Friday, December 25, 2009

The Eve of Things New and Old.

What a delicious whirlwind of chaos my life has become lately. Preparing to move out of the country is not a small task and has far outgrown the shiny ideal situation that has long danced in my mind. I have been dreaming for months (years even) that selling off my belongings and jet-setting across the globe to help people in need and live an adventurous and meaningful existence would be all rainbows and butterflies as I skipped along toward my destiny...yet I now find that my ideals are a long way from reality, about as far from truth as this run-on sentence is long. I must admit that as hard as the reality actually is, it's already proved far more rewarding than I thought it would.

Beyond the jumbled mess of logistics that ensue when doing something as monumental as moving halfway across the world, the emotional, spiritual, and mental implications that come with a huge life change are heavy. I have done my best to prepare for the adventure on which I am about to embark, but I believe that almost nothing could prepare me for the things I will soon face, the sights I will see, and the ways in which I will be changed, challenged, and stretched. It is all starting to finally sink in...I am moving to India in roughly 43 hours.

India?!?

Though I have had my bouts of materialistic temptations, I have always considered myself a fairly level-headed person when it comes to owning, hording, and acquiring "stuff." Though I appreciate my comforts as much as the next money-mongering American citizen (ha), I have always felt proud of my hippie roots...so much so that I have boosted my confidence enough to believe I could live off nothing more than the earth itself...if I REALLY wanted to.

FALSE.

Let's face it, I'm a complete baby when it comes to my things and parting with them...and it took me selling off much of what I own to realize this. I spent a large part of my Christmas Eve sorting and packing...and as I looked at the meager amount of belongs I will soon be living off of, I started to panic. No cell phone...no wardrobe of "choices"...no shoe collection....no accessories or purses or...style. Something in me snapped and I felt terrified at losing my things, the things I had always thought I could let go of at any moment. Denial: the first clue that I'm an addict.

And so, as I sheepishly face my stuff-addiction and work to swallow my pride, I realize that I am not above the things of the world that easily trap us and blind us to our own vices. Truly, I am excited to be broken of my consumer-driven ways and to begin to see life as a collection of precious moments, not shoes. I hate to sound so shallow...but I suppose in many ways I am. I think that is much of what drives me to want to get out of my comfort zone and reach out to those in need...because I really have no idea how not to be shallow about certain things. I want to be challenged to face the parts of myself that are insecure without all the fluff to hide behind.

I look forward to sharing more about myself and the things I am learning as I venture out into the great unknown...not to brag or boast, but merely to offer a bit of my reality to hopefully challenge your own.

Seeing as it is already Christmas, I feel the need to share just how thankful I am that God loves us so deeply that He gave us Jesus as the way to gain eternal life. It's funny how elementary it sounds, but sometimes I need to be reminded that it is for that reason alone that I am even moving to India...to share with others what it means to know Jesus personally. The love I know in Christ is so vivid, tangible, and complete and I am called to share that with the ends of the earth...as hard as that will be at times.

I am also so thankful for my family, blood related as well as extended. Without my parents I probably wouldn't be able to even go to India; they have given me so much to support me in every way and I am forever indebted to their incredible love and encouragement. I am also so grateful for my amazing sister who inspires me daily with her insane amounts of creativity and the way in which she sees the world around her. I am deeply grieving having to leave my family...but I know it is only for a time. Beyond my blood relations, I have to acknowledge my lovely friend Tracy who has seen me through the best and worst times of my life. She is truly a sister to me and regardless of time or distance, we always pick up right where we left off. I am thankful for her heart, her passion, her sense of humor, and her unconditional love for me even when I suck at being a friend. And to my friend Sara, a dear and gentle spirit, I am very thankful for the way in which she loves me...with so much warmth and encouragement. She actually just got engaged tonight and as ecstatic as I am for her and her wonderful fiance, I am once again reminded of the things I am leaving behind and am saddened that I will not be here to be apart of her joys and stresses as she plans her big day. Finally, I want to share how thankful I am for my kindred spirit, Cory. I am about to embark on this crazy adventure and I comforted to know that he will be at my side through all of it. He is so special to me and our lives have already been so filled with insane parallels, coincidences, and happenstance that I am excited to see what lies ahead, it's sure to rock my socks off.

Apparently my long-windedness has once again turned my post into a novel. I haven't really blogged in a while...consider it a back-log of cranial goodies.

And with that, I bid you farewell and Merry Christmas...I won't be posting for a while, probably at least until I arrive in Delhi, India on January 9.

In that case, Happy New Year!

2010 is going to be a good one.

Friday, December 18, 2009

An end and a beginning.


For weeks I have wanted to write something to try and capture this intricate and delicate time in my life.

I am leaving for India in 9 days.

And as much as is weighing on my mind and heart at this very moment...I cannot begin to find the words to express how I am feeling.

Stay tuned. I promise I will get better at this.

Monday, November 23, 2009

India Benefit Print Sale

Help me out while supporting a great cause and buying some photography prints!

Read me: http://elanagracephotography.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/india-benefit-print-sale/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Lord in the end now you can’t take it with. Gotta live."


Current Soundtrack: Draw the Line by David Gray

Thought of the day: I am freaking in love with David Gray.

I can't stand that I have gone nearly a month without sharing my many thoughts. I have been overwhelmingly busy and consumed with plans and preparation as I approach a new chapter and journey in my life that I have had little time to even collect myself. I am suppose to be working on editing photos from a wedding I shot but I am distracted and have been thinking about writing for several days now. Sorry photos, writing wins out tonight.

I can't even begin to wrap my mind around the things I will see and experience in the coming months. I feel blessed beyond belief to be so young and to be able to already see so much of the world. I hope I can be a good steward of my time abroad and be able to bear the fruit of my experiences sometime in the future.

My mind and heart are so full that I suddenly feel too overwhelmed to even write...in a good way.

Fin.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere."


I have been meaning to write for a while but have found myself sidetracked into the busyness of life. My mind is completely saturated with thoughts of the coming months but for the first time in a while, I am excited for the complete unknown and the complete release of that unknown into the hands of Someone who is equipped to handle it.

I faced an interesting and intense personal trial this past weekend. Please forgive my non-disclosure but trust me on the statement that it changed me...or at the very least changed my trajectory mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I reached a place I was unfamiliar with and psychologically was challenged to face my true and deep darkness, the harsh and sin-ridden parts of my heart that hide away only to convince me they don't exist.

It's difficult to face reaching the ends of myself and truly being reminded of just how finite I am.

But rather than woe in my humanness and wish for monumental (and fictional) super powers, I have faced up to my serious need for Grace.

And as C.S. Lewis so eloquently stated that everything begins somewhere, I can only admit that I am merely the humble beginning of a work in progress.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ok.

Down on my knees down on my face
You just say it's ok
So many days I've thrown away
You just say it's ok
I don't think I could ever repay
Your perfect grace, but it's ok

It's ok, It's ok
It's ok, It's ok
You've become my embrace
Just tell me it's ok

Your precious words intoxicate
A heart that aches; it's ok
You don't recall my past mistakes
You just say it's ok
The human mind can't calculate
Your perfect grace, but it's ok

Even though you've seen a thousand times
I've let you down
You're always there if I should call your name
You're unashamed, unashamed

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In Love with Tragedy

After 25 months of full time school followed by full time work with no breaks, I was able to finally take a vacation (the last one I took being 25 months ago...backpacking in Europe) and really get away for more than just a quick weekend. I went to Boston and New York City for ten glorious days. Being that it was my first time to both of those places, I was delightfully overwhelmed with new sights and experiences. The East Coast is an extraordinary place that feels immensely different from California. I loved the exposure to the big city, the ease of public transportation, and the way life scurried by in a whir of fast-paced events, where even going to the grocery store was a well-planned feat of time, resources, and well-supported walking shoes. Growing up in a small and relatively sleepy town rendered me ill prepared for the rush of city life...and surprisingly, living the last 6 plus years in Southern California has barely changed me. I'm still unsure if I'm adaptable to the city life, but it's at least enjoyable for short amounts of time.

