on being intentional.

tom hiddleston so eloquently stated that if you have something to say, say it from the rooftops. sometimes, i like to think of blogging as my rooftop. and i know a lot of other people do, too. in fact, these are a few rooftops that i've been sitting on lately [that sounded so weird]: tim's, madison's, hannah's, emma's, libby's, lillian's, etc. for these people specifically, they pour out their hearts to us, with words/photos/etc, and honestly? we don't give as much back. i scroll through the comments seeing 'yes yes yes. i love this.' or 'beautiful, this is just spectacular' or something to that effect, and i admit that i am guilty of doing it. it's just that after awhile, i start running on automatic. 

after awhile, i start to forget about being intentional.

sometimes, i even start skimming through posts and write a comment based upon what i hear other people say, so that they'll don't know. sometimes i just look at the pictures and just imagine what they're going to say after that. but today, i thought about what if you guys (and i'm sure you have at some point) skimmed through my posts. how would i feel if you partially got what i had to say? that's like starting a rooftop and not finishing it. that's like climbing to the ledge and not getting to the peak. so i decided to stop sitting on the ledge of your rooftop and finishing what i started. i stopped writing comments on automatic that i thought would make you happy until you wrote your next post. and one of the things i stopped doing is using the word "love."

it's really hard at first, because if you think about it, saying 'yes yes yes. i love this,' only takes about 5 seconds out of your day. it's easy and it's simple and it helps you move on to the next thing. but is that what you really thought? or is that what everyone else thought? sometimes it's hard to pour my heart back out to the person who poured out theirs, but there are alternatives. there are ways to say what you think. don't be afraid to speak out.

so, please don't tell me you love this post. i mean, yes yes yes, i'm sure you love it, but what do you really think? how does this make you feel? does it resonate with you? what is your heart saying? it's funny, all of those cliches. 'listen to your heart!' and 'it's not about the looks' have been thrown around so much that when you hear them, you roll your eyes and go on about your life. but if you really think about it, it's true. we've been doing our best not to listen to the cliches. not to listen to your heart, or yourself. and it's gotten us in a heap of trouble or made us wish we'd said all we had to say. so be a cliche today. listen to yourself. what are you saying?

tell me what you're saying. i admit, that being intentional is a lot harder. it takes a lot of my time. but what are we if we don't at least give back the time that the (in this case) blog author gave us? i admit, sometimes it's gotten hard and i gave up and wrote comments the way i used to. and sometimes, i haven't commented at all because there was nothing that i really, really had to say. so tell me what you have to say. and if you don't have anything to say, that's okay, too.

-kiss kiss kiss, any rose that smells as sweet-


  1. Well said, Jocee, as always. And I mean it. There are times when I simply want to remain silent and digest the words or photographs on the blogs of others. It's wonderful and encouraging to leave comments, but there's this danger of making comments a monotony without real intention behind them.

    I admire your honesty--which is one of the reasons why I admire your blog and you.

  2. Gee, you are such an amazing person//writer//friend and you spoke what was on your mind so well, and if we're all honest here, what was needs to be said. We need to stop and think about how posts make us feel more and give more to the writer, even if it's not as easy as a 'yes, this is beautiful.' Am I sensing a revolution in the bloggy world?

  3. yes. this really spoke to me, Jocee. your posts always make me want to go out and change the world--change myself, help others. i know i'm often guilty of not saying what my heart feels when i see something. we say the first feeling or thought that comes to mind, but not what our heart is truly feeling, or saying when we view those pictures or read those particular words.

    amen. being honest, and true with ourselves is something very special, and rare.

    ::hugs:: to you. you amazing person. ♥

  4. Huh... I gotta admit Jocee that you're really insightful about things.
    I've noticed this lately too, so I've started to take the time to understand what the author is trying to convey through their posts. But it takes me awhile to full grasp it, which is why I sometimes wait a whole day before I finally publish the comment.

    I've heard the phrase, "quality over quantity" many times when it comes to writing blog posts, and I think the same should be implied when it comes to commenting as well.

    Just my two cents worth.

  5. jocee: this is so true. actually, i really do try to be intentional with my comments. 'i mean what i say and i say what i mean', you know? you're right -- the writer deserves some intentional, raw feedback because what they write or photograph or celebrate, IS raw and really heart touching and doesn't deserved to just be cast an ordinary 'love this', etc. so basically, we need to step up our game and start saying things that really count.

    ah jocee. i really admire this.



