Perspective in Time

Since I’ve been a stay home mom I’ve had extra time in between naps and taking care of the baby to go though my old footage that I’ve collected over time and start to edit them into videos. It’s something I always wanted to do, and I’m sure you have footage on your hard drive that “one day edit this.”

My one day has been now. Its strange to look at footage of me from 9 years ago. My insecurities scream off the camera, I remember feeling ugly because of my braces and my skin wasn’t photoshop clear. I was harsh to myself then and now a grown women I feel bad for her. I want to tell her “relax, things work out: your skin clears up, your braces come off and your smile is beautiful again.” I also remember at the time feeling like when I liked a boy he never really liked me back. Now I can see why, I wasn’t being myself, and I was being so uncomfortable in my own skin, it would make anyone want to stay away.

I also see the possibilities that were before me. I was careful with each direction I took. I always wanted to do the right thing and make the best decision possible. I was always afraid I was going to make the wrong decision, that sometimes I didn’t make one, which is making one: to do nothing. The risk I did take were thought out and careful. When it came to date someone I was always cautious, to the point the boy would give up and move on, which left only the ones who were serious.. or should I say the one who became the one. Future husband Gus.

We do the best we can when we are young, sometimes we make mistakes but I believe if we try to be deliberate with life, we’ll end up where we want to be.

I never took the time to edit this footage because I didn’t like how I came across, now I can see the story wasn’t about me but about an artist. After all, I traveled a few hundred miles to meet him, Leonard Knight.

You can watch my youtube episode about my journey to salvation mountain and also revisit the blog I wrote and photos I shared in 2010:

35mm film of Salvation Mountain

Journey to Salvation Mountain

To keep or delete my blog?

2017 for me was all about asking myself what was important to my life. As I went through the year, I began to element things that were distracting me. Time seem to be passing me by and my daydreams were becoming ghost haunting me. I felt powerless and because of that my creativity suffered. I found myself making the same type of work, using all my tricks and short cuts. I became bored at my own creativity. When I would try and blog, it was like like hitting a block every time. I felt like I no longer had anything to share.

2017-10-09 11.02.39-2.jpg

I was sick of reading inspirational books, and hearing, “You can become a better you” and “Be yourself.” (Which one is it?) When I went on a trip to San Francisco I found this book about leaving your creative mark on the world. Everything that was shared I had heard a hundred times, but this time because I heard it so much I finally stopped reading and asked myself, “Are you finally going to move and make something or are you just going to keep on reading about it.”

I was getting annoyed that I wasn’t acting on my ideas. I knew if I allowed this to pass me by, I would allow the next idea to leave, and doing so, would create this horrible cycle of killing my creativity.

6.5Monica

As a kid, I was shy in front of strangers. At home I was alive, laughing, and enjoyed making my family laugh. The moment a stranger walked into the room, I would stop and disappear. I thought they would think I was crazy or strange. It wasn’t until I saw my uncle who had a hard life, laughed at my 4th of July skit when I was 8. I realized making people smile and happy for a moment, was rewarding. When my uncle passed years later, his laugh came to my memory, and to this day I can still remember it.

img101.jpg

Ever since I saw I was able to make my uncle laugh,  I knew I had a gift I could share with the world.

Today, I create work  for a living that moves and inspires others, but with the ability to hind.

Finally, I decided to act on my daydream and create a youtube channel. I had officially ran out of excuses. It wasn’t easy getting in front of the camera and talking. In fact, I filmed myself three times before I posted a video. Creating videos for other people I knew how to capture their voice, but my own I found it more difficult to navigate through. Can I be myself on my channel? Can I talk about God? Can I share the hard times? Can I just share what I’m thinking? I’m still figuring out my voice but find as each passing episode, I am getting better at sharing my true self.

