The familiarity of your flaws

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I wanted to go back to you. Even though I knew you weren’t good for me, I had convinced myself that something was better than nothing. That dysfunctional love, which in reality was hate, was somehow better than being alone.

Another break-up and I’m left comparing. Left alone. Left to wonder.

Your flaws, I started to excuse them. Was I asking too much? Was I being too picky? Maybe you weren’t that controlling, I did enjoy flirting. Maybe your anger was justified, because I did mess up at times. Maybe you weren’t that negative, you were under a lot of pressure at work. Maybe you really did love me, even though I knew you didn’t.

A lot of maybes in a world of uncertainty. A lot of excuses because I craved any hint of love.

For some reason I’ve always remembered the good times, the bad times seem to have been erased from my memory. My journal reminds me of the pain when my mind seeks to deceive me. It’s not in an effort to hold onto bitterness but rather to live in reality.

But ‘what ifs’ come flooding in. What if we were at a different place in life? What if our parents hadn’t been so involved? What if we hadn’t rushed everything? What ifs can send us down an alternate reality that steals the blessings God has placed right in front of us. What ifs symbolize things that didn’t happen. Things we perhaps wish would have. Things we think would have made everything better.

But these didn’t happen moments are what brought us to where we are today. Thankfully, my desire to go back to you was met with my desire to believe I deserved something more. My desire to trust God more than myself. To trust He had something better than my limited view could see.

The familiarity of your flaws led me to believe I was somehow safe. But the truth is, I never felt safe with you. What is safe about the predictability of unpredictability? And while it’s sometimes scary in a world of unknown flaws, I am left with one thing I never had with you- hope.

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5 reasons why I will still talk to your boyfriend

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And so begins another controversial topic. I need to choose my words carefully as to not sound like I am purposely trying to be a home wrecker. I believe in being loyal but it can be a very scary thing when we become too loyal to the wrong person. I don’t believe in cheating but I do believe in getting to know someone you like. So let me tell you why I will still talk to your boyfriend:

  • He’s a great guy. Obviously you are dating him because you see some great qualities. I see those too.
  • We have similar interests. Whether he is a co-worker, a school colleague, a church friend, or a political debater, our paths may have crossed because of similar interests. Maybe he’ll be a friend for a season, maybe for a lifetime.
  • We have similar morals/values. It’s hard to find people who appreciate my morals and values, much less agree with them. If he does, he is rare and I want him in my life.
  • We’ve got chemistry. Whether our personalities are the same or opposite, we just click. We laugh at the same corny jokes. He can keep up. We just have fun.
  • He’s not married. Sometimes people date out of comfort. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone’s told me they didn’t see themselves marrying the person they are currently dating.

We settle because we don’t find anything better. Dating is to see whether or not you want to marry that person. I don’t know why we are so afraid to talk to people in relationships or let our partner talk to others. I wish we could all be a little more open and less insecure. Maybe I’m too idealistic. Maybe I believe too much in trust and communication. But. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Whether he ends up with you. Whether he ends up with me. Whether he ends up with someone else. We’re all just trying to maneuver this same life while making the best choices possible. I guess I have faith and hope that someone will understand the prize I am and not want to be in a relationship with anyone but me. If he does, maybe we aren’t right for each other in the first place.

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You can’t stay in a good relationship while waiting for a better relationship

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You just can’t. This has happened to me a few times now and it blows my mind. Guys that are in relationships and will break up with their girlfriend if I will date them. The catch? They won’t break up with them if I say I just want to be friends. They want commitment. Commitment I can’t give. Commitment I shouldn’t have to give. And they stay with their girlfriends because of it. Some are now single, some are in new relationships, and others are still with the same girlfriend- perhaps married now.

I don’t get it.

Okay, maybe I do. I’ve been tempted to settle. The thought that no one better will come along has crossed my mind more than once. So I make excuses and try to make it work. But the peace just isn’t there and something doesn’t feel right. But it’s better than being single. Or is it?