  6. yes, yes, yes. love this. ;)


    dearest jocee, this sounds like what i have been saying in my mind for a little while. cuz you're so right about all of this. your posts always make me want to just change the way i've been doing things. and that's good. i'm in the habit of writing short and simple comments..and that's ok. you can't do long comments on everything. BUT. i feel like i sometimes don't even mean the short comments, but am just commenting for the sake of saying something. so, like you, i've decided to only comment if i have something more to say than just "yes, yes, yes. love this." i'll be keepin' you accountable every time i see a short comment of yours. ;) and you can do the same to me if you want. ;P hehe.

    xoxo pretty lady.

  7. intentional, authentic, genuine. being genuine in the blogging world, in posts as well as comments is missing. and when you think about it, isn't it much more beautiful when someone portrays themselves truly and authentically and genuinely in their entirety and in their writings? and also in their comments? then you're able to see that person in a more "real" light.

    beautiful thoughts jocee, and thank you for that.
    lauren nicole

  8. amen, amen, and amen. intentional and authentic are two things that i'm working on being. it's not easy, but it's oh-so-worth it. keep up the good work, darlin'. xo

  9. part one:

    First of all, it was really sweet to see my name up there. it's been a hard and exhausting week, and so little things like that really brighten my day. Thank you for including me up there with some wonderful visionaries and artists and people. :)

    Secondly, amen to this post! It's been on my heart for such a long time. I wrote in my journal a few weeks ago:

    I'm tired of saying phrases like, "so this is just the best." or, "you're my favorite" or, "this is the sweetest/cutest/best/etc..." I mean, what does that mean? And when you comment on everyone's stuff with the same thing, do you truly even mean it? Through compliments that are meant but painfully repetitive, do we lose the sincerity? Does it really even mean anything anymore?

    I know I'm as guilty as anyone of this and its something I find increasingly pressed on my heart. I want to be genuine and I want to breath authenticity, that my site and words and photos would feel like a breath of fresh air. Because I want to point to my Savior and I can't be fully who I was created to be if I pick up on who others are and try to emulate them. I want to be sincere. In ALL that I say and do. And that is a hard task, because you can't just say, "I want to be sincere!" and be it. The act precedes the announcement. Sincerity comes out of an honest heart, a generous spirit, a person who knows who they are in Christ.

    We are blessed to live in a time and age where things can be easily shared and ideas, art, and words can be communicated in the blink of an eye. And while that is a blessing, we seem to lose the significance of truly cultivating honest and deep friendships and having conversations that go beyond the typical thing that is quick, easy, and simple to say. It's so much easier to say things like, "I love it!" rather than giving your honest opinion, saying something more, really writing something that is from the heart. I'm not saying that comments like, "you're my favorite," or "love this!" or "this is the best!" don't mean anything -- I definitely appreciate and am grateful for them! It's just that as hard is it is, honesty is the best. If I'm not their favorite, that's okay. If I'm not the best (and I'm NOT), that's okay. If they don't love it, that's okay! If you don't want me to shoot your wedding, engagement, senior photos, family…that is okay! I know that I'm not the photographer for everyone and I'm okay with that. I want to embrace who I am and I want people to resonate with me work -- I would rather shoot less but shoot it for people who really click with me than shoot tons and tons with people who don't. The Parsons are my favorite photographers, that doesn't mean that I don't love the other photographers work as well! So in that sense, just as people who write to me may have a favorite, if it's not me that's okay!

  10. aaaand...part two:

