A new phase

I’m in the phase of liking what I like no matter if no one else does. I am in the phase of no longer trying to make what everyone else is making. I am in the phase of trusting my creative judgement. When I was younger I went with my style and what I thought was cool. Somewhere along the way I started to follow the trends, and doubt myself. I know there is a balance to create what the market demands and what I think it wants.

When it comes to my youtube channel, I can’t help but let the view count effect my ability to create. I am making what no one is asking for, but a part of me know there is a community out there who is searching for it because
I am.

What is “it”? Well, I am trying to find that out for myself. First I have to let it develop inside of me. What a person makes is so connected to the person. I know we live in the template kinda world, where everyone can feel like a photographer or designer by just downloading an app. The hard work is, can you make something that is 100 percent your creation?

I think not having a job (well, not one that pays) has allowed me to lean towards what I naturally like, I am picking clothes that I would never wear to the office, more skater plus 90 grunge. I bought dye that is a color I had when I was 18 (haven’t had the guts to do it just yet..), I am listening to music from my past, and yes I’m sure every old person does this, but revisiting bands that had such an impact on me is helping me become more honest and myself. I am searching for a way to express what is taking place inside my creative mind and fashion and music has always helped lead me there.

As a mom and wife, I am trying to find my new self. I can’t spend the rest of my life missing the twenty something Monica. I want to love who I am right now. And I do.. just trying to find the new her thats all. Life has changed for me, I am too busy trying to keep a little human alive to worry if I am cool or not. So when it comes to the work I create, I have to tap into my creative style I developed over the years. Go with my instinct. I am also excited to see where my random ideas lead me.

Lessons from a baby

I’ve always been a person who tries to learn lessons from life around me. It’s probably years of Sunday school classes and trying to find the lesson in the Bible stories.

I just started feeding my daughter, Portland solid foods. It’s been fun seeing her facial reactions to different vegetables and fruit. Her first reaction is usually unsure if she likes the new taste, by the second bite she is smiling big and wants more fast. She often tries to grab the spoon and put more in her mouth by herself. She once was so excited, she grabbed the small cup I was feeding her from and tried to eat it. I laughed and said, “You can’t eat the whole thing at once!” When I said it, I stopped and laughed to myself, so that’s what I’m trying to do! When it comes to all the new dreams and ideas I’m having, I’m trying to do everything at once. For the past month, I’ve been enjoying being a mom full time and being creative on the side whenever I get the chance. I started writing more here and making YouTube videos weekly. As I’m pouring my extra time into these areas I’m waiting like… ok when is this going to pay off? In other words, I’m trying to eat the cup just like my little girl. It doesn’t work that way, it’s one small bite at a time.

From the moment I learned how to do graphic design all the way to graduating as an editor, I’ve intern and got hired to help other people build their vision. I didn’t mind, since at 22 I didn’t really have one myself. It’s easier to help others build theirs. When it comes to my dreams, I’m often changing my mind on how to go about it, or ask the question; is it worth the risk? Rediscovering my creativity and refining new dreams has become a process in which I am learning new things about myself.

I guess if anything, my daughter is teaching me to enjoy the experience of life.

Thank you to those who enjoy my post and liking them, I hope you are also learning with me new things about life and are encouraged.

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 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.

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.

Toughen Thy Skin

Being creative requires one to be experimental when trying to produce something new. Coming up with new ideas isn’t always easy, and there’s never a guaranteed it will work. Last month I was working on a project that seemed to be missing one element. As I drove home I noticed a billboard that sparked an idea. The following day I tried to gather a young couple to film but no one seemed to be around. When I saw an older couple enjoying their lunch at work. I asked them if I could film them for a few moments. They didn’t really want to but I insisted.

When I completed the project I looked at it and was happy everything worked out. The next week, I received a mix of reactions. Some people liked it, other didn’t. I even heard some “hated it”. Which I admit, did hurt my creative feelings.

