Category Archives: Weekend Wanderings

Saying yes and being known

There is a voice in me that is full of lies and discouragement and tells me

You should stay inside, who would you hang out with anyways? 

You should just lay low. It’s not like you do anything. 

You should keep to yourself, not like anyone would notice. 

This pessimistic, discouraging, and downright mean voice inside of me sometimes wins out. Sometimes it shouts and I can’t hear anything else and as I have learned from being the oldest in a family of five kids: the loudest usually wins. But then there is the persistent Spirit in me that challenges the dark thoughts. It laughs at them but also grieves them because I think the Spirit knows that this voice hurts and that this voice sounds like truth when shouted loud enough and repeated often enough.

This weekend I settled into my covers after getting home from hanging out with some friends and listened to the voice in me that said just go to bed. Imagination is for the bold, the brave, the beautiful in mind.

That’s when my phone rang.

Jessica was calling and she asked if I would like to shadow her at a wedding ceremony she was shooting because she knew my desire to work on photography and learn.

Two voices shout at this moment. And the voice of the Spirit won out.

“yes please!”

We exchanged information and I went to sleep with the anticipation of Christmas Eve. I’m kinda embarrassed about that but it’s mostly because I

  • Am a huge fan girl of Jessica Bills
  • I get to work on photography and get a tune up on this passion!
  • Can hear that the mountains are calling.


Matt tagged along because frankly, we miss real trees and there is something special about seeing a familiar face that just knows you because they know your place. And on that mountain my heart was full of courage, my mind was swirling with learning, and as the sun set and we raced to chase the sun, I felt the switch in me remember why photography sparked my heart in the beginning. I remembered I am brave, and like saying yes, and love being the girl with a camera, and I love mountain wind caressing my face and I love people. I remembered yes.


Our weekend wanderings are twofold. The Rohrer family migrated to California for Thanksgiving as an in-between point for Ashley to fly over from Grove City and the rest of the crew to fly down from Alaska. Something cool about the Rohrer family: they are one of those families you think of when you think of classic Kodiak. I have known them since I was a preschooler at the Christian school and I am blessed to be able to say that. And something cool about Ashley: we have been friends for that long. I don’t know if you understand how impressive that is.

Matt and I spent the day with the Rohrer’s in this gem of a place that had everything you love about fall woven into the whole purpose of the town. We ate at Apple Annie’s which is  one of my favorite food experiences to date. After exploring the town a bit we went to Snow Line orchard and though we were a few weeks late for apple picking, we got to walk around the orchard and buy delicious apple products. Ashley and I ended the evening sipping on holiday Starbucks drinks and catching up on how it’s crazy that we are almost college seniors, what’s been going on in our lives the past six months, and the growing pains (the fun, the not so fun, and everything in between).  And I could just feel the comfort of being known talking to this dear friend of over a decade. We all hugged goodbye and said a see you later and I was brought back to second grade when Andrew Raney sang “A Friend is a Friend Forever” and we cried our eyes out because I was going to public school and we thought we’d never see each other again. But that was silly. And it’s silly to think that now.

But as Matt and I drove away and a bit of homesickness crept in, I was reminded that that feeling of being known isn’t something I can chase. I can’t piece together the parts of home into my life so I never feel uncomfortable or growing pains. The “home” I long to go to is a mix of Kodiak, and Chicago, and time and place. I can’t combine them into a perfect oasis of comfort and solace.  But that sentiment of being known that my heart desires? That is fulfilled in Christ alone. Isn’t it beautiful that no matter where I go I am known in the fullest extent by the Creator who knit me together? I’m thankful for friendships that point to me to Christ and remind me of the perfect image of friendship in the simplicity of being known.


Papa God, may we say yes to the truth the Spirit is whispering and know that we’re known in tangible ways and in beyond. Thank you for weekend wanderings God that let us stumble upon your truth in the mountains, through a view finder, with friends, and over an amazing slice of apple pie. Amen.