    I appreciate (and am SO thankful for) every comment/message/email I get and I'm learning to not let words stick. Because I don't want to base who I am on what other people's thoughts are, good or bad. So that means listening to negative words and seeing if there is truth in them, and then letting go of them. And on the flip side, it also means listening to, appreciating, and being GRATEFUL for kind/encouraging words/comments as well, but at the end of the day, giving them to God. Because I want to glorify Him in all I do and I want my pride and joy to be IN the Lord, not in what someone said about me. It's so hard, because I don't want to come across as unappreciative of what people say. There's a balance between receiving words and basing your identity on them. I'll say it again and can only repeat it and repeat it. I am so grateful for every comment, message, email, tweet, fb, etc… that I receive. It always makes my day just a bit sweeter to read some kind words. I am so blessed and grateful for EVERY message sent to me. And I want to come across as heartfelt in thanks, because truly, kind words are oftentimes small pieces of happiness throughout the day. That people take a few minutes of their day to say something, short or long, means a lot to me.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that I want to be intentional in all I do, sincere in all do, and I want to show Christ's love and glory and beauty in all I do. I hope that my words and photos would communicate small stories of a deeper story and that they would show the beauty and wonder in days and moments and people as they are. God's creation is full of beauty often missed through the hustle and bustle, and I would hope that something I would do/say/create would point people back to the honest moments, simple days, and heartfelt wonder in the oftentimes ordinary, yet wonderful beauty of life and the people living it. And so, when I comment on someone else's work/photos/blog, I would hope that my words would breathe the same sincerity that I want to be seen in my blog. Because I cannot be sincere in one area of my life and not in another.

    Honesty is hard, but it is very brave. And being purposeful in your life is something strong and beautiful.

    I want to be sincere, to be genuine, to be authentic.

    And I hope that in all I do, I would be just Hannah.

    Sorry for the book. I tend to ramble. :)

    xo, h

    1. this is precisely what i'm saying. in everything i do, i want everyone to look at me and say 'wow, Christ is in her. she's not just doing what she does for kicks, she really has purpose in it.' and though blogging may end up being something i don't do for the duration of my life, i want to put as much into it as possible. i want to convey myself with everyone who stops by. and i want to take little steps in reaching out to them by maybe being the one who doesn't say 'yes yes yes. i love this,' in a certain post. i mean, there are people who simply don't have time to read all of the words that someone says and they may not have time to really say what they want to say in a comment, and that is perfectly fine! i'm not commanding that everyone take my advice, i'm just saying that we should all be more aware in what we do, and what we say. that way, we won't have to live with any regrets, you know?

      but anyways, i truly appreciate this. thank you for your input, hannie-girl. i was hoping you'd see this post :)

    2. This is pretty amazing and thought-provoking to me. With every paragraph, I just felt myself saying, "Yes, a thousand times, yes!" As bloggers, we can fall into the trap of cranking out beautiful worlds without stopping to consider authenticity or honesty, both in blogging and commenting. Sometimes, i start to feel like I'm reading the same blog over and over again, punctuated by identical comments.

      So I really appreciate this, Jocee. You, my dear, are a beautiful soul.

      p.s. I wrote about something similar-ish recently: http://godlygirlz.blogspot.com/2012/11/inspiration-grand-adventure.html

  11. I don't always read the words bloggers put into their posts, because honestly, i prefer to look at their pictures and dont always have the time to read the whole post. But this time i did. And i really agree with you! I hate fake and shallow. I personally really appreciate honesty. I've never been one to just comment on every post. in fact, i hardly ever comment because, while i do like the posts i dont have anything worthwhile to say (not in a bad, "i hate myself" kind of way) but when i comment i always mean what i say! Its not just a shallow "I love this!" that i write on every post... if i say that, i truly mean it. this is a good reminder for me to comment more and tell people what i really think of their posts!

    Thank you for your honesty :)
    much love,
    (p.s. sorry for the ramble and talking about myself so much :P)

  12. This was really thought-provoking. Part of the reason I rarely comment on posts is because yes, I may have enjoyed a post, but I don't want to be just another comment of "that was so great, I really enjoyed it." If I comment on a post, I try to leave words that mean something. As a result, no, I don't have very many followers, or dozens of comments on my blog, but I feel better about having written replies that are really a response and not just another "Wow, that was really great."

  13. I agree with you Jocee. I've been noticing how I use the same words sometimes for multiple comments. And I want to be intentional, I don't want to say that I "love" each post I read because then that isn't really showing how I truly felt about it because I'm just giving a short answer and moving on. I want to show the person why I loved it and give them an honest opinion. Sometimes being honest I hard, but I want to be a sincere person and mean what I say.
    Thanks for writing this Jocee. I really appreciate how real and honest you are with what you write. How you aren't afraid of standing out, and how you stay true to yourself. Bravo. :)



  14. I personally don't care if a comment on my blog sounds sincere/poetically sound enough or if they say "I love this!" all the time. It's just nice to get a comment. Nonetheless, this is a great post.

