C.S. Lewis Chronicles

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The past few months I’ve been reading, C.S Lewis Chronicles of Narnia. It’s been really exciting to read something so different to what I’m normally use to reading. I’m not one to read fantasy and not even non-fiction but I kept hearing about how great they were, and the deep meaning CS Lewis paints in his book. So I wanted to experience that for myself.

I found the whole Chronicles at a thrift store, and knew that was a sign to read them. As I read the first book, I remember when I was in third grade reading it. I remember wishing there was more to the story when I finished it. As I’m older reading all of them, its like… hearing a good song and wishing there were more songs just like it. I did enjoy that each book was a little bit different. It wasn’t the same characters or same story. What I did enjoy most was going to a land called Narnia, beautiful place with green grass, hills and mountains and it sounds funny, unicorns and talking animal, it really is a child’s dream to escape into a  land like Narnia.

There are times when the descriptive piece would be so, what I’m not use to as an adult to think of. It was good exercise to imagine, and allow to believe these new elements of Narnia. I loved the imagery it plays with good and evil, Jesus and Satan, it helped me as an adult to understand some thoughts, some truths the Christian faith has.

The last book really wrapped it up perfectly. It was really dark, the first few chapters, it seemed like everything was hopeless and the characters weren’t going to win. And it took me somewhere different that I didn’t expect. It took me to a land that was better than Narnia, more real. In fact, it made me want to go to Heaven. The way it describe the crystal waterfalls falling down, running so much that you’re never tired, climbing up waterfalls by swimming up it. Unicorns putting their horn in the water and creating rainbows. It was so relaxing to hear of a land so beautiful, peaceful.

It was fun and I’m actually excited to one day read these books again with my children. I can already foresee they say, “Another chapter or I’ll read on my own mom.” The imagery and pictures that C.S. Lewis paints, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. There embedded in my memory and in my mind. It was a good read, it took me a while because I kept getting distracted, but I”m glad I finished them all. —-

“..for them it was only the beginning of the real story.” – The Last Battle

The Anthropology Life 

an·thro·pol·o·gy\ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpä-lə-jē\ : noun

: the study of human races, origins, societies, and cultures

The past few weeks I’ve been obsessed with the store, Anthropology. I’m finding my self visiting the store once a week and during the week thinking about when I can go again for a visit. The store is always stocks with new items. I don’t always buy something, but it’s the atmosphere I enjoy most. It’s like walking into a real life Instagram house who’s main goal is to inspire with every glance. I haven’t traveled overseas for some time now, and items collected have an international feel I miss seeing.

I use to visit antique shops but found the life I want to create is one that discovers new and interesting things. When I bought things, they never felt like they were mine. They had a life before me, memories that I did not own.

As I’ve been collecting items from sales, I am working to carry the culture of the store with me. I desire to have my future house have the same welcoming creative vibe. I want to live a life that welcomes in strangers and inspire sleeping artist to wake up. Rifle Paper Co. inspires me to paint and create handmade cards and notes. Their cards and journals are full of beautiful water color art. Anthropology is where I discovered Darling Magazine, which if you haven’t heard of, you’re missing out. Its a beautiful magazine full of articles that pour beauty and purpose in to life’s boring or challenging moments in life. The Darling team is also developing a magazine for men called, WildernessToday while doing my weekly visit, I saw my reflection. I thought to myself, “I look like I belong here.” I’ve bought into the Anthropology life style, travel and drinking coffee.  

Which might sounds stupid or with very little purpose, but these things are part of the external life experience. Living a life of meaning is part of my pursuit of the Father. The ultimate fashion expression is of hopeless, so even they know style, clothes and stuff doesn’t make one happy. God has heard countless prayers of mine about what being a women looks like today. I don’t wanna be stressed out, busy doing nothing or kindness taken advantage of. Anthropology is unforgiving about treating oneself, no guilt allowed for taking a break and enjoying the cultures of life. It excites me when I come across a real life example of the type of women I want to be. My favorite account to follow is Annstreetstudio She is a photographer who works with her husband in New York. I know very little about her but she seems graceful, lady like and calm. Her style is elegant and she makes her age whatever it is, look like an exciting season to live. She even once responded to me! I have been in the season of needing an example when it comes to the art of being a woman. This doesn’t come easy to me, as I was the girl who refused to be girly. If I were a character in a movie they’d make me butch. All my life my close friends were boys. My interest weren’t normal, I’m technical and creative, I’m friendly and shy, I’m awkward and comfortable. I like fashion but hate high heels and fake eyelashes. I love music but get annoyed with shallow lyrics with any reference to the human anatomy. I’m weird but completely normal. I want to be unquie but don’t want to be noticed in the crowd.

I will end with a poem from Darling, written by Micheal Albanses and Wynn Everett. Sometimes men can see the beauty we hold that us women can’t see.

In her bedroom closet

hangs a mirror

reflecting quiet perseverance.

She chooses her own path

as she does a dress.

Slipping it over her head

she recalls the voice advising

her on the topic of significance.

Considering their words, she breathes.

At peace with the knowledge of who she already is.

Growing up can be fun.

