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.

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. 🙂

unnamed

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.

IMG_0527

“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.

The Attitude of Wealth

The images we have when it comes to wealthy people are usually negative, thanks to reality television and movies. Most real life wealthy people think their life style is, “normal”. The overseas’ vacations, the cleaning lady, being able to go to the store and getting whatever they need. It’s those who are poor that notice the difference. They notice the full refrigerator, new furniture, the name brand clothes, and find it strange when no one mentions money when it comes to dreaming for the future. For the wealthy, money is a given, there will always be more money coming.
When I was in Australia, without knowing I gave this illusion I was wealthy. Maybe it was because I was able to afford moving there. Most didn’t know it was God who had blessed me with a college grant and made everything worked out like only a God miracle could. I saw some kids party their days away (yes, even at bible college) but for me I never took a day for granted. Instead of hanging out some nights, I would volunteer as an editor and in return sometimes get paid which helped with some of my bills. I never expressed to my peers of money situations, I was confident God brought me this far, He would provide as I continued to walk in faith -by working and volunteering. When I returned my mom told me she sold tamales to people at my church to help out with the cost of my rent.
Years later, an Australian friends came to visit my home in California. One of the first thing he said was, “Oh, I thought you where rich for some reason.” I laughed but then started to think about that statement. Another friend who visited said, “Wow, now I see what a miracle it was for you to go to Australia, now I understand the challenges you had to overcome.”
I began to think of how I was able to make my friends in to thinking I was rich without even trying. They where right, I didn’t act poor.

Some of my best friends are wealthy. I learned a lot from growing up with them. I learned the importance of education, goals, and being driven. They hated when other kids would call them rich. I guess they saw how hard their father works, and knew wealth required sacrifice. I watched their father give up family time to take care of his business, he never clocks out. I dreamt of being just like him, not having to rush to work and having breakfast with the family. I even worked for him for a short time when I was going to college, and saw how he made executive decisions with such confidence. He is a godly man who loves helping the church by being generous. I saw him notice the potential of others and give them opportunities. Driving to their house reminds me success is attainable. I can love God, help people and be successful without losing my heart.
My father also taught me great lessons of faith, to read books, set time aside to read the bible and help those in need. A family joke is my dad will give his last dollar to a homeless man.
Mixing lessons from both men have create my ability to walk as a wealthy woman who lacks nothing. The art of acting wealthy is to notice the wealth one already has. Most of us been blessed to go to bed not hungry, most of us been blessed with a job that pays the bills, we’ve also been blessed to read and create. I’ve learned not to let the amount money make me feel poor. Learning how to manage my finances from wealthy authors has also helped me make better financial decisions. Its my attitude that will determine my wealth.

Chasing Fame

Its odd to admit but in some way we are all guilty of chasing fame. We strive to be noticed from an early age, we can recall yelling for someone to look at us as we do some trick. In high school, we wish to sit at the cool table with the popular kids. And now as an adult, we talk about how many people are following us on social networks. Most say, Please keep looking at me once they got everyone’s attention.

But there most be a deeper meaning to fame – other wise, whats the point.

fame |fām|
noun
the condition of being known or talked about by many people, esp. on account of notable achievements:

I am reminded of Joseph from the Bible. He was a young Hebrew boy who became a ruler over Egypt. His brothers sold him as a slave to the Egyptians when he was just a teenager. It is said the brothers were jealous of the favor Joseph had with their father and hated hearing about his dream that one day they would bow to him.

He spent most of his life in prison and God was with him, giving him much favor and success with those who were in charge of him. When Pharaoh was haunted by a dream, rumor was, Joseph interpreted dreams. When Pharaoh told the dream to Joseph, it was his big opportunity of fame. Joseph responded, “I cannot do it..but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Joseph’s interruption ultimately saved nations from famine. Pharaoh in return made him a ruler over Egypt.

After so many years in prison, Joseph most have realized what his dream of greatness really meant. At first his young heart thought it was about him, but as his life seemed to turn for the worse, he had to trust God was doing something bigger than his dream. During those confusing years for Joseph, he chose to helped others in prison, chose to forgive his family and chose to work hard. And with that type of character, he was able to lead a nation through a time of famine and save so many lives.

It was no longer about fame but about what God wanted to do.

Joseph wasn’t chasing fame, he was just trying to live a life pleasing to God. And in return, God gave him power to rule Egypt which helped him save his family. Joesph’s fame made a difference. Those years of being unknown and unseen built up his character. Joseph walked though fame’s door and made a difference in his generation.

Fame is powerful, it can destroy a person if handle wrong. We now see Joseph had to go through all those troubling times because the task ahead required someone with the right heart. Joseph had the type of fame that mattered. That’s the type of fame we should chase. The fame that makes a difference.