I know I don’t blog as much, doesn’t seem like anyone reads this anymore, but for those of you who do, I will keep writing for you. The new medium is youtube, its where people are listening and searching. I debated if I should keep my blog or just do away with it. But as I am writing now and sharing with you, this blog might be good to share my thoughts behind the scenes. Is it worth $40 dollars to renew? haha.

You can subscribe to Moniemuse

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Traveling to New York City

New York City, its the place everyone wants to be, its the place where it feels like everyone lives. Walking on the crowed side walks, navigating through the traffic, the city is the world’s runway of the world. This is the place where people have fun with their public self, they become who they always dreamt of becoming.

The buildings, themselves inspire us that anything is possible. Every landmark has a story, and sometimes they require deep respect, like the two World Trade Center fountains. The place was filled with people from every nation, it has now become a hub for humanity to be united.

The last time I came to New York was seven years ago. Nothing seemed familiar to me, it was like I was seeing the city for the first time. The last time I was here my life was so different, I was different. Walking the city with my husband, it reminded me of how life can surprise you.

I always dreamt to live in the big city, work in media for fashion or film. I’ve always identified with Felicity, a tv show that aired when I was in high school. I loved that she got up and left to a new city and created a whole new life for herself. Watching her life, she taught me how I can live an adventures life. It’s by making a decision to do what your heart is telling you – regardless bank account or logic. Taking those steps of faith to do what you really want to do, and all you need is an excuse like Felicity following her crush. My city was Sydney and I left to leave my past behind me. I am glad I pushed myself to live that experience, I found peace following where God was leading me. It set me up for the next chapter of my life.

My favorite part when when we went to watch a movie in the park. It was amazing at how easy it was to show up and suddenly become a New Yorker. We ordered food, talk to people in line, found a spot to sit and show famous people walking around (of course, too cool to notice.) As the sunset, my high school self was speechless. “Monica, you are in New York, and sitting next to you is your husband.” Gus had no idea what a special moment this was for me. He sat watching the movie laughing at the cartoons they were showing. If my life were a movie, and it involved a story line with time travel, my character would travel to this moment.

The city had us walking everywhere, learning how to work the subway, and sitting next to strangers. It was exciting to see what would happen each day, we loved overhearing conversations…New Yorkers tend to yell when they are talking.

We kept asking ourselves, “Would we move here?” We never really said yes or no, I think Gus and I are always open for an adventure, our work has always been the most important thing to us, so if the work were to lead us to the big city, I’m sure we would jump at the chance. One thing we will miss, taking the subway everywhere.

As I was sharing photos on Instagram, I knew what it looked like – my life is perfect. Just weeks before I had to face a few battles that if I didn’t pay attention to, it would defeat me. I look at our smiling photos, and know behind the smiles are two people who are fighters – inside and out. No matter where life takes us, together we will sit together. My adult life didn’t take me to New York. but its taken me to a place with love and hope, and for that I am thankful.

 

Travel to New Orleans

The beginning of a new journey requires an openness to expect the unexpected. What fun would it be if all answers were given to you. My greatest desire is to see a new world, to meet strangers that can become friends. The art of travel isn’t having the perfect irtenery, its in the moments of getting lost and the random moment I discover something new. It’s creating memories that will return to me and take home that make travel worth it all.

When we take the time to learn another’s journey and see the battle fields with our own eye, that generations after are still fighting. Their stories open our hearts and now have a name and a face to stories that were told to us growing up.

The company of friends, the connections we grow as we walk the city, drive the highway and fly through the clouds, together we make everywhere we go, home.

New Orleans is alive and well. History happened here, and the community’s will to overcome has once again made the city come to life. Its a place where strangers work together to create music, to sing above the hardships many had to face through out history. The ghost of the past haunt the streets, but its the life of the present that brightens up each street corner. If you stop to smile, you will receive a smile back. We walked the fields of slaves, visited a house of slaves owners, and felt the aches of hearts broken at the cost of profits. It was the sight I saw the day before we left that help me process history’s ugly past,  there in front of me was a couple who was black and white ridding bikes together along the Mississippi River. I am fortunate to be part of history, for I myself am free to travel the world to see the stories of others unfold before me.