I don’t think it is and that’s why I’m still single. Are we really that afraid to be alone? So many people jumping from one relationship to the next. Securing their next partner before letting go of their current one. You want to think it’s romantic- that they are willing to give up their current girlfriend for you but it’s not. Not when they won’t give them up for themselves. I could never be with any of these guys because I can’t respect someone who doesn’t respect themselves. They deserve more. And their girlfriend deserves better.

What is so hard about deciding what you’re looking for and waiting for it? Why can’t we set our standards high and ensure we are meeting those same standards? Maybe it’s because we lack faith and hope. Faith that God has someone out there that’s perfect for us. Not perfect, but perfect for us. Someone that brings out the best in us and loves us all the same when the worst comes out. Hope that He’ll bring them in our lives at the perfect time. Not when we are needy. Not when we are desperate. But when we are full. Complete in Christ. Because it’s then, and only then, can we see our potential partner as a beautiful complement to our lives instead of fighting for them to complete us when they can’t.

I can’t tell you who to wait for but I have a feeling you already know.

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4 signs he has no intentions of marrying you

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One of my friends recently updated her profile picture. It was a picture of herself… Alone. Without Steven. Where was the picture of her and him? They have been in a relationship for 8 years!!! I decide to creep; I click on her profile to see no existence of Steven. No sign of their relationship. How do you erase 8 years of your life like that?! Maybe you can on social media but it’s much harder to erase them from your heart. I have a love/hate relationship with these scenarios; part of me is like “aha, I was right” because I somehow can see these things coming but then the harsh reality sets in and I’m extremely sad. Heartbreak is never something to be happy about. I normally brush these off and move forward but this is like the 5th relationship I’ve seen severed within the past month! I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only one that sees this. I wonder if these girls see the warning signs but choose to look the other way. I know I’ve done that. Emotional attachment is one of the strongest forces I’ve felt. I hope you’ll keep this post around when you are in a relationship. Not as 100% factual but as something to consider when you are struggling with a current relationship, current feelings.

  1. You aren’t visible. When I’m with him, I don’t see you. And this is manifested in several different ways. He doesn’t really talk about you. It’s hard to know whether or not he is even in a relationship. He doesn’t do his best to include you in his events. Social media has made this a little difficult, as well, because some people are more private with their relationship than others. But I’ll be honest, I don’t normally post much about a guy unless I’m ready to commit. You want someone who is proud of you. Someone who wants to show you off. Be sure you don’t make excuses for him.
  2. Marriage talk is taboo. He doesn’t like it when you mention marriage and insists on just enjoying the moment now. He doesn’t like to commit to any long term plans. Moving in together is not a step in the right direction either. One of my friends was ecstatic that she and her boyfriend were finally moving in together after ten years- she thought it was a step in the right direction but he was only trying to appease her a little longer which leads to the third sign…
  3. He appeases you. He will get creative to keep you calm. I like to call these “shut up” gifts; things to keep you quiet for awhile. He is basically going through the motions but his heart isn’t really in it. He doesn’t want to hurt your feelings and he likes you, but just not enough. You want a guy who will think about you constantly and buy you things and do things for you simply because he wants to. Because he knows how happy it’ll make you.
  4. He is easily distracted. Basically, he is interested in other people. You have to be on the lookout for this one. I remember being out one night with a group of friends and I started talking to this one guy who seemed rather flirty. I realized he had a girlfriend when she walked over! There is a fine line between being friendly and outgoing versus being flirty and interested in others.

These signs aren’t rocket science but it takes a lot for a man not to string a woman a long and a woman to know when to let go.

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I was afraid to break up with you

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I have yet to meet someone who has enjoyed breaking up with someone. Sometimes someone may feel a sense of relief but the act itself is never fun. Someone always gets hurt. The only way to avoid this is to never date. But we all still date, risks known. Whether we choose to acknowledge or deny those risks is up to us.

I was afraid to break up with you for you. I didn’t know if you could handle it. You had been through a lot and I knew you had let your guard down with me. I didn’t want you to regret that. Our relationship was your life. What would you do if I left? I honestly didn’t know if you were stable enough without me. This is hard to write. I didn’t know it had gotten this far. The same thing that attracted me to you was the same thing that is pulling me away. I can’t mean that much to you. It’s too much pressure. Aside from wondering what will happen to you, I never wanted to hurt you. Ever. While I still think you’re a great guy, it’s possible to be a great guy and just not right for me, right?

