I wanted to share a couple photos from my shoot with Isabel. She is one of my favorite humans on this planet, & I loved getting to photograph this beauty. Enjoy!


pure joy

I've been thinking a lot about joy lately. Specifically, joy vs. happiness. Happiness is that elusive feeling, idea, concept...whatever label you fancy, that people seek all their life. I'm inclined to believe that if we as humans would quit seeking the feeling of happiness, & instead choose the lifestyle of joy, it would be a whole lot easier. 

Happiness is earthly & selfish. It's a self-serving, make-me-feel-good kind of deal. The world constantly screams at us "Do what makes you feel good!" "Enjoy your life!" "Be happy!". That then teaches people that it's okay to grab, feel, make, & do foolish things for those fleeting moments of fuzziness, passion, or ecstasy. Those feelings are enjoyed, then too quickly, life returns to normal & the race to fulfill yourself & make yourself happy begins all over again. 

Joy is heavenly & selfless. It's not a fleeting emotion that arrives, then disappears, & then drives people to claw over each other just to find it again. It has no bearing on how much "stuff"you accumulate, how much people like you [or how much you like yourself, for that matter], or how much you feel it. You choose it. On the good & the bad days. When you're rested & chipper, or when you exhausted & sick The days with clear blue skies, or the rainy traffic jam when that guy cuts you off. Joy is eternal. 

There are truly no words to describe it, I suppose. It's just incredible when you figure out that you haven't been choosing joy, & then you decide to choose joy. You know in The Wizard of Oz, how Dorothy was living in a world of black & white, then, when she is transported to Oz, her world turns to bright, vivid color? That's what living with joy is like. It doesn't make life easier, or less painful. But it does make it worth it. 

I don't want something temporary. I want inexhaustible, fulfilling, life-changing joy. 

& I've found that in Jesus Christ. 

This quote basically sums it up:: 

 "It is the consciousness of the threefold joy of the Lord, His joy in ransoming us, His joy in dwelling within us as our Saviour and Power for fruitbearing and His joy in possessing us, as His Bride and His delight; it is the consciousness of this joy which is our real strength. Our joy in Him may be a fluctuating thing: His joy in us knows no change." 
- Hudson Taylor -



a taste of summer

The weather here in the northwest has been so nice lately. Everyone has been coming out of their little houses in swarms & flocking to downtown, the waterfront, parks - basically anywhere the sun shines. It's as if we all forgot what the sun feels like, & we're just experiencing it for the first time. 
& with all of the warm weather comes the startup of one of my favorite family traditions:: porch dinners. Yesterday, we had our first outdoor dinner of the year. Of course, we had burgers. [what else would we have eaten to kick this off?] & let's just put it this way:: when the Koehlers do burgers, we do it right. 

Here's 2 really good reasons why::

a). We raise our own beef. So it's organic, healthy, and delicious. There's no hormones or chemicals that are snuck into it. Plus, it's delicious. When I was younger, I used to be really against the idea of us raising our own beef. I think I tried going vegetarian for about 2 weeks when I was 13, but my parents wouldn't let me leave the table til I ate my meat. So that kind of failed. Thank goodness it did, because, now, I love our beef. Seriously, it's so good. I guess I always took it for granted. But now I know that the best hamburger on earth is made right in my kitchen. & next year's hamburger is out in the field, grazing on some grass, blissfully ignorant that he will be in my tummy next year. 

b). The second reason that are burgers are the best is quite simple really::
Sauteed mushrooms.

Need I say more?
My mom also makes the best fresh juices to go with whatever we're having. They're always fresh & tart, just like summer. This time it was an iced strawberry lemonade. Mmmm.
I loved yesterday. It was so nice to sit down & relax & talk with my family, together. We haven't all been together for a family dinner in ages, & I really missed that. It's important to regroup & catch up once in awhile, you know?

What's one of your favorite family traditions that summer brings?


let's go on a picnic

Summer is quickly approaching! & with that, I plan on taking lots of picnics this summer. I have 3 down on my bucket list. Picnics are probably one of my favorite things to do with my friends. They're inexpensive, low-key, & so relaxing. We pack up my little car with quilts & pillows to lounge on, a thermos of chilled lemonade, & a picnic basket full of delicious food, & drive to my town's central park, or down to the waterfront. We pick a spot & lay everything out & it's heaven. Sometimes we turn on some music, or sometimes we bring our guitars & ukuleles & sing our little hearts out, or read poetry, or talk, or just take little naps in the sun. Whatever we do, it's always lovely & relaxing.