I took the stab like a grown up and deleted the file. I had one of my new editors give it a go, and create something new. That week, I had to start a new project that would once again require risk, time, imagination, and heart. I realized I couldn’t let the experience of the previous video stop me from being creative.

I was nervous about the next project I had to work on. Everything I was doing wasn’t working. I had over 5 drafts, and still kept refining it. I asked advice from others what they thought when I was stuck. I took notes and made adjustments. When I delivered the final product, everyone loved it.

I saw the value of being open and asking others what they thought of a project. Their feed back help me work out the issues I was stuck on. Being able to do this required me to ask the hard question and allow myself to be open to whatever their comments would be.

Maybe your last project only received 4 views or maybe it wasn’t as good as you hoped. Don’t let it stop you from trying again.

What helps you when you feel stuck on a project?

 

Summer Doubt

The ugly side of being creative is feeling like you no longer have any ideas. The moment the darkness of doubt comes in, we suddenly begin to compare ourselves to others. And the worst thing we can do is stop believing we are creative.

The truth is, being creative takes work, hard work. Some might pretend like they are born with million dollar ideas but if they were honest, they would tell you about the research and reading that went into leading them to their idea. They might even say it was an idea they had been working on for years.

Creative ideas take energy, they require waking up early in the morning to capture the morning sunlight, it requires saying no to hanging out because you promised yourself you’d finish your current film book. If we feel like we are out of ideas, its time to take a look at how much we’ve invested.

Summer can be the worst season for coming up with creative ideas. One major reason, is there is so much fun stuff to do. The sun is shinning outside, who wants to be inside reading? Everyone is outside traveling, and instagraming how great their summer is. Its also hot and muggy everywhere you go.

So what to do when the summer doubt comes?

Know that even Hollywood takes a break from production in the summer. What you can do is talk about your project with someone. The person you decide to talk to might be currently inspired or their thoughts can lead you to that idea you’ve been searching for. If you can, take a day off or a mini-vaction. Let your mind think about other things.

Most of all enjoy the summer. Remember you are creative, and your best idea is yet to come! Gather memories with the people you love, put your computer down, journal imminently when those deep thoughts come, and stay off social networks because they will make you feel even less creative!

Autumn will be here soon and give you so much inspiration, you’ll be blogging about it everyday while you enjoy your hot coffee and comfy sweater!

Blog: Creative Night

Last night at our young adults service it was Creative Night. One of the young guys played his guitar and sang, “How He Loves Us.” His passion and love for God reminded me of something I said to myself years ago.

When I was a teenager I went to a summer camp in Texas with my old church youth group. It was my first time on an airplane, first time traveling, first time being away from my parents. There, a bunch of us got serious about our Faith. We returned home excited about God, I soon noticed each week that less and less teenagers were showing up to church.

There was this one Sunday I noticed I was the only one in the front row at church. I looked behind me and everyone who was once there excited, was no where to be found. I was standing there alone, and thought, “Now what?” I remember telling myself, “No matter who comes or goes, I’m going to stay. ”

I lost contact with my old youth group and now 13 years later I’m at a new church and met the most amazing people who are my age who are passionate about the Creator. I now see the life God has painted out before me and that I’m not alone. I had no idea how important the commitment I was making was. We change our minds everyday but once in a while something takes place in our lives and whether its for the good or bad, we make a vow. I was reminded of how important the every day thoughts are. It’s the simple moments that make us who we are.

Creative Night made me think of how different our artwork is from each other and though its different it is limitless on who it can inspire. When we are bold and share a part of us, it helps others look inside themselves.

Blog: I am the Painting

This morning I had an idea to paint. I never really painted before but thought why not try. I had some supplies I bought years ago but never used. I also wanted to try time lapsing, so I set up my camera and pointed it towards my work station.

As I started painting, it began to speak to me. Each stroke was meaning something, what I was feeling was coming out on the canvas. If I was nervous, you could see it in my strokes. When I was confident, my lines were coming out smooth. Each line was significant.

