born this time of year. It’s a holiday which seems shrouded in magic. And after the hellish semester that I had just survived, it was the magic of the Messiah that I needed to remember.

In the days following, my brother was on break from his high school and before welcoming in the new year we spent a day out in the snowy woods filming fun videos and taking pictures.

I roped my brother into letting me take pictures of him with  his banjo in exchange for being the subject of a music video he was itching to shoot.

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Full story here: Musical Adventures in the Snow

Promise from AJ Freibott on Vimeo.

And then we ushered in the new year! Happy 2016 to all!

December Favorites

Rimmel London Kate Lipstick #104

This is actually the first lipstick that my mom ever handed down to me. I sort of forgot about it until I got to college and then I blew through the whole tube so fast I had to replenish it just weeks later. It’s the best matte color that I have and its literally perfect for every look and every season. If you don’t have it, you need it. I’m a big fan of anything in the Kate line. I don’t have many favorites this month because i was too busy crushing on this lipstick to focus on anything else. (well that, and Christmas)

If you’re not convinced yet, just consider that  its a drugstore buy and as a college student you can grab one from any Walmart or Target cosmetic section.

Amber Run

You know when you find a band so good that you don’t want to tell anyone about it because you are sort of afraid that once you vocalize your love for them then it won’t be so special? That’s Amber Run for me. amber run

They’re a British band that has been making music for a few years but saw a resurgence in 2015. Do yourself a favor and check them out:

Until next time, wonder on!

My Parents Are Actually Children

artymamaartymama2It’s been snowing a lot in Eastern Washington lately, and with that has come two overly-enthused parents. They’ve been bugging me to take some snapshots of the massive icicles growing around the border of our house, so after much pestering I braved the cold and took the rig out for a spin. Here are a few of the pictures I gathered.

I have always been a big fan of the black and white photograph, and since most of the landscape is white these days I figured that it could be good practice. IMG_8742IMG_8751IMG_8754IMG_8758IMG_8763IMG_8764IMG_8777IMG_8778IMG_8792

They were more than a little excited about the prospect of making snow angels, especially when they get to make them side by side. IMG_8797IMG_8799snow-angel

Sophomore Slump Almost Did Me In

I survived the first semester of my sophomore year… barely.

Its been over a week since break began, officially leading to the close of the first semester of my sophomore year of college, and in the time that I’ve been back home with my family I’ve already had two hysterical crying episodes and lost sleep over the horror of the semester that unfolded much to my chagrin.

Between a twenty credit workload, a failed quest for a profitable job, living off campus and paying bills for the first time, medical failings, fractured relationships, professors without my best interest in mind, a university system which failed to advocate for me, a GPA on a steady decline and the weed out classes for my major it’s safe to say that this semester traumatized me.

I failed a lot this semester – academically, in my friendships, in my own faith, in basic humanity. I have very seriously considered calling it quits — pulling the blanket over my head, holing myself in, and hiding from the world.

I think that my brain is actually broken. I have been trying to write this post for almost two weeks now, but the simple function of formulating sentences has become a luxury which my brain rarely affords. What little sleep I get is permeated by nightmares of the past semester and the horror of returning to do it all over in the Spring. My family has more than once commented on my state of disarray, but I feel powerless to change it. Sophomore Slump has become my kryptonite.

This semester feels like a season of life that is never-ending.  I am in a constant state of longing to be anywhere and everywhere else in the world, and somehow recognize amidst that that God has placed me uniquely where I am at, now. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bitter.

Bitter is actually an understatement. I think that I am pissed at God.

This past semester he called me to a new church, pulled me out of relationships that I loved, and has continuously confronted me with the nastiness in my own heart.In the pressure and nonstop mundane of college, I’ve been able to push Him out. To tell Him I’ll deal with my heart when I have the time, that I’ll spend time seeking Him after I get my life in line. But I never got my life in line. It continued to crumble, and I continued to run from it, at a price.

 

When I am put under extreme amounts of stress, just like I believe most normal people also do, my body starts to shut itself down. Subsequently my body goes into panic survival mode, and this semester I wound up having almost three or four panic attacks per day until I completely blocked it all out. The anxiety attacks mostly manifest themselves in shaking fits, muscle spasms and an accelerated heart rate, sometimes accompanied by a flare up of my asthma. Naturally, when my body begins to panic I become anxious, further feeding the vicious cycle, and on and on it goes.

