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 and since many of my life lessons have come from watching factional characters, 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 about the relationship between nature and man. The fish could feel everything I was feeling through the line, if I was anxious, they would not come to me, but its when I developed a connection with the fish, would a fish come and bit my bate. The fish was giving it’s life in order to sustain mine. 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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Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon was one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen. I stood at the edge of the cliff saying out loud many times, “I can’t believe this is real.” 

I’m from the generation that everything we see is pretty much fake, its hard to realize what is real at times. But when standing in front of it, those who said it’s only a dream, you can’t help but feel anything and everything is possible.

The limits are limitless. 

Hiking that day in the Grand Canyon changed the both of us, Gus said, “Take one step at a time, we’ll get to the top together.” I did something I never thought I could do that day, overcome fear.

The Waiting

May

I recently found a piece of paper while I was spring cleaning that readPhoto May 15, 10 40 02 AM, “Space and time has never been on my side or has it?”

It was a questions my past self sent into the future hoping to find an answer. I remember that question rolling in my head in 2008. It seemed like I was so close to the ultimate dream plan of life. I was going to work at Hillsong as an editor in Australia, I had a place to live, I was surrounded by great friends and even had someone I was about to date. Everything I wanted was in arms reach and some how they all slowly began to floating away, further and further, until they all no longer existed anymore.

When I read this question eight year later I quickly said, “Yes it is and it always was.” If the life events hadn’t happen in those years, I would be a different person with and my character would look very different.

I recently heard a podcast of a woman who kept saying, “Why not me? When will I marry, or have children?”, when a friend of her’s experience what she wanted. I call it the, “Why not me syndrome.” After a while in life, you gotta learn to not let this statement haunt you, because it will and it will you unhappy.

This year for me has been the most exciting for many of my best friends. I have four close friends, who waited a long time to find the life partner. I recall conversation of them saying, “it will never happen”, and now that I see it happening for them. When I was in my early 20’s I admit I deleted my married friends from Facebook. I wasn’t ready to see my friends get married and have children. I was myself was just adjusting to the idea of becoming an adult. But now that I’m older, my reaction is very different. I am happy to see them happy, I am excited to add their special person into my world as well. And, even though I am not yet married with children, I know my time will come. God’s timing is always perfect and it brings me comfort that I am not the one in control.

The cliché reads, Life isn’t a race but a journey. I have my own cliché. Life isn’t about where you go but who you are when you get there. 

Congratulation to everyone who is experiencing happiness, even if for a moment you are alone growing in character and in knowledge.

The Last Post

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I first started blogging in 2009 when I felt like I could no longer ‘fly’ as a person. Of course, I use the term ‘fly’ as a metaphor for feeling like anything is possible. I’ve always admired the birds for living a life of freedom, the ability to fly anywhere. It took me traveling across the world to discover the little brown birds I see in my backyard are very different to the large white birds that appear in my backyard in Australia. I guess not every bird has the ability to fly all over the world, nor do they desire to.

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Blogging was an outlet, it connected me with others who felt the same way as myself. I started off with 4 followers; veronica, and three other close friends. I wrote shyly at first as if I didn’t want to bother anyone. But I soon wrote more and became more honest when people would share how a post spoke into their lives.

Through the years I’ve grown and develop into a leader that I never thought possible. As an invert, all I wanted in life was to work alone, I thought an editor was the perfect profession for that. haha. I had to overcome thinking just about my job. When I felt incapable, I thought it was other’s judgements, but I was the main person who questioned my ability most and it was my feelings that held me back from success. I had to prove to myself the limitations I was feeling were wrong.

I am in a current position in life of not knowing the future plan, which usually I have an idea, anything can happen and I am hoping it will. I am having to let go of knowing and having it all together in order to hear from God. In order to trust in Him, and in order to grow my faith.

I once asked a guy who was thirty-five what he’s learned form his thirties. He told me, “Now I have the ability to do everything by myself that I feel like I no longer need God. I gotta remind myself of how much I really do need him.” His honest answer always stuck with me. Yes, I can plan my life and plan every moment of the day, but what I really want is to fulfill God’s plan, and usually his plan involves character building.

And my character is being challenge every moment of the day. It’s up to me what kind of person I want to be, a servant of all and die to my desires and take the time to look beyond myself.  I use to think my creativity was the muscle I needed to build most, but really it’s my heart because out of the abundance of my heart – it crates.

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I remember everyone who emailed me who were “strangers” but became friends. I loved reading about your journey and your hopes for the future. If you remember anything from me as a creative, it isn’t follow your dreams, or be yourself, or even change the world – its serve one another, and follow the dream God has for your life. I promise those two action steps will never fail you. I’ll write every so often, but until then..

K.I..T.,

Monica

mmbriano@gmail.com

If you’ll like to ready my first blog post. Money can’t buy Creative Passion , and you start reading my blog post from there, visit some broken links haha and you’ll witness the transformation. Let that be encouragement to you -the possibilities of your development as a creative is endless and where ever you are at now, its for a season – life changes too fast to notice.