I was afraid to break up with you for others. We say do what’s best for you but we all know others are always affected by our actions -by our decisions. It’s never just your life. Our families- so intertwined. So much pressure, so many expectations. What would they think if I broke it off? Could I still be friends with your family? They’ve treated me like I was their own. I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want them to think I was just using you. I don’t want them to think I don’t love you. Because I do love you. I’m just not in love with you.

I was afraid to break up with you for myself. You had become my life. I don’t know if I could do this on my own. I was so scared. What if I don’t find someone better? Who would I talk to if I needed to vent? Who would celebrate with me when I’d graduate? I was so afraid to be alone. Is it bad to say I was afraid you’d hurt me for hurting you? How did it get this far? I was afraid to be with you and afraid to be without you at the same time. This is all too much.

And then I learned the best thing for everyone- you, me, our friends, our families was to break it off. I’ve known all along. Because it’s not fair to you, not fair to me, not fair to our loved ones for me to continue to live a lie. As hard as it is now to be alone, it’s harder being with someone I know isn’t right for me. I’ll have to learn to live without you again. But I can. Sometimes we have to take one step back to take two steps forward.

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Taking a break or breaking up

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Breaks breaks breaks. There are many types. Your partner is off in the military and you are forced to take a break, one person isn’t sure of the relationship and requests a break, the actual break-up, and the break needed after the break-up. Whew. That’s exhausting just talking about it. But I’m only going to make two points in this post:

Taking a break? Break-up.

If you or the other person feels the need to take a break, the relationship is probably already over. You don’t take a break from your family. You don’t stop being a parent, a sibling, a son, or a daughter for a period of time. You don’t take a break to decide if you still want to be a part of the family. You may get mad but you know you’ll always be related. And in that, there is a sense of security. Commitment regardless.

What makes a relationship so amazing, so stable, and so secure is knowing that no matter what, you and the other person will never leave. Taking a break pulls that level of trust from right underneath you. You aren’t yourself. You wonder if you are good enough. You wonder if this will happen again. If you are not willing to work through it with your partner, it already shows where your real desire lies. When you really love someone, when you really know that you are with the person you want to spend forever with, you’ll fight. And this isn’t fighting.

I think this happens a lot with couples that haven’t first figured out who they are on their own and they get frustrated. Unfortunately, their partner is the one who ends up suffering. Don’t look for your identity in another. You can’t. And it can cost you a good relationship down the road if you think you can.

In short, there’s no sense in being in a relationship if one person already wants out.

Breaking up? Take a break.

And if you do break-up, take a break. I don’t care if you feel like you don’t need one or you both agreed to be friends, take a break. There are too many emotions that are still so raw. You have to learn to be single again. Otherwise, one or both of you are going to hold onto the hope of the relationship. Not necessarily because you love each other, but because you don’t know how to function on your own anymore. That’s dependency. That’s comfort. That’s safety. But it isn’t love. The only time I’ve seen people be able to be friends directly after a break-up is if both people never really cared about one another in the first place.

I think this is one of the hardest, yet best things you can do for yourself. You miss the daily texts, you miss the venting sessions, and you miss the sharing of corny jokes and dumb articles. It’s like you have to retrain your body. And it’s funny how you’ll think of any and every excuse to try to talk to your ex. “I know they had an important test today, I just want to say good luck.” “Their mom had to go to the hospital, I should probably make sure she’s okay.” Anything and everything in between.

Don’t prolong your pain and don’t cause pain for someone else. Be honest. And communicate. Our hearts and emotions are a tricky thing. I’ve seen myself hold onto someone I knew I didn’t care about simply because I wanted to feel loved. But being loved and feeling loved are two different things. You can’t move forward if you don’t let go of the past. It’s amazing to see what God does to your heart as you trust Him and do the best you can.