I am so tired from contracted muscles and the mental stress after an episode that the last thing that I want to do is get back to the school work which has piled so high its led to the physical decline of my health. I am so tired.

And I have never felt farther from God.

In trying to do the right thing I hurt the people that I cared about more times than I would prefer to recount. In striving to live right I refused to deal with my own crap and continuously hurt the people that I love, failed them over and over because I was terrified to be disappointed in their failures. I have realized so many things these past couple months – but the biggest thing that I’ve realized is my absolute terror of commitment.

I have sabotaged so many relationships because I thought I was doing the right thing. Not consciously, not out of spite, but something in me is convinced that I am not worthy of love from the people that I love and therefore I must sabotage the relationships I care about before I’m disappointed.

This semester I wanted nothing but to just completely shut down. The ultimate extrovert who is me was so terrified of spending time with others that I would rather spend my time bent over vomiting up my anxiety than trying to find the corner of a room where no one can see me.

I neglected to pray because I thought that I was too far away for God to hear. I neglected to dig into the Word because I lost my enthusiasm for it. I neglected my own well being because I was too tired to deal with it. I was stressed to the maximum and with that came second thoughts that sent me questioning everything.

Do I really want to keep going? Is the effect that school is having on my physical health enough to call it quits? Am I a quitter? Do I believe the promises that I have been speaking to others on God’s behalf? Do I genuinely believe that God will never leave me or forsake me? Do I believe that God cares about me?

I know the truth. But I am having a hard time believing it.

Without God what hope do I have to keep pushing?  With a lost hope in His plan I have no interest in foraging forward.

This semester broke me in so many ways, and as I have continued to lose sleep over it these past weeks I wonder what the future can hold. But there is one thing that I know to be true:

Its okay to doubt. Its okay to be scared. Its okay to be confused. Its okay to not feel great all the time.

But I don’t get to live in that.

This semester sucked, and theres no doubt about that, but perspective is a game changer. Away from Pullman I can think about things separate from the University, I can think about the long term, and with that in mind I can’t wait to get back to campus and kill Spring Semester.

Until next time, wonder on.

Musical Adventures in the Snow

Almost a year ago my younger brother began saving his money in hopes of buying the many mechanical parts needed to built his own computer. As the money started burning in his pocket, he took a spill off of his long board, tore his ACL and was in bed for weeks recovering.

When the time came to invest the funds he has so careful saved, his attention was redirected to the musical world and somehow he ended up with a banjo in hand rather than his coveted homemade computer.

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With his investment has come many hours of loud practices, and outdoor jam sessions.

And I kind of think that its the coolest thing ever. I mean, who actually plays the banjo these days? Besides my uncle who taught him… IMG_8590IMG_8580

I asked Eli if I could take some pictures of him with his instrument because the recent influx of snow has made for quite the picturesque backdrop. He obliged on the grounds that I would be his subject in a music video that he is making (soon to debut here).

So just try to contain yourself as you gaze upon the epicness. IMG_8445IMG_8497IMG_8467IMG_8504IMG_8572IMG_8463IMG_8527IMG_8526

Bonus, here’s a video of our adventure:

Until next time, wonder on.

November Diary

Honestly as I sit down to write this, I am having a hard time recalling all that has happened in this packed month. For these updates, my planner is my best friend.

I can never decide if I love or hate the month of November, in my mind it is plagued with poor memories and great ones that convene to make a confusing picture. However, I can objectively say that I love November for the Fall atmosphere that abounds. I love reds and oranges and yellows and it feels like that time of year when Fall is taking its last breath before moving aside for winter, and it couldn’t be more beautiful.

That being said, here are a couple fun things that I did during the month of November:

November Update

During the first week of the month my brother was a central character in his very first play and it was an event that I was unwilling to miss. So after my Thursday classes I grabbed my bags and made the couple hour commute to Spokane.

In the radio production of “Frankenstein” my brother played the role of the creature and a scientist. With absolute certainty I can say that he crushed it. He stole the show.

It’s so weird watching him group up, it seems like just yesterday I was putting my tutus on him and shoving him into plant pots.

He had been working the soundboard and lights until now when the play team begged him to be a part of the production. Honestly, none of us knew that he had it in him, but he killed his performance and I couldn’t be more proud of him!

