Family Photos: Moments in Life

As a photographer I think about the type of photos I would want. I consider the end product, and picture who will be viewing them. When someone walks into a home, it’s family photos that greet guest.  I also want to give the family a glimpse of how special normal moments in life will be in ten, twenty years from now.  It’s my chances as an artist to show the miracle of family.

I met the Perez family a few years ago at church. I witness both Richard and Rebekah live as single adults. It’s amazing to see what life looks like now. How fast the seasons change.  I wanted to not only capture a good family photo but to create some new memories they can look back on and smile.

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Book: Church History in Plain Language

IMG_1947I found myself with a lot of questions about how, why, when, who is who when it came to church history. As a someone who works and goes to a large church you can understand why I developed these questions. I’d often hear the wisdom of others share knowledge about different theologians but I wanted to study the development of the modern day church for myself.

When I was browsing the book store around Christmas time I came across, Church History in Plan Language by Bruce L. Shelley. I must admit I was drawn to the graphic design of the cover, but as I opened the book I discovered this was the book I was looking for. Each chapter was about a momental movement or new wave of thought that the church went through.

I was astonish to discover just how little I really knew about Christianity – and I went to bible college! Maybe I missed that class but chances are I wasn’t listening. History has always come off as boring, but I realized its all in who is telling the story.

Every chapter of the book I was on edge of what movement was going to happen next, What form of ideology was the next generation going to bring? What teacher was going to become the father of a new denomination? What scripture was going to be taken to extreme? And the horror of what group of people were going to be martyred next.. I began to connect A to B to C… and so on. It became clear that nothing is new under the sun. Culture come up with “new” outlooks on religion or life all the time, and I see the same ideas were developed in the fourth century, eight century or early twentieth century..

I do admit, I miss the book, I miss reading about this very subject. I ordered a few new books on the Pietists by Johann Arndt that took place in Germany.

The Pietists essence of faith is a personal experience of God’s grace in the believer’s heart.

“Any religion that becomes the religion of the majority and slowly turns into a social habit tends to grow humdrum and flat, regardless of its original glow of enthusiasm. So it proved in many areas of Lutheran Germany.” 

“Pietism was the fountain of all modern revivals. it set the experience of new life in Christ at the center of the Christian message and the Christian ministry. for this reason it is impossible to think of Evangelical Christianity today without the imprint of Pietism.” 

The way I think,  I’ve always taken it for granted, never conquering where I got it from. A great example:  I remember when I traveled for the first time, I saw how differently everyone thought. Going to church in a different country I learned a new color of faith. The Australian attitude was, “Why not try, and step out in faith, not sure if you heard from God? Well give it a go and see..” While most American’s mindset was, “I gotta hear from God 100% precent before I make a move.” …leaving most frozen, never attempting to do anything.

Last, I loved hearing what is taking place today in the global church – how God is moving in China, Africa, and South America. Learning how their culture has a direct impact on the way they learn about God. I love how different we all are, it shows how God can become very personal to a person.

The West typically reads the didactic and missionary letters of Paul as a key to reading the remainder of the bible. Some Africans take Leviticus to be central. They identify with of holiness and ritual  .Some Asian Christians concentrate upon Proverbs, where they find that God has interest in wisdom that they once sought in Confucian sources. Christians in the Global south seem to appropriate the Bible in a direct manner; they read with a sense of immediacy as though the Bible was written directly to them. Western readers, by contrast, observe a historical distance between the world as they see it and the world of the Bible. 

I see how influential the church has been to society, governments and communities around the world. I am encouraged that I am indeed a part of history. 

Not So Brilliant Advice

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It makes me nerves writing a post now a days. I read books of professional thinkers, listen to podcast of the intellectual elite, and read tweets from almost famous people. How can I compete? I can’t, so I won’t, but what I do have, and what you have is whoever you are. I use my deep thoughts, my observations, mistakes and shortcomings as a stepping stool towards doing something I can give to the world. I see the impossible become possible every day. I create something out of an idea, and from my idea package it into a bottle of inspiration that I sign over to my audience. I know most people won’t bother to pay attention but its the one person who is listening that I speak to. Like now, I have your eye contact.

I’ve said many times; work hard, be on time, and learn from your mistakes..what I would like to add to this list is to prove everyone who said you couldn’t do it wrong. Did you fail like they expected? Well get up and keep on going..  What else do you have to do?  Don’t be happy with a dead end. Listen to your angry GPS, Make a U turn.”

My expert advice as a 32 year old woman working in the field she loves..

Well, when everyone told me at 18 I wouldn’t find a job that would pay her for being creative, or that no church would pay me if I went into ministry I was fueled by proving them wrong. It gives me great joy when my life proves people wrong and exceeds their expectations. I prefer to be the example of faith, believing things that are unseen. I know people mean well when they try to warn, but don’t let the doubt of others stop you from pursuing what you know you’re good at and love. Slow down, and don’t be in a rush for the quick and fast road.. take your time, enjoy those who are in your world at the moment, save money, pay off your debts, and travel as much as you can without a credit card, and be careful what you post on line. lol. That last one was for free! :)

And as for your personal life, don’t bother looking for anyone, you will randomly marry the most unpredictable person, love them and live happy ever after.

Middle of No Where

I’ve always wondered why people fled the city life to go hang out in the middle of no where for their vacations. Every paid vacation from work is like fine gold, every moment must be used to have the highest level of fun and inspiration. My ideal vacation is to travel thousands of miles away to a foreign land, to escape my culture and world and to have some new experiences. This summer I was invited to join Gus family on their family camping vacation.