After a half an hour of painting, I became eager to finish. I realized I’ve been like that with God. I am telling Him to hurry up, I want to see the ending! But a painting like the ones I saw in Paris were not rushed. God is the painter and I am the painting.

But I wait with hope for You, O Lord…My life span is nothing compared to Yours..Entrust your ways to the Lord. Trust Him and He will act on your behalf.  -King David.

Book: Pursuing Christ. Creating Art.

I couldn’t help but compare the book Pursuing Christ Creating Art with the Imagine How Creativity Works. By the first few pages,  I figured out it wasn’t about being more creative but instead about the heart of the artist.

Even though you may be a different religion, I truly believe an editor/artist has to have the right heart for the project, any project. You gotta care about what you are creating. An assistant editor once tweeted me, “Art from the heart.”

I read most of the book on my flight to Vancouver. This book  found me at the right time. The author’s occupation is an independent film maker, creating sermon illustrations and other type of videos for churches. Therefore he was speaking in my language.

“An artist is a heart condition, not a job.”

“…art finds it’s truest purpose when it’s creator attempts to make visible the invisible.”

“I honestly believe beautiful art can change the world.”

I must admit at times working for church, I felt like I was doing God a service. I would often refer to myself as a Martha. Martha was a women in the bible who was busy preparing dinner for Jesus while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him talk. Martha is known for getting upset with Mary for not helping. I’ve always understood Martha’s heart but I’m finally coming to understand Mary.

“We don’t create art for God. He  doesn’t need it. But He dreams of creating art with you, for the world.”

Since I don’t have an official title to my name anymore, I related to the identity chapter. When people ask me what I do, it takes me a while. I say something different each time.

“identity is the person you are. Regardless of your actions. Take your actions away – both good and bad – and whatever is left is your identity. And there’s only one identity that has any value. A child of God.”

I know I learned this as a little girl in Sunday school but reading it on my flight to Canada it felt even more true. I thought my identity was what I did. I also misunderstood freedom.

we tend to believe freedom is- the ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want.”

“Real freedom is the ability to tell Gods story with your unique voice.”

Reading this artist definition of freedom spoke to me. It was the kind of freedom I’ve been searching for.

“we can use our freedom as an opportunity to serve – to live large into the lives of others.”

I was being challenged by each line, challenged to be honest with myself, to admit my wrong turns in my thinking and to admit change within myself.

“it’s hard to pursue Christ in the mist of pursuing my own fame.”

“we must be careful that we don’t love our dreams more than other people.”

“the art we create cannot be our salvation. And when we ask our art to save us in any manner, we’ve created something more than art. We’ve creates an idol.”

“humans have no control over their dream outcomes.”

“I am going to plead with you not to give up on your gift. On your art you have been uniquely designed to create.”

“Never stop sharing the beautiful Story through your art.”

“platform only displays skill level, not heart condition.”

I wanna create stuff that matters. Its a desires that ever artist has. Reading another’s artist experience can help us navigate through our own travels.
That’s what I hope to do when sharing my journey with you. 🙂

Keeping the Rhythm

I’ve learned if there is something I want to do more of, I have to add it to my daily life and allow it to become apart of the flow. Routines have helped me meet deadlines,  remember tasks, and even achieve goals. I like to call this, “Keeping the Rhythm.”

Blogging, photography, video editing, spending time with friends, coffee, all the things I enjoy doing are part of my daily rhythm.

The goal is too keep life flowing like a good song. It doesn’t mean, “go go go” but to create patterns that will help get things done and create more time.

Creating a routine isn’t only good for getting things done. But it can add inspiration and creativity to an ordinary day. Adding things like; dinner with family, hang out with a friend, seeing a movie, and reading a book are the things that can bring refreshment in the mist of a busy life.

Add things that inspire you everyday: podcast, fresh music, talking to strangers, connecting with God, having a conversation with a family member, helping someone out.

Do watch out for habits that will kill your goals. Its the small things that are added to your routine that can suck up your energy and time.

Over the years I’ve seen my capacity grow as I managed my days better. I saw I have more time than I thought.