Getting away from the normal daily grind was inexplicably helpful to my mind and soul. I felt relaxed in ways I haven't in many months (perhaps years, even) and truly carefree and cut loose to walk as slowly as I wanted and avert my eyes to places beyond the never-ending stretch of bland sidewalk beneath my feet. I wasn't constantly on edge or getting pissed at people who cut in front of me in lines, waiting for things didn't bother me and patience was abundant. I had nowhere to be but where I wanted...

and perhaps that spoiled me.

It's an undebatable fact that the worst thing about vacations is returning back to the same life you left behind. Waking up in the morning is a labored task, getting to work is an Olympic sport, and working an 8 hour day might as well be the Iron Man Triathlon. Life drags, feels heavy, and lacks momentum altogether. The hardest part of this for me was waking up this morning and feeling the weight of a life I don't want. Creating a bit of temporary distance from my life as it stands only bred more discontent within me and now serves to point out the many nuances of my current existence that I detest.

Level ten postpartum-vacation depression has set in.

I think the hardest part is that my life is in limbo, transition, everything is a waiting game for the remainder of the year. I don't want to mentally shut down but I am having a hard time keeping my batteries charged and disappearing into the abyss of my mind sounds all too comfortable and safe. All I want is a hearty meal of comfort food, a pair of sweats, and a movie night. I don't want to deal with anything and I especially don't want to face the bleak realities of my mundane life. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer...I am just struggling to overcome re-entering my own atmosphere.

New York, I miss you...what I wouldn't give to spend one more night tucked safely away in your buxom bosom of other-worldly excitement and your colorful kaleidescope-esque tapestry of culture and life.

Get me out of Orange County. Please.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

102.

One hundred two. One hundred two days until my life begins again. One hundred two sunrises, one hundred two sunsets. One hundred two nights in a comfortable bed, sheltered from the insanity of the world, still safe and warm. One hundred two measures of time that bring me closer to a dream realized.



One hundred two days until I move out of the country.



One hundred two seems dwarfed next to my anticipated moments of fear, anxiety, excitement, stress, and passion. I am overwhelmed today at the thought of living another life...another existence in another culture, another set of challenges to face, and another million lessons to learn.

Maybe it's that today my current life isn't settled, isn't happy, isn't restful, or peaceful, or complete. Today I am reminded of my shortcomings...and the shortcomings of others that create the complexities of love and relationships with those we hold close. One of the most frightening things about moving out of the country might be that those relationships will be no longer easily accessible. They will no longer be on the other end of the phone, the other side of the front door, the passenger seat of my car, the other side of my bed. They won't be a short drive away...or even a long one. They will be worlds away.

The ever-present encompassing fear of loneliness presides. It rules this kingdom I live in, dictates in a cruel monarchy every breath and every thought. It's inescapable and overwhelmingly heavy. But I know that without fear, I wouldn't understand how complacent I become in my comfort. Fear is the very boundary of self; it reflects the parts of me that dare to venture outside the life in which I know I am safe. Fear reminds me what it is to live, to feel my pulse inside my chest racing in anticipation of experiencing things yet untouched. If fear can motivate me then here I stand, ready to face and conquer, knowing that I will come out the other side of this journey a more complete human being. If the antithesis of fear is love, then I want to have a better understanding of love itself by dissecting my fear. If I was put into existence merely to love, then I want to be the best at it that I can be...and I know thus far I haven't always been a competent lover...in a romantic sense as well as a platonic one. I am hoping that facing the rawness of the world and human existence will teach me to love completely and live without the fear that now enslaves me to myself like the confines of a straight jacket. Whoever I think I am in this moment will be challenged and redefined, broken and put back together only to be broken again.

Refine me. Rebuild me. Renew me. Reframe my view. Redefine my idea of love. Reclaim my independence in the reminder of my dependence. May I find myself in a sea of faces while realizing my place in the midst of creation. Wearing my fear like a rite of passage, may I break the shackles that bind me to complacency and show the world just what I'm made of...the sum of all my parts, ugly or otherwise.

Monday, September 7, 2009

One hundred years to live.


Over the past few months I have remained extremely tight lipped about some major potential changes in my life. I have a history of playing out the nasty habit of getting excited about something before it's really happening and telling everyone I know of my "plans," only to watch them fail miserably shortly thereafter...it's always humbling and a bit of an ego jab to have people ask me months after the fact, whatever happened to my premature and over-zealous pipe dreams?

This time I wanted to make fairly certain of my direction before I shared it with anyone other than my family and a couple close friends. I wasn't only trying to not look again like the girl who cried insane-over-planning-wolf, but I also didn't want to get ahead of myself, get too excited, or too attached to something that wasn't the right thing for me. I have decided that I am ready to let people know of my general up coming direction in life because I have thought a lot about it, prayed a lot about it, and feel fairly confident (today) that this is where I'm headed. I am also willing to admit the boundaries of my humanness and say that things could definitely change and they will most assuredly at least turn out differently than I anticipate. I am ready for the challenge of being flexible and letting God show me my next move while I am completely blind to anything further ahead of me than my own nose.

I want to preface the announcement by saying that my plans are completely unformed. I am keeping it that way on purpose as I want to go into this adventure as flexible and ready for anything as I possibly can. I will be flying by the seat of my pants until I feel led in one direction or another...and I'm excited to see what happens.

In December I will be embarking on a two week long missions trip to India with my church to partner with an organization called Harvest India. Our main duties will be getting involved with a large orphanage they run there. We will also be getting into the community a bit; we have yet to hear exactly what the trip entails. Since I have to raise support for the trip anyway, which includes a round trip airfare from the States to India, I have decided that I am going to attempt to stay overseas for an indefinite amount of time before utilizing that return flight. I have to be honest, "indefinite" could equal anything from a few weeks, to several months, to a year.

I find myself at an amazing time in life. Yes, I gripe here and there about the woes of being young and recently out of college...but in reality, I may never again have a time in my life where I am so unattached. I am barely 24 and a half years of age, relatively healthy, single, passionate, and ready to be challenged and uncomfortable for a time. God created me a person with an enormous amount of heart for overseas missions. I have felt called to this for much of my life and I finally see it becoming feasible. I am choosing not to partner with a specific program up front (i.e. YWAM) because I won't know where I am supposed to be until I am there. I am literally stepping out in a huge amount of faith and relying on God to be my vision, my guide, and my heart in all of this. I would like to travel around a bit, there is so much of the world I long to see...but I may possibly just settle in India, I won't know until it's happening. I am attempting to get in touch with a few connections overseas to see if I might have some specific opportunities to serve and volunteer, though I most likely won't commit to anything in advance. Anyone who knows me at all may know my deep heartache for women caught in forced prostitution and sex slavery. I have volunteered with a couple of organizations stateside that deal with slavery and I am currently seeking potential opportunities to work in the rehabilitation of women pulled out of slavery in India.

To be up front and transparent, I am terrified of this entire endeavor. I also feel that it is this fear that is driving me to want so badly to overcome and conquer. I know that the Lord will give me everything I need and that this experience will pan out to be life changing, formative, and completely unforgettable.

Should things proceed as stated, I will be breaking all major ties with my life here in Newport Beach come December. I will vacate my house, quit my job, store the belongings I won't be taking with me, and sell my car. Armed with merely a backpack full of some essentials, my passport, and traveler's insurance, I will plan to take on the world in some capacity.

