The Anthropology Life 

an·thro·pol·o·gy\ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpä-lə-jē\ : noun

: the study of human races, origins, societies, and cultures

The past few weeks I’ve been obsessed with the store, Anthropology. I’m finding my self visiting the store once a week and during the week thinking about when I can go again for a visit. The store is always stocks with new items. I don’t always buy something, but it’s the atmosphere I enjoy most. It’s like walking into a real life Instagram house who’s main goal is to inspire with every glance. I haven’t traveled overseas for some time now, and items collected have an international feel I miss seeing.

I use to visit antique shops but found the life I want to create is one that discovers new and interesting things. When I bought things, they never felt like they were mine. They had a life before me, memories that I did not own.

As I’ve been collecting items from sales, I am working to carry the culture of the store with me. I desire to have my future house have the same welcoming creative vibe. I want to live a life that welcomes in strangers and inspire sleeping artist to wake up. Rifle Paper Co. inspires me to paint and create handmade cards and notes. Their cards and journals are full of beautiful water color art. Anthropology is where I discovered Darling Magazine, which if you haven’t heard of, you’re missing out. Its a beautiful magazine full of articles that pour beauty and purpose in to life’s boring or challenging moments in life. The Darling team is also developing a magazine for men called, WildernessToday while doing my weekly visit, I saw my reflection. I thought to myself, “I look like I belong here.” I’ve bought into the Anthropology life style, travel and drinking coffee.  

Which might sounds stupid or with very little purpose, but these things are part of the external life experience. Living a life of meaning is part of my pursuit of the Father. The ultimate fashion expression is of hopeless, so even they know style, clothes and stuff doesn’t make one happy. God has heard countless prayers of mine about what being a women looks like today. I don’t wanna be stressed out, busy doing nothing or kindness taken advantage of. Anthropology is unforgiving about treating oneself, no guilt allowed for taking a break and enjoying the cultures of life. It excites me when I come across a real life example of the type of women I want to be. My favorite account to follow is Annstreetstudio She is a photographer who works with her husband in New York. I know very little about her but she seems graceful, lady like and calm. Her style is elegant and she makes her age whatever it is, look like an exciting season to live. She even once responded to me! I have been in the season of needing an example when it comes to the art of being a woman. This doesn’t come easy to me, as I was the girl who refused to be girly. If I were a character in a movie they’d make me butch. All my life my close friends were boys. My interest weren’t normal, I’m technical and creative, I’m friendly and shy, I’m awkward and comfortable. I like fashion but hate high heels and fake eyelashes. I love music but get annoyed with shallow lyrics with any reference to the human anatomy. I’m weird but completely normal. I want to be unquie but don’t want to be noticed in the crowd.

I will end with a poem from Darling, written by Micheal Albanses and Wynn Everett. Sometimes men can see the beauty we hold that us women can’t see.

In her bedroom closet

hangs a mirror

reflecting quiet perseverance.

She chooses her own path

as she does a dress.

Slipping it over her head

she recalls the voice advising

her on the topic of significance.

Considering their words, she breathes.

At peace with the knowledge of who she already is.

Growing up can be fun.

The Dream Job Myth

My dream job was to work inside a very trendy creative building next to a window. As for what I did all day, I wasn’t sure. I did imagine working at a desk and at times walking around to make a copy. Blame my dream job on the WB network and the programming they had in the early 2000’s. I must have watched too much Smallville. smallville120.4

As my working career progressed I started to see what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go in life. By my early twenties I realized I didn’t want to be that busy career woman with a man suit on, with no family to call her own like the 90’s portrayed.  I wanted to live a calling impacting the lives of others. When I traveled overseas I got a glimpse of the power of production it can have on a church, their community and the world. By now, every Christian or Justin Bieber fan has heard of Hillsong. The experience I had when I was a part of the church family, was how I could make a difference in the lives of people by creating videos. I could say what I wanted to say without having to get on a stage and talk! It was the perfert introvert job.


When I moved into my perfect dream job, I realized I wanted more. The classic human experience, you get that you want and see its not really what you want. I was enjoying myself but I didn’t think I was really making the difference like I wanted to do. I felt like my life wasn’t counting. Plus, I was busy, with no family to call my own. I did manage to avoid the pant suit.