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The wedding gift I wish I didn’t have to give

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One of my friends recently got married and shared some of the rawest and realist words I’ve heard in a long time. Most people won’t have the courage to admit these things. We like to pretend our lives are fine. We like to pretend the choices we make don’t really have an impact on others. Oh how we wish our past was only our past. But it’s not. And the choices you are making today will have an effect on those around you, including your future spouse. Here’s Ashley’s story:

My whole dating life had been long-term relationships that lead me to my marriage. My first was when I was 14, the boy was 18, and we dated for one year. Then he went to college and I haven’t spoke to him since. I remember thanking God that I didn’t give him my virginity because that relationship sent me into my next very bitter. When I was maybe 16, I was neck deep in a relationship with a boy a year older than me. I had a group of friends that encouraged sexual deviance, encouraged experimentation, encouraged partying and after a while I gave into that temptation. I tried things I’ve to this day never admitted to because I remember thanking God that I was alive because I’ve seen people die from less. And after we lost our virginities to each other I felt so emotionally naked that we broke up two weeks later. That’s the first time I sat dissecting every inch of me wondering what was wrong with me.

It wasn’t long until I started dating the nearest male who called me pretty because I didn’t believe it at that point. I remember thanking God for Kody. Kody was 24 and I was 17. I vividly remember thanking God for a man, a man that treated me so well. I grew so scary dependent on him. He was my everything. I stopped partying. I stopped cheerleading. I stopped playing tennis. I stopped student government. I stopped anything that took time away from time I spent with him. Kody died a week shy of our one year anniversary. I don’t remember much except praying at his funeral, praying that “God please be real, please have him” because it was the first time I was scared of where my choices would lead me. I moved out of the state because my dad was terrified I was going to kill myself. I didn’t walk at my graduation because I didn’t leave my bedroom for a month. I didn’t take my final exams, I only passed because my school board felt bad.

When I moved to Florida, I met this boy who acted so innocent and sweet that I fell in “love” with him three minutes into conversation. Three years later I have a restraining order and ongoing court appearances that was left behind during that mentally and physically abusive on & off again relationship that was mostly secretive anyway. I used to pray to God everyday that he would stop. And the worst part is I had been saved in that time. In that time I was lying to my church, my accountability partners, my friends, my family… Everyone. I was lying to myself. I still lied even after we broke up and told people he was great and we just didn’t work out. I was so shamed. I am still shamed but I am no longer afraid of persecution from people who know the truth. Now that you know my past, I hope when I advise you guys to take matters of the heart seriously, you will. Because these soul ties I created, these men have pieces of me I can’t erase, and I can’t have them back. These are men in which my HUSBAND has to share me with spiritually. There are damaged parts of my heart that my husband is dealing with, damage he didn’t create. I can’t express how important it is to guard your heart.

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Read this when you’re going through a break-up

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You never want to have this feeling again. It hurts and you feel there is nothing you can do about it. There is no quick fix to relieve this pain. Among all the feelings of anger, sadness, relief, guilt, shame, I think disappointment describes what you feel most. Disappointed things didn’t turn out how you thought they would. There were so many great times. So much potential. So much hope. But it was all shattered. All smoke and mirrors. So many ‘what ifs,’ so many ‘if onlys.’ But while you are dealing with a whirlwind of emotions, let me remind of a few important things you already know while you work on finding yourself once again.

Sever the ties for now

Clean breaks are the best. Don’t kid yourself- you can’t be friends…yet. Unless of course you both didn’t really care about each other, then in that case it would be fine. But you need some time. Time to realize who you are. Time to heal. Time to remember what you really want. And time to understand and know you are okay without this person. We all want to be loved. Desperately. So when the feeling of love is taken from us we naturally grasp for it and want it to return. We think that some feelings (even if they are unhealthy) toward us are better than no feelings at all. But that’s not true. You broke up for a reason. It wasn’t the love you want. Wasn’t the love you are looking for. So wait. Be patient. Control your emotions and don’t let them control you. Because they will change. You know this. And you know this is the best thing for you right now. Even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Regret certain choices but don’t regret the love

You made the choice to love knowing this pain would probably happen. I shouldn’t say probably but you went in knowing it was a possibility. A possibility that was worth the risk. The risk of this now pain. But remember what you know. Love is what makes you alive. And the only way to avoid this pain is to not love. To stay in your box. Closed off to the world. But that’s no way to live. You had lots of good memories. You enjoyed the present without letting fear of another disappointment paralyze you. You made a difference. You gave someone else love. Love they will always remember. At your own expense. Own up to any bad choices you made, but never regret the love you gave.