  15. I like how your first two words were "tom hiddleston" That man has a way with words and also an appreciation for art which I well, appreciate. ;)

    Anyway, great post here. I don't normally comment on many blogs--just the ones I truly enjoy reading. (Do you feel special here?? ;)) So, because I'm commenting on blogs that I enjoy, I naturally will most likely enjoy the post! I feel like I say "great post" or "love this" so much, but it's actually true and from my heart and I REEEEALLY want people to know that!
    So super good, thought-provoking post, Jocee.(AND I MEAN THAT!) :-)

  16. Jocee, what I love about you is that you are fearless. You aren't afraid to be honest and open, and you are proud of your rooftop! And what's funny is that lot of times, you say exactly what I've been thinking in my head. I have been pondering the subject of this post for a while. I not only want to blog or comment intentionally, I want to live intentionally. I want to make an effort to make sure people know I love them and care about them. I want to intentionally be myself. I don't wanna just glide through life.
    Thanks for this post!

  17. I really agree. I know I'm very guilty of this. I used to comment on every single post I read, but after I while I stopped commenting at all. I was kind of sick of saying the same thing. Now a lot of my comments are like that because I just don't have time to untangle my thoughts and write them, but I want the author of that post to know that I read their post and I liked it and I appreciate it. I think that a kind of generic comment can be better than none at all, although yes, it is kind of frustrating to see that when people comment on my blog many of them say similar things.
    And I'd also like to add that a lot of the posts I read in the blogger world aren't really the kind where I feel I can write a meaningful comment about them. They aren't the kind of posts that make me think or nod or agree or disagree. In those times I don't have a particular or meaningful thought to add but just want whoever wrote the post to know that I really loved their photography or their words or whatnot, I may write a kind of generic comment. Really now I only comment if a post is really good, because for so many, I open them and it's boring and just the same about how life is lovely and here are some photos. And I don't have time to go through those and leave meaningful comments or any comments at all on each. Maybe I just follow too many blogs.
    But I think I am going to try to take some time to write more intentional comments; it will only take a few seconds more. I'm going to try to think about why I like the photos or words or what is so beautiful about them.
    Anyways. Ramble over. I love your blog and you; you're not afraid to be honest and to post about meaningful things. And you write so well.

    1. I struggle with this too; the post is nice but is it nice enough for me to click over from my reader just to say 'so pretty!'? That makes me sound really lazy though!
      In an effort to comment meaningfully, I have started to pick out a certain photograph that I really like and say why I like it. Even if it is as simple as, 'the composition of the fourth photo is spot on', I feel like it means a bit more.

  18. i like the way you think jocee. you deep-think and i think that the world needs more people like you.

  19. Oh my gosh, Jocee, I totally agree! I must admit that I do tend to leave shallow comments quite frequently when I don't know what to say... but it's something to think about, I mean, why comment if it isn't going to help or encourage the blogger writing it. I want to know that people actually read my words, not skim through. So I agree. :) Thank you for getting out what I didn't know how to put in words. :) <3

  20. I haven't read the other comments yet (will do so in a moment though!) but I have to say, first -- thank you for linking to my post there! I always feel a rush of pride whenever someone thinks something I have blogged is worth more than one quick glance.
    I for one am apt to comment with 'this is fab' and then shut the tab straight away. But sometimes, the best comments and responses and conversations between bloggers come from letting the thoughts simmer for a while.
    Maybe we don't need to blog three photos and a fifty-word paragraph every day. Maybe instead, we need less posts but more meaningful ones, with comments like the ones on this post, where people are discussing and replying and actually thinking.
    And (somewhat ironically, considering how there was recently a bit of 'backlash', for want of a better word, to a critical comment!) I think we do need more criticism -- constructive, of course! Of course I love people telling me how awesome I am, but in the long run it's better to be told what specific parts they liked and then how other parts could be improved.
    The only way we, as young artists, are going to develop further is by learning more. There is so much more to life as an artist than our teenage'd blogs, and although they are a wildly important part of artistic expressions for you and me and everyone else here, we need to start doing it a little bit differently, I think. We need to help each other, and give each other encouragement and advice, and share oppurtunities. As a blogosphere, teen girl bloggers are already pretty good at doing that. But being young and being a girl in art or literature or even just life isn't exactly easy, and we can always go further in helping one another handle that.

    That was long and rambling, but I needed to say it. Thanks, Jocee.