I am SO ready and SO excited.

Should you feel so inclined, I would LOVE if anyone would be willing to partner with me in prayer throughout the next few months until my trip...and beyond.

I would appreciate prayer for these specifics:

-health (I tend to spend a lot of my life sick...I am hoping for a miracle that I will remain healthy for the time I am overseas)
-protection
-a humble attitude that encompasses flexibility, adaptability, and lots and lots of love for those I will meet along the way
-direction and guidance
-finances (this is probably THE single most daunting thing about this whole adventure...I tend to have a lot of anxiety about it)

I apologize that I don't get to talk to each and every one of you individually about my life changes; I know general public sharing of information can feel impersonal but please know that I love and appreciate everyone in my life and I hope to be able to connect with more of you individually in the near future.

To life, love, adventure...and making the most of my one hundred short years on this earth.

Cheers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday Night

Current soundtrack: The Holly and the Ivy by George Winston, from the album December (one of my favorite pieces of music in existence)


up into the silence the green...(41)
by e.e. cummings

up into the silence the green
silence with a white earth in it

you will(kiss me)go

out into the morning the young
morning with a warm world in it

(kiss me)you will go

on into the sunlight the fine
sunlight with a firm day in it

you will go(kiss me

down into your memory and
a memory and memory

i)kiss me,(will go)


Though I won't claim to be any kind of versed poetry buff, I must say that my favorite poet (from my limited exposure) is e.e. cummings. I often read his work and wonder what was churning in that brilliant, most likely misunderstood mind of his. The way he throws structure and functionality to the wind is inspiring. He breaks all the rules and creates nothing more that what is true to himself. Though best known for his poetry, he was also an artist...
What strikes me most about e.e. cummings is how much I resonate with his creative spirit. His poetry seems confused, disjointed...yet I find it speaks so much of what is inside myself. I am often struggling with so much at my core that is confused and disjointed, so much feeling that I fear I might reach a moment in which I will explode.


I can't contain it yet I can't let it out either.


I understand why so many great artists were perceived as insane...if any other human being were to venture inside my mind and heart, they might perceive me no differently...not to coin myself a great artist in any way...but I can't escape my artist's heart, insanity and all. I am so complex that I can't even crack my own code, my own melancholic being, the angst of my existence. I was created an immensely creative and deep individual...and as much as I appreciate that about myself, at times I wish I were simpler and more straight-forward, that things didn't reach me at the depth they do, that I didn't have so much passion that it hurt. Can't I live a content existence as a simple person who sets their mind in the joys of the every day? Can't I stay put, plant roots, grow without always having to run and run and run...?

I can't. I am restless. Full of a thousand tears shed for the lust of wanting more. More for my life. More for me.

To do more.

To see more.
To help more.
To experience more.


To love more.
To touch more.


MORE.

I wish I could share with the abyss of the internet the plans that are stirring inside my heart...the ways in which I am planning to become more. Based solely on principal and stubbornness, I have committed to myself to not talk to very many people about my "plans" until they are happening. I want to become who I am meant to become uninhibited by the perceived opinions of those around me. Don't get me wrong, I love the people who speak into my life...but this stems from a place in me that is deeper than almost anyone could reach. I have to do this one on my own. And I'm terrified to be yanked from my comfort zone and thrust into the uncontainable Unknown. It's big and it's new. And I'm blind to its ways...but I think I'm ready for the challenge of tackling it. I shudder to think...but my very soul tingles with anticipation, passion, and immense determination.

To the great Unknown: may you receive me with open arms and an air of adventure and may I return the favor with grace, poise, and dignity.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Dressing Room Conversion: A Tale of Shopping Gone Awry (Perhaps for the Good of Mankind)

Bear with me here as I am truly already half asleep yet my mind is a blur with many blog-worthy thoughts...at least thoughts I deem as blog-worthy...and since I am the author of this blog, you will have no choice but to agree...or stop reading...but please just agree and continue.

Announcement of the day:

Unless something unforeseen, unexpected, dramatic, and rather ugly takes place, I will be going to India on a missions trip with Rock Harbor Church for 2 weeks at the end of December.

Thank goodness I don't have to come up with the always dreaded plan for New Years...cheers to ringing in 2010 halfway across the globe! Perhaps I will have a pleasant holiday this time...but that (plus the fact that I usually endure rather drab New Years celebrations) is neither here nor there. Really, neither is the fact that I am going on this trip, I just needed the appropriate segue into the real meat and potatoes...

Considering the trip at hand and other life lessons of late, I have really changed the way in which I spend and look at money. I have always been rather self-indulgent when it comes to spending money and to my deep dismay and shame, I have learned the hard way how to control my spending. I am quite happy to report that I have been doing astonishingly well. I have managed to not only stop buying most things I deem as unnecessary, but I have also saved a little money too.

Then today happened.

I caught wind a couple of weeks ago about a mythical Forever 21 that was the size of a department store. I tried to plug my ears and hum a tune of distraction, but something in me needed to see if said oasis of shopping really existed. After waiting patiently for pay day, my roommate and I jutted off to the mecca of "cheap" shopping and found this place to be very real indeed. I set a budget before walking in the door knowing that I was bound to negotiate myself into spending far greater sums of money than was even close to necessary. Needless to say (as any fan of Forever would know) I was immediately overwhelmed upon walking through the doors. I shopped to my little heart's content telling myself that I could take anything and everything into the dressing room as long as I came out only buying what fit into my strict budget. I loaded up on items liberally and finally made my way to the dreaded 3-way-mirror-chamber-of-despair. While trying on my plethora of treasures, something strange happened. I was suddenly reminded of my new (and still settling) monetary mindset and felt that though many items looked and fit cute, it was easy to talk myself out of buying them. Why spend for the sake of spending? It all became meaningless and extremely empty and my school-girl giddiness faded into a practical outlook about my uber-consumerism and how I didn't want to live that way anymore. I couldn't help but think of India and other places in the world where none of this would even matter...and should I end up in any of these places someday, I would be no better off having purchased any of this stuff here and now.

I own a lot of things. A lot of clothing. I like to feel fashionable, accessorized, confident in the way in which I present myself...none of which are bad things, if kept within a reasonable amount of moderation. But I realized, rarely in my life have I lived in serious and disciplined moderation, not because I have to but because I want to be a good steward of the things I have been blessed with and exercise strength of character.

I hope and pray that someday the Lord will use me to reach those in far off places, overseas, and in countries where giant Forever 21s don't matter. I want to change my outlook, I want to live for the things that are important, but mostly I want to find true joy in the things that really matter, things eternal...not fleeting.

And so, to end this epic tale of shopping woe, I did in fact walk out of the store with a couple items that I have since decided to return in the spirit of just not needing them. I guess my dressing room conversion wasn't completely thorough...but it was a definite step in the right direction. The most encouraging thing about my experience is knowing that what happened was an outward showing of an inward transformation, one that I hope continues to grow and affect positively every aspect of my life.

Thus begins a real journey for me, one that I'm confident will stretch me to the limits of my being, to the ends of the earth, and to the greatest potential of myself.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

a finished epic.

Through the fire I have come
Scorched and burned but still I run.
Ash to beauty, strength endure
Blackest souls be now made pure.
Broken bones and shattered dreams
Light aloft through brilliant beams.
Wings abound from haggard frame,
From earth's departure, freedom came.


No life to see, but death resides
Within the realm of finite eyes.
Shackled to the darkest stone
Cold of iron, hollow tone.
Break apart the chains that bind
Release the demons, light to find.
Blood flows out to cancel pain
From earth's departure, freedom came.

Open wide my eyes to see

The lifeline yet in store for me.
Blind me to the flesh's stare
Brave the trial, unaware.
Encompassing the depth of love,
Cast me forth with gentle shove.
Into the World, no qualm or shame
From earth's departure, freedom came.