The Dream Job Myth

My dream job was to work inside a very trendy creative building next to a window. As for what I did all day, I wasn’t sure. I did imagine working at a desk and at times walking around to make a copy. Blame my dream job on the WB network and the programming they had in the early 2000’s. I must have watched too much Smallville. 

As my working career progressed I started to see what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go in life. By my early twenties I realized I didn’t want to be that busy career woman with a man suit on, with no family to call her own like the 90’s portrayed.  I wanted to live a calling impacting the lives of others. When I traveled overseas I got a glimpse of the power of production it can have on a church, their community and the world. By now, every Christian or Justin Bieber fan has heard of Hillsong. The experience I had when I was a part of the church family, was how I could make a difference in the lives of people by creating videos. I could say what I wanted to say without having to get on a stage and talk! It was the perfert introvert job.

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When I moved into my perfect dream job, I realized I wanted more. The classic human experience, you get that you want and see its not really what you want. I was enjoying myself but I didn’t think I was really making the difference like I wanted to do. I felt like my life wasn’t counting. Plus, I was busy, with no family to call my own. I did manage to avoid the pant suit.

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It wasn’t until I had no job, traveling the world (my third dream) and was left in a cafe did God finally had my hearts attention. It was in psalms that the words might as well said, “Dear Monica.” The theology of “follow your dreams” broke off my life, for the first time I could see what I really wanted, was to follow God’s dream. This whole time I had been going about it all wrong. I wrote in my journal. “God, my dream is to follow you. Where you lead, I will go.”

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I went back to my job, but was given a new position. My boss said, “Make the video department yours.” Whoa. God was giving me a place of influence to be in charge of a very large church media department. There has been hard times when I think in my heart, I’m not the chosen one, someone else can do it better. I am reminded by the confidence of my leaders, and those who love me; I am the right person for the task. Its been three years, and I am growing, I am learning, and everyday I am challenged. In a strange way I enjoy the stress, the pressure, the challenge and even talking with people! The first year I was scared to do anything, the second I was starting to get a back bone, and the magic three, I am finally stepping out and owning what was given to me. There has been times where I wish to go back into my editing hole and closed the door, but then I remember my conversation with God. He wants to take his people somewhere better than we can dream. He was even kind enough to bless me with an amazing boyfriend who reminds me to not give up, take courage, and don’t get discourage if things don’t work out like I thought. Usually it works out better than I imagined.

The World is Waiting

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As creatives we live these busy lives with the pressure to imagine the unimaginable. We are asked to inspire the world even when we ourselves don’t feel inspired. Where to run when everywhere is already filled with a person. Our heart is telling us to change the world but our bank accounts reminds us of our limitations.

The conflict of dreams verses reality. Faith verse what’s seen.

You can sleep and do nothing or you can wake up at 5am when inspiration and courage wakes you up. The whisper echoes inside you, there is something you can do.

I am a child of the 80’s, we grew up with inspirational porters of kids as astronauts with caption like Reach for the Stars. Some of us did, it’s the millennial’s that dreamt of and created thing I remember wishing for. Technology has made it easy for us to produce our ideas faster.

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The stage has been sit up, we can either sit down in the crowd and watch, or we can stand in the spotlight and give our creativity. We can no longer ignore reality because we can see it all, the world is asking for our faith to be put to work. It’s screaming, please do something.

What brings back my inspiration is when I know there is something we can do to make a difference. Its a reminder our existence matters.

The world is waiting for us.

The Bonhoeffer Plan 

One of my favorite theologians, who was a martyr for plotting to kill Hilter, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, had this deep spiritual life with God. Last year I read his biography by Eric Metaxes and learned about his devotional lifestyle that he taught his seminary students. 

I often find myself getting bored or distracted when I sit down to read my bible, usually my mind reminds me of everything I gotta do or the movie of my life starts to play in my head. Here are some good habits to study like a Bonhoeffer student.. 

No speaking 45 minutes before meeting at the breakfast table 

Open breakfast with a psalms or hymn 

Read a chapter Old Testament, New Testament per day 

Prayer on what the student was dealing with with, and whatever they needed to ask  of God. 

Meditate on a verse for a week  and 30 minutes each day. To move forward, until you know what is meant for you. 

Concentrate completely on what God is saying to you. No looking at other reference books but deal with the verse as though it was Gods word to them. 

We all struggle to focus and we can learn how people who didn’t have iPhones or Internet mastered the skill.  
One thing I must share to you if you aren’t familiar with Bonhoeffer story, that living as a German Christian during  WWII,  Bonhoeffer needed to live a life hearing from God during this very confusing and dark time. He was able to live a life of courage and truth because of his deep connection with God. He was martyred for being devoted to God and standing up for those who didn’t have a voice.  

As a creative, it’s my job to communicate to the world what’s in my heart and having a healthy spiritual life will help me know what to say and how to say it. 

Book: Church History in Plain Language

I found myself with a lot of questions about how, why, when, who is who when it came to church history. As a someone who works and goes to a large church you can understand why I developed these questions. I’d often hear the wisdom of others share knowledge about different theologians but I wanted to study the development of the modern day church for myself.

