Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


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Texans Abroad | Rye, England

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Rye, England is the cutest, quirkiest town I’ve seen so far. When Taylor wanted to show me this small part of England last summer, I was continually surprised at the charming views and clever homes.

ryemapAn hour’s train ride there from Canterbury, we ended up in another county, East Sussex. Though now two miles from the coastline, Rye was originally at the head of a bay in The English Channel and was an important Medieval trading port.

Walking up the cobbled stone roads looking at all the historical homes felt like walking through a storybook. Picturesque Medieval and Georgian homes crawling with greenery, each carrying a clever sign to describe itself. I was so intrigued by this quirky feature of the town!

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Walking up Mermaid Street, I was completely amused with the funny signs on doors.

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“The House with Two Doors”

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“House with the Seat”

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Our day was quite filled in this small town as we found our way around to 900 year old church, St Mary,  Ypres Tower, and coffee at a lovely cafe. Home to many authors, illustrators and musicians, even Paul McCartney of The Beatles, apparently, I can certainly see where they gain their inspiration.

 

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The Parish of St. Mary Church, Rye

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Viewing the old bells at St. Mary Church that are still tolled

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Climbed to the top of St. Mary Church and walking out the diagonal door to see the views.

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Black cat of St. Mary Church

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Trying on a replica viking helmet at Rye Castle Museum (Ypres Tower)

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Original torture device in Ypres Tower, which was mostly used as a jail.

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Springtime in Canterbury

1Springtime in England has been so quintessentially spring. East Texas doesn’t get much of a spring, unless you count rain and tornadoes. Yes, we get a couple weeks of nice flowers and new growth, but it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit and everyone’s already gearing up for summer.

Canterbury, Cathedral: view from University of Kent

Things here happen much steadier and it’s really beautiful to experience! My husband gets to see bunnies on his campus everywhere. I thought he was exaggerating until he took me there today so I could see for myself. There were thirteen just hanging out. East Texas has plenty of wildlife, don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen my share of brown rabbits and ducks, but we’re called the Piney Curtain for a reason…lots of pine trees. And plenty of places for animals to live without ever being seen.

In Canterbury, with The River Stour running through town and wooded area going straight to the university, the wildlife can easily be seen, but still have room to live, which I’ve so enjoyed it. ducks2

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I Was A Band Roadie

Modern Miracle Crammed in the third row of a vehicle hooked up to a trailer of music equipment, I rode the miles of open highway to our first destination. It was time to tour. Get out. Stretch. Divvy up hotel room beds. Then back in the third row, travelling to the gig.

It was usually a small church, or an outside venue. Sometimes we performed to a massive crowd, other times…not. Get out. Set up. Cables and guitars, drum kits and sound checks. And me. T-shirts and stickers, SD cards and tripods. I was a roadie. Girlfriend to a guitarist and absolutely crazy in love with this band.

When I became part of the Modern Miracle family, I was immediately enamored. The energy and excitement to hear their music, to see my boyfriend perform…I was inspired.

38102_412366495669_3548101_nRight out of high school with a new laptop and Photoshop Elements, just beginning my college courses on multimedia, I had the desire to create something beautiful for this band. I sat in my dorm room listening to their music on repeat attempting to create something that expressed the emotion of the lyrics. I don’t think I’d look back at my first attempts to use Photoshop without training and call it a masterpiece…but I learned to use it through my passion for this Christian band.

As my place in the family grew, I started photographing them in concerts and photo shoots. Then I started creating t-shirts and posters and banners. I became interested in re-designing their Myspace page. If anyone remembers, the classic Myspace had a lot of really great features, if you knew html. So I learned html. I spent hours perfecting their page, creating a beautiful aesthetic. I eventually began creating Myspace page layouts for several bands. I had, perhaps, a year of html experience under my belt before I first took a class on it. Through the beauty of music, I had come into my calling.

Modern Miracle

Modern Miracle was a constant source of inspiration for me. The lyrics were poetic stories ready to be unraveled, the music was a strong force to be reckoned with, the band members were a multi-talented family willing to do what it took to get their music out there. For me, the songs were worship. I felt connected to God by listening to them. And I knew my work was worship, too. I worked to create beautiful pieces of art and I worshiped God while doing it. By art, I mean Myspace layouts and t-shirt designs…but it was all for God.

