Tag Archives: Christianity

Suiting up

When I first started this blog two years ago I was riding the high of an inspiring photography walking tour in Seattle and I was fueled by mounting adrenaline as I quickly approached college graduation. Photography was an escape and a destination; a means of turning my back on the traditional career route in favor of the exciting prospect of being my own boss and running my own business. This all was happening in conjunction with Christ drawing me deeper into a relationship with him and making me exponentially more aware of the scope of his kingdom and plans. Slowly but surely this blog documented my development as a photographer and as a follower of Christ, and behind the scenes this translated into my growing desire to use photography to glorify God and serve as a testament to his goodness and beauty.

Here’s where I went wrong:

I started to believe that since my photographic aspirations were aligned with God-honoring intentions, everything should just fall into place easily and smoothly almost as if by magic. God does, after all, have a perfect and wonderful plan. All we have to do is walk in it.

But instead of walking in God’s plan I allowed myself to become busied in other tasks, responsibilities, and jobs. I wasn’t walking, I was waiting for God to swoop in like a magician to sprinkle magic fairy dust over everything and make all my dreams come true. A year and a half later, when nothing had changed, I started to doubt God’s plan for me.

Oh, how wrong was I, thinking God is a magician who works to satisfy our every whim.

Part of our walk with God requires steps, leaps, bounds of faith. This faith is evidence of our trust in God to work out everything for our good according to HIS plan. Not our plan, or our expectations for life, but His plan. I had been so paralyzed by fear of making a mistake or of experiencing disappointment that I wasn’t doing anything to move forward. I wasn’t stepping out in faith because I didn’t trust God, or at least because I didn’t trust God with my plan. The result was nothing short of my feet getting so stuck in the mud that my only choice was to reach up with trusting arms so that God could lift me out of my sterile and controlled environment. The thing about this though, is that I also have to trust that God will place my feet back on good soil. I also have to do my part and take those steps of faith in order to allow God to direct me, realizing that a rejection here or closed door there are merely signposts from God steering me in the right direction.

So I’m taking a step. For a while now I’ve known that in order to really commit to photography in any capacity I needed to pull myself together and invest in a real website with a portfolio that communicates “I’m not just a hobbyist” (because that’s how I was treating my photography and that’s what I was subsequently limited to). I’ve heard it said that a photographer’s website is their handshake, and a photographer’s blog is their voice. Well, I had plenty of voice but I wasn’t making any first impressions. That’s why I decided to suit up, put on my big girl pants, surrender my fear of judgment, failure, etc etc blah blah blah lies lies lies and really take a risk. (Let it also be said that I’m additionally fully committing myself to finding an adult careerish job…hi Mom.)

Today I launched my first official website and I couldn’t be more blessed by the response I received from my family and friends. Thank you ALL for being so supportive of me and encouraging! You are my cheerleaders and I couldn’t run this race without you!

Website Launch August 2013 (2 of 3)

Website Launch August 2013 (3 of 3)

Website Launch August 2013 (1 of 1)

Here’s to taking risks,

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Danielle | Graduation

Danielle is the type of person who inspires everyone around her to recognize the beauty that surrounds us. I think this is partly due to her newly acquired college degree in English with an Art History minor, but I also think that this is just how God made her. As we chatted our way through San Juan Capistrano’s Los Rios district, “Dano” expressed to me her deep, unwavering, and warmfuzzies-creating love for the smell of horse manure. Yeah, I said it. But her explanation makes perfect sense: she grew up around horses and whenever she smells this otherwise unsavory scent, her mind quickly jumps to memories of childhood and her heart swells with expectancy, anticipating an encounter with her favorite animal. School just can’t teach you to experience the world in this way…only God can.

Time spent with Dano is always soaked in passionate conversation and the sharing of interests and experiences. She and I share a particular love of France, having both studied abroad there, and whenever we get together we tend to hover somewhere between English and French with a few stereotypically French hand gestures thrown in for good measure. I love that.

I am so excited to share in celebrating Danielle’s graduation from UCI. I have had the privilege of watching her develop in both her studies and her character over the past several years, and I am truly amazed by this woman. She has an immeasurable heart for Christ, an unending wealth of literary knowledge, and the type of spunk and passion that is going to leave an amazing impact on the people she meets in the coming years.

Dano, you are beautiful. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for you up in Portland. You’re going to love every last perfectly overcast minute of it!

Danielle Graduation Portraits Orange County

Danielle Graduation Portraits Orange CountyDanielle Graduation Portraits Orange CountyDanielle Graduation Portraits Orange CountyDanielle Graduation Portraits Orange CountyDanielle Graduation Portraits Orange CountyDanielle Graduation Portraits Orange CountyDanielle Graduation Portraits Orange CountyDanielle Graduation Portraits Orange CountyDanielle Graduation Portraits Orange CountyDanielle Graduation Portraits Orange County

I cannot adequately express how much joy it brings me to bless my friends and family with photography. I have come to the realization that this is how I love people. In this life, God gifts us with certain talents, aptitudes, and passions. We can choose to use these for our own benefit, sure, but how much greater it is to share our giftings with others.

How are you sharing your gifts??

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ezer kenegdo

Often it seems so easy to be held captive by the ever quickening pace of life. The days begin with great sleepiness, breakfast is eaten in a dreamy fog, music drowns out any possibility of thought or introspection while driving, and before I know it I’m plunged into my work environment and completely consumed by it. When the day reaches its (usually exhausted) end I feel like I step out of that robotic reality and into another. A reality in which I remember God and all his grace and sovereignty and find myself wondering how I could have possibly spent the majority of the day trusting in my own will and strength rather than His. A freeing reality in which I find my identity in Christ and what he’s done for me rather than in my own merit or accomplishments.