When I was browsing the book store around Christmas time I came across, Church History in Plan Language by Bruce L. Shelley. I must admit I was drawn to the graphic design of the cover, but as I opened the book I discovered this was the book I was looking for. Each chapter was about a momental movement or new wave of thought that the church went through.

I was astonish to discover just how little I really knew about Christianity – and I went to bible college! Maybe I missed that class but chances are I wasn’t listening. History has always come off as boring, but I realized its all in who is telling the story.

Every chapter of the book I was on edge of what movement was going to happen next, What form of ideology was the next generation going to bring? What teacher was going to become the father of a new denomination? What scripture was going to be taken to extreme? And the horror of what group of people were going to be martyred next.. I began to connect A to B to C… and so on. It became clear that nothing is new under the sun. Culture come up with “new” outlooks on religion or life all the time, and I see the same ideas were developed in the fourth century, eight century or early twentieth century..

I do admit, I miss the book, I miss reading about this very subject. I ordered a few new books on the Pietists by Johann Arndt that took place in Germany.

The Pietists essence of faith is a personal experience of God’s grace in the believer’s heart.

“Any religion that becomes the religion of the majority and slowly turns into a social habit tends to grow humdrum and flat, regardless of its original glow of enthusiasm. So it proved in many areas of Lutheran Germany.” 

“Pietism was the fountain of all modern revivals. it set the experience of new life in Christ at the center of the Christian message and the Christian ministry. for this reason it is impossible to think of Evangelical Christianity today without the imprint of Pietism.” 

The way I think,  I’ve always taken it for granted, never conquering where I got it from. A great example:  I remember when I traveled for the first time, I saw how differently everyone thought. Going to church in a different country I learned a new color of faith. The Australian attitude was, “Why not try, and step out in faith, not sure if you heard from God? Well give it a go and see..” While most American’s mindset was, “I gotta hear from God 100% precent before I make a move.” …leaving most frozen, never attempting to do anything.

Last, I loved hearing what is taking place today in the global church – how God is moving in China, Africa, and South America. Learning how their culture has a direct impact on the way they learn about God. I love how different we all are, it shows how God can become very personal to a person.

The West typically reads the didactic and missionary letters of Paul as a key to reading the remainder of the bible. Some Africans take Leviticus to be central. They identify with of holiness and ritual  .Some Asian Christians concentrate upon Proverbs, where they find that God has interest in wisdom that they once sought in Confucian sources. Christians in the Global south seem to appropriate the Bible in a direct manner; they read with a sense of immediacy as though the Bible was written directly to them. Western readers, by contrast, observe a historical distance between the world as they see it and the world of the Bible. 

I see how influential the church has been to society, governments and communities around the world. I am encouraged that I am indeed a part of history. 

Not So Brilliant Advice

It makes me nerves writing a post now a days. I read books of professional thinkers, listen to podcast of the intellectual elite, and read tweets from almost famous people. How can I compete? I can’t, so I won’t, but what I do have, and what you have is whoever you are. I use my deep thoughts, my observations, mistakes and shortcomings as a stepping stool towards doing something I can give to the world. I see the impossible become possible every day. I create something out of an idea, and from my idea package it into a bottle of inspiration that I sign over to my audience. I know most people won’t bother to pay attention but its the one person who is listening that I speak to. Like now, I have your eye contact.

I’ve said many times; work hard, be on time, and learn from your mistakes..what I would like to add to this list is to prove everyone who said you couldn’t do it wrong. Did you fail like they expected? Well get up and keep on going..  What else do you have to do?  Don’t be happy with a dead end. Listen to your angry GPS, Make a U turn.”

My expert advice as a 32 year old woman working in the field she loves..

Well, when everyone told me at 18 I wouldn’t find a job that would pay her for being creative, or that no church would pay me if I went into ministry I was fueled by proving them wrong. It gives me great joy when my life proves people wrong and exceeds their expectations. I prefer to be the example of faith, believing things that are unseen. I know people mean well when they try to warn, but don’t let the doubt of others stop you from pursuing what you know you’re good at and love. Slow down, and don’t be in a rush for the quick and fast road.. take your time, enjoy those who are in your world at the moment, save money, pay off your debts, and travel as much as you can without a credit card, and be careful what you post on line. lol. That last one was for free! 🙂

And as for your personal life, don’t bother looking for anyone, you will randomly marry the most unpredictable person, love them and live happy ever after.

Middle of No Where

I’ve always wondered why people fled the city life to go hang out in the middle of no where for their vacations. Every paid vacation from work is like fine gold, every moment must be used to have the highest level of fun and inspiration. My ideal vacation is to travel thousands of miles away to a foreign land, to escape my culture and world and to have some new experiences. This summer I was invited to join Gus family on their family camping vacation.

Though this sounds like a classic plot set up for a girlfriend to be pranked on by the family who doesn’t really approve, (Parent Trap and every episode of a 90’s sitcom.) I knew I had to be open to try new things, I wanted to show I could have a good time away from the city life.

I was looking forward to learning how to fish. At first, I was bothered to kill a fish in order to eat it, but my boyfriend’s Native American roots taught me the relationship between nature and man. The fish was giving it’s life in order to sustain mine. The fish could feel everything I was feeling through the line, being relaxed and developing a connection with nature, would attract the fish to bite. The beautiful mountains and lake was office for the day.

