Surfaces and textures are a favorite photo subject for me (next to crashing waves on stony beaches of course). The details often missed by a cursory glance are fascinating when I take the time to focus in. The tree trunk below is in my top 3 favorite photos. The contrast of focus from the water in the background with the tree is interesting; the contrast in lighting from the water to the tree; the detail of the tree bark that could be mistaken for a lava flow. I love it all. My favorite parts of the photo are the shadows. The light on the tree is gorgeous and stands out because of the tiny shadows cast from each groove in the tree bark.


Speaking of shadows.

Have you ever tried to hold your breath for as long as possible? Maybe as a kiddo just for fun. Maybe as a parent diving to the bottom of a pool to fetch a lost toy. At first everything is just peachy. The excitement of the deep inhale quickly passes and settles into a calm quiet. Maybe the quiet of a held breath is a welcoming peace not recently enjoyed. After some stretch of time the need to exhale is apparent but the quiet peace remains. With the passing of more time, that quiet peace melts aways and a panicking need for new air is abrasive against the calm quiet that only moments ago held all attention. At some point, the new inhale brings precious air into the lungs and by some process now known to the scientific and medical communities, the cells of the body receive the needed oxygen, and the gases not required or even internally harmful are released back to the environment.

The previous several months have felt like the calm quiet peace section of holding a breath. The depression doesn’t always feel terrible. Sometimes it’s comforting as ridiculous as that might sound. Kind of like a shadow that follows me around. Me and my shadow…there’s a song in there somewhere. My friend and company. Because it’s familiar. It’s not the rushing excitement of a deep inhale nor is it the panicked gasp for fresh air. It is simply present, not demanding any attention. Only distorting any attention. And distortions seem so much nicer than demands. Because on the surface, the distortions are blunted (until they’re not). And in the beginning of a depression, everything feels softer, and warped, melty, and almost cozy (maybe because the first steps for me are crawling into bed only lazily getting out). And at some point it’s no longer comforting. It’s not a cozy and welcomed familiarity. The distortions grow stronger, they become increasingly unrealistic but there’s no way to notice the gradual sinking unless I jot down the feelings and thoughts almost daily (no wonder the therapist recommended keeping a log of such thoughts). Across the span of months, the steps from a comfortable isolation to an incapacitating shut down were so incredibly gradual and small that I didn’t notice. That any comment from my husband or other loved one about an oddity in my thinking or behavior was met with hasty nonchalance on my part or just ignored.

The initial making up of excuses to get out of a phone conversation early morphed into not picking up the phone but calling back later, that became not picking up the phone at all and waiting for the next phone call to answer, which later became not picking up the phone on the second or third or fourth call. So small. Such tiny progressions. Until all of a sudden it’s been over a month without talking to one of my dearest friends and somehow the distortions have solidified my assumption that said friend hates me because we haven’t spoken in a month. That’s when the panicked need for fresh air sets in. Only now things are complicated because the distortions help me believe that it’s impossible to get better. That there’s no point in trying to take the breath because it’s only a matter of time until the next depression comes around.

The entirety of the lsat several months haven’t been all bad. The depression has been so very present but has not been incapacitating until very recently. The low, slow, fuzziness has been punctuated by moments of absolute high energy with clear and strong emotion. In September I started a new job – the entire time thinking I was an imposter in my own life. That there’s no way Lauren could land such an amazing opportunity. There’s been a growing  feeling the entire stretch of time that the truth would come out. Not out of anxiety or fear, just a simple matter of fact feeling that someone would tap me on the shoulder and say, “Sorry, we confused you with a different applicant. There’s so many Laurens out there, ya know?”.

There was also the excitement of traveling to England for the wedding of a friend anyone would be lucky to know. For a few moments that week, life didn’t feel isolated or blurry. One moment in particular stands out so clear, without distortion. Sitting in the front pew, only steps away from the bride and groom as they sign their marriage certificate/license/whatever England calls it. My best friend is smiling, absolutely radiant in her white gown as she leans in to sign her name, the sun shining into the church so beautifully. And the next day I collapse with tears into a hug from Hugsband so frustrated with myself for only now realizing that if I had let the depression win the previous round, I would have never seen the opportunity to witness such glorious joy and love for one of my dearest friends.