Here's some inspiration for a couple different kinds of picnics::


The quintessential little picnic, complete with a checkered blanket. I love the idea of doing a tea party//picnic hybrid. It would be perfect for an autumn picnic!


 I am absolutely in love with the idea of an evening picnic on the beach. Snuggled up in quilts, with a bonfire, watching the sun go down. Ahhh. Nothing could be quite so peaceful.   

Or, just camp out overnight on the beach & picnic the whole trip away! I've been wanting to go picnic on the beach with some friends. Trying to figure out a safe place//way to do it is the tricky part.

French ::

This kind of picnic is actually on my summer bucket list. My friend went on a month-long trip to Europe last summer with her mother, & while they was there they stayed in France for a week. When they got back, they couldn't stop raving about french food. They started buying baguettes & french cheese, & got me addicted as well! Whenever I went over there that's all I would eat. I think that buying a baguette & some french cheese & going on a picnic on a hot day, with the sun melting the gooey, savory cheese on the the soft bread couldn't be any more perfect.

If you've never gone on a fun little summer picnic before, I encourage you too! You won't find a more relaxing way to spend the day.


41 Minutes

41 minutes. 

Just 41 minutes. I can do this.

41 minutes til the cast list for Annie Get Your Gun, the latest show I've auditioned for, comes out. Auditions were Friday, & callbacks were yesterday, & I wasn't too nervous or anxious for the cast list. It didn't even really cross my mind this morning at church, or even a couple hours ago. But the last hour before the cast list goes up is the worst. I get nervous for cast lists of shows I didn't even audition for.

I guess that's just how it goes.

So, I suppose it's time for the flood of pictures now. 

 I'm getting so excited for spring, I can't even tell you. Flowers blooming, birds singing, everything turning green. ahhhh.
 One of the added benefits of living on a farm. This is actually one of my neighbors horses. I remember when I was little we would run over to her field & spend all day talking to the horses, feeding them apples from the little apple tree in our field, & sweet green grass. We would name them (usually names involving the color of their fur &/or the markings on them), and always forget what we had named them, then re-name them the next day. I miss those long, lazy summer days. 
 Basically my life for the past week :: WRITING THE LOGNEST PAPER OF MY LIFE. I'm turning in the final draft tomorrow, & I'm so ready to be done with this & get it behind me. 
A delicious dinner date with my mama. I love her so much! She's the best person to talk things through with, & she's so wise. I absolutely adore spending time with her. For spring break, we're going on a little (big) road trip to California // Arizona to look at some colleges, with the added bonus of seeing some family. I don't think we've ever taken a trip together, just the two of us, so I'm super excited about it. It's going to be so rad!

THESE WILL BE ON MY BODY IN LESS THAN A WEEK. aka spring break. So ready to be somewhere warm & sunny & to finally wear tank tops & summer dresses & sandals. It'll be the greatest.

So this whole post is basically me rambling to distract myself from...that one thing. 

& it worked. 

11 minutes.



It's crazy how much I can see God working in my life right now. I just want to bottle up all these realizations and keep them for a time when I feel discouraged, or like God's not active in my life. I'll uncork the bottle & experience again all the waves of peace that are washing over me. To think of how anxious & down & stressed  out I was at the beginning of the year. Just last weekend I was wondering why my life actually felt like it was making sense. Why I was so happy. Why I was so at peace. The rough draft of the biggest paper of my life thus far was due, I have auditions for a show, and then trying to fit in all my other responsibilities. 

But yet, I wasn't stressed out. 

Then & there I realized just how much God has been soothing my nerves & calming my anxious heart. I hardly ever give Him credit for how He works. I am sure there have been so many times over the last seventeen years [& many more to come] that He was worked something miraculous in my life, & I'm not even aware of it, or I somehow comically believe that it was me who fixed the problem. 

I serve such a glorious, wonderful God, & am so blessed by what He has done in my life. 

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." // Psalm 55:22


the poetry of emily dickinson

Emily Dickinson has such a way with words. I have been hunting in thrift stores for months to find a collection of her poetry & I finally found one! It was a steal too. I almost started jumping up & down in goodwill, I was so ecstatic. I have a feeling that this will be one of those books that I'll read over & over again, keeping it for years even after it has become worn & weathered.

I've spent the last couple days poring over her beautiful poems, underlining & starring & making notes. I love writing all over books I read, because it makes me feel like I'm involved. That I'm invested in the writing, & play a part in it. I feel that it connects me, somehow, to her. Anyways, I wanted to share one of the favorites of hers that I've read so far ::

If I can stop one heart from breaking, 
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching, 
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.