Let our dancing feet set fire with the powers of your Holy Spirit.
We are anointing every word we say. Let it resonate.

I’ve never been so connected to music before or after this band. I appreciate music; the talent, the energy, the effort. There are a few bands I love. But there’s a difference.

With Modern Miracle, there was a raw passion that went straight through me. All the hours spent at band practices and concerts. The time forming bonds with each of them. The late night work sitting on my dorm bed creating. The connection my boyfriend (now husband–plot twist!) and I made when we talked about this group.

Seasons change, life happens. I wouldn’t trade anything to go back, but I do miss that time of my life. I miss the people, especially. Perhaps that’s what caused such an emotional response—having the band members there, laughing and joking; creating unique, original music. Music that held their talents and skill; their pain and joy. I didn’t just listen or watch, they didn’t just play and sing, we grew into who we are now…and we did it together.

Turn from the world. Double portion for shame.
Suffer your own cross for spiritual gain.


This was part of theWriting 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you? – (No. hehe)
All photos by me. ‘Diamond Palace’ video credit to D2S Records. Quoted lyrics are from the videos that follow them. Listen to one more song they never got to record!


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Smelling the Tulips | Writing 101: Day Two

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‘They’re my favorite flower,’ I hear my grandmother say, as I gaze over the vast field of never-ending violet. Ripples of color sway lazily with the breeze and, breathing deeply, I’m transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen. The soft smell of tulips sitting on the kitchen counter next to the coffee pot as Elvis Presley sings hymns softly in the background. She liked listening to that CD in the morning. I make my way through the field taking photos I can’t wait to post, excitement I can’t wait to share.

The things that connect us. The purple tulips in May, on her birthday. The slightly burnt coffee every morning strictly at 7 am. The voice of Elvis Presley in the morning. Things that connect all of us. The entire family. I don’t have to explain my nostalgia for Betty Boop, because they have the same nostalgia. I don’t have to wait for the laugh track when I mention my appreciation of salt and pepper shaker collections because they appreciate them too. They get it.

mamawThis woman who lived a full life, filled with everything from a childhood in the country to one of glitz and glamour. She lived. Her feisty, talkative personality filled her house with laughter. Her love of collecting filled her home, literally. But it was beautiful. It was all beautiful. Specifically I’m not talking about her milk glass collection or china teacup sets. Or her extensive, beautiful gold and diamond jewelry, mostly rings. She treasured those rings and wore them, all at once, on special occasions. No, I mean sneaking in her wardrobe as a child and playing dress up in her 1970’s polyester nightgown-and-robe sets. I mean waiting until she went to the kitchen to slip into her storage room to gaze wide-eyed at her giant collection of Betty Boop coffee cups and dolls and shirts. Once I gave her an old life-sized cutout of Betty Boop. She displayed it in her living room for years.

Finished Painting of Baker Homestead

We were never incredibly close. Or, perhaps, we were. To be close to Mamaw, was to savor the small moments. To be present and willing to listen; to be patient and willing to wait. I wasn’t a good roommate. I wasn’t. After college, I was just grateful for a room in her home at all. I came home exhausted from work and shut myself in my room to decompress for hours. I couldn’t stand watching The Bachelorette with her–even ironically–so I left that to my cousin. I would snap back with an attitude after 30-too-many-times her telling me to not wash my dishes/clothes/self while she was watching her evening shows. She couldn’t hear them, otherwise. I was patient, but I still think about the times I was not. Of course, she had an attitude as well. The kind of attitude that comes with the privilege of aging and not caring at all if what she said offended. To be close to Mamaw was to not care if she did offend, because you knew she was just trying to tell her funny story for a good laugh. Or she was just trying to make sure her precious Betty Boop valuables weren’t broken by the hands of a curious child.

I drift in and out of these memories of my grandmother. Visiting the fields of tulips is like an amplified megaphone; each petal, each smell shouting a memory directly at me. The beauty of those flowers, stretched miles and miles and miles, is overwhelming and awe-inspiring. These fields connect me to my grandmother, they connect us all. They affect me like they affect my family. There is a beautiful trust in that. Even thousands of miles apart, I know I am not alone. Through a simple song by Elvis Presley, we can share a memory, a story, a laugh. Through a single tulip, we can ensure our family history will be remembered in the most beautiful way.