The next day I headed back to Pullman where Dad’s weekend was beginning. This is an interesting weekend for me. Honestly, I hate the premise of Mom’s and Dad’s weekends at universities 1) because those without a mom or dad are painfully more aware of it and 2) these weekends are notorious for producing ill-advised drunken parents who roam the streets of Greek row.

As November 1st marks 12 years since my Dad passed away I was hesitant to leave the house at all. Last year I spent the weekend in the company of my friends, blocking out the heartache with copious amounts of ice cream and movies. Praise the Lord this year was different.

My stepdad, Art, was gracious enough to come up and spend time with me. My mom and him left soon after me on Friday afternoon to spend time in Pullman. I bought tickets for Art and I to go see the comedian Gabriel Iglesias at my University. He cried laughing through the while show.

The next morning I got to show him and my mom around campus and watch the WSU Dad’s Weekend Pumpkin Drop in the freezing cold with them between introducing them to Deans, Professors, and peers. I’d say it was a good weekend.

In the third week of the month the Eastern half of Washington got hit by heavy windstorms. Spokane was put under storm warning and lost power from downed power lines for almost four days in parts of the city. Pullman was hit by some of the highest winds – 67 mph – hurricane grade, if we were by the coast. The university lost power for a few hours and cancelled classes the following day. It was an interesting event.

I had to drive to Spokane the night after the storm hit to pick up my best friend from the airport and in the city I encountered dead signals and massive lines as people fought their way through the gas station. It was like an apocalyptic nightmare in the city. I went home for the night where we huddled around a portable heater in a candlelit room. It was an interesting few hours that led me to think about just how privileged I am to have been inconvenienced by the loss of wifi.

Thursday I picked up my friend, Jami, from the airport.

Months ago I told Jami about my trip to Seattle and the heartache I felt for its homeless community. So, while I was in Burma this summer, she and I were FaceTiming and she proposed the idea of spending our Thanksgiving in the city to volunteer to serve dinner to the homeless community. Which  brought us to this week, a week full of adventure.

First in Pullman where I made her an honorary Coug for a weekend. And then in Seattle when we explored the city together.

While still in Pullman one of my friends from church volunteered to take our pictures. In three years of friendship, my move to the Pacific Northwest and her move to the East Coast left us without any pictures together – which is basically a crime in the world of Pinterest decorating dorm/apartment rooms. So, I arranged for us to spend a couple hours getting our pictures taken together in a makeshift bestie photoshoot before we headed out to the coast.

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We got all decked out in our fall gear and hit the streets of Pullman. It was a glorious event, and even more glorious to have my best friend here, in the flesh, to share it with me.

On Monday we left for the coast. There was supposed to be a huge storm that would make it relatively impossible to drive the pass, but it never really hit. Nonetheless, we left a day early and stayed the night in SeaTac. The next day we hit the University district, scoping out the haunt of my rival college: UW. We headed down to Oak Harbor that night, spending the night and the following morning on Whidbey Island. The next two days were full of exploring the city and serving meals at various locations. Here’s a video of the adventure:

Thanksgiving Roadtrip to Seattle with JL from AJ Freibott on Vimeo.

I rounded out the month in Spokane, spending a few days with my family before heading back down to school to finish out the semester. We left out the Turkey in favor of rabbit and duck, leaving us with a Thanksgiving meal to remember and respectful of our copious amount of varying allergies.

We decorated our Christmas tree before I left down, leaving me dreaming of the tidings of Christmas until I return home in three weeks at the conclusion of the semester.

November Favorites

Coffee Shop Indulgence: Dirty Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte with an extra shot of espresso

Unfortunately, I don’t have a pretty picture of this month’s drink (blogger fail), but don’t let that deter you from tasting this sweet treat! This is the perfect drink for the Fall season – a cinnamon-y and pumpkin-y sweet treat to usher in the warm fuzzies of Fall. If you like Chai Latte’s this is the perfect combination of all things lovely.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Transylvania IMG_8321This really weird and scary picture is the only one that I was able to find with the lipstick on my lips. I took it while waiting at a drive thru for my Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte.

I love this particular shade because it is so incredibly dark. I feel punky and elegant at the same time. It has a purple sort of tint to it in parts which I really love. (Also pictured in Dad’s weekend photos)

Buy it here

Music: JUSTIN BIEBER’S NEW ALBUM

Okay, seriously, has there ever been an album as brilliant as this? It’s been on repeat for weeks… Not even sorry.

And thus ends the November Update. Until next time, wonder on.