It wasn’t until I had no job, traveling the world (my third dream) and was left in a cafe did God finally had my hearts attention. It was in psalms that the words might as well said, “Dear Monica.” The theology of “follow your dreams” broke off my life, for the first time I could see what I really wanted, was to follow God’s dream. This whole time I had been going about it all wrong. I wrote in my journal. “God, my dream is to follow you. Where you lead, I will go.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 10.34.44 AMI went back to my job, but was given a new position. My boss said, “Make the video department yours.” Whoa. God was giving me a place of influence to be in charge of a very large church media department. There has been hard times when I think in my heart, I’m not the chosen one, someone else can do it better. I am reminded by the confidence of my leaders, and those who love me; I am the right person for the task. Its been three years, and I am growing, I am learning, and everyday I am challenged. In a strange way I enjoy the stress, the pressure, the challenge and even talking with people! The first year I was scared to do anything, the second I was starting to get a back bone, and the magic three, I am finally stepping out and owning what was given to me. There has been times where I wish to go back into my editing hole and closed the door, but then I remember my conversation with God. He wants to take his people somewhere better than we can dream. He was even kind enough to bless me with an amazing boyfriend who reminds me to not give up, take courage, and don’t get discourage if things don’t work out like I thought. Usually it works out better than I imagined.

Creating a Recap Video

If you ever want to get your foot in the door to work an event, a great place to start volunteering is the recap video.  Its a great opportunity to show your shooting skills, editing, and display your eye for what you decided to select. The first time I worked on a recap video was when I was studying television and media at Hillsong College.  I hung around the editors and volunteered to help shoot during Hillsong’s Colour Conference. I didn’t know much so I kept asking the editor what type of shots he wanted. The next conference, they gave me the job to produce Encounter Youth Conference. The first draft that I worked on with an editor was horrible (it was flat and random.) so I reworked it all weekend to prepare it for Sunday. The producer appreciated my countless hours editing, liked the second edit and paid me for it! It was such a great learning experience, I still have the card he wrote me with his thankfulness for not giving up.

Since then, I’ve worked on countless recaps. Many where stressful and usually with seconds to spare. The task is to create a video in a day or two days, depending on how long the conference is, of what took place. You gotta plan to be at the right place at the right time, capture moments, and allow people who view it, to feel like they were there.

In the past, I’ve opened a new project and started the day off. I would film pointing my camera at anything. I would upload the video and wait for it to be approved. Countless changes were needed, misspelled, wrong song, add numbers and so on.

For the first time last year I knew there was a better way to go about it, I needed to remove the stress and last minute changes. I developed what is called a creative brief. I ask all my questions to whoever is producing the conference, (who ever is in charge) weeks before the event, I asked them:

What mood do you want this year recap video to have? Fun or deep?

Do you want a script with a voice over, explain what took place?

Do you have a song you’ll like to use? Who about this song — List some you think might work.

Would you like to focus on numbers?

And any other questions that applies to your event and project.

Second part, is I create all the graphics before hand. I place everything as if I have the footage. Then I list what shoots I need, write my shot list and then the day of the conference hand it to whoever is helping me shoot. This allows the project to need only footage before completing.

If I need speaking clips of speakers, I assign that task to someone who is in the control room, hearing the speaker. They make a note and export during breaks. They copy over the footage and let our editor know when they are ready.

I always try to make recap videos a little different each year, but the work flow is something that can be repeated. This year I had a volunteer edit, and two volunteers shoot. I created graphics in Premiere (so they can be edited faster if anything is added or changed) and made a shot list. I was even able to sit in some of the services and enjoy the women’s conference myself. When I saw moments happened, I texted my shooters. We got the recap video done with lots of time to spare. We tested the video in our switcher and had it ready to play.

Always think of ways to eliminate stress in production, the job is stressful to begin with, so limiting that stress will be beneficial to the production and team.

Video: Arise Opener

If you’ve never been to a large conference of any kind, then you probably never heard of the production term –an opener. An opener is used to open up the theme of the conference, it’s to deliver the overall message you want those who are there to learn and understand. As a visual artist, this holds a large responsibility.