Discover your Road Map

I crave change but when it happens I soon lose confidence in the driver seat, not sure where I’m going but I know I have to keep on moving. As a natural born editor, I move things around over and over again. Not to make things perfect, but to have harmony with each other. He is made perfect in my weakness, has been echoing in my heart since I became a wife. Work was easy when I was married to it, it had all my heart and time. Now that life has changed, I am having to step back and revisit how I do things.

I can’t do everything and be everywhere at work, but I can develop a team that can.

I recently added a few new talented guys to the video team. Each of them have a unique voice and personality that I’m excited to help develop. Together, I want to create work that speaks hope, love, joy and most of all Jesus. First, everyone must fight the battle of learning the technical things of editing. Videos are only fun when you’re brainstorming, and going live – in between takes hard work and thought.

As I’m translating thirteen years of experience I make sure to be clear and honest – what you are doing today, isn’t the destination but a road map. Use this time to figure out what you like to do, what you enjoy doing, what comes natural, what you can spend hours on and pay attention to that. Find ways and opportunities to use your gifting and it will lead you to your purpose. There is no doubt in my mind I was born to edit, film, create, inspire, develop others, grow in knowledge. But I didn’t know that when I was 21, or 25.. it didn’t come with age, it came at different points in life. A random Tuesday you will be thinking and get this great idea, as you are running to make it happen, you will decided “this is it.”

There is purpose in the every day things we do.

Ten years go by fast, I am already thinking about being forty… and I have no idea what I want to do or be then.. but I know the foundation of my twenty has built me up to have a successful journey. Healthy thing grow, I know one day when my video team develop, God will move them into something new. We are now all a part of each other’s road map.

 

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

Photo Jun 15, 9 03 20 AM

Downtown Burbank

Oceanside, Ca

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

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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.

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.

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Photo Mar 24, 11 54 43 AM

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
Photo Mar 24, 5 02 30 PM
2015-03-24 16.31.13
Photo Mar 24, 4 02 36 PM

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.

The Wanderer Generation

I’m not sure what it is, maybe its the age group I’m a part of or the times we live in. For some reason it seems my peers are wondering around life with no real direction. I myself am tempted to live this life style of “whatever happens, happens”. I see photos of fellow college mates all over the world snapping shots of themselves in front of landmarks, using up their favors with friends to help them out while they figure it all out, in other words, it seems like they are in search of home.

It is a tempting lifestyle, one in which I tried myself but I knew I had a destiny to get to, work had to be done and the cost of living to pay. Whatever decision I made, I had to make it fast before I burnt bridges.

As I am working toward my goals, I want to stop half way. I tell myself, “This is good enough.” But I know it won’t be good enough in a few weeks when I become restless again. I must admit, I don’t know specifically where I am going, but as I navigate through each hour I try to be intentional with my decisions. To read instead of watch a movie, to create instead of be entertained, to think instead of zone out, to save instead of spend, which I don’t always make the better choice. It’s the little decisions that matter.

What I appreciated from traveling and school was that it required me to think and gave me time to figure it out. Now that I am in the middle of a full time career, I have to make it a priority, to keep on thinking, looking ahead, and setting new goals. If you ever got in the car and drove with no place to go, you’ll realize it gets you no where. It leaves you lost and with an empty gas tank.

Proverbs 22:3-5
Sensible people foresee trouble and hide from it,but gullible people go ahead and suffer the consequence.
The plans of a hard-working person lead to prosperity,but everyone who is always in a hurry ends up in poverty.

California Road Trip – Santa Cruz

I’ve must have passed Santa Cruz many times while on my way to San Francisco. My Australian friend had went for a visit during her last stay and told me how awesome it was. Gus and I drove up after Santa Barbara and took in the fresh over cast morning at Pleasure Point.