Longest life but short as breath
Straining ears are now made deaf.
Silence falls upon my soul
Want for ease now takes its toll.
Lay my weary head to rest
Renewing sleep upon thine breast.
Awaken truth, no longer tame
From earth's departure freedom came.

Arise the sun and make me new
Wash away with morning's dew.
Born of this day, alive and well
Delivered from the grip of hell.
Saved from deepest depths of strife
Restored again to perfect life.
Alight my soul, new song it hums
From earth's departure, freedom comes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mun-dae.

Next time I quit a job, this is how I will do it.


Thought of the day:

It's amazing what we see when we decide to pull our heads out of our asses! (Unrelated to above hilarity.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A broken hallelujah.


You say I took the name in vain

I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Is it sufficient to bring nothing more to the world than a broken hallelujah?

I cringe to think of it any other way, considering too often all I have to give is something broken, almost unrecognizable because it is so dilapidated and disfigured. I have to believe that God knew what he was doing when he created humans in his image knowing full well we would fall from his grace, his perfection, his holiness...being imperfect people restored by the spilled blood of Christ still renders us imperfect in the every day. Therein we find our struggle...how do we as broken, hurting, ugly, dark souls, loose the chains that bind and break free to find our purpose, the reason for our humanness? God could have made us holy beings without sin, without darkness in our hearts...but he allows our broken bits to become prevalent so we can recognize our need for a Savior.

If I wasn't lost, I would need no one to lead me.

I find solace in my darkest moments knowing that the Lord can use the imperfections in me to glorify his perfection. Like a shattered mirror refracts unbroken light, may we each find how we cast the light of Jesus into the world around us...a world full of broken people yearning to know they are useful and alive with a purpose.


I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One Red Balloon.

Yesterday I flew back from shooting a wedding up north for the weekend. While preparing to land at John Wayne airport, I was looking out the window watching the ground get closer and closer...when I suddenly spotted a red balloon passing by. I was so caught off guard at the sight of a lone balloon floating by my airplane window that I didn't quite believe what I had just seen.

Just then, I knew that life was fragile and often so much like a lonely balloon floating in a vast atmosphere, jumbo jets zooming by with an air of impending danger.

And if I'm as fragile as a little balloon in a sky full of airplanes, then I don't know how I haven't popped yet...but I'm thankful to at least be airborne.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The hardest fall.

It's getting late and I feel mentally spent but I can't seem to sleep.

I have moments in life in which I feel utterly confident in the woman I am and who I was created to be. I am capable of many things, including taking care of myself. What throws me off my guard is experiencing other moments in which I completely doubt who I am, what I am made of, and where I am headed. I falter. I fret. I fear. I look around me and struggle to contemplate the things I see and those I love. I feel like a small child unsure of herself and unready to deal with life's worst pains. Rejection. Heartache. Loneliness. Aimlessness. It is during these weak and transparent times that my insecurities become so blaringly obvious that I'm sure everyone around me can see them...and I'm unsure whether to run away or stay put and blurt them out in some half-assed attempt to over-compensate.

I fear the way in which I peg myself as fickle, composed of a heart that is easily persuaded, sometimes equally by lies and truth. I look inside myself and see the makings of a solid and confident individual...but then I wonder why I seem to fall short of this obvious potential. What is it I'm looking for, waiting for, needing?

I completed a pretty big art project tonight for a charity event happening this weekend. It looked pretty cool. I took it to my church to drop it off and other members of our participating visual arts team praised my piece highly.

And I found myself incredibly uncomfortable.

This may sound like mere modesty, but to have a heart-on-my-sleeve moment, I am not a modest person. I am used to being good at nearly everything I do and I am used to being praised...and I know I possess above-average artistic skills. Why did I find myself suddenly shrouded in modesty? When I asked myself why this happened I realized that what I was experiencing wasn't modest humility but immense amounts of pride. Not the kind of pride where you can stick your chest out in a gesture of an obvious job-well-done, but the kind of pride that shadows itself in a modest package, leading the owner to believe it's a justifiable action. But what I realized is just how much my insecurities come from a place of pity, a place of self-centeredness, a place of ultimate pride. I could look at my art piece and recognize the beauty and success in it yet something in me felt the need to be approved through it on more than a surface level. I needed to be seen, more than for just my art, I needed to be understood at my core. One of my biggest fears is that no one will truly see me in this life, that I will be misunderstood, taken for granted, written off as less than I am. Therein lies my ugly pride. This isn't translating from my brain to my fingers very well at the moment...I don't think I'm making sense, it's difficult to articulate what I mean...and I'm rarely at a loss for words.

What I am ultimately seeking is definition in life. I am told over and over and in many ways that I should find my definition in the Lord...and I do to an extent but there is so much more to the tangible me that needs to be defined based on things I can see, touch, experience in a day to day setting...more than just in a spiritual sense. Maybe I am wrong for thinking that and I am attempting to be OF the world rather than IN it...but in this moment I can't help but convey my very real struggle. I am often times too transparent...and don't guard my heart well.

I think it's incredibly difficult for me to be working a job that I won't allow to define me because I dislike it so much and find that is goes so sharply against the grain of my being. I once read a very insightful book geared towards women that pointed out just how much we were created to be defined by the things and people we surround ourselves with. I guess this is to say we do this much more than men (to make a vast generalization). I know there is a relevant point somewhere in there but it's lost on me tonight. I guess I just mean to justify that it's ok to want to define myself in these ways...if it's written in a book it must be legitimate...right? Hint of sarcasm..?

I have reached the end of my ability to process for the time being...and as is probably obvious, I don't come to that point easily.


Forgive this random aside...
but thanks to an amazing Google program I am able to see the rough location of the visitors who hit my blog...and I received 8 hits from the same city in Brazil yesterday...and that's not to downplay the hits I got from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Taiwan, and Serbia! How are these people finding my blog? It's kind of amazing...if you found me in some random way, comment on a post, I would love to know who you are.

It's a really strange feeling knowing that my personal musings are circling the globe...I wonder if there is something bigger to be had from this little old blog of mine.

Perhaps someday I will have an amazing story to tell becuase of it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)"

Thank you, ee cummings.

I have felt especially nostalgic this past weekend. Nostalgic for friends that have come and gone, friends that are still in my heart though not in my presence. While searching through old pictures on an external hard drive a couple days ago, I came across this gem of a video that I made a long time ago, watched it, and found myself tearing up as my heart welled with so much love for the pictured individuals. Friends truly are an extension of your family and I, for one, am thrilled that my family keeps growing...though nothing will ever replace these lovlies in my heart. Cheers to some of the best days of my life thus far...albeit intermingled with some of the hardest...thanks for being my extended family. Wherever you are in this moment (Africa, Colorado, California, Arizona, Oregon) I want you to know what you mean to me. Infinite x's and o's!

And for my dear friend who is currently deeply hurting (you know who you are), I offer a special dedication to you. You are loved. You are valuable. And I am so glad I know you.

I'm awfully cheesey when I want to be, but in some cases it's worth it.

Appr├ęcier...



Friday, July 10, 2009

Life in Technicolor

How is it that this week has felt more like a month yet I already find myself happily perched on the edge of my weekend? Strange. I guess each day this week has held a different challenge of sorts, but I can look back and see just how blessed I have been through each one. I suppose it's safe to say I have covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

I also started a diet this week...and now all I think about is freaking food. Food. All the time. FOOD. Every waking moment I am thinking about what I am going to eat next, what I WISH I could be eating, how badly I want results. I am a girl obsessed...and I'm not sure I like it. Is there truth in being fat and happy? I guess until you die of a heart attack...