Photos: The Wedding Dress

The past few months I’ve been really bored with photography. I asked one of my friends if she wanted to do an artsy shoot with her old wedding dress. I knew she had gotten married in the 90s, so I thought it would be fun and random to shoot some photos.

I had no idea these photos would teach me something about the wedding dress.

For many girls, the wedding day is their dream day. I see it in all my friends who are engaged to be married. Their countdown to the day, their search for the perfect dress, and the plan for the big celebration. Then the newly married couple becomes old news, never to be seen again. Its as if the wedding was the best moment of the couple’s life.

Angel told me the story of how she was only 18 when she got married and those first few years weren’t easy.  Doing this shoot made me realize marriage has nothing to do with the dress. The dress is just fabric.  Angle didn’t care that it got dirty, what matters are the years after.

What I learned today was that the wedding isn’t the end, its just the starting line.

Blog: The Director’s Cut

The director’s cut is when the editor creates a specialized version that represent the director’s own approved edit. This sometimes means having more scenes with more information about the characters and can ultimately have a different ending.

The past few weeks I’ve been living the Director’s cut. Which isn’t bad, just not what I pictured. I prefer fast transitions and getting to the point, but it seems the Director is fond of subtle transformations that hold significant lessons. I am noticing these unexpected scenes are indeed adding beauty to my story. There are times when I receive random snippets and have no idea how they will fit with each other. Its up to me to do something with each component and prepare for what the Director gives me next. I can expect to make a few mistakes along the way, but all I can really do is learn from them.  Sometimes as an editor, what may have been a mistake might be the very thing I was looking for. So Im allowing myself to take a few risk.

I can see the theme of faith, hope, and courage. The heart of my character is being challenged. I am learning a lot about overcoming fear and trust. Though I am tempted to question the director’s art, I trust Him. He knows what He’s doing and where He is taking the story. After all, He knows the end.

The amazing thing is He listens to me. I tell Him what I think about the story and the vision I see when I close my eyes. He takes all my ideas in to account. When I least expect it, He hands me something better than what I dreamt of. I say, “Wow, you got this from my idea?” and He answers, “It was our idea, we dreamt it together, this project is as much as yours as it is mine.”

I want the movie of my life to be God’s heart beat.   Although I am eager to know what happens, I am telling myself to enjoy the journey and to keep on being a diligent worker- to be open, to learn, grown, create, dream, pursue, read, laugh, visit, travel, seek and love.

Audio Interview with a Cinematographer

One of the cool things about twitter is when I get to meet someone I follow in person. I asked Cinematographer Julia Swain if she would like to meet up for an interview. I was excited when she was more than willing.
We had a cup of coffee and talked about what we are passionate about: creativity and movie making.

A big thank you to Julia for taking the time to chat with me. You can see more of her work at www.juliaswain.com and be sure to add her on twitter. 🙂

My Last Day at The Rock


I had no idea what I was stepping in to. I applied for the job only because I had no where else to go. I questioned God often, “Why am I back here in San Bernardino? There is nothing good here!” I saw it as a place of broken dreams.
He soon began to open my eyes and made His way to my heart. The ironic thing was that I hated my city but my new church loved it. I couldn’t understand why.
When I moved in to the video department God began to show me why He brought me back. I was at The Rock to learn, to work, and to observe.
I started to see it was people that my church loved. And I was one of them.

My church is indeed a light in dark city. I see it as a place of hope, a place that restores the broken and saves the lost.
I thought I was there to make videos but as always, God had a bigger plan.
Tomorrow will be my last day and its going to be sad. I will miss the little details about my day, walking in the break room making jokes with my co-workers, having surprise creative meetings in the lady’s room.
Pastor Deborah, who is the most courageous woman I know, wrote me a letter that melted my heart. To think, she believes in me. That alone makes me tear.


If you are a creative person, you know how often people look at your strange. If you are a dreamer, then you really get that look. You are the outcast, you are the odd ball.. but here at The Rock.. they looked at me with belief in their eyes and with confidence. Their look reminded me that, “All things are possible.”
I want to share with you the card that Pastor Deborah gave me.

The card it’s self is a list.

Ten simple things to remember:

1. Love is why you are here.

2. The most important day is today.

3. If you always do your best, you will have no regret.

4. In spite of your best effort, some things are out of your control.

5. Things always look better tomorrow.

6. Sometimes a wrong turn will bring you to exactly the right place.

7. Sometimes when you think the answer is “no”, it’s “not yet.”

8. True friends share your joys, see the best in you, and support you through your challenges.

9. God and your parents and we, will always love you.

10. For all your accomplishments, nothing will bring you more happiness than the love you find.

And it’s so true.