We spent the day at the lake, fishing, catching fish, getting excited and cheering each other on. I snapped a few photos, but because I had no phone service, I was forced to put it on airplane mood and focus on getting dinner. By the end of the day I caught my first fish and Gus showed off by catching the largest fish out of all of us. I am now a fisherman!

In the evening when the normal routine is to relax and watch some television, or youtube, we were left with no options than to talk to each other. We made a fire and talked about faith, our careers, and family life. It was a nice bonding experiences to get to know Gus’ family. I saw familiar mannerisms of Gus all though out his family. It was fascinating to see parts of him in his parents and brother. This was his tribe, and I was an outsider being allowed in.

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I began to wonder about the women through out history who had to leave their families in order to marry. How hard it must have been for them to serve a new family, always daydreaming about the family they left behind.

Coming home, I was thankful for the time spent away from my world, but I was also very happy to return to my family and share my adventures with them. I still find myself putting my phone on airplane mode, chances are, whatever it is.. it can wait.

Exploring the City with Aussie Friends

One of the greatest benefit about living in California is Los Angeles is close by. The first time I went there I was probably around 17 years old. I remember hearing about LA from movies and seeing it on my freeway signs – west to go to Los Angeles and east Palm Springs but I never really gave it much thought.

For the first time this summer, I was able to spend a week in LA. I had a good friend from Australia come visit and I decided to send time in the city with him and hang out with my friend Annette. In college I had met a good group of people in Australia and they became my really good friends, almost like family when I was living there. They took care of me in so many ways and looked after me.

To pay the favor back and to spend time with them, we spent the week together and we did so many cool Los Angeles things. I wanted to share those things with you here. So if you ever travel down, you can do some of the cool things we did.

Griffen Observatory

Carters Restaurant 

Amoeba Music, Sunset / 101 Cafe

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Downtown Burbank

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Mosaic Church, Hollywood

Australian Pie Kitchen, Santa Monica

Warner Brothers Lot, Burbank

Arch light Movie Theaters, Sunset / Counterpoints Records, Franklin Ave.

Sunset Media Building, Australia Channel 9 / Alcove Cafe & Bakery, Hillhurst Ave

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It was nice to get out into the city, to get reminded of the people who are so different than I. We did Urber, which drove us all over the city, we didn’t have to worry about parking. This summer, try to do something fun, even if its local near by. Put the extra money away so you can stay there and not have to worry about driving. Driving can be one of the most stressful parts of traveling.

I was inspired and came back refreshed, which is the point of traveling as a creative. You differently need to get out of your zone, your circle, have conversations and listen and gather up those stories. I had a good time hanging out with my friends from college, they will always be my best friends no matter how much we’ve changed – its always good to reconnect.

Leading When No One is Looking – Lessons from my Dad

Some of the most important life lessons I’ve learned is from watching my father when he didn’t know I was looking. I watched moments when my dad would stop to listen to someone who needed help. I’ve had to wait for my parents after church because they were talking to a new family who was down and out. They both severed others with a real genuine love. There were times when they would open up our home and let families live with us, just so the family wouldn’t be out on the streets.  I remember overhearing my parents read the newspaper about a friend they tried so hard to help who was homeless, he was killed across the street at the bus stop. The news broke my parent’s heart.

I often tell myself, “It’s none of my business,” when I see a person in need, but to my parents, they make other’s problems, their business.  They lead in the background. They help those who need someone to talk to, pray with, council, or mentor. I’ve watched my parents wake up early, read books, read their bible, I see how there first reaction to life’s difficult issues is to bring it to God.

Today, I am still challenged to serve others because of both my parent’s example. I was born into a family that gives of their ‘off the clock’ time, I was given a father who stops to listen to the panhandler’s story. My mom tells me tales about when they were first together before my dad met Christ. Stories about her willingness to not give up on him – to pray for him and to love him when he was failing as a husband and father. It makes me wonder what life would have looked like if she gave up or if he gave up on himself.

The man in her stories is but a distant person who no longer exists. It’s hard to honor my dad, without honoring my mom. Both a team – together making life an adventure.

I am challenged everyday by both my parents to help the hurting, they know first hand, the power of a transformed life by living a life after God.

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Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon was one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen. I stood at the edge of the cliff saying out loud many times, “I can’t believe this is real.” 

I’m from the generation that everything we see is pretty much fake, its hard to realize what is real at times. But when standing in front of it, those who said it’s only a dream, you can’t help but feel anything and everything is possible.

The limits are limitless. 

Hiking that day in the Grand Canyon changed the both of us, Gus said, “Take one step at a time, we’ll get to the top together.” I did something I never thought I could do that day, overcome fear.

It was here that Gus proposed to me. I was nervous when he asked and couldn’t believe this was rallying happening, but I knew I wanted to spend every day with him. I gave him my answer and then tried to go back to normal but we now had a new normal…becomig life partners.

The Waiting

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I recently found a piece of paper while I was spring cleaning that read, “Space and time has never been on my side or has it?”