Gus told me about his family growing up in Monterey and suggest we take a drive to enjoy the town the following day. But first I wanted to check out Mission Santa Cruz since we where so close. We went to the church only to discover it was very small, compared to Santa Barbara mission there wasn’t much to see. We enjoyed a walk in the garden and headed towards downtown.

Driving in to the city I noticed the Museum of Art & History, right away I wanted to check it out. I enjoy visiting art museums in new places. I never know what they will focus on and its interesting to see the different exhibits. There was a lot of interactive art displays. I joined in and created a passport about my family history. Gus was impressed at my drawing of myself. I laughed because if there is one thing I know how to draw, is the face I’ve looked at all my life.

Walking downtown was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Looking at all the old buildings and discovering new shops is so fun. We spent some time at the record store looking at all the music past generations enjoyed. I bought two albums for the road trip back but both albums end up sucking, haha. I like taking risk but thank goodness for iTunes preview!

With the last bit of energy we checked out the Boardwalk. Talk about busy! There wasn’t an empty space in the park. Gus and I were so worn out, we spent less than an hour here. I’m sure my 14-year-old self would have loved every bit of it. The rides, the crowds of young people, and all the fatty food!

The next day, we headed over to Santa Cruz Breakwater Lighthouse. My friend had told me about this cute little place to have breakfast called Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant that overlooked the dock and lighthouse.

We got in the car and headed to Monterey to check out Cannery Row and the Fisherman Wharf. We first
took a break at Starbucks which I saw this man and his dog relaxing. He chatted with me about how his dog likes to do his own thing and doesn’t listen. I smiled and laugh at his dog’s little tongue hung out. After we checked our email and social media, we headed to grab some famous clam chowder at the Fisherman Wharf.

Time flew by and back to Santa Cruz we drove. Our vacation time was ending with just a few days left. Two more missions to see on our way home. We stopped by Mission San Juan for a few shots.

We drove to our last mission only to do a drive by. We where worn out and now needed a vacation from our vacation.

I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life and never bothered to visit central California. It was a nice road trip to do with the missions as an excuses to drive and take in the location. It was interesting to visit these historic sites and appropriate a school lesson I kinda slept through in 4th grader. I’m sure Mrs. Luper would be proud!

 

California Road Trip – Santa Barbara

The first thing I did when I got settled in to Santa Barbara was Google, “local crime in Santa Barbara.” The place felt peaceful and perfect which left me uneasy. Everyone in town seem to be wealthy and not afraid to walk around late at night. The only thing I read was reports of thief, so I was sure to hide anything expensive. Of course I was being silly, most people who live here are working professionals who have money to buy thing and not steal them. haha.

Since Gus had to work, I walked around downtown and discovered all the action while he was away. The best part of travel is the adventure of discovery. Downtown had a local tram that was super cheap to use. I did notice the architectural of the local buildings was very similar to the Santa Barbara mission which was beautiful.

It was nice walking around alone, I was able to spot some things I would have missed if I was with someone. Although by the end of the night, I was bored and couldn’t wait for Gus to return. So much for being an independent woman!

I’ve always wanted to see the famous missions in California myself. It was a great excuse to take my time to travel up north.

Here is Gus’ cut of Santa Barbara – keep in mind, road trips can make one go crazy. haha

Eye on LA – Disneyland!

When I lived in Australia I use to brag about being from California. The first thing people would ask me was if I lived near Disneyland. When I said yes I would invite them to come visit. To my surprise many have taken me on that offer, even 10 years later!

Peita’s life time dream as a little girl was to visit Disneyland. Because I’ve been a million times, seeing Disneyland through fresh eyes is so much fun. Gus filmed and edited our adventure at Disneyland.

The Buzz of the City

The buzz of the city filled the air with endless possibilities. From the moment we saw the bay bridge we knew we were in for an adventure. I imagined young people working in their studio offices making creative decisions that would influence our culture.