Here are some of my particle routines:
Every other Tuesday I meet up with one of my best friends at a coffee shop to talk about life and God.
Once a month I like to take a day trip to LA to enjoy an indie movie with a friend.
I blog the moment I feel inspiration. I write in my notebook then type it out when I am home with nothing to do.
I take my SLR camera with me when I am going somewhere interesting.
I listen to podcast while I edit and animate in after effects.
I read my bible in the morning when I eat my breakfast.

Some bad habits of mine:
I like to sleep a lot.
I tweet too much.
I allow my room to get really dirty before cleaning it.
I wait until I have no more clean clothes to do laundry.
I wish to read more books!

What do you wanna do more of? What do you need to eliminate?

Audio: Once Upon a Time


Once upon a time I didn’t take photos. I didn’t even edit videos. What did I do with my creativity? -I miss understood it, I miss understood myself.

An old friend commented on my wedding post on facebook and said, “Too bad you didn’t take photos when I got married..” It got me thinking, “Wow, there was a time when I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.”

This is the first photo on my flickr account. It’s of me in LA, back on page 287. When I see this photo, I see a girl who was at the beginning of her journey.

I write this post not to talk about me but to remind you that where you are now doesn’t mean you will be there forever. Life evolves and each year you discover something new about life and yourself. Today, you might be at the beginning of your journey. In a few years, that road will lead you somewhere you never thought possible. You have to choose to keep on moving forward.  To listen to yourself when you say, “I love doing this, wish I could this for a living.”

I remember for years my family misunderstood me, therefore I misunderstood myself. So much of my identity came from them that I was allowing their opinion to shape me. “You’re weird Monica,” my older sisters used to say. They were teenagers then and I was an awkward 12 year old girl. I’m sure I was weird but looking back now I was just trying to figure out who I was and their comments were holding me back.

What helped me was when I discovered God made me creative for a reason. The more I hung out with Him, the more I began to understand myself. I found my image and identity in Him.

‘Once Upon A Time’ may be right now for you. That just means you are at the beginning of the story. Keep moving, even if you feel like you’re the only one pushing yourself.

Catalina Island

My friend and I went to Catalina Island for the weekend. Neither of us had ever been there so we had no idea what to expect.

I didn’t want to carry my big SLR around so I took my dad’s small digital camera. Since I have used the Mini Diana camera I really liked the two frames for one picture style. I turned on the “Panoramic” feature and began to have some fun taking pictures on our trip.

Instead of taking normal landscape photos I changed up the frame and allowed the camera to stitch them together. I got some really random creative shots. Finally, digital is fun!

There wasn’t much to do on the island but it was nice to get away. We talked to hotel driver about living here and he said you either love it or hate it. As for Krista and I, we liked it. We found out how pictures can be deceiving how there was no real beach on this island!

I joked with my friend how I kidnapped her from her husband and three kids. I recommend stealing your married friends for the weekend, they will thank you.

 

 

 

The Purpose

I often wonder what people think my motives are. A few weeks ago I was praying about life and I wrote this down.

The purpose of my blog, isn’t to make my name famous or known but to make it a place of encouragement and inspiration. I don’t want people to just look at my potential but to see their own, that if I can, they can, you can. I am a tangible goal that is reachable, but I work hard and realize life is a growing process. My blog is where I am able to be me and hope other find a place where they can be themselves too.

Be creative with what you have. May money not be your goal but never sale yourself short. Use your gift and fulfill your destiny. Remember you are apart of something bigger than you think. Know that your best work is still up head.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverb 4:23

Creative juice where art thou?

Creative juice where art thou?
My soul has been sucked dry
My inspiration has vanished.

Its been to many days
since i last flew the blue skies
I can no longer give out
what i have not taken in

He is the source of my heart
I desire is to find Him
I have not seen Him for days
which feels like years.
He is above universal time and
yet I can’t seem to read His hands.

I look at the kite,
admiring its freedom,
but yet can’t help notice the string that holds it in place.
Even birds have a nest.