Not that I'm fat. I could hear your thoughts..."she is so NOT fat!" I personally get extremely annoyed when non-fat people call themselves fat in that woe-is-me tone of voice that makes you want to hit them. My motivation for watching what I eat is a healthy one, I am looking to lose some fat and gain some muscle, not lose a bunch of weight because I'm overweight. Kapeesh?

Anyway, coupled with my dieting, I have (potentially regretfully) embarked on a really gnarly workout program...the always-dreaded P90x. I am still sore from my workout 3 days ago. I am looking forward to doing the yoga workout tonight, something I know I can at least get through (I hope).

In other news, I am FINALLY embarking on a longtime coming adventure to New York City in September. Somehow, by the grace of God, I managed to get 6 days off of work to spend an amazing ten days in a place I have wanted to visit forever. To make matters so much better, I am getting to spend time in Boston with some friends of mine that I love. Oh, I nearly forgot the cherry on top of this hugely fattening, scrumptious, and delectable sundae...I'm seeing U2 and Snow Patrol in concert while I'm in Boston!!! Jealous yet?! That makes for 2 things I get to check off the list of things to do before I die...

I think I'm hungry...or is it that I am just thinking obscene thoughts about food...mmmm cake.

Monday, July 6, 2009

God bless the daylight, the sugary smell of springtime...

What a weekend. I quite enjoyed celebrating our country's independence. With my visiting big sister in tow, we romped all over Newport Beach enjoying the sunshine, the crowds, and the timeless nostalgia of our 70's inspired red, white, and blue outfits, complete with tube socks, Chucks, and body glitter. It was good to bask in the carefree summer-ness of the long weekend before embarking back to real life and the mundane humdrum of the day to day. Last night I was privileged enough to skip all the way to Hollywood to see Death Cab at the Hollywood Bowl with my lovely and dear friend. It was truly an epic show complete with special guests...let's just say backing an already amazing band with the LA Philharmonic was a brilliant choice. Throw in some synchronized fireworks with the blazing glory of the Hollywood sign in the background, and you have the makings for one memorable performance. Thanks, DCFC. I'm now an even bigger fan...if that's possible.

Today holds a bit of a waiting game for me as I nervously anticipate news that could be potentially life-changing, troubling, and terrifying. It's in this moment that I am reminded how deeply freeing it is to be surrendered to a God who is bigger than my biggest fears...and trust me, my fears can be HUGE. I look ahead and I see a lot of hope, a lot of life, and a lot of joy being prepared for me and I thank God in advance for His strength to find all these things in the midst of trials. I'm prepared to walk into the storm armed and ready to face whatever comes my way knowing that I live an intentional existence backed by the ultimate source of love and guidance.

3:30pm, hurry up and get here.

I think I'm ready.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thinking of what Sarah said.

Current soundtrack: Death Cab for Cutie - Marching Bands of Manhattan

Things on my mind today:


Vintage buttons, general craftiness and creativity.



India.


Photographing India.



I suppose I always have tons on my mind, too much, probably. However, I seem to have even more on my mind after emerging from an intense week that gave way to a somewhat less, albeit still intense, weekend.

Things feel so raw.

So real.

SO good.

I can't wait for what's coming...I have already begun to see hints of telling rays on the horizon...

now I await one of the most brilliant sunrises of my life.


In the meantime, I am reminded to embrace the current moment and all it has to offer. I love that waiting on the Lord is never boring, never short of magnificent moments to ponder, to feel, to experience. What a full life we live in Christ.

I even feel happier to be at work today...perhaps it's due to the fact we just got some new lamps for behind my desk...it feels warmer, homier; it brings a new understanding to the term "mood lighting."

I guess I have nothing profound or insightful to say, no witty story or clever anecdote, just a small expression of myself and why I am thankful for the things I have...and those I don't.


"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." -Job 1:21

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sing without refrain

Current soundtrack: Elbow - Newborn

It is an absolutely beautiful day outside. A day on which I am thankful to be alive.

I have had a pretty horrendous week but it is approaching its end and I feel my body letting off a deep and physical sigh of relief.

Strangely enough, the day I posted my last entry, I got about 3 times more hits on my blog than I normally receive in a given day. I honestly have no idea why but when I saw that I felt somewhat ashamed that I had spewed so much bitterness and more people than normal saw it. I'm not embarrassed that I have moments of weakness or feel that way at times, I just saw a missed opportunity to spread light, love, and encouragement in a moment of personal darkness.

I don't claim to be even close to perfect and I also don't apologize for being honest, raw, and open about the things in my mind and heart. I do, however, want to strive to always affect others with life rather than death...light rather than darkness.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When the world doesn't make sense.

When the world doesn't make sense,

I want to scream.

Cry.

Raise my hands in desperation.

Throw a fit worthy of a 2 year old and call it quits.

Question why.

Blame others.

Hurl anger at a God I don't always understand.



Why is our response to losing control...to lose control? Isn't that what we are reacting to in the first place? Yet it feels good to give in to a sense of impulsive, reckless emotion. There are moments in which I want nothing more than to reach a complete and utter disconnect of mind, body, and heart. Let me writhe in the pain of the suffering, let me burn to my depths with self-pity, anger, angst...the pleasure in the darkest places. I know I can't stay there. I know I should be frightened of giving in...but my sin takes hold and at times shackles me to the very pursuits that cause me the greatest anguish.

Sometimes it gets tiring to live above reproach, to do the right things, to listen well, and obey completely. Sometimes I hate it. On a cognitive level I can verbalize a comprehension of why I don't just do whatever the hell I want...but on a heart level, I often grasp at the thin atmosphere of understanding.

I look around me and see people I love dearly suffering through hardships and losing things that truly matter to them. Friends losing best friends, family members losing jobs, young people losing health, mothers losing sons, people in need getting everything taken from them when they seem to need it most...

And I wonder. When does it all begin to make sense? Why does God operate so much beyond the realm of the world he created us to reside in? Why does he always wish to keep us suffering in the dark? I hate to sound...cynical, typical, small-minded, weak-spirited...but I can't escape the questions that I have always allowed to fade under the all-encompassing blanket of "faith."

If I sound bitter, perhaps I am today. Perhaps for once I am sick of trying to maintain what's "right" while feeling so limited, small, weak. I want the power of God in my life, I want to be used for his purposes...but I am here, waiting, in a season of fog and trials.

Haven't I always been here?

Is my skewed perspective to blame? Are the dark and sinful places of my heart overshadowing the seeds of hope desperately reaching for the sun-filled promises of life?

Why am I wilting when I am trying desperately to grow?

Why am I destroying when I am trying desperately to create?

Why am I dying when I am trying desperately to live?


No life to see, but death resides

Within the realm of finite eyes.
Shackled to the darkest stone
Cold of iron, hollow tone.
Break apart the chains that bind
Release the demons, light to find.
Blood flows out to cancel pain
From earth's departure, freedom came.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Swing Wide the Door.

Current soundtrack: Rilo Kiley - Portions for Foxes

I had a good weekend.

Which makes it that much more lame that it's Monday and I'm back at work again.

I should be preparing invoices rather than blogging...but, hey, why not blog a little...or a lot?

I heard a really good sermon yesterday morning. It was about drawing really interesting comparisons of stories from the Old Testament with the New Testament account of Jesus. It was a fairly simple concept but it was a powerful reminder of how intentional God's story is. I liked it. The guy speaking opened with a story of how he was about to embark on a missions trip with a whole slew of high schoolers to South Africa. He gave a few examples of the suffering of the people there and one in particular struck me. He mentioned a 6 month old baby girl that had already been raped 6 times in her short and innocent life.

Besides the sheer horror I felt at the thought of that, hearing it was like a ton of bricks being dropped on my head.