The first stop we made was a hidden coffee shop. When I walked in the doors, I saw tables full of people talking and visiting with one another. I was tempted to ask them what they did for a living so I too could be in a coffee shop on a Tuesday morning at 10am hanging out with friends.  We ordered our lattes and pretend we were one of them.


We later made our way to watch the sun set at the beach. The people of the city seemed to be searching for a connection with nature, the parks were full of runners and the beach with surfers. I saw business people in their cars, looking in to the sunlight and an older couple standing at the edge of the sand taking in the moment. Then there was us, talking about hopes for the future.

The drive down the city streets made me forget about what was happening on-line and enjoy the present moment. We kept telling one another to stop taking photos, to look out the window and see what was all around us. 

Once we got inside a pub for dinner, I was glad to see there were no big TV screens on. We told one another to place our phones in the middle of the table and enjoy hanging out with one another. Conversations about business and dreams of making money seemed to light up the room.

We tried to imagine the lives of those who call San Francisco home. Its here that the city encourages individuality.

My favorite part of the trip was when we visited a fancy coffee shop that sold toast and coffee for $10. I figured I was paying for the experience of living a life style I’ve only dreamt of. I was inspired by the big groups of people exchanging ideas. I imaged staff from twitter, or from a new high tech company meeting at these very tables, planning on the next big thing. It made me want to create an encouraging community like this back where I live.

We gave ourself the afternoon to be tourist and to visit some well known locations.

A friend told us to visit the Golden Gate Bridge from a different location. I enjoyed hanging out by the water, listening to the birds pass by, laughing and making jokes with one another.

On our final night we left the car behind, and took public transport. We wanted to blend in and feel what it was like to live in such a thriving city. One thing is for sure, living in the city there is very little room for personal space.

I thought the city was beautiful at night, but at sunrise, it glows with hope.

I’ve been to San Francisco many times, but this time I finally captured the heart of what San Fran is all about.

Be yourself…no matter how weird you are. 

Doing LA right

Having an authentic LA experience is no easy task. If you ever find yourself in this city, you will see there is too much to do in one day. With bumper to bumper traffic you have to do LA right otherwise it can put you in a bad mood. You must be prepared to have no plan. The trick is letting the city come alive to you.

I usually have an idea of some things I want to do. With my friend in town from Puerto Rico, it was my job to make the city feel like an old friend to him. Over time I have gathered up a few places I like visiting in LA.  I packed my new ipad mini to test out the camera, my gps and we were on our way.

First stop, Griffith Observatory. This is one of the best spots to see the city of Los Angeles. There is lots to do inside but being outside is the most rewarding.

Next we made out way to pick up a friend. She was staying in an area where there was a cool cafe and record store I knew of. We parked by her place and took a walk down the street. This gave us all a break from being in the car and a chance to relax.

For dinner, I recommended pizza. If shared, its cheaper for everyone. I knew of this place in Silverlake that made Chicago deep dish. As we waited to be seated, we placed our order so our food can cook while we wait. We ended up having a good time outside the restaurant, laughing and telling stories.

Later that night we went for a drive downtown to see the old buildings. During the day this would be a mistake, driving across town could take hours, but since it was pass 10pm, it was safe to make the drive. We got there in a few minutes.

After, Joanna mentioned her love for ice cream, lucky there was a place in Silverlake that was open pass midnight. We drove back to where we came from and made out final stop for the day.

As the driver of this trip I wanted everyone to have a good time without worrying about what to do next. It was my opportunity to share some of my favorite spots in LA. Its a city that can stress an outsider out but once you make friends and spend the day with them, the city will no longer feel like a stranger.

Season of Grace

Last night I was thinking about my time living in Australia. I remembered the feeling of missing my family and how far they felt from me. There were a few weeks I was living with a friend on her farm. I remember laying in her room looking at her walls wondering, “How did I get here?”