That Moment When Texas is Actually Awesome

I feel like I missed a memo. While I was growing up in Alaska I was taught that I needed to defend myself against Texans who would try to claim that “everything is bigger in Texas” and then I’d need to yell at them that three of their state can fit in my state. You think Texas is proud? Pshhh you should see Alaskans! While I was prepping for the fight (that honestly no one has with me. People really don’t care how much land your state has to it’s name. This and stop drop and roll were disproportionally stressed to me growing up), I missed the memo that Texas is low key awesome.

I said it. This Alaskan can humbly accept that though everything isn’t bigger in Texas (We’ve already covered that Alaska is the biggest and best) some things are just plain better in Texas. My mom used a mileage ticket to fly me from Twentynine Palms to San Antonio to meet her while she went to her conference here. I didn’t know what to expect really, I went in blind and I have effectively been blown away. I think part of it is I thought it was going to be tumbleweeds and cowboys. I didn’t see either during my whole trip in San Antonio and instead was greeted with a bounty of trees and some of the best food I’ve ever had.

So, I am now a self-ordained recruiter for the tourism sector of San Antonio. Let me tell you what you need to do and why you will want to go now.

Like right now.

Like stop reading and book a trip I’m so serious this is one of my favorite U.S. cities.

  1. That river walk that everyone talks about is actually pretty awesome.

Everyone will tell you to go here anyways but it’s far greater than the image in your mind is. I have been to the River Walk in Chicago but the restaurants are typically a level above from the water and it’s cold as heck most months. And I have also walked along the Seine in Paris and it had a pungent smell that can only be describe as a mix of urine and disappointed tourists with a dash of pollution. The River Walk in San Antonio takes it up a level. Restaurants line the River Walk and are right on the water. Performers’ music fills the air and the subtle symphony of water taxis cruising along the way. Along the River Walk you can pretty much dine on any cuisine that you desire as the diversity of Texas’ culture is showcased here. My picks of where to eat on the River Walk?

  • The County Line: I have never had brisket before and I had it here and I’m never going back. They have famous in house bread that is served warm and with a honey butter spread. I ordered the brisket with corn on the cob and garlic mashed potatoes. Okay, confession. I went here twice. I got steak the second time and they described it as “melt in your mouth” which I thought was weird until I had one bite… melt in your mouth can be a thing when referring to steak. And I think it changed my life.
  • Waxy O’Connor’s: I actually had dessert for dinner here but their homemade apple pie was amazing and came with caramel drizzled all over the pie. They also have Shepherd’s Pie and Chicken Pot Pie, great comfort food and sports bar vibes.
  • The Chocolate Factory: I’m embarrassed with how much money I spent here… they are very expensive but have pretty much any sort of chocolate concoction you can dream of.
  • Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville: I had the Cuban sandwich and was full for the rest of the day. Great portions and right by the mall and river.
  • The Iron Cactus: Please get their table side guacamole and marvel as they make guac an art form. Order one of everything is my recommendation.



  1. San Antonio knows how to do holidays.

I was in San Antonio over Halloween weekend and I couldn’t believe how intense they took it! Haunted house after haunted house, trick-or-treating on the river walk, a zombie walk down town, Dia de Los Muertos en la plaza: everywhere and everything! I was told by a San Antonio that this is just how they do things. In April they have a two- week long party! Why? BECAUSE THEY WANT TO. San Antonio is the epitome of fun. Once a year they drain the river to do some cleaning so what do they do? They have a fiesta! Christmas? Party! Halloween? You got it! San Antonio is festive and fun and a vibrant city that takes holidays to a new level.


  1. The whole state has a small town vibe.

I can really appreciate this coming from Alaska. I felt hospitality in every interaction despite being in a city. In Chicago I feel that I am constantly on guard for someone eager to steal my things or mess with me. In San Antonio? There were multiple occasions where in a big city someone would have taken advantage of the small town girls bewildered and lost but in San Antonio? Please were eager to help, give recommendations, and stud their response with a lot of “ya’ll” even though we giggled every time they did that.