I so easily get caught up in my life and ask myself nearly every day, "who am I and what is my purpose?" I have spent much of the past month or more trying to plan my life and the silly logistics of it, placing a ton of emphasis, thought, heart, and emotion into things that ultimately are not my purpose.

That tiny, helpless, and completely abused 6 month old...she is my purpose.

Now maybe I'm not meant to make a b-line for South Africa and seek out that specific child, but I suddenly felt the light bulb of realization illuminate the darkest corners of my life. I am a servant of God, a servant of love, and without question my purpose is to serve those who are in need. The fact that I get so stuck on myself really bums me out...where am I going to live, who am I going to date, how can I make more money, how can I be happier? Why spend a second more focusing on the things that I was not created to fulfill or be fulfilled by? Sure, I am full of questions, a need for direction, overwhelming loneliness at times, but what is more important than living out my purpose for being alive? Why do I breathe, why do I have my health, why do I have a heart so full of love it might explode out of my chest?!

Because I was created with a purpose. And I have figured out what that purpose is.

In the meantime, I have decided not to move to Colorado (sorry to those of you only finding out about this via my blog...I wish I had time to call you all and tell you every detail), I feel I am supposed to be here right now. Colorado would have been an escape for me...at a time when I need to face the storm of my life head on.

I am thrilled (and seriously blessed) to report that since I have decided to "bloom" where I'm planted, so to speak, that I have made an amazing connection with a church here and have met more people in the past 2 weekends than I have in the past 2 years! It's amazing how the blessings start to flow when we seek God's best for our lives and quit sheepishly shying away from being obedient.

I am also about to embark on another journey in life that will be incredibly difficult and full of trials, but I feel blessed in my decision to do so. I would like to remain discreet about this situation for the time being...it is sensitive and brings up a whole lot of raw emotion in me. I hope to get to a place in which I can share it with you in hopes of encouraging someone out there who may be in the same boat, but, until then, know that I am feeling the Lord's presence in my life, despite my many mistakes and failures.

Sometimes we expend so much energy, emotion, and time searching intensely for the right thing, when in reality it was right in front of us the entire time.

Open wide my eyes to see
The beauty that's in store for me.
Blind me to the flesh's stare
Endure the trial, unaware.
Encompassing the depth of love,
Cast me forth with gentle shove.
Into the World, no qualm or shame,
From earth's departure, freedom came.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Truth.

Some days turn out to be unimaginably hard.

Today is one of those days.

"On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand..."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The death of intimacy.

I am at a time in my life in which I am soaking up information like a sponge. Since graduating college I have refined so much about who I am and the things I value and care about, which has led me to be more observant and aware of my surroundings in a different way than I used to be. Sometimes it is beyond exhausting to be so interested in figuring everything out...sometimes I wish my brain didn't work so hard, that I wasn't so analytical, that I didn't care so much. It really takes a lot out of me.

I read something today that I found deeply disheartening. But it also made a lot of sense.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105008712

This story from NPR talks about the cultural shift that's taken place within our generation over the last couple of decades regarding casual hook-ups and sex. Besides the fact that I feel casual hook-ups are destructive, what saddens me greatly about the idea of casual sex without relationship, has everything to do with a growing lack of intimacy among young people. I realize I value closeness and intimacy a whole lot, perhaps more than the average mid-twenty-something woman. I truly feel that intimacy on varying levels is the lifeblood of relationships, the lifeblood of so much of my well-being. When it comes to romantic intimacy, it's no big secret that I am a hopeless romantic, often leading me to become impassioned about someone too quickly. I am vocal about and aware of my weaknesses because I know myself well and desire to strengthen the parts of me that don't come out naturally well-adjusted and smoothly functioning. I feel strongly about this issue because I see it getting abused all the time...and I don't believe people are as ok with it as they pretend to be. I am going to make some statements about women that may sound blanket-like but I mean them in the best way possible while still considering there are women who will not fit into what I am saying. Please don't berate me for sounding stereotypical, sexist, or narrow; in reality I am a woman and only know the position in which I come from and therefore from where I see the rest of the world around me.

Women often define themselves by the quality of their relationships. Though men may sometimes do the same, it is vastly different for a woman. Women often recognize relationships as the most important factor in their lives and will feel great when their relationships are going great and crappy when they perceive their relationships as lacking or failing. This is the point at which I feel that casual sex and hook-ups are really damaging for women. Once a woman embarks on several casual encounters with men, I believe it truly begins to affect the way in which she feels about herself and the world around her. We already are bombarded into believing our worth comes from our sexual output, our looks, our ability to get men to desire us...when in reality our self-esteem is shrinking exponentially to dangerously low levels. What can be done about this spreading disease? I realize that my opinion differs being that I am a Christian woman who attempts to live my life with different values than the world...though I often struggle with that and subsequently fail...all the time. What I know is that women are using the vehicle of casual sexual encounters to find the most fleeting moments of satisfaction in that they feel desired, if only for a short time. Naturally, as we all know well, that satisfaction doesn't stick and yet another fix will be soon to follow. Why we as women start to count on men for approval and worth is mind blowing to me yet I also understand the draw. That is nothing new and nothing profound. We know ourselves to be beings of discontent, constantly looking for the next finite experience to give us false hopes of a solid self-worth.

Today probably isn't the best day for me to be writing about these things...or, come to think of it, maybe it IS the best day. I am working hard to overcome a bit of a bleak outlook on life in this moment...we are born, we grow up, we get into debt, we work jobs we don't like, we struggle with our self-worth, our relationships, we try and maintain hope in whatever we can get our hands on, we suffer, we have moments of joy...and we die. I know that is the pessimist's worst perception...but sometimes maybe it's good to be reminded just how hard we have to work for the goodness in life...and that it's worth it to work that hard.

I can't seem to shake this whole Air France plane crash that's all over the news. I read another article about it this morning explaining about the different pieces of the plane they have found and what might have caused things to go awry. 228 people dead. Just like that. They have only recovered 28 bodies. I know it's grim and morbid but it makes me want to scream and cry and ask, WHY?! Innocent people. They had no idea their lives were about to end. I can't stand the fragility of life yet I know within that fragility is the only place we can come to understand God and why we need him.

And I need him. A lot.

Days like today, in which I feel myself unraveling at the seams, remind me just how wonderfully out of control of my life I am. And how I need to let go of things even more than I already have. I feel infantile in my grasping for understanding; I am feeble, weak, and small when I think of my Lord and all the power he holds in just one finger. Ugh. It's overwhelming. Yet so often we live the most underwhelming of existences.

I want more. I need more. Yet part of me feels glued to the floor.

I'm sorry I'm a little bit crazy, a little bit all over the place, a little bit emotional. I just desperately want to live my life, live it well, love the Lord, and share that love with others. Yet I am merely human, merely imperfect, merely trying to find my way just like everyone else.

And I realize out of the ashes of the death of earthly intimacy must rise divine intimacy...or we will never make it.

More of You and less of me.

Ok, God. I'm ready. Here I am. Take me.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"And in the end, we'll lie awake and we'll dream of making our escape..."

I can't seem to think straight today. Blame it on the lack of sleep. 3 hours and counting. Sometimes I wonder how my little head contains so much information without exploding. Today has been busy which merely means I am even more tired than I would otherwise be. Before I squeeze in all my daily invoicing, I need to take a mental break from work for a bit.

There has been some planning going on inside my head for quite a while now. I have spoken several times about potentially moving to Colorado only to have it be postponed every time, so this time I have been attempting to make plans without telling many people...I was tired of being the girl who always said she would do something but never did it. I have been considering this move for the better part of 18 months. Having just returned from a trip out there a little over a week ago, everything is completely fresh in my mind and I came back to California with a renewed passion to try and make Colorado become a reality. However, as life loves to remind us, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry..."