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This was part of the Writing 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

I’d love to visit Amsterdam during their tulip season for my grandmother! It’s on my Bucketlist, even. This spring I at least hope to visit one of England’s beautiful gardens.


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Easter Weekend in Canterbury

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Taylor and I have been enamored with Canterbury Cathedral this weekend. We should have visited sooner, but we let it fall to the wayside.
Thursday we went to The Liturgy of Maundy Thursday service, which was such an experience. The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke, and washed the feet of twelve of the church members, which was quite emotional. Then, as the choir sang, one by one all of the lights were turned off in the entire cathedral as the sanctuary was stripped of everything.

Friday we decided to go to an evening Requiem by Maurice Duruflé sung by the Cathedral Choir.

Sunday evening we went, yet again, to an evening sermon and compline. We had a chance to take a few photos of the outer cathedral. I captured the Easter garden, with the tomb and stone rolled away, some lovely blue sky cathedral photos, and some shadowed photos of the new Queen of England and Duke of Edinburgh statues that the Queen and Duke themselves unveiled two weeks ago to mark her diamond jubilee. It has been tradition for royalty to have their statues added to the cathedral for many years.

We plan on taking in many more services and will definitely visit more often to see all there is to see of this magnificent place.

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And though our Easter may not have included hunting Easter eggs and eating chocolate (although I’ve been craving hard-boiled eggs all day, so that may be remedied), we DID decide to dress in pale green and blue, because pastel = Easter (right?), we get to see baby ducks everyday as we walk home, and we saw a duck waddling along on the sidewalk this evening. That pretty much covers our bases. 😉

Happy Easter!

 

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April Fool’s Day! | Office Pranks

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April Fool’s day has ALWAYS been my favorite day of the year. All the way back to elementary school, I was fascinated with the day. Being so clever as to prank someone? Gold.

My ‘best’ (*cough dumbest? silliest?*) prank ever dates back to Junior High. Cue pre-teen angst swirled together with a slew of boy-related rejections and a dollop of ‘still finding myself’ and you get the basic inspiration for this scheme. With a little planning (very little) and some basic acting skills, I successfully fed several boys diarrhea-inducing chocolate bars. (Pathetic, right?) My friends and I had such fun ‘luring’ boys to eat this chocolate despite the prank having ZERO GRATIFICATION TO US. It’s not like we asked them the following day if they had any “issues.”  I guess it’s the journey that matters, not the destination?

Sometimes the stars align so perfectly that you just know something was meant for you. I recently found out that one of the first mentions of April Fools’ Day  was written in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Oh Canterbury, I was meant to live here. In The Nun’s Priest Tale the character is tricked by a fox on “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two…”  —March 32nd—or…April 1st. pranks

Last year, I had the best day at work full of pranks and laughter. It was my last day of working in that particular office, and at the end of the day I literally packed away my computer and belongings and moved to a different office building in a different city. It was really special to make my last day full of fun. A coworker, with a penchant for pranking, and I schemed and prepped a long time to come up with as many pranks as possible. You can see them listed below. (I know I posted this video a few posts ago, but really, I couldn’t leave it out)

This year, I’m living in the UK, but I just couldn’t let the spirit of pranking be cast aside! (Although rumor has it that my coworker partner-in-crime has some pranks up her sleeve…can’t wait to find out!) I decided to keep it really simple and civil this time with a care package from Britain, filled with snacks. I thought they’d get a kick out of the novelty of the different name brands.

The ‘prank’ is just a small letter included in the package. The sentences are completely non-sensical using many British phrases. Considering that I created these sentences myself with only the help of my experience and some Google searching, I doubt many of these sentences even make sense to local Britains! (Especially because many phrases are from different regions of England, as well as different time periods.) I included ‘clues’ on tiny slips of paper that ‘translate’ the words into American English. They’ll have to do some digging and rearranging to figure out what I wrote!

If anyone has any pranks to share, I’d love to see! I hope everyone has a fun day and that none of you get fooled by any of the media’s inevitable pranks!