    1. Agreed. Well put, Libby! :)

      {1 Corinthians 10:31}

    2. i agree with this. i think that we all, as bloggers, should really connect with each other beyond the scope of 140 character tweets and awkward facebook wall posts. and in this more-than-mediocre connection, we should extend our hopes, ideas, and dreams to each other, and really creatively push each other in the direction that each of us wants to go. i know it's been hopping all over certain blogs, and i've done a post on it myself, but it rings true: quality over quantity. that's what we should strive to do. i admit that in these last few weeks i have been blogging a lot more, and that's great, but i want to make sure that i'm not penning done half-meant words and photos to fill the space. so thank you thank you thank you for your input, libby, and thank you for reading! :) <3

  21. This brought tears to my eyes, it's hard to admit, but it really did. You write so well Jocee and constantly remind me to be the best version of me that I can be.
    So, thank you, Jocee. Thank you.
    Kimmy x

  22. THIS. IS. BRILLIANT. And a lot like a post I recently did..
    I think it's so important to really state your thoughts on a post. In the past, I contradicted that sentence and I would only say "yes yes! I love".. But now I know to be enthusiastic because words ARE powerful!

  23. Honey, you hit the hammer on the nail and ran a home run with this once. I lov... appreciate everything you said in this. Honestly, to me, it's not so much about being intentional; it's about being honest. I'll sometimes run across a post that is sweet, but all in all kinda, well, you know. And I have a hard time trying to comment without lying, and then feel guilty when I leave a comment that's not exactly true about the way I feel.

    If only we would all be honest. And think. Think about what we should or could say.

    For the record, darling, I have never ever skimmed any of your posts. They were just all so mind blowing. I lov... they got me thinking :)

  24. I wonder how many people are out there and they read this but didn’t comment. I was almost one of them. It’s not important to me to make my voice heard but this time I felt like I had to applaud you, Jocee. I am grateful for the light you bring to my world and the wonderful way you get the gears in my head spinning. It’s interesting to read all the comments and it’s hard for me to come up with something as thought-provoking. I really like what Libby said about teenage’d girls and blogging and how we all support each other. That’s really essential to us growing, like she said.
    I’m a new blogger and I’m still contemplating stopping, not because I don’t (love) it, but because I can’t be rid of the feeling that it is selfish and egotistical. One of the things I have been struggling with is commenting. I read lots of places that one of the ways to get others to discover your blog is to comment, and comment lots. I do comment but normally I read posts so late after they were published that the posts I really (love) already have 20+ (well-written and thought-out) comments. I feel strange writing something short and simple (along the lines of “yes. yes. yes. I love this”, even if I did (love) what the blog author said. But I do it, because I want them to know that I read it and looked at it and it impacted me, in some way.
    So, thank you for the reminder to be intentional about what you post and what you comment and in every aspect of life. It is crucial.
    And, lastly, I am being very intentional when I say I love your blog and it is in my Top 5 list. You not only write (amazing) posts but you also write (amazing) comments. [I’m getting really self-conscious about using adjectives now! Would ‘remarkable’ be a better word? Wonderful? Incredible? You’re all of it, in any case.] I do not lie. I am being very intentional.
    Thank you for reading all the way. claire

    1. ooooh, darling.
      considering i haven't posted since, like... sunday, this comment came so out of the blue. to be perfectly honest, i'm racking my brain for something to post (or fill the space here, which isn't a very good reason for posting at all, so i probably won't) and when i saw this, i honestly half-thought that it was maybe someone saying "why haven't you posted in a few days? where'd you go?" (because i get these every once in awhile) so i wasn't sure if i wanted to read or not. but i did. and i thank you for commenting. the thing is, though, if you don't have anything to say, you don't have to say a word. but if someone else already said what you wanted to say, that's okay, too. simply agreeing means that you both have kindred spirits.
      i'm really, really glad that you liked what i had to say. i find myself smiling and grinning like an idiot and sometimes mouthing a "thank you" after someone comments on my post, but why shouldn't i? i'm so so happy i have a place to share my mind. to actually speak without getting interrupted.
      i think i'm straying from the point of this comment, and that is simply thank you. just thank you. this made my whole freaking week and i bless you for it. :)


sometimes i do not understand why you guys like me so much, but the fact that you do (and that you keep coming around) makes me happier than you can even imagine.

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