When I think back on those days, I can’t imagine living far from my life again. How did I do it then? I was younger, had less money, had no job or car.. then I heard, “It was grace.”

That was sure a season of Grace. Now looking back I see what a miracle every moment was. I look at life now, the responsibilities I have at work, the task of managing others, having people refer to me as, “boss”. If I could live in Australia all alone, I can do this task I’ve been given. God will once again give me that grace.

I often like to remember my time in Sydney. It reminds me of what GOD can do and will do! Let me break it down to you, I’m from a culture where everyone is just making their bills, no one really travels. I was just graduating college and had this CRAZY dream! “I want to go to bible college in Australia.” My mom didn’t realize where Australia was until I was already gone. Her co-worker had to show her on the map.

Oh it seemed so impossible but the more I read my bible the MORE possible it was. When I graduated, I was GIVEN $10,000. Can you believe that? Well I bought my ticket, paid for my housing, my tuition paid in full.. and I lived, breathed, and thank God everyday for the blue Sydney sky that was above me. I will never forget it. It was a miracle.

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the battles that we won though God in the past. And remember that we didn’t do it alone. Every season there is grace available, we just have to grab on to it.
Whatever it is, what ever it may be, it will always be possible to those who believe.

The Non-Traveler Travels

In every movie you can find the principle of antagonism. There will always be something in the way of the main characters great desire.

James for many years played the antagonist. When I would talk about future goals he would be the one to ask the questions of, “how…why…but what about-” and so on. I had to come up with answers on the spot often leaving me feel warn out. The fragile thing about dreaming is that you don’t have all the answers at once, you figure it out day by day.  I started to hide my dreams from him and told him as they happened, “By the way, I’m going to London next week.”

I soon realized he didn’t know how to dream. Those questions he was asking me, he was really asking himself. What I came to find out from reading, The Story by Robert McKee, James reached Negation of the Negation – the protagonist is it’s own antagonist. “When we lie to ourselves and believe it, truth vanishes and we’re at the Negation of the Negation.”

The truth is that anything is possible and the lie is dreaming is a waste of time. James sat back and witnessed me not only live my dreams of travel but saw it made me a better person to reach my goals. I knew James needed a friend like me.

Though the years of our friendship he started to ask questions how to travel. My advice, “The hardest part is buying your ticket to go.”

A few months ago he text me about a movie he had seen called, The Way. Its about a father finishing up his sons journey on the Camino de Santiago and goes on a great pilgrimage. James asked if I wanted to go, I told him I couldn’t. He said he was thinking about taking a leave of absence at his full time job as a maintenance worker to travel to Spain.  I didn’t say if he should do it or not, I didn’t want to influence this important decision, but it was too late, he had been watching my life closely for the past five years.

He took the leave of absence, left the part time job at church and is now in Spain doing the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. I don’t know how different he will come back, but I know his life will forever be changed. He discovered the power of dreaming.

Road Trip: Portland

The  moment we drove in to Portland we could tell it was different from any other. The streets were full of bike riders, dog walkers and skateboarders. We got off the highway to find a coffee shop. We picked a small place called The Red Square, which made it easy to find because it was a red square.

As we drove the streets of Portland, we laughed at how accurate the TV show Portlandia is. We parked the car and did some exploring.

When we had to leave after only spending a day in Portland, we couldn’t stop talking about it in Seattle. “Can’t wait until we go back home.” When we returned, we both took a deep breath of relief.

The first thing we did was walk around Old Town. We found a great comic store in China Town. It was a young boys dream.

When we walked around the block we discovered the Portland out door market. The whole city was outside doing something creative.

By the end of the day, we were all tired. It was time to look for a hotel. For some reason every room in the city was booked. We all looked at each other hoping one of us would have a solution. After spending hours calling around we finally found a room open at a fancy hotel, which meant lots of money. Sleep in the car or in a palace? Us California kids chose the palace.