In the brainstorm meetings, ideas pour in, but when its all filmed and placed on the timeline, the message is either understood or its lost. With a creative timeline ticking, and deadlines screaming, there has never been much room for attempt number 2. This year, I got my attempt number 2 opportunity. The first filming I did for this video was a big miss! The time of the day was wrong, the ideas that others poured into the concept caused the overall thought to be lost, and it just wasn’t working.

I was given a challenge, “Do you think you can make the original idea happen?” I wasn’t sure but I knew I had to try. I research location, I asked for help, I asked for an evening shoot, and I push my way to make it happen. My largest challenge was to some how light a lantern and not light anything else on fire. I bargained and came up with a creative plan to keep the filming safe where everyone was at peace.

This project was probably my most challenging, because every second of it seemed like it wasn’t going to work. I had to keep pushing through, and have confidence for my actors and team that it was all working. I am very thankful of all the help each and everyone put into making this opener work. I met the deadline, the theme was communicated, and the conference opened up with great excitement and beauty.

Video : Brave Dance

It’s one thing to have a great idea and another to see it through. The beginning of this year I saw a shared video of dancers with a screen with graphics following their moves. The effect was something new and I could see our production team doing the same thing.

As I worked with the dancers on creating the performance, it was difficult figuring out which one of us should lead, the dance or the graphics. It took a lot of back and forth, trying out different solutions and choreography. In the end, there was no right answer but to try it all.

Hearing the crowds reaction to seeing the dance for the first time was exciting. The dance was an idea that almost didn’t happen, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to execute the idea. When we all put our little bit together, it made it come alive. It was a new challenge for everyone, and figuring it out had its stressful moment, but overall, not giving up was the key to creating a new experience. As we both worked to make the idea happened, we had to keep in the mind the heart of the performance was to encourage women to remain brave – which also included us.

Song: Brave by Moriah Peters

(I do have a miss spelled word: Conquers – the problem with being so focused on animation, words often are overlooked.)  

The World is Waiting

As creatives we live these busy lives with the pressure to imagine the unimaginable. We are asked to inspire the world even when we ourselves don’t feel inspired. Where to run when everywhere is already filled with a person. Our heart is telling us to change the world but our bank accounts reminds us of our limitations.

The conflict of dreams verses reality. Faith verse what’s seen.

You can sleep and do nothing or you can wake up at 5am when inspiration and courage wakes you up. The whisper echoes inside you, there is something you can do.

I am a child of the 80’s, we grew up with inspirational porters of kids as astronauts with caption like Reach for the Stars. Some of us did, it’s the millennial’s that dreamt of and created thing I remember wishing for. Technology has made it easy for us to produce our ideas faster.

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The stage has been sit up, we can either sit down in the crowd and watch, or we can stand in the spotlight and give our creativity. We can no longer ignore reality because we can see it all, the world is asking for our faith to be put to work. It’s screaming, please do something.

What brings back my inspiration is when I know there is something we can do to make a difference. Its a reminder our existence matters.

The world is waiting for us.

The Bonhoeffer Plan 


One of my favorite theologians, who was a martyr for plotting to kill Hilter, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, had this deep spiritual life with God. Last year I read his biography by Eric Metaxes and learned about his devotional lifestyle that he taught his seminary students. 

I often find myself getting bored or distracted when I sit down to read my bible, usually my mind reminds me of everything I gotta do or the movie of my life starts to play in my head. Here are some good habits to study like a Bonhoeffer student.. 

No speaking 45 minutes before meeting at the breakfast table 

Open breakfast with a psalms or hymn 

Read a chapter Old Testament, New Testament per day 

Prayer on what the student was dealing with with, and whatever they needed to ask  of God. 

Meditate on a verse for a week  and 30 minutes each day. To move forward, until you know what is meant for you. 

Concentrate completely on what God is saying to you. No looking at other reference books but deal with the verse as though it was Gods word to them. 

We all struggle to focus and we can learn how people who didn’t have iPhones or Internet mastered the skill.  
One thing I must share to you if you aren’t familiar with Bonhoeffer story, that living as a German Christian during  WWII,  Bonhoeffer needed to live a life hearing from God during this very confusing and dark time. He was able to live a life of courage and truth because of his deep connection with God. He was martyred for being devoted to God and standing up for those who didn’t have a voice.  

As a creative, it’s my job to communicate to the world what’s in my heart and having a healthy spiritual life will help me know what to say and how to say it.