 

Though this sounds like a classic plot set up for a girlfriend to be pranked on by the family who doesn’t really approve, (Parent Trap and every episode of a 90’s sitcom.) I knew I had to be open to try new things, I wanted to show I could have a good time away from the city life.

   

I was looking forward to learning how to fish. At first, I was bothered to kill a fish in order to eat it, but my boyfriend’s Native American roots taught me the relationship between nature and man. The fish was giving it’s life in order to sustain mine. The fish could feel everything I was feeling through the line, being relaxed and developing a connection with nature, would attract the fish to bite. The beautiful mountains and lake was office for the day.

 

We spent the day at the lake, fishing, catching fish, getting excited and cheering each other on. I snapped a few photos, but because I had no phone service, I was forced to put it on airplane mood and focus on getting dinner. By the end of the day I caught my first fish and Gus showed off by catching the largest fish out of all of us. I am now a fisherman!

In the evening when the normal routine is to relax and watch some television, or youtube, we were left with no options than to talk to each other. We made a fire and talked about faith, our careers, and family life. It was a nice bonding experiences to get to know Gus’ family. I saw familiar mannerisms of Gus all though out his family. It was fascinating to see parts of him in his parents and brother. This was his tribe, and I was an outsider being allowed in.

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I began to wonder about the women through out history who had to leave their families in order to marry. How hard it must have been for them to serve a new family, always daydreaming about the family they left behind.

Coming home, I was thankful for the time spent away from my world, but I was also very happy to return to my family and share my adventures with them. I still find myself putting my phone on airplane mode, chances are, whatever it is.. it can wait.

Hollyhawk Photoshoot

I started learning photography when I saw there was need for it at work. I was new to working at a large church, and I wanted to start showing the faces that call the church home. That was eight years ago, and since then I found the skill of photography very beneficial.

I get to interact with new people, bond with those who are in front of the camera, and create memories. The women’s ministry at church needed some fresh new photos. I wanted to capture a carefree feel and knew going outdoors was the perfect place to make that happen. My church has this great place called the Hollyhawk House, its green and full of great spots to gather for a photo. I took the advice of a pro, “You’re not saving the world, you’re taking a photo, so relax and make those around you feel comfortable.” So I pass that on to you too.

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Exploring the City

One of the greatest benefit about living in California is Los Angeles is close by. The first time I went there I was probably around 17 years old. I remember hearing about LA from movies and seeing it on my freeway signs – west to go to Los Angeles and east Palm Springs but I never really gave it much thought.

For the first time this summer, I was able to spend a week in LA. I had a good friend from Australia come visit and I decided to send time in the city with him and hang out with my friend Annette. In college I had met a good group of people in Australia and they became my really good friends, almost like family when I was living there. They took care of me in so many ways and looked after me.

To pay the favor back and to spend time with them, we spent the week together and we did so many cool Los Angeles things. I wanted to share those things with you here. So if you ever travel down, you can do some of the cool things we did.

Griffen Observatory

 

Carters Restaurant 

Amoeba Music, Sunset / 101 Cafe

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Downtown Burbank

Oceanside, Ca

Mosaic Church, Hollywood

 

Australian Pie Kitchen, Santa Monica

Warner Brothers Lot, Burbank

Arch light Movie Theaters, Sunset / Counterpoints Records, Franklin Ave.

Sunset Media Building, Australia Channel 9 / Alcove Cafe & Bakery, Hillhurst Ave

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It was nice to get out into the city, to get reminded of the people who are so different than I. We did Urber, which drove us all over the city, we didn’t have to worry about parking. This summer, try to do something fun, even if its local near by. Put the extra money away so you can stay there and not have to worry about driving. Driving can be one of the most stressful parts of traveling.

I was inspired and came back refreshed, which is the point of traveling as a creative. You differently need to get out of your zone, your circle, have conversations and listen and gather up those stories. I had a good time hanging out with my friends from college, they will always be my best friends no matter how much we’ve changed – its always good to reconnect.

Leading When No One is Looking

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Some of the most important life lessons I’ve learned is from watching my father when he didn’t know I was looking. I watched moments when my dad would stop to listen to someone who needed help. I’ve had to wait for my parents after church because they were talking to a new family who was down and out. They both severed others with a real genuine love. There were times when they would open up our home and let families live with us, just so the family wouldn’t be out on the streets.  I remember overhearing my parents read the newspaper about a friend they tried so hard to help who was homeless, he was killed across the street at the bus stop. The news broke my parent’s heart.

I often tell myself, “It’s none of my business,” when I see a person in need, but to my parents, they make other’s problems, their business.  They lead in the background. They help those who need someone to talk to, pray with, council, or mentor. I’ve watched my parents wake up early, read books, read their bible, I see how there first reaction to life’s difficult issues is to bring it to God.

Today, I am still challenged to serve others because of both my parent’s example. I was born into a family that gives of their ‘off the clock’ time, I was given a father who stops to listen to the panhandler’s story. My mom tells me tales about when they were first together before my dad met Christ. Stories about her willingness to not give up on him – to pray for him and to love him when he was failing as a husband and father. It makes me wonder what life would have looked like if she gave up or if he gave up on himself.

The man in her stories is but a distant person who no longer exists. It’s hard to honor my dad, without honoring my mom. Both a team – together making life an adventure.

I am challenged everyday by both my parents to help the hurting, they know first hand, the power of a transformed life by living a life after God.

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