  1. Texas is the perfect place for #treatyourself2016

We didn’t just go to Texas, we TREATED OURSELVES! Here are my favorite ways that we placed tourist and treated ourselves

  • Go to Tower of the Americas and dine at the restaurant at the top. This rotating restaurant gives you full views of the entire city. We only did dessert but we ordered the lava cake with ice cream. I don’t think I could forget that taste if I had to. You won’t be able to go back to lava cake from Domino’s after this.
  • Mani and pedi’s with my mom because that’s what you’re suppose to do when you hang out with your mom.
  • Wildlife Ranch African Safari is a zoo where you drive your care through the safari park and get an opportunity to see a variety of African animals. You also get to feed them with the complimentary feed given to you with your purchase! A zebra got real friendly with my window and we saw a lot of unique creatures
  1. Remember!

You have to go to the Alamo. It’s right in the heart of downtown and free to walk through the main part and you learn a lot about the history that Texas is so proud of.


  1. Trips are a thousand times better with family.

As you plan your trip to Texas (as I’m sure you will after you learned that Texas is not a barren wasteland that’s too hot and too country) be sure to bring family. I spent my time in Texas with my mom and we laughed and enjoyed the experience of a new adventure together. We also had the opportunity to spend a day with our cousin Lori Meredith.


Ya’ll have a good visit in Texas now!

Finding Fall, Weekend Wanderings

It’s been awhile! Finally got back to the habit of Weekend Wanderings. Matt was in the field earlier this month and I used that time to catch up on school work and deal with the house since it decided to fall apart during that time.

I have never been to a pumpkin patch. This is devastating since I have a reputation of throwing myself whole heartedly into holidays and fall is one of my favorite, favorite seasons. To remedy this, Matt took me to my first ever pumpkin patch and we did all the fall things that you need to do in one day!


Things to know about celebrating fall in California:

  1. It’s not going to feel like fall.
  2. It’s okay to dress to pretend it’s fall but it’s still going to be fall and it’s still going to be hot.
  3. In California there is an obsession with lines and fall festivities are no different.

Things to know about celebrating fall with the Kernan family:

  1. Corn mazes are slightly terrifying when you have that moment where you wonder if you really will never will find your way out and maybe you’re destined to die in that corn field and then you wonder how many people have actually died from that and wonder if you could sell this idea to “Bones” for a new episode concept.
  2. Kettle corn + Matt = Happy Matt for the rest of the day.
  3. When the incentive for a pet goldfish is involved, my aim when attempting to get a ping-pong ball into a jar of water is exceptional (I present to you, Colonel McFinn my new goldfish).
  4. Matt is highly motivated with the incentive to win a foam pirate sword.
  5. When you attend things like this you have that weird coming of age moment when you realize why your parents didn’t want to take you all to things like the State Fair because you’ll spend a million dollars and kids will want you to buy everything.
  6. Is a Pumpkin patch without pumpkin pie like a Crab festival with no crab?

It was a good day. Saturday’s are best spent with those you love most and laughing until your laughing muscles ache. Time with Matt is always a guarantee for that. Cheers to new traditions! What should we add to our list for next year? What are your fall favorites?

Happy Weekend Wanderings. I’m thankful that every week has a weekend, can I hear an amen?

When You’re Miserably Lost but the Company is on Point

Happy Labor Day Weekend! Lesson number one from this holiday is one cannot just “book a tent site” on such a major holiday week. And I looked in a good 100 mile radius or more. After that devastating reality, our good friends came to save the day and we cooked up an adventure (with much deliberation and scheduling) that would knock our socks off. Our Weekend Wanderings took us to Idyllwild, California!