Turn to Christ

You’re not going to feel this way forever. You’ve been down this road before. I’m sure this relationship was different but the end result is the same. You will get over this person if you want to. But it takes time and it takes action on your part. Ask for forgiveness if you need to. Choose not to grow bitter. You have to choose not to let your love turn to hate. And you have to allow God to come in to heal your broken heart rather than thinking you can do it all on your own. Your Band-Aid approaches of going out more and rebounding may appear to work temporarily but all they are doing is masking the pain. Yes, go out, have fun, continue to live but don’t pretend this pain isn’t real. Allow God to give you clarity, allow Him to help you grow. It’s amazing how He will change your feelings. How He’ll change the way you view your ex. The way you view yourself. Let Him fill the empty void in your heart so when this pain comes, it hurts you but it doesn’t control you, doesn’t destroy you.

I know right now you feel you can never love another the same way again. But you will and it will be a better love, a deeper love. You are questioning whether all the time and investment is really worth the pain because you don’t want to go through this again. But it is. I’m sure you will go through these emotions again. Take time to reflect on what you liked, what you didn’t, and what you learned. So when the next person comes around, you’ll go into it with a little more understanding of who you are and what you’re looking for. But don’t change. Love and love freely. The right one deserves the real you. Not the jaded you. So keep moving forward. Keep putting yourself out there. And keep loving. The right one is more than worth it.

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Women fall quicker, but men fall deeper

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We know there are always exceptions to the rule, but I think this is why women get called crazy and why it seems there’s always that one girl a guy never gets over. My guy friend, Mick, is going through it now. He was dating a girl that was all about him yet he wasn’t ready to commit. As he was growing closer, she was pulling away. She found someone that gave her the attention she never received from him and they broke up. While she’s moved on, he’s trying to get her back. But the pain is already too deep and the scars have already been made. How does this seem to happen over and over again?

Women get excited

It’s in our nature. The hope. The giddiness. We fall and we fall fast. We are so ready and want the “too good to be true” to be, well, true. So we do. We get a little crazy. And sometimes it’s a little much. We’ve waited so long for this and we don’t want to lose it. I think part of it is we are in love with being in love. And sometimes I really wonder if we could love anyone. Anyone that truly loves us that is.

Men get scared

Meanwhile, the men freak out over this behavior. Where’s the cool, calm girl he liked? Why does it have to be so rushed? They plan. They want to be sure. They think the woman might be a little crazy. And they step back. They don’t know what else to do. They want to make sure the girl they fell for is really the girl they fell for. And that takes time.

Cautious=not interested

Unfortunately when you mix these two, it appears (on the surface) the woman started liking the guy more and the guy started liking the woman less. So as the men (in reality) are growing closer, the women start pulling back. For women, a man’s cautiousness equates to not being interested. To her, you are inconsistent and she’s lost trust in you. She starts not being herself because in her mind, herself isn’t good enough anymore. Men, I cannot stress this enough- make your intentions known from the beginning and ensure your actions align appropriately. Women crave this. They want stability. They need to feel safe and secure. If not, she starts to become insecure and no woman likes feeling this way. And women, we need to learn to be patient. A guy wouldn’t be talking to you if he weren’t interested. Remember this before you start to freak out. This is the make it or break it stage.

It’s over

And a lot of the time it’s a break it. Women were healing and starting to get over the guy during the end of the relationship and the men are left without closure. The woman starts to nit pick every little thing to justify her reasoning for wanting to leave and the man thinks she’s gone psycho. This isn’t the woman he fell in love with but he wants her back. So he hangs on. But women rarely go back. Once they get over you, they just don’t see you the same way. There’s too much rejection and insecurity to go back.