The next morning we all agreed to go to a rose garden. As we walked around and relaxed in one of Portland’s beautiful garden we all felt refreshed.

When Monday finally came along, hotel rooms were open in abundance! Living out of a suit case isn’t easy but it never loses its excitement. (I’m sure it does at some point haha.) But you never know what kinda room you’re going to get. At the Shilo Inn, we got a retro room that we adored!

Our last and final day in Portland, we did a Portlandia tour. I found a site that named all the places the show  filmed at.

Oblique Coffee Roasters – This coffee shop was in the middle of the suburbs. We ordered the house coffee and enjoyed the morning paper.

In Other Words – This store was pretty exciting to visit. I was astonish that this place was real. I figured the show created it for the skit but when I looked in the window everything was exactly the same.  Video Clip

The last Portlandia location we went to is where they filmed the Pilot… which turned out to be a music video. We understood why, when you walk around Portland, you can’t help but sing how special it is.

We were finally understanding the city. Not everything is open during normal business hours, people make old houses in to coffee shops, you can’t buy a book but you can borrow one and weird is normal.

While we were out we came upon our own great Portland discoveries. Record stores!

The first thing we saw driving in to Portland were these space ship looking things going across the city. We spent all afternoon looking for it. Finally we found it at the Portland Hospital.

There was this book we found in the hotel room that explained that Portland is divided unto four parts. North-East, North-West, South-East, South-West. “Ohhh, now we get it!” We were finally understanding the city.

The last thing we did was hanging out at Powell’s Book Store. We must have been there for a few hours, there were floors and floors of books. I of course wanted to see if they had a Christian section, to my surprise they did with a lot of old vintage books.

After we walked around looking for an open coffee shop but no luck. I guess every one went home for the day. We went back to our car, left the city and said good bye to a place that felt like home.

Portland, I love you! 🙂

Road Trip: Seattle

The most rememberable thing about a road trip are moments of insanity. When talking about nothing produces the most random jokes or replaying a George Michael song and making it in to a game. Five hours and a speeding ticket later we decided it was time to stop driving, Portland and Seattle could wait. We came across this beautiful little green town, stayed the night and tried not to think about how much the ticket would cost.

The next morning I tried to snap out of my bad mood, after all money is replenishable. Gus did what he does best, make me laugh. We discovered with his new hipster glasses he looked like Clark Kent.

At one of the rest stops we saw this large American monument in front of a Casino. It was a perfect photo op.

The moment we drove in to Portland we knew this place was different, after all everyone was letting us in their lane during rush hour.  We stayed in Portland for a day and fell in love with the city! (more on Portland later)

We arrived in Seattle in two hours. We met up with Briana and Mario who are also from California. Meeting up felt like we were a few cities away from home.

The cool thing about a city like Seattle, is that you can walk upon a concert at any given moment. As we were walking to dinner there was a show taking place in an All Saints store.

The next morning we woke up to rain. As California kids we all said, “Well there goes the day, shutting down…” But then we saw the city moving forward. I suggested we go see Batman… but then.. we went down stairs to eat breakfast and all over the news.. the horrible tragedy  . The Aurora massacre. I sat there numb. I’ve visited Aurora many years ago, my best friend from high school use to live there. Going to a theater was the last time we all wanted to do.

It soon stopped raining and the sun began to peck out. We made our way to one of Washington’s Parks.

For lunch I took my friends to Capital Hill, a place I discovered last time I was here. As we walked around I began to daydream about last year, walking these very streets, how much life has changed since then. A lot of questions that were running my head then were now answered.

Just before leaving, I met up with a couple who I did a Creativelive workshop with. I remember how easy they were to be around. They shared the story of how they met, about their new dog, having a missionary father in Africa and so many random adventures they had together. It was exciting to see them again, they made Seattle feel like home.

I looked at my watch and knew my time in Seattle was over. Time for Portland.