It was a questions my past self sent into the future hoping to find an answer. I remember that question rolling in my head in 2008. It seemed like I was so close to the ultimate dream plan of life. I was going to work at Hillsong as an editor in Australia, I had a place to live, I was surrounded by great friends and even had someone I was about to date. Everything I wanted was in arms reach and some how they all slowly began to floating away, further and further, until they all no longer existed anymore.

When I read this question eight year later I quickly said, “Yes it is and it always was.” If the life events hadn’t happen in those years, I would be a different person with and my character would look very different.

I recently heard a podcast of a woman who kept saying, “Why not me? When will I marry, or have children?”, when a friend of her’s experience what she wanted. I call it the, “Why not me syndrome.” After a while in life, you gotta learn to not let this statement haunt you, because it will and it will you unhappy.

This year for me has been the most exciting for many of my best friends. I have four close friends, who waited a long time to find the life partner. I recall conversation of them saying, “it will never happen”, and now that I see it happening for them. When I was in my early 20’s I admit I deleted my married friends from Facebook. I wasn’t ready to see my friends get married and have children. I was myself was just adjusting to the idea of becoming an adult. But now that I’m older, my reaction is very different. I am happy to see them happy, I am excited to add their special person into my world as well. And, even though I am not yet married with children, I know my time will come. God’s timing is always perfect and it brings me comfort that I am not the one in control.

The cliché reads, Life isn’t a race but a journey. I have my own cliché. Life isn’t about where you go but who you are when you get there. 

Congratulation to everyone who is experiencing happiness, even if for a moment you are alone growing in character and in knowledge.

Travel to Claremont

I often say a day off from work is like fine gold, the value is greater than a normal weekend. Something fun must be done with the time.  Staying home and relaxing would be like missing an opportunity to invest in a great stock.

In California the biggest drawback is traffic, so what ever is done has to be done early in the day otherwise you’ll get stuck in traffic as if you did go to work. Christina text me in the morning and we made the decision not to go to LA due to traffic, but she remembered a great little city on the way to LA called Claremont.

Just like traveling in a foreign city you really don’t know what to do, there is no plan just the time to discover something new. To my surprise, my favorite coffee Augie’s, has a new location in Clermont. We grabbed a coffee and explored the bookstore next store.

I told Christian the story of Gus and I looking for a record shop and ended up at a private home studio. Of course we didn’t knock but the adventure to find this address was pretty funny. I looked up local record shops, and to my surprise there are a few in the area. It was great to learn Claremont’s downtown was becoming another cool places to hang out in.

I enjoy visiting new places to get me out of my comfort zone. It gives me a chance to see people who are different to me. I often look for the same places to visit but it’s the walk to A to B that I enjoy most, the conversation with a friend or the people watching I do along the way. The Record stores, coffee shops and bookstores are usually excuses to get out and experience what I’m looking for; life happening.

La Jolla Beach

California Travels

Growing up my family didn’t do much traveling. My parents never really cared for seeing the world, me on the other hand, the moment I would see an airplane in the air I would stop and give attention. I would daydream of all the lives that were on the plane, I wish to be where they were going and joint them on the adventure of seeing something new.

In my twenties, I had the opportunity to travel and see many new places. I still have a long list of desinations (Iceland, Germany, Italy)  but now in my thirties, it’s the season of being responsible and paying off my debts.

Until I am debt free, travel has been postponed. It took me a while to accept this truth, but living in California I know there is still lots to see, and I can make the most of it. It’s a beautiful state with so many small pockets of great cities.

La Jolla Beach is a small part of San Diego, near Sea World. I had never been to this location before but saw a friend on Instragram share their trip. I saved the photo for the next time I had a day off with Gus.

It was our three year anniversary, and Gus said I can pick anywhere to go. We head towards La Jolla to spend the day at the beach. When we walked towards the seashore, I was amazing to see wild sea lions hanging out near the water. I even saw some scuba divers in the water.

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Just a walk away there are fancy shops and places to eat. 🙂 We ate at a great Mexican restaurant that had great fish tacos called Alfonso. I couldn’t believe I had never been here before, it was so beautiful and close by, it was like discovering one of California’s greatest secrets.

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After lunch, we visited the Aquarium and it had the most fascinating sea life.

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By the end of the day, I walked away with a fresh sense of life. Travel is so important to me as a creative person. I have to leave my life every once in a while to get a fresh perspective. Even if you can’t travel to far, try to find something new to do and create some fresh memories.

Blog #1 of my California travels.

Half Way to Somewhere

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Have ever had that lost feeling, where you stop in the mist of a busy day and you wonder where the heck are you going? Yes, I’m going to get my car washed but where am I going in life? This was me a few days ago.

Some call it a midlife crisis but because I plan to live longer than 62, I’ll call it a deep day. The days where thoughts seem to have a life of its own and it seems like nothing makes sense. Once I started to ask my self questions like, “What is your target? What are your goals? Are you doing all you can do for humanity?” I start to feel guilty that I could be doing more. The more I thought about it, the more I began to downplay my life purpose.

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I heard this podcast about thoughts, psychiatrists say thoughts can play like a slideshow, you can let them pass or start to ponder on them – some being thoughts that just aren’t true. You are taking your thoughts way to seriously, they say.