It’s all a little sad. To think that a, what could have been great, relationship was lost over simple miscommunication, wrong timing. But part of me has to believe it was never real love. Maybe more attachment. More comfort. Because when we really love someone, we’ll deal with a little crazy and we’d be a little more patient.

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I’ve been around people like Josh Duggar my whole life

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The one thing that breaks my heart is watching people walk away from the faith or be turned off by it because of people like Josh Duggar. And what I mean by people like Josh Duggar are people that profess to be something when their actions tell a different story. In short, people who claim to be Christians yet their actions are anything but Christ-like. Do not define Christ by these “Christians.” Do not define Christianity by hypocrites. You can’t. Yet that’s exactly what the media is trying to do.

Stop blaming Christianity for “bad” “Christians.” Please note the quotes. Read the Bible for yourself. In its entirety. It’s the greatest love story ever told. I left the church for about a year when I was younger because of so-called Christians in the church. One of my best friends has been turned off by Christianity because two Christians he considered friends treated him worse than his secular friends. This is a problem. It’s a problem I am constantly trying to fight. Unfortunately, I believe I’ll be fighting it for the rest of my life but the flesh and the sinful nature are to blame for bad choices, not Christianity.

Just because someone says they are a Christian it doesn’t mean they are one. I don’t know if Josh Duggar is a Christian or not. I don’t know his heart. But I do know he claims to be one and I do know his actions have not been that of a Christian. I think I would be married by now if all the men that professed to be saved actually loved Christ the way they say they do. But that’s simply not the case. And I’m not surprised by this. The Bible talks about it. “Many are called, few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14) “Narrow is the path to life, broad is the path to destruction” (Matthew 7:13-14). Many people who claim to be Christian, simply are not. End of story.

Christ’s love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace are never an excuse to sin. Never. One of the best things about Christ is that He loves us so much, even knowing how much we’ve messed up. We’ve all been born with a selfish nature- to look out for ourselves first and foremost. But Christ, when we accept Him, He changes our hearts. The problem I have with the “Josh Duggars” of today, is it appears repentance never precludes this “forgiveness” they speak of. Repentance means you are not only sorry for what you’ve done, but you turn and follow down a different path. Christ forgives us and then tells us to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Sin doesn’t mix well with you anymore. It’s not who you are. It’s rare if you do sin. But no one wants to talk about that. It’s easier to say we will sin again. I’m not saying Christians are perfect and I’m not saying they will never mess up but Christians don’t sin over and over again like this either (1 John 3:9). There is growth. There is change. There is conviction. And the truth is, I see more professed Christians excusing sin rather than fighting it. That’s a problem.

Purity is not some unreachable unrealistic myth, no matter how much the media and society try to make us believe otherwise. I don’t know how Josh Duggar was really raised. We see a limited glimpse into his life. But I will say this, problems can arise when people do not have the proper understanding or respect for what God’s Word says. Everything in the Bible was written for our benefit. And when you start to read the book through that lens rather than a book of cans and cannots, you begin to see the heart of Christ. Instead of reading “If you teach nothing but abstinence, girls get pregnant and contract STD’s” in the headlines, what if we taught abstinence appropriately? What if we were allowed to discuss the emotional turmoil of the hook-up culture freely rather than stating “there is nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage between two enthusiastically consenting adults?” I’m sorry, but there is nothing healthy about that. Nothing. And it’s sad, weak, and a cop out to say that Josh Duggar’s problem could have been solved through more exploration when he was younger. You don’t attempt to solve a problem with another problem.

Your upbringing is not a valid excuse for anything. I read that the way Josh was raised is what led to his criminal behavior. I’m sorry, but do we not have free will? Do we not have the ability to make our own choices? It’s this type of mindset that leads to people not taking responsibility for their own actions. We were all dealt different hands but the cool thing I’ve noticed is that God’s wonderful grace fills in the gaps. It is tragic if Josh was taught the rules and laws of God without seeing Christ’s love for him. But at the end of the day, we all have our own choices to make. And if we take the time to really search for the right answers, I am certain we will find them (Jeremiah 29:13). I just pray we all take ownership over our own lives, stop looking to others, and discover God’s amazing plan for ourselves.

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