Saturday, August 24, 2013

the cabin

It is hard to describe the peace I find here.  It is a sort of release; a second reality.  It doesn't make my first reality any less real, but it puts it in perspective.  Here the focus is different and the attitude calmer.  And the thing is, I know that my words are failing, stumbling just trying to make what is invisible, tangible.  But sometimes the beauty can only be felt, not heard or read.  Some things you can only know if you experience it yourself, no matter how cleverly the author paints it.
July 26, 2013

I spent four days at our cabin on the Creeper Trail; No internet, no cell service, and no distractions.  It was beyond delightful and I was able to write freely, explore continually, and make friends with a little boy named Elijah.  You should expect to see a lot of photographs and writing based on this beautiful place and the people I meet there over the next years.  Have you ever biked the Creeper Trail? If you are going to soon, comment below and maybe we can meet.

Monday, July 22, 2013

//learning to live again//

I have decided that too much inspiration seeking will leave you drained, uninspired, stuck, and believing that you just can't create.  My camera has spent the last couple months in a bag, being moved from one spot to the next but never being used and all because I have spent more time looking at "inspiration" and less time actually creating something to be proud of.  In all honesty, Instagram, my favorite and most used app has become a crutch; a reason to never create my own life.  In 100 years so and so's Instagram photographs won't matter to me, but the fact that my nephew is almost three and growing more and more each day will. 
           I feel like I only return to this blog when I realize my own authenticity is dying and in a way, it's true.  This place is full of my authenticity and of the beauty I was passionate about capturing.  But I have such a horrible tendency to let others be authentic and mimic their authenticity and so create a cheap copy; a hollow life.  But I want to change.  I want to rediscover my passion and reinvent my servant life.  To make relationships that will last and let go of grudges.  I'm not perfect.  I do fail, get irritated, and forget what's important daily.  But I want to learn to live.  Oh, do I want to learn.  
            So, I'll sign out of my distractions for a while.  I'll start run in the mornings and play card games at night.  I'll kiss cheeks and hold little hands, and perhaps the life I always searched for online will create itself on its own.  Perhaps life is less about saying and more about doing, because when it's all said and done I want my life to be full of midnight laughter, the sound of shuffling cards, the feel of the sun warming my cheeks, a blend of off-key singing, and the feeling of riding with the windows down and hands riding the breeze it creates.  Life is a collection of feelings that can't be bought.  No, it can only be found by packing my bags and hiking down the trail of my life.  Sometimes I will walk alone and some days you may walk with me, but the beauty will be the same.  I need only to be still.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

on authenticity

        I found a picture on pinterest that said, "help people + your talent = purpose".  This just hit home because these last couple months I've been asking God, "what do You want me to do with my life?  What is my purpose on this earth?"  He still has not told me, but He is slowly showing me that to truly love and serve him, authenticity is needed.  A true purpose must be genuine.  I can't imitate someone else's passion and purpose.  It must be the one God has for me.  
        Because of these things that God is showing me, I decided to choose a word for 2013: Authentic.  To be authentic means to be true to one's own personality, spirit, or character, and not to be false or an imitation.  There are many parts of my life that I want to be newly infused with authenticity.
        As a young lady in Christ, I want to have an authentic faith.  I don't want to have a cheap imitation when I can have the real thing.  I want to be real in all aspects of the word. 
        As a photographer, I want to take pictures that matter.  I want to capture people's genuine emotions and facial expressions as they happen, not as they are posed.  
        In my life I want to be myself and I want to be open about how I feel.  I waste too much time wondering if I'm going to say something stupid.  I don't want to pretend I am someone I am not because I don't feel comfortable.  Jesus never called me to be comfortable.  He called me to step out of my comfort zone and show people who he made me to be.  I want to learn to forgive everyday, not just when people ask for it.
        In my friendships I want to be open about my struggles.  I want to love until I think I am going to burst.  I want to always listen first.  I want to ask how people are and not just settle for one word answers.  I want to develop friendships that will last.  I want to write letters and keep in touch and not just forget about people because they don't live conveniently close to me.  
        Basically, I don't want to be like everyone else.  I want to love differently, see differently, and live differently.  I want people to wonder what it is that I have that makes me different.  I want for God to be real to me.  I want people to see Him in me because everything in my life and faith is authentic, not because I prayed at the lunch table.  I want to be authentic and I hope God will do a work in my heart this year, through all the new experiences, struggles, friends, and memories.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

snow: a photo essay

Winter is beautiful in a harsh sort of way.  It strips bare the colorful facade and reveals the bones underneath.  It slowly reveals the secret flaws.  It sends wind to rip across our cheeks, turning them red from the cold.  It brings tears to our eyes and we wipe them away over and over again.  Our toes grow cold but our heart is thawing, melting, revealing our hidden self.  The true heart is uncovered, just as an ancient city is by men.  Winter forces us to look at ourselves differently, in the view of harsh reality, untainted by our facades and masks.  The walls we built turn to ashes around us and we are vulnerable, exposed.  We spend the winter like this, with our heart open but when spring comes again we rebuild the walls until they turn to ashes again.
written by Tessa Brooke on November 5, 2012