Though I am moving forward in my career, the love that I found here at The Rock is what I will remember most. It was a job that gave me room to grow, had confidence in my creativity, taught me patience, taught me leadership, management, taught me how to communicate to people. It taught me everything I couldn’t have learned at a school or in a book but it was experience.

Though the road for me up ahead is unclear, I can trust in God because when I thought I was on the shelf and that I wasn’t being used anymore. God placed me at The Rock and gave me a purpose. And I know once again God will place me in a good place. Where I can once again grow more, impact more, teach more, and do more.

So I encourage everyone, no matter where you are at, it’s not forever, so appreciate it while it last.

The Rock Church and World Outreach Center is located in San Bernardino, Ca with over 24,000 members and fed over half a million people in 2011. Last year, over 12,000 people dedicated their life to Christ at The Rock.

Audio: Editing and Ministry

Audio advice about editing and ministry. This could also apply for working at a company and not just a church.

Here is the 2011 year end video I did at The Rock. I wanted to give more than just number, I wanted to tell the story.

Monday Morning

Reading my blog is like having a cup of coffee or tea with me. I would be shy to listen to this audio blog with you but I’m pretending no one is listening so I can be open. I know sharing my journey and being honest can help others..actually expressing my thoughts is helping me.

Here is Monday morning.

Last night, I drank this latte in Pasadena and I couldn’t go to sleep after that. It was 12 o’clock and I was still awake, and this latte started to make me feel delusional as if I had drank alcohol or something. When I woke up I had less than 15 minutes to get to work. So I tried to make myself presentable and ran out the door.

Maybe I’m blaming it too much on the latte but I woke up feeling lost, like I didn’t know what I was doing. I couldn’t seem to find a deep thought happening. I usually wake up with this profound thought, and I’m so use to that. Today, when I woke up.. thinking nothing, I got to my desk and felt like I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. So I did mechanical work. I did burning of DVDs, scheduling, prepping things and getting things ready. I even did a tutorial cause I couldn’t – I couldn’t get it out of me.

I remembered a quote from proverbs, or somewhere, I tried looking that up and I couldn’t find it. A quote in the bible about, “The beginning to wisdom is realizing you know nothing at all.” And I felt like I didn’t know anything. And I thought of, “What can I write on my blog.” I hadn’t written anything deep or subjective in a while, everything was kinda.. I just felt like I was being a know it all which this morning I woke up not feeling that way, woke up feeling like I knew nothing at all. What can I give?

Maybe its because I’m in the middle of this transition to – go to that next level in creativity. And I am starting at the bottom. I don’t know what I am doing. And I’m having these conversations with people who do know what they are doing and its so inspiring, I love talking to them but I can’t help but feel like I know nothing at all.

But this is good right? This is growth? That means that.. It’s the beginning to grow. It’s the struggling part. it’s the chicken in the egg trying to come out of that shell. it’s the – butterfly coming out of the cocoon, right? It’s the girl, the video editor girl, use to 30 second videos, trying to learn the art of telling the story in a medium that’s usually 90 minutes or more.

And then the adventure of Canada its self. It is brave people are telling me. I guess I don’t know what else to do. Keep on living life comfortable? Or struggle to come out of the egg-shell right? I know the pay off will be well worth it. In ten years from now, maybe I’ll listen to this audio bite and remember the beginning feeling of growing in to a new “planet”, I guess.

I mean I sure hope this feeling passes. And maybe, the more books i read or the people I talk to who do it -I will feel a little bit better. That I wont feel so lost.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

 

Audio: The Starlight in his eye


audio player not available for
Mobiles

He worked at an okay job for most his adult life. His passion laid far in the distance and occasionally could be heard when spoken of the future.

When asked, “How” and “When”, he would answer with, “Hope” and “Soon.”
The years passed with no real opportunities in view. He kept moving forward even when he heard, “Accept your destiny.”

His comfortable job was soon fading away. Without the safety of his daily living he was left with only the hope of his youth.

The original plan was brought to remembrances.

The dream he once thought would never happen was slowly becoming a reality. And only at the cost of everything. His time, heart, money but most of all himself. He had to do away with the negative personality he grew over the years. It was time to become the person who he was created to be. To live with divine purpose.

When the day of opportunity came, he was ready.

Now when he enters in the room, his passion for life lights it up. He is doing what he loves.  When he wakes up for work he thinks,  “I hope to be doing this for the rest of my life.”

Now, you can see the starlight in his eyes.

Based on a True Story

You’re Almost There

There was this song I fall in love with a while back. My friend and I would share it with each other at the end of the night. It’s called “Goodnight” by Jeremy Larson.