Unfortunately their package hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ll update this post with the letter and decipher once they receive it!


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April Fool’s Day | Etsy Finds

My favorite day is coming up soon! I love pranking! Taylor and I are always trying to trick each other. When we first married he would prank me so much, that I’m conditioned to it now. His scares don’t get me anymore! (Public shaming)

I thought I’d peruse Etsy for some fun pre-made pranks to share here!

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Dentures Soap | Mail a Glitter Bomb | Outlet Sticker |  Prank Poster | Mac & Cheese Soap | Spilled Coffee

(The power outlet sticker was featured on George Takei’s Facebook this week.


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Around the House – Painting


Our flat feels one part kid’s art on the fridge, and one part Pinterest Paradise. But making my own art and using washi tape to display it was a lovely solution to the ‘no nails’ rule in the lease. I quite enjoyed painting/drawing these.

I used my new colorful rug as inspiration to fill the pages with more color and abstract shapes. Painting is interesting. It’s relaxing and fun. And 9 times out of 10 I really dislike what I paint and end up casting it aside, but the process of painting will forever be my favorite part.


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Lately


Things are slow and sleepy these days. With the rain and cold creeping back into Canterbury after a few weeks of warmth, it’s hard to be motivated to do anything but bundle up.
I’m currently:
Designing: Logos
Writing: Letters to my little brothers
Playing: Faster Than Light
Prepping: Packages to be sent to the states
Learning: How to take photos in bright lights
Celebrating: Taylor being accepted into a 2 week summer course in Paris
Planning: A game night at our flat for the students of CBC
Painting: With acrylics for more wall art (still haven’t mastered water color)
Scheming: Something secret for a certain 4-1-2015
Dreaming: Of blonde hair (ombre again??)
Watching: The Office (of course)

Enjoying: Snapchat. <-See my latest videos. And add me if you so please! UN: lyssssabeth

 


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25 Things | An Update

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These winter months are flying past us.

Moving to the UK, I did fret just a little about the weather, however it really hasn’t been a problem. On a daily basis, yes, it’s much colder than Texas, and it rains so much more. But so far Texas has had more snow than Canterbury, so the cold is not so bad. I think you just learn to acclimate to wherever you are. In Texas I never would have wanted to walk in the rain… with cars so readily available and absolutely necessary to get around most places, walking wasn’t an option. With no car and every store imaginable right in the vicinity…we have no choice but to bundle up, grab an umbrella and go. It’s not bad at all, it’s just the norm.

That being said, whether rainy and cold are normal or not, it’s certainly hard to stay motivated when all I really want to do is watch Netflix bundled in a blanket. Everyday is a decision to give in to that laziness or continue on with my list of 25 things. And sometimes I choose the TV marathon. I won’t lie. But, as long as the end goal can be the same, then this will be a productive, satisfying year. I’d say I’m off to a good start in accomplishing that!

Let’s talk details: Most of what’s on my list isn’t something just the check off and be done with, but as a way to learn from and add to my life. Here are some updates to a few things.

1. Learn basic French | Learning another language is no joke. I’ve really enjoyed learning simple phrases. I can recognize about 50 phrases or words and write most of those correctly (I struggle with the punctuation).  Speaking is more difficult, but I’m happy with the progress so far.

2. Take better photos | I don’t know about better, but I am learning more about my digital camera. I love taking photos around the city!

4. Visit all the countries in the UK | Check Scotland off that list

8. Learn to be | This one is usually easy for me, but lately I’ve been working until midnight some nights, just not wanting to stop being productive.

16. Become more involved in church | Taylor and I  have just been added to the Canterbury Baptist Church Student Volunteer Team. We will be working with university students, helping plan activities and meals and growing the students church community. We have been getting to know the leaders and students of this group for quite some time now, so I’m very happy to work with them. We’re cooking Tex-Mex for them this Sunday! We’ll see what they think of some of our favorite foods.

20. Send more snail mail | Yay! My request for pen pals was a large success! I just sent out a handful of postcards and plan on sending more once I get everyone’s address.

I’m excited about this year. The weather is warming up, I’m learning new things all the time. (Like, I had no idea mother’s day is celebrated on a different day in many countries. It’s March 15th here). I’m looking forward to March!