Another book I am reading about thoughts say it’s the devils fault. I’m sure that can be true with serious negative thoughts of harm but what about my unsure thoughts, what are they trying to tell me.

I knew I needed space from my mind, but how does one escape from one’s self?

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The next day a friend invited me for a hike. This was the perfect opportunity to clear my head. We did the hike and after breaking a sweat and losing my breath I made it to the top. I asked my friend to snap a photo of me looking at the mountains. When I looked at it, life suddenly became clear. I didn’t see a girl who was worried about the future and how everything will work out, in fact I saw a girl looking towards the future of possibilities. It was as if I was seeing what God was seeing.

We often start off strong, but during the journey, we doubt and wonder if we are going the right way, if we choose the right path. During the hike I had to keep asking, how much longer, my friend would say, “It’s just around the riverbed.” Which I knew was from Pocahontas – but it worked.

I am 31 and in the middle of wherever I am going, the half way point, yes things aren’t clear, still a lot of unanswered questions, but I know God has called me to be faithful where I am at, and endure to the end – the end of whatever, season, journey, life. haha. I can’t figure it all out, but what I can do is be prepared for what’s ups ahead.

Here is a classic life lesson. I got lost while driving, and turned one street early. We often do that, just when we are almost there, we panic and make a move too fast.

I’ve read many blogs, and most of them hold the answers, the keys to success. Here are the keys I learned last weekend – endure. keep hope. anything is possible.

My target is God . Where He takes me, I have no idea. Ohhh. this is Faith. It’s time I expand my faith. That’s the goal.

Here is a great podcast to listen to. Limitless Pt 1 

Design’s Best Friend – Font

What is it about book covers that draws us in closer to open up to the first page – and even causes us to buy? As I walked around the book store I noticed fiction book’s had the most creative and engaging covers. I began to look around to see which books grabbed my attention most, then asking myself why?

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As I snapped some photos of the books that I was drawn to, I noticed the font choice. They were very clean, easy to read, some font’s were entertaining, or the very opposite – plain. For me – I am attracted to mysterious covers that don’t say much but are visually interesting.

It’s known that the prelude to a film sets up the tone – same can go for the font used in design. Just like the title is a critical part to the book, so is the font choice you make for your videos. It becomes the eyes to the soul. Your font is your element that requires eye contact. 

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As I’ve worked with more volunteers who come in the office to learn video editing, I am discovering knowing how to design is very important to the creation of videos. You want to connect with the viewers to watch and be engaged in what your video is saying. Design might seem like a whole different subject from editing footage and creating a story. But just like a book, the cover gets the reader to read the story inside.

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This recent year, I’ve been more strategic with my font collection. I created a personal archive on flickr of screen shots I’ve taken when I come across font’s that attract me. I also organized my font book to hold my favorite fonts, making it easier to find what I am looking for when I am designing a new video.

I would encourage you to develop your own style by discovering your style – what attracts you and why. Some create Pinterest boards but I found if everyone is pulling from the same source of inspiration – everything begins to look the same. I follow different typography artist on different platforms to keep good smart design in front of me always.

Also, take the same to learn the foundations about typography; sans serif,  serif, modern, leading, tracking, kerning, basically space and weight in and in-between letters. There are many books, on-line videos and blog post about this subject. Grow in your deep understanding about fonts and it will help you design with a purpose. Here’s a youtube video I found that gives a good understanding about the history of fonts.

A great talk about typefaces – http://typographica.org

Some Instragram’s to follow & so many more these artist will lead you to.

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Finding the right camera for you

Trying to figure out the right camera to buy can be challenging. The endless research can be overwhelming. So I offer you my love story with my cameras.

The first question I’d ask you is why do you want a camera? Once you share your passion and excitement then’ll I’ll crush it by asking how much money do you have to buy it?

The point is to get the soul purpose of your desire. You might be selling yourself short if you answer about your budget first. I saved up for my DSLR for 6 months and paid for it cash. I had learn having debt for equipment can be dangerous, you can get too excited and waste money on gear you don’t need. 

Why do you want a camera? I wanna have fun taking photos – Any camera can do.

Find any camera and play with its effects. Look at thrift stores or eBay. I recommend an old film camera, you’ll fall in love with photography!

I think the most fun I had with a camera was my Diana 35mm film camera I got at Urban Outfitters. It was first stressful learning how it worked because its suppose to be “easy”, which made things complicated. Once I figured out how to use the camera, I had fun trying out different effects it offered. 

I wanna start learning photography. – Film cameras

You won’t like this answer – I know you wanna run out and buy an expensive camera. I recommend buying a 35mm camera with a detachable lens to teach you the fundamentals. Test the shutter to see if it works before you buy. You will bond with this camera and people will call you strange. Little kids will ask to look behind the camera wondering where their photo is. But you will learn how to frame up, expose, and capture a moment. Every exposer will cost you – $2 for each shot (development and film.) You will feel the mistakes in your wallet but you’ll also learn how to use the camera without a computer thinking for you. The photos you take will surprise you, and show you what kind of photographer you wanna be. Because those will be the picture you take most.