I have decided to be public with my decision making because I feel like maybe I need an outside perspective. I am having a difficult time making an unemotional decision and feel more stuck than ever.

While I was in Colorado I felt so much potential for a happy life there...even though most of what I experienced was someone else's happy life as I tagged along on a mini vacation. What I do know about CO is that it's beautiful, cheaper to live, and filled with really awesome people...but the job opportunities out there pay significantly less than they do here. Things sort of seem to strike a balance considering the cost of living...so perhaps that is a moot point. I guess the bleak reality (for lack of a better descriptor) is that I don't have much to hold onto in either place right now, I'm just getting eager for a change, period. One thing that I do know is that I need to leave my current job as soon as is humanly possible. I have started to job search in Colorado...AND locally. Maybe sometimes the best thing to do is energize something in every direction and see what pans out.

Truthfully, though, there are things here I would really miss...and I go back and forth on whether or not I would be able to give them up.

Maybe I am just waiting for that one deciding factor.

But what is it?

Grr.

I have definitely been learning that places you live are truly defined by your immediate community rather than the immediate amenities of the location itself...so what I am really craving is solid community...of which I have none in either place, here or CO...though I have more here. The last couple of years have proved to offer a difficult transition for me as I watched my solid community up in LA dissipate as people graduated college and moved one by one. Before I knew it I was left with only a couple of friends around me...and a gaping hole on the inside. Moving to Newport has been great for the immediate amenities of the location...but has been a bit slow on the growing of the community side of things...though I can't discount recently making a few new friends who are really great. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough? Maybe I am sabotaging my own satisfaction and contentment by not putting myself out there enough.

Maybe the truth is that I could really be happy anywhere I am if only I work at it and quit focusing on the things I don't have.

I am fearful. I hate to admit it...though most people experience fear a lot of the time. I refuse to live in bondage to it but I am also trying to figure out the best way to step forward. I feel like I want a change of scenery but what's crazy is that I have only been here for 4 months and I already am mentally moving on! That scares me into realizing that maybe if I moved to Colorado the old familiar discontent would creep in and I would find myself just as unsettled as I feel here. It's not the place...it's me.

As I hammer all this out I wonder if maybe I truly need to stay put and let God really change my heart to find the joy and blessings in my current situation. Ack! What do I do? I don't want to spend my life constantly roaming around looking for the perfect situation because I'm pretty sure I will never find it.

And what I want more than anything is to travel the world...so maybe it doesn't so much matter where I live for the time being. I need to focus on paying off debt and saving money if I ever want to see that dream realized.

Colorado is wonderful, beautiful, and seems fresh and new...but I'm seeing that it will still be the same me who moves there.

What's most frustrating is that I have spent a lot of time praying and trying to seek guidance in the best way I know how...and I'm still coming up with a giant question mark.

Or did I just literally answer my own question while writing this...

Ugh.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kaboom.

It is currently 2:05am.

I have insane insomnia.

But thank the Lord....

because there is a HUGE freak thunder storm right now.

I just saw not one, but TWO transformers explode in a fury of blue light. And now it is pouring rain.

Amazing.

I am so sorry you are all asleep...and subsequently missing out on something so rare around here.

Forget about trying to sleep now...I am extremely wide awake.


Yay!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

From earth's departure, freedom came.

Current soundtrack: Death Cab - Narrow Stairs

I woke up this morning already running late. I got to work on time (barely) and decided that I didn't have the brain power to start working immediately, so, per my usual morning ritual, I read the news online. There was an article about how they found some of the debris from the plane that disappeared en route from Brazil to France yesterday. Reading about it gave me the weirdest feeling...and once again I was reminded just how feeble life is. I don't like thinking about death but at the same time I think it's a good way to get myself motivated. Is that weird to let death motivate me? Maybe, but I'm not sure how else to understand life in the sense of the bigger picture, how else to appreciate the value of a single moment. And I find myself unhappily sitting here at work wanting to cry because I'm HERE and not somewhere else being more productive or making more of an impact. I feel like I need to refocus and remember that God calls us to be diligent in every situation, especially the crappy ones.

Sorry for the morbid undertones, I think I am just a little left of center this morning and grasping extra hard for the answers to my life's question marks.

In this moment I am loathing the fact that all I blog about is my horrible job. Maybe I need a serious attitude adjustment...I know that I can't just blame external sources for my internal turmoil; I may be a very strong-willed and stubborn woman but I have definitely learned to at least accept responsibility for my own actions and responses.

I think I just need a change of perspective. A long bike ride in the sunshine. A chocolate and rainbow sprinkle-covered frozen banana. A good laugh. A really really good hug. A day to pray and meditate on how glorious it is to actually be alive. An extended vacation abroad with me, myself, and I.

Feel free to embark on this spectacular photographic journey to all the places I want to visit, in roughly the order I want to visit them in. And please, bear with me, I desperately need an escape today.


Machu Picchu, Peru


Rio de Janero, Brazil


Somewhere Wonderful, Chile


Mt. Fuji, Japan


New Zealand. I want to romp in these hills. And pet some sheep.


Ireland


The Swiss Alps. I would like to don some laderhozen and yodel in these mountains.


Iceland (didn't know it was so awesome, did ya?!)


Halong Bay, Vietnam...some of the world's best climbing is found here.


Thailand. Not the most scenic picture but one that I really like for some reason.


For Cory. Paris...via the lens of my own camera.


There are so many other places I would like to go, it would take me hours to wrangle up all those images. It seems like a terrible tease that the world was created to be so wonderful, beautiful, expansive, and fascinating yet very few people have the means to enjoy it. The irony of all ironies. I guess I should try and work now. I actually do feel a bit better...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

On the weekends...

I added a playlist to my blog...I hope it's not too annoying...

considering life is always better with a soundtrack.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I hate my Jay-Oh-Bee.

Current soundtrack: Counting Crows - August and Everything After

Random thought of the day: How freaking good are the Counting Crows?

"But we're never gonna survive, unless we get a little crazy...
In a world full of people, only some want to fly, isn't that crazy?"

Thank you, Seal, for your words of inspiration. Sarcasm aside, I believe Mr. Seal makes a poignant remark in his song Crazy. I have always been a bit on the reckless side myself, at least in my head and heart. What's a life if it's not to be lived and lived to the full? Do people really find themselves content just monotonously going through the motions day in and day out? Perhaps. I am not one to judge the hearts and happiness of others, however, I am a strong believer that many people would probably feel an immense amount of freedom if only they stopped living as a slave to their fears and instead worked hard to conquer them and live a little bit on the edge. What really gets me is that I feel not only that I tend toward living a little crazy but I also feel I was created to live that way. Such a deep part of me feels wild and unbridled passion to get out of my comfort zone and be touched by the world that I can't deny it is at the very core of my existence, a place I feel only myself and God can reach.

I should clarify what I mean when I talk about getting a little crazy...considering I wouldn't want people to think that I am encouraging hooligan acts of vandalism or general lawlessness...what I am referring to is more a matter of the heart and truly living out what's on the inside without fear or insecurity. Sure it's difficult to overcome such obstacles of the self, but it is not impossible...and deciding to try is half the battle.

I suppose this is more of a pep talk for myself...seeing as I am currently stuck in a job that is sucking the soul out of my body through every orifice at once...to put it mildly. Have you ever worked in a soul-murdering job? You know, the kind of job that doesn't appreciate any part of who you are beyond your ability to breathe or show average dexterous ability in all ten digits? The kind of job that goes against your very moral compass, the fiber of your being, your literal gut instincts? Sigh.