Not too long ago I was experiencing a very similar day to the one described above. When I least expected it, God sent me an incredibly refreshing reminder of how deeply he loves me and wants me to depend on him. I work part-time at a job that often requires me to demonstrate skincare products on people’s hands, and as I began to help one woman with a body scrub I asked her to roll up her sleeve in order to show her how the product worked and felt on her skin. As she pulled back the cuff of her jacket I saw a tattoo on her arm bearing the words ezer kenegdo. I scanned the depths of my memory to find the meaning of this Hebrew phrase, but had to ask the woman what it meant. She seemed surprised when I asked her about it, but responded simply that it meant “Jesus is my savior.”

But this didn’t seem to me like it quite captured the full meaning of the words, as I had a vague memory of learning what this means in reference to women.

So I researched it.

ezer kenegdo is used to describe Eve in the book of Genesis. To ensure that that Adam would not live in isolation and loneliness, Eve was created – bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh – to be his helper, his equal, his life-giver (Genesis 2:18). Some translations attribute this to power or strength, or even one who stands in opposition. The point of this is that Adam and Eve were to bear equal responsibility and work together for the glory of God and his kingdom. The only other Biblical usage of ezer kenegdo is in reference to the Holy Spirit, which God sent to be our helper and our life-giver in the absence of Christ.

Thaaank you Jesus for this sweet reminder of the role I play as a woman and of the power of the Holy Spirit in my heart. And thank you for pursuing me even when I do not pursue you.

In response to this, I just have to share pictures from a weekend with some of the wonderful women in my life. Christ shines through their actions and their words so beautifully and they are such an incredible encouragement to me.
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Seeing through the haze.

We all have those moments days weeks months where we feel like we’re at our wits’ end and life is spiraling uncontrollably towards the unknown. Towards a hazy, unpredictable future evolving out of the present, which presently seems like it is overflowing with inadequacies, fears, and failures. But then I remember God, who sent his son to set us free, whose death on the cross enabled us to cast these things aside and enter into a relationship with our creator. Lately God has been reminding me of how great and perfect his love is for us. His love endures without conditions and is in no way dependent on our actions. When we sin against him, it grieves him. When we glorify him, it brings him joy. Yet his love for us remains unchanged. This is huge. God chooses to love us knowing that we will turn our backs against him. It is our nature. But through his grace and love he is capable of growing us out of this as long as we put our faith in him. So when it feels like no matter how hard I try to control my life I’m merely grasping at straws I can take comfort in knowing that my life is not mine to control. My life is in God’s hands and his plan so greatly outweighs anything I could have ever imagined or hoped for myself. I can find peace even in the haze because the One with true vision is leading me towards perfect clarity one step of faith at a time. IMG_9330_1

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

– Jeremiah 29:11-13

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Burn, baby, burn.

This has to be one of the hottest summers I can remember experiencing in a long while. Southern California has transformed into a blazing furnace of bizarre humidity and aggressive UV rays, but that didn’t deter me from an outdoor excursion with Sam in Santa Monica last week. We set out to go for a hike and tackle a staircase or two in hopes that the coastal breeze might be cool enough to shelter us from the midday sun.

In a word: Nope. It was not enough. My skin was burning as fast as my muscles were. We cut our hike short, powered through the staircasing (including the behemoths between 4th St and Adelaide Dr which are used daily as an outdoor gym by people more fit that I could ever be) and headed for the safety of a movie on the 3rd St Promenade.

Halftime with a Jones Green Apple Soda and a food truck.

Between this and the unattended cooler of $1 bottles of water near the staircases, I’m encouraged by the honor system that still exists even in LA.

Somehow I didn’t actually take any pictures of the staircases we hiked. Not entirely sure how that happened. I blame the heat. Here are some pictures from a year ago when I first encountered these ‘cases.

I’m beginning to see an interesting parallel between the weather and the climate within my own heart during this season. In many ways God seems to be burning off anything that is not of Him.

With that said: Burn, baby, burn.

 

 

Looking through the lens of a contributor, not a consumer.

I realized the other day that it has almost been a full year since I’ve been regularly attending Reality LA, a Gospel-centered church in Hollywood. Although I had been a couple times earlier last year, it was specific sermon in a series on Ruth that really pulled me to making Reality a regular commitment. God blessed me so generously with a solid group of friends who were also determined to set Sundays aside for Him, each other, and Reality. I could not be more thankful for the past year I’ve had, the memories we’ve created, and the work God has done in my heart and my life.

I decided to go back and start this series on Ruth from the beginning. This book follows Naomi’s journey from sorrow and tragedy to redemption–something I think we can all look to for encouragement when life feels like it’s working against us. The most recent installment I watched is about relationships and the people God brings into our lives, illustrated by the surprising kindness Ruth shows to Naomi in the face of adversity. So often we become cynical about faithfulness and kindness. Pastor Tim Chaddick points out that faithfulness seems to have become optional and kindness has become random. Since we are so used to being hurt and abandoned by each other we begin to view relationships as completely disposable. But our God is a god of faithfulness, and his people are to be marked by this. We are called to be radically committed to the relationships that God gives us, looking for what we can contribute to a relationship, not what we can consume from it. Regardless of how ‘busy’ we are, we cannot use this as an excuse not to reflect one of the most wonderful characteristics of God: his faithful kindness.

Friends, I love you. So, so much. Even during this crazy transitional period in our lives I will do my best to remain faithful to you!

Below is the sermon, if you are at all interested in watching. I definitely was encouraged by it!

Surprising Kindness | Ruth 1: 6-18