He’s pretty serious when he drives and when he’s listening to Carrie Underwood. 

It was gorgeous. The drive, the trees! So many happy things in one day. We had walkie talkies to communicate with Destynne and Jacob in the other car and that lead Matt and I wonder… why do we even have cell phones? This is all I need! That and a new call sign. I was dubbed “Ghost” in reference to my never-seen-the-sun-before-skin. Post hike should probably be “Tomato” because I’m a little toasted.

A basic photographer selfie. 

The drive was the dose of home Matt and I needed. The winding road felt like the drive out the end of the road in Kodiak. Only major difference was on the left side there was no ocean. Just desert. And In-and-Out. And Joshua Trees.

This view driving out doesn’t get old. 

We figured out our plan after getting our permit (because that’s a thing in America) we made our game plan. 5 miles up, 10 miles round trip, we’ll reach the peak of one of those beautiful mountains and call it a day!

A romantic moment captured of Jacob doing nothing as his wife hangs on the edge for her life. 

Plans don’t always go as they are planned. We got lost somewhere at the start and got in a work out wandering up a mountain. I’m so thankful we made it to this “semi peak” otherwise I think Jacob would have shunned us forever. There was a part where my lungs felt like they were going to burst. And my legs were on fire. Or my lungs were on fire and my legs were going to burst. Either way, I was the weakest link by far.

God really out did Himself here. Look at that view! Almost forgot how I almost died getting up there. Except the constant reminder ever time I breathed in and it felt like my lungs were crumpled up brown bags. 

We started our climb down from our wanderings and my renewed energy made me a new person. I suddenly remembered the promise of apple pie at the bottom and gravity had no bounds against me. I felt as though I could fly. In mid-sprint/ mid-flight down, I could feel the energy of the pie in a very real way. In that moment I knew: this moment will become some sort of life lesson that I’ll tell my children in the future. Not sure what the moral is, it’s either “eat dessert first” or “don’t hike with two Marines and red head”. It’s still in the works.

It was a good weekend. Even the part where I couldn’t really move the next day because I’m terribly out of shape. Even the part where my lungs were wheezing. All the parts, and all the things. And in the words of Parks and Rec’s Leslie Knope:

“Sometimes you have to make the hardest climb to see the most beautiful sunrise. I read that once on an old lady’s decorative pillow. But it is really how I feel today. I’ve climbed a very weird and rocky mountain, and it was a pain in the ass, and my legs are tired, and I’m starving, but the sun is rising over a sea of love and waffles and possibility. So I’m just gonna relax and take a deep breath and enjoy this view for as long as I possibly can.” -Leslie Knope, Parks and Rec, Season 6

Shout out to Paradise Valley Cafe for ensuring I was motivated enough to actually move again after I got up there. 

Happy wanderings everyone! Where did your weekend take you?

Friends, Sand and Beating the Heat

Welcome to my first post in Weekend Wanderings! Matt and I have a goal to keep the weekend as our time for adventure. I also love the accountability for photography and to be held accountable for it. This weekend, my dear friends Alexis and Seth from Chicago came to visit. It was such a blessing to have familiar faces from Chicago in my home! Our adventure this weekend took us through Joshua Tree and to Laguna Beach. Laguna was stunning and the company was perfection. Cheers to the weekend!

I know… iced coffee… It’s hot ok.


Here if you’re going to Palm Springs people say “Oh you’re going down the hill?” Yes. Down a hill. An hour long hill.
I love flying over the wind turbines here.



Joshua Tree National Park is one of my favorite places.


for everyone’s entertainment, Matt will have a featured photo with my Canon Rebel T3 every week. His comment: “I am pretty much an artist. A born artist. See? I didn’t even have to try.” *licks the cheddar dust off his fingers from smart popcorn*


Island girl missed the ocean. ❤
❤ ❤ ❤



Stay tuned for next week’s Weekend Wanderings! What did you do this weekend?