I want a camera to take with me while I travel. -a digital point in shoot

We all have this romantic image in our head of walking down the streets of Italy pointing and shooting our camera capturing people in the market place, beautiful architecture and of course our self in front of landmarks. But the reality is, you will leave your heavy camera in the hotel and settle for your camera phone – this my friend, you will regret. Sure you got 50 likes on FB but the day will come when you want to print the photo and there you will see the truth of how bad camera phone pictures are- they suck. The good news, because of iPhone technology advancing, they are getting better but until then, I recommend a point and shoot that cost more than $200, anything cheaper will have low pixels. I found the Nikon CoolPic 300 produces great photos! I bought it for the manual settings. Although I hardly use it because it takes too much time to set, instead I use the auto settings.

When traveling you are going place to place so fast, you only have time to frame up. Plus this camera is easy for other people to use when you ask a stranger to snap a photo of you. Its very rich in color, wide in frame and great at night.

I want to start filming/shooting professionally. – Canon or Panasonic with audio inputs

If you are starting a photography and video production business or if you are hired to film, the poplar DSLRs is what you are looking for. The quality is great without having to spend so much on a camera. The audio is bad which you’ll need a secondary recorder for that. But if you are getting B-roll type footage or plan on creating wedding montages that don’t need audio, then this camera is best to use. You will have to invest stabilizers but they aren’t too much. You do have the choice of buying a cheaper DSLR for $700 which is great for filming because they have the flip screens or go pro $2000 which would be ideal for photography. Look up tech details to see what best fits for you. I would recommend if you are starting out to start with the cheaper camera until business kicks in. The last thing you want to do is put all your money into something that you later find out you don’t really enjoy or find that the area you live in doesn’t have a market for it. Keep in mind its the LENS that really affects the quality, that is where you will need to invites your money in.

When it comes to filming you’ll want to record audio. Make sure there is an input to plug a mic in.

As you can see, you don’t just have to pick one camera. If you love photography, you’ll love cameras, and each one is different. I go thought many different phase just using one type of camera. When I get bored of my work, I search for a new camera that can spark up some fresh creativity inside me. You don’t have to spend thousand of dollars either, sometimes the right camera ends up finding you.

Book: Miracles by Eric Metaxas

I admit, I have a writer’s crush on Eric Metaxas, author of one of my favorite books, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. It started when I watched all the videos about him on youtube, then followed him on twitter. His speeches and random humor made me feel like we were friends. I was excited when he said he would retweet someone who took a photo with his new book. I thought this would be my chance to get some tweeter attention. So I bought the book and took a photo with it. If it was a marketing trick – I fell for it. This was my chance to be friends with one of New York’s Christian elite. It work – I got retweeted. 🙂

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I found Miracles refreshing. I read the first few chapters with my boyfriend so I could really understand the miracle of creation and the science of our existence. I pretty much failed science so reading it with someone and being able to ask questions really helped bring the text to life. For the first time, I could understand why the fact the Earth it’s self, is indeed pretty amazing.

“Reason and Science compel us to see what previous generations could not: that our existence is an outrageous and astonishing miracle, one so startlingly and perhaps so disturbingly miraculous that it makes any miracle like the parting of the Red Sea pale in such insignificance that it almost becomes unworthy of our consideration, as though it were something done easily by a small child, half asleep.” 

I was encouraged when I read about a dream Eric had when he was young. It was the dream that would change his life and bring him to faith. It was full of unique imagery that explained the gospel in a language that only Eric would understand. It spoke his language. I myself have two bother-n-laws who I am praying who would one day invite Jesus to be a part of their life. When I pray for them, I never know what to say. Everything seems cliche. But after reading about Eric’s dream, and how God suddenly made perfect sense to him, my prayer is that God would speak to my brother-n-law’s in the language of their own heart.

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“God knew me infinitely better than I knew myself, and he had taken the trouble to speak to me in the most intimate language there was; the secret language of my own heart. That was that.”

The last chapter read as beautiful as a C.S. Lewis conclusion,

“We may fool ourselves into thinking we are avoiding the question, but to avoid the question, to avoid answering the question, is to answer the questions. Whether we knowledge it or don’t. We fool ourselves into thinking that to table the question or to wait longer before we answer it and make our decision is wisdom, when in reality it is self-delusion and folly.”

I’ve always been one to believe in Miracles but reading about recent one’s that have taken place in the lives of people who Eric know personally encouraged me to believe they happen more often than not.

Book: Misfits Welcomed by Matthew Barnett

I am finding the best audio books to enjoy are the ones where the author shares lots of stories. It’s like being able to sit with them personally to hear all that has happen in their life.

I saw Matthew Barnett tweet about his new book, Misfits Welcomed a while back and left a comment, “Can’t wait for the audio book.” I’ve heard different parts to his story about how he came to Los Angeles to build a church and end up pastoring the homeless living on skid road, poor immigrant families, drug addicts, run aways teens and so many people that society gave up on.