In both instances, the depression was going strong. In both instances, pieces of life’s most wonderfully exciting timeline were marred by distortions. And I hate it. I despise that moments of such excitement are tied to moments of such dread. But what good does hating the depression do? What good does trying to push it out of my life do? While it would be nice to live a life without it, ignoring it doesn’t seem to make it go away. It’s a shadow. Always with me. Even in life’s sunniest moments, there will always be a shadow. Sometimes I can see the shadow if the sun is to my back, warming my shoulders. Sometimes I don’t see the shadow if I’m blinded by the sunny moments. Either way, the shadow will be there. Hating it doesn’t solve anything. Ignoring it doesn’t solve anything. Recognizing it is not unfathomable but certainly uncomfortable.

Regardless, it’s time for a new breath. One that I was finally able to take about a week ago. A breath that wasn’t necessarily of my own choosing. But a breath that was finally possible with the lifting of the depressive episode. Knowing history, it won’t be the last depression. But knowing history, I have evidence that life is still worth a go even with the shadows.



Long story, short: sometimes life gets stressful. I made a background for my phone to help me chill out. Scroll straight to end of post to view – or read the entire narrative going on in my head right now for some entertainment and possibly some empathy 😉

Sometimes there are days when making simple decisions are impossible. I’m not talking about the days of not knowing what to wear out of the house. Nor do I write of the conversations between significant others that follow the general timeline, “What do you want for dinner?” – “I dunno, whatever you want” – “But I want to know what you want. Anything is fine really” – “How about Chinese takeout?” – “Meh, no”

The simple decision of today is: Where should I buy groceries? Simple, right? Just pick the closest grocery store and go. No need for brand name celery or anything, right?


Somehow, I have overthought the question of where to buy groceries to the point of freezing entirely and I’m now planning to avoid buying groceries ever again. For those of you thinking, “you’re bonkers, please explain” feel free to read further. For those of you thinking, “I don’t care what’s up in your head, just show me the picture” I invite you to skip to the end of the post for pretty watercolor pastels.

All of the psychology interested minds of the internet are most likely familiar with Seligman’s concept and experiments around learned helplessness. There’s way more to it but to water it down enough for this blog post basically: In experiments with dogs, Fido would learn in some fashion that he can’t escape an adverse stimulus so Fido just gives up on trying to escape the stimulus. In Seligman’s experiments, the adverse stimulus was a shock. Some dogs learned how to escape the periodic shocks but other dogs were not provided that learning opportunity (basically, conditioning) and ended up giving up on trying to escape the periodic shocks. Sounds terrible, right? When I sat in my first psych class that discussed these experiments, I thought there was no way this could apply to humans (such silly thoughts of a first semester college freshman with barely 18 years of experience in this world). 9 years later, I’ve changed my thoughts on the topic:

I feel like I might “get” what Fido was experiencing. Not shocks But the adverse experience that leads to frozen, indecisive giving up. (I won’t get shocked until winter time when I reach for my car door, then I’ll become conditioned to jerk my hand away from the car door just before grasping the handle and getting a shock every. single. time. – true story, that happened last winter).

So anyways, what do Fido and I have in common right now?

Well currently, hugs and I are trying to figure out how we can work better nutrition into our day to day lives without giving up too much of our already limited time and without parting with too much of our very much thankful to earn income. So it’s not entirely an issue of being lazy (take that millennial h8trs). So here’s the deal: I’ve found all kinds of recipes that look delicious, are more nutrient dense than our typical meal routine, and each of these recipes are designed with ingredients that I’ve actually heard of before. But here’s where it gets tricky: after finding the recipes, planning what to eat when, and making out the grocery list I am plum tired and don’t feel like getting my hiney to the grocery store, navigating through people, and making small talk with the cash register employee (yeah, you’re dealing with a major introvert here. Even Meyers-Briggs was impressed). So then I decided to use the Walmart Grocery Pickup service – and I’m so excited to delete the most stressful part of cooking for me from my routine while also staying within our grocery budget! But the Walmart grocery pickup team doesn’t know how to pick out produce to my liking. I’m pretty sure a desire for fresh produce and not moldy tomatoes is not too tall an order, maybe I’m wrong (that’s happened a couple times before). But I do know that if I went grocery shopping and saw moldy tomatoes, they wouldn’t end up in my shopping cart. So now I’m brainstorming all kinds of ways around the hassles of meal planning and grocery shopping and cooking. But each time I think I’ve found a solution, I nearly simultaneously find all kinds of flaws with the idea.