How was your first snow day?
love, tessa brooke

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Twenty twelve is coming to a close, and honestly I can't say I'm sad.  I almost am eager to leave it behind, forget it forever.  But I know I can't do that.  Twenty twelve will be branded in my mind forever.  It will always be part of who I am.  But now it is time to let a new year change me.  Looking back at the year, I have come up with some aspirations for the new year, especially dealing with my photography and writing.  
Lately my photography has been so posed, so generic, composed mostly of self-portraits.  I don't see anything wrong with self-portraits; I mean, after all, the photographer of the family is hardly in photos anyways, but I realized that those pictures don't matter.  They look cool, and they get a lot of likes on Instagram (oh, my level of success. fail.) but in ten years they aren't going to matter.  This year I want to capture life.  I want to have pictures that capture a person's personality, a memory, or have a meaning to me.  Without that, I feel as if I am failing myself as a photographer.  This year I want to practice lifestyle photography in my own home, go out on photoshoots with my friends, and just capture my life as it comes.
When it comes to my writing, I've been doing a lot of poetic writing, much like the writing you would find here.  This year I'm going to be using a lot more of my writing here along with my pictures.  I might enter a writing contest, but who knows.  I just know that I don't ever want to stop writing again.  It's my safe place, and it helps me think.  It is how I cope with life sometimes, and other times it's how I rejoice in it.  I never want to lose that gift.
This year I am going to pursue what I love doing.  I'm going to serve with a new purpose.  I am going to write as I think of things and capture as the moment comes.  I'm going to capture life in a new way, and I'm not going to waste a second.  I have wasted far too much already.  This is what I want my twenty thirteen to look like.  This is my aspiration.
Here is a sample of the photography and writing I want for twenty thirteen.
My culture is obsessed with love stories.  We read about and watch them everyday, trying to ascertain our own story.  The want to love and be loved is programmed into us.  We can't escape it.  But it doesn't matter how hard we look for it if we aren't looking in the right place.  There's only one love story that truly matters, and it's not the one on the television.
november 2012

You're beautiful darling, lovely darling, always darling.
I watch you try so hard
make up
laughing when you're supposed to.
Try to fit in 
Make people like the fake you.
But what about the real you
Suffocating in the corner while the fake takes center stage?
What will it take to save that girl? 
What is the air she breathes?
What do I need to do to bring her back,
Revive her again?
August/September 2012

Suddenly I am struck with overwhelming wanderlust.  Faraway places call my name, beckoning me to explore their culture.  They invite me to capture them and the people in them with my lens.  How can I give into this wanderlust when I am stuck in this small town?
November 2012

We all doubt our purpose and question our faith, but only those with the courage to seek the truth will dispel their fears.
November 2012
Words fill my head like music fills the street of New Orleans, clamoring to be set free, to touch the world with their whisper.  I am unsure as I begin what will conspire, for words flow out from me, and I do not control them.  I need only pen and paper and the words I loosely hold will harden into shapes scrawled across the wrinkled pages I love.
November 2012


On Christmas Eve, we have almost always gone to the theater to see a movie.  This year we went to see The Hobbit.  I liked it but was kind of disappointed that they left out certain things and exaggerated others.  But we still had fun.  And when we got home, it was picture time; and since Kenzie and Jett had already thrown out the reindeer food, I opted for glitter photos instead.
Kenzie and I laughed at her blowing face and got glitter everywhere while Ross just stood there and said, "I don't like glitter.  I don't like glitter."
We went to bed late and Kenzie reminded me to wake her up early many times over.  I never did get to do that since she woke up at 2:30 a.m. ready to go and was made to be quiet until 7.  Our Christmas always starts out with one of us reading Luke 2:  the Christmas story. 
 This is Jett's second Christmas and he was so excited.  I've never seen Kenzie so excited and Jett followed suit and proceeded to bang on his tool set in enthusiasm.  He is such a cute kid.
 Stocking stuffers.
 Ryan came for Christmas too.
 This year I was taught about Christmas cheer and finding joy in everything, even when it's hard.  Christmas has come and gone, just as it does every year, but the smiles and tears will be remembered.  How was your Christmas?