I knew this book would be full of powerful testimonies of people who came out some dark times. What I didn’t expect was to learn so much about serving others and the joy it brings to ones life. I love how encouraging Matthew Barnett was, he made me believe I too could have an impact on others, if I just listen to the voice of God giving me one of those crazy idea to be generous to others and to embrace my misfit self. 

Quotes from the Book

Love finds a way. Love opens the door to dreams that could never come across our minds with out it. Love is the greatest factory of ideas. My prayer used to be, “God teach me how to be creative.” Now I pray, “God teach me how to love.”

[Lessons from running the LA Marathon] That 6 mile stretch taught me everything I needed to know about perseverance. I started to think about all the things that could go wrong, than I stopped myself and said, “Don’t let fear multiply, you’ve come this far, go all the way.” It was the most difficult, but yet the most liberating experience in my life. I decided this victory will be the launching pad to crushing fear. The finish line wasn’t just an end to the race, it was an end to this torment to fear.

People can change and anything is possible, because God is in everything. We really believe our community can changed, and many think we are crazy. We are proud to carry the label of people with unrealistic expectations.

When a misfit becomes activated in faith, they often have no idea that limitations are even there. The joy in being a part of God’s plan ignites a fire in their soul to do something great. 

There is potential in people who society would label as misfits, instead of looking at people as victims with nothing to offer, try telling them that great things are still attainable. Confront people with the possibly of achieving great things.

If people can’t understand your positive expectations for humanity, you are probably a misfit. You have misfit expectations compare to the skepticism of the age in which we live.

The message of Christ was made to go where it doesn’t traditionally fit in…The message of Christ is lived out through the transformation of his people. Sunday morning church is not the decision spot for the church, but the launching pad of inspiration for what we can be and do Monday thru Saturday.

God has placed you somewhere you have unique influence to share his love. Yes, you. You have influence somewhere that no one else has. My advice is to live intentionally about your influence and be confident in the one who loves you, and the power your influence can have in the lives of others.  

Inward living produces outward devastation. Outward serving produces inner joy.   

Serving has never left me empty but always filled. I found the more time I have to look inside myself, the more time I have to feel cheated, victimize, and self center..The thing I got going for me, is I know what to do when life becomes all about me – Jump into someone else need.

Serving is not always a strategy, an idea, its a way of life. Its a way of treating people, a way of encouraging.

What made me believe every word of this book was the on time I saw Matthew Barnet at a Dream Center Outreach. He wasn’t the super star pastor but he was among the crowd enjoy the day, talking to people and being one of the kids. I even doubted it was him because no pastor would be here on a hot summer day, at a little city block outreach like this. haha. Serving is not always a strategy, an idea, its a way of life.

“I wish I read more.”

 The past year I’ve gotten into the habit of reading and finishing books. It use to take me 6 months to complete a book. The problem; I couldn’t stay still long enough to focus. The moment I would sit to enjoy a book, my mind would wonder leaving me frustrated I didn’t understand what I was reading and then asking myself, “What did I just read?”
As I’ve been reading more often these days, I’ve been having lots of people comment, “Ugh, I wish I read more.” I remember being in that same spot; wanting to read but failing every time I tried. The books I’ve read and share with you have dramatically changed my life in one accept or another. The only way I can describe it, I feel like my brain works better now.
I finally can understand anything I want, as long as I take the time to understand things deeply.
There are so many benefits to reading and you are selling your mind short by not developing the skill. “I’m not smart.” is an excuses to be lazy.  If I didn’t start reading I’d probably still be making a few bucks an hour, still be single trying to figure out whats my problem, and be very stressed out that life isn’t working.

Sounds extreme but that where I was five years ago. Reading challenges me to keep on growing as a person. My boyfriend, Gus, still tells me, that a quality he first saw in me that really caught his attention.

Some benefits to reading:
1. Learning and understanding concepts faster by reading about them.
2. The more you learn about different subjects, the more the mind creates connections between subjects, helping to discover new ideas and finding solutions.
3. Reading about or from successful people and about their life lessons help you work better with people and give you a path to follow and try for yourself.

So my secret:

Buy a non fiction book that catches your current interest. You have to want to read it. For me, a physical book helps me focus on the pages, reading on my iPad is too tempting to switch to another app…Like Netflix.

Sign up to audible to download a new book every month. This will help you read the books maybe you aren’t SUPER passionate about but still want to hear what it has to say. Create a morning habit of listening to your audiobook instead of morning news.

Focus is a skill you must strengthen. Set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes. Get comfortable and read. Reward yourself after you complete the time with some downtime watching something on Netflix or TV. Your mind deserve to zone out.

Make it a goal to read everyday and try to finish the book in that month. Shop for your new book near the time you are about to finish your current one. This will motivate you to complete the book even if you’ve grown bored w the subject.

Highlight text that speaks to you.

Do a recap when your done. I blog about it as my way of saying I understand what I read enough to share about it. I often tell Gus about my book, waiting for his questions to see if I understood the book. Having these conversations are always super fun. I love having deep conversations and hearing feedback on the subject I’ve currently grown passionate about.

Display your books as your trophy case. Completing your book will give you a scence of accomplishment.

Make it into an event. Go out, find a cute coffee shop and read. Soon it will become the reward you look forward to.

Now go find a book to fall in love with.