And so now I can empathize with Fido. Because after repeated adverse stimuli (trying and failing and failing and failing and failing to find a solution to my grocery shopping dilemma) I have now decided to never go grocery shopping or cook again.

Until a few hours from now when I face facts and realize I’m hungry and grocery shopping is really the only responsible way around that.

And so while trying to calm myself down I reached out to hugs and he gave the wonderful advice, “Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. We don’t have to figure this out in the current hour”.

Sometimes he is so right.

And so here is the iPhone background I made myself to stop freaking out over both the little things and the big things. Because figuring this out isn’t entirely up to me anyways. As hugs mentioned, “WE don’t have to figure this out in the current hour”. And that means tonight WE will set aside time to untangle this dilemma I’ve snarled myself into together.


Hashtag Lawyered

Remember that smart and witty young lady I wrote about a week or so ago? Well here’s her face! Today was actually her first day back to law school so this photo is what I have to remember her by until I see her again at Christmas. (Just kidding – we live pretty close now! But also kidding again because she’s a busy gal during the academic year.)

Alyssa let me practice my photography skills on her smile and liked the end product enough to let me show her portrait to the internet. This brainy lady needed photos for her upcoming internship application and I jumped all over the opportunity to hang out with her and take some pictures. We didn’t really have a location in mind for her portraits and pretty much wandered around the neighborhood area until we found this nice stone wall.

Fun (and frightening) fact: When we were super young, Alyssa and I were playing outside while our parents were working in the yard. Lyssa was on a kiddo sized train and I was pushing her around (literally – not much different from the usual day to day). Well at one point, my 5-ish year old self thought it would be great fun to push her down the hill of the driveway (not thinking one iota of the potential for a tragic accident because as I said: 5-ish year old self). Fortunately, Dad spoiled all the fun and stopped Alyssa on the choo-choo before she made it to the street. It’s a miracle any of us survive to adulthood for sure – especially with people like me loose on the world!

Anyways, it’s kinda cool to think about the mini versions of ourselves playing over 20 years ago. The biggest challenge in our world was figuring out who had to be the ugly Ken doll when we played Barbie (there were tears over this – mostly Alyssa’s because I was a really mean big sister). I think now I wouldn’t last a minute in a debate with her over who got stuck with Ken. Sometimes I let myself daydream that our childhood and pre-adolescent, adolescent, and even some post-adolescent bickering helped lead her to this professional debating career she seems to be pretty good at.DSCN3154-2

Alyssa Yellow

There’s a new color saved in my Photoshop panel called, “Alyssa Yellow”. The namesake returned to OKC yesterday for the upcoming academic year and we got to catch up and hang out for a little bit before my early bed time arrived. She complimented my iPhone background and asked me to make one for her as well – so I did! Her request was a yellow background with an inspiring quote.

There were two steps to designing her request:

Step 1: Find the perfect yellow. This was pretty easy – I used the color picker in photoshop to select the best yellow that matched Alyssa’s sunny and sharp personality, then I adjusted the vibrance to get the color a little softer for the eyes on the phone screen.(staring at the bright yellow sun is bad for your eyes, staring at a bright yellow screen sounds painful, and staring at bright Alyssa might be dangerous – plus that’s creepy so just don’t)

Step 2: Find an inspiring quote. This took a little more time (but not much!) and a little bit of thesaurus work with Google. Alyssa is entering her 2nd year of law school and just finished an internship with the Army JAG people – basically, she’s sharp, witty, smart, and determined. And what does a sharp, witty, smart, and determined young lady do? She slays. That’s what she do.

Rise and Slay


Peace Like a River

Have you read the book, ‘Peace Like a River’ by Leif Enger? This photo reminds me of that book. It was loaned to me by a friend who brought me tons of books to keep my mind busy while I was on bed rest after a surgery. The cover made the book seem a little spooky but I don’t recall it actually being scary – it was different than my usual reads but it was one of my favorite books from my reading list last year. Babbling

Location: Lubbock, TX
Camera: Nikon Coolpix
Editing: Lightroom


Look at all of the circles! The circular spout encircles circular rings that encircle circular water holes. Ever say the word, “circle” so much it looses it’s meaning?DSCN1474 copy

Location: A front porch in Lubbock, TX
Camera: Nikon Coolpix
Editing: Lightroom