I am resolved to make my life better, not sit around and bitch about it all day. So, I will show up to work with a genuine smile on my face, do my job well and with a good attitude, then go home every night and job search for a position that will offer me life rather than imminent death!

Here is one good thing to remember when feeling really crappy about said death-job...the grass is always greener...and there is always someone else who's job sucks more than yours.

Case in point...


Never underestimate the power of a good laughing attack...it can do wonders for the down trodden soul. In the meantime, I need a nap.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Septacycle. Say WHAT?!

Quite possibly THE coolest invention on the planet.

Seriously.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I dare you to move.

I'm so pumped.

I met a really cool girl last night that was part of the Invisible Children Rescue event that happened a couple weeks ago and we ended up talking at length about her adventures. I was completely sucked in and immediately wanted to find out how I could get more involved. Since my heart's desire is to work in a human traffiking non-profit, I am eager to eat up as much experience as possible within that realm.

I have decided that sometimes in life it's ok to live a bit recklessly. I generally play it safe even when my heart is screaming to live with tons of passion-driven zeal for the things I believe in. I knew I would unleash myself at some point, I just didn't know how it would manifest itself. I think I have found the perfect outlet.

Towards the end of June there is a political rally in Washington DC with Invisible Children. They are taking their cause to Capitol Hill in order to make their voices heard by the very people who can do things to solve the problem of this ugly and despicable war happening in Uganda as we speak. I want to be an active part of history, a player in the intense battle for freedom around the world. I have decided to embark on an adventure to Washington DC...alone. It doesn't matter whether or not I know anyone going, the point will be to unite with a group of like-minded individuals fighting side by side for the same cause. I'm sure I will meet some amazing people along the way...but until then I am planning on hopping a plane with merely a backpack and sleeping bag in tow and getting lost in the hustle and bustle of our nation's capitol...just me, a camera, and a loose game plan. I am beyond excited.

It's time I take responsibility for the passion I have in my heart and stop making excuses by letting life get in the way. There will always be other obligations, jobs, money issues, blah blah blah...it's never ending...so what am I waiting for? Now is the time in my life when I am most mobile; I am single, young, healthy, and ready for some adventure in my conquest to make my mark on our incredible planet within the span of my short life. So, here it goes.

Find out more about the Invisible Children event: How It Ends.

Feel inclined to join in the fight? Talk to me. Talk to someone. Visit the Invisible Children website. On Facebook? Find out more here.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Broken Zipper Blues

Current soundtrack: Bloc Party - Blue Light, via Pandora Radio

As much as I might like to pretend that I am above trendy and faddish movements within the social world, I am quite the opposite; I eat that stuff up...well, kind of. Being that I am artistic and love self expression as much as the next Andy Warhol-tote carrying hipster (joke), I find myself getting really caught up in social networking sites. I was a huge MySpace buff back in the hay day of the early 21st century and now find myself a frequent user of the all-hailed Facebook. I do love it and I do see the fun/function in it as well. However, I must say that this new movement of Twittering-status-updating madness is simply just not my style. Should I care that you are about to change your pants, butter your toast, or sew a button back on your favorite coat? Nay. And I don't.

Please, can someone explain the Twitter phenomenon to me? I have never used it, don't understand it, and don't care to. Now, as much as I love self disclosure to a certain depth between intimate friends, this is just far too much information. TMI, people, TMI. See, I'm hip to the three letter phrases that seem to offer a truncation for EVERYTHING. LOL, OMG, NVM, LMAO (oops how did that 4th letter sneak in there?)...this is something else I just cannot get behind. We sure have become lazy.

What exactly does "Twitter" come from anyway? Is it supposed to conjure up visions of a bevy of obnoxiously loud squawking birds? I suppose that is very fitting in a way. Really...?



OMG, you have to read this article, I'm so glad someone else shares my sentiments on the matter...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104033836&ps=cprs

Ok, moving on.

This morning at work my zipper broke. Yes, the zipper on my nice Express dress slacks that I have only owned for a couple of months. Let's just say it's a good thing I sit most of the day. I called Express straight away and got verbal confirmation that I can exchange them without a receipt. The girl on the other end didn't sound the least bit surprised that the zipper busted so soon into owning a pair of pants that I take impeccable care of...they have never even seen the inside of a dryer. Since when did $75 start buying cheaply made crap? Yeah, I guess I should have just gone to Target from the start...

The word of the day (thanks to Stephanie and Dane Cook): Snarky.
Use it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Her Morning Elegance.

I cannot get enough of this video...it's wonderful, genius, innovative, and insanely executed.

I wish I were this creative.

Great song too...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_HXUhShhmY

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I will follow you into the dark.

I have approached my blog several times in the past couple of weeks fully intending to post something, yet I haven't been able to accomplish that...and the reason why is not simple. I am in a constant state of flux in my life, things are relentlessly changing, growing, and reshaping themselves and I have yet to be able to find any semblance of how they might turn out. It is exciting while equally terrifying, a paradox that often lends itself to confusion and conflicting emotions. It's hard to be in a place where the unknown wakes me up every morning and tucks me in every night. I would be lying if I said it wasn't nearly impossible at least several moments of each day...at least of late. It's hard to put into words everything that is swimming around in my head.

One thing that has formed and is beginning to show me a way to run (at least for the very near future) is my passion for photography. Yes, I have been a "photographer" for a while, yes, I have a degree in photography...but after I finished school at the end of last year, I felt myself reach a level of burn out I had never before experienced. Graduating was one of the most anti-climactic events of my life thus far and, conversely, one of the biggest emotional releases I have ever felt...though it was gradual and I didn't realize I had experienced it until 3 months later. Before 6 days ago, I hadn't looked at, touched, used, or even SEEN my camera equipment since school. I put everything in the back of my closet, I needed it out of my life, if only for a time. I needed to know that photography was still my passion, my lifeblood, and the only way I would find that out is if I let myself get away mentally and emotionally from the trials of college and re-find myself as a young, budding, vibrant photographer. I was sure all hope was lost and that perhaps I would never pursue what I spent countless hours perfecting in college ( I even encountered thoughts of wanting to sell my camera)...then, last weekend, I was called on to shoot an incredibly simple and low-key event...and suddenly there I was, feeling like I had regained a lost appendage. Camera in hand, I felt confident, I felt myself. And thus begins my true journey of passion into photography, one that doesn't have my education as the driving force behind it. I am shooting another event tonight...and I'm hoping to book another couple events this summer that are in the works. After rotting away for a couple of months in a corporate job, I am ready to be who I was created to be. Living out passions and dreams is a difficult undertaking and often takes a lot of courage...and leaves behind a lot of carnage. But here I am, ready and finally moving forward in some way...even if it is into the dark.

And now, for the real task at hand: waiting for what's next.

In the meantime, I am going to relax poolside for a while, shed the residual of last night's events (happy 21st birthday, Auds), and let myself bask in the beauty found in living within the great unknown...at least until the next impossible moments remind that life is hard.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Requiem.

What a strange and beautiful life I lead.

It is amazing and wonderful the way that life becomes a series of varied relational connections, all strung together as fragile yet as bright as a string of Chinese lanterns. Thank you to those "lanterns" in my life. Today alone I was reminded through several important people, whom I love dearly, that I am valuable, worthwhile, beautiful, complex, and grounded. Love from others truly does give you wings when you most need them.



I am chomping at the bit to see what will happen for me this year...several doors seem to be opening in the way of making some big plans, but I don't want to jump the gun on anything either. I am planning to stay alert yet intentional in the way I move forward.

But I also feel on the verge of embarking upon a great adventure...stay tuned, the story is just beginning.

And Happy Easter.

He is risen. He is risen, indeed.

Friday, April 3, 2009

'nough said.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

1 Corinthians 1:25