Today someone responded to a comment I had left on the youtube video. I was surprise at my statement.

I wrote:

I love hearing “you’re almost there”.. I just wish I knew where I was going.

I wrote that seven months ago. To think, seven months ago I had no idea where I was going. Now I am certain of the destination for the next few years of my life.

I haven’t heard this song in months, and the past few days this “lost” feeling has haunted me. Randomly, when I am watching a movie I get the thought, “So you’re really going to leave your family and live alone in a strange city?” I begin to think of all the questions I’ve been asked the past few weeks.

How? Why? Where? When?

To all those questions I want to say ,”I don’t know.” To be honest moving far away may fail but it would be a bigger failure if I didn’t even try. I know Vancouver may be a strange city now, but when I am there I know it will become home. There is a big question mark in that city, and the adventure is finding out what the answer is.

Hearing this song tonight was perfect. I needed to hear it

Remember, you’re almost there.

“…hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?” Romans 8:24

The Time is Coming

The time is coming
and soon it will arrive
when my bags are packed
and i drive towards the sun rise.
To the airport I go
and kiss my parents good bye
to a land that if far and alive.
A place full of strangers and
get a city full of friends.
Though all the details are a blur
i know that the time has come for me
to let go of all my fears.
To take a risk
and to leave those who are dear.
But first, I must thank a friend who pushed me
in to this gear.
He believed when I told him my dream,
he said, “Monica, you can do anything.”

Vancouver,
I shall breathe your fresh air
and see your trees grow yellow
by the end of this year.

“Be strong and courageous and fear not, seek Me first and I will give you the desires of your heart, believe in Me and I will give you rest, just remember to cast all your cares upon Me. I created you for such a time as this. You are the beauty of Esther, the defender of beauty.”

“Lord not my will, but Your will. Where you go I will go. You lead and I will follow. You speak and I will listen. You say to believe in the impossible and to leave the possible. It is time I “cast down my neat”. I take a step forward and walk on the water towards you by expressing my secret dream to the world, ‘To have enough money to live anywhere in the world’, and now that I do, I choose to be with you… in the impossible.”

soundtrack

Money can’t buy creative passion

I am probably the only video editor who doesn’t own a DSLR, a Mac computer, or a video camera.  How do I get work done?  Well, I make use of the resources around me.  I bought a film camera at a Goodwill and use my church’s video camera sometimes.  Everywhere I’ve worked, I have always had a Mac with all my editing programs.

I know I need to get my own equipment so I can finally experiment and reach my creative potential.

This year I plan on saving up for some good equipment,  that and save to move to Paris.  So though I may not have the best equipment I do have creative passion.  And you can not buy creative passion.

I love what the Bible teaches about how God looks at the heart and not the outer appearance.  It reminds me that where I go in life it will be because of the passion that is in my heart not because I can create the best video in the world.

And that helps me create the next video with DV footage or take photos for fun with my grainy film camera.

 

Australian & New Zealand travels

A dream of mine for years was to go to Bible College in Texas.  After things didn’t work out because of finances I went to design school and studied video editing and graphic design.  Even in the midst of my new-found passion as an artist, I still never forgot my desire to go to Bible College.

After much exposure to some of Hillsong United DVD’s that documented a youth movement in Sydney, Australia, I began to do research. Turns out it was not only an amazing church but a Bible College that offered a course in TV and Media.  It was the perfect place for me.

There I met some amazing people and had some great opportunities. I volunteered for their large conferences as a camera person and assistant. The moment they found out I had some background in video editing and design I was asked to be apart of the youth video team.  There I became a faithful volunteer and later was asked to do some paid jobs for albums and weekly church services. This is my demo reel of the work I did. Things were making sense as to why God had me wait things out and go to school first.  My passion + my faith and love for Him was going to come together for my = destiny.

Almost 3 years later since I called New South Whales home, my life has changed and I have grown dramatically as a person.  I recently went back for a visit. Here is a video I edited together of some of the fun moments I had with my Australian and New Zealand Friends.

In New Zealand, it felt like time stopped. I no longer could hear the clock ticking. We came across the most amazing greenhouse at one of the museum.

When we were out getting lunch I found a little book store which had the most unique books I ever came across. If I was alone I would have spent a few hours in this used book store. Looking through all the rows of books I found a book of poems that caught my attention, I knew this would be perfect for my collection.

The best part of going back and visiting friends was seeing how much they changed and grew. I was also able to see how far I came along, and how much this place was no longer home for me.

On the last day I went to the Harbor and said good bye to the beautiful city, I knew I wouldn’t see it again for a very long time.