Summer Bookshelf

I’ve been obsess with reading books and listening to audio books. This summer if you hung out with me, you would have heard, “There’s this book I’m reading about..”  My friend who just passed the bar said with great concern, “Wow, you’re reading a lot of books.” I laughed because yes, I was becoming that Portlandia skit of, “Have you read…” Look it up if you haven’t seen it, super funny. Well, here is my summer reading list. I found every book life changing and insightful!

41k9x2bg6RL._AA160_ The 5 elements of Effective Thinking

was mentioned by a rich successful guy during an interview that I heard on the radio. He mentioned it super fast, and once I got home I downloaded it. I loved the simple principle it gave. Over all, “Understanding things deeply.” Which lead me on this race to read every book I hear a successful person mention. I liked when the author said, “Be Honest with what you don’t know and on the missing parts.” So many times I allow unknown knowledge become a handicap, but the key is to improve understanding.

51KEubrpFkL._AA160_Linchpin was yet again mention on a podcast.

I am on my second listen. I enjoyed the encouragement it gave to become the linchpin at everything you do. To hold things together and become an artist in the office or where you find yourself working. It’s a choice to put my humanity, and heart into my work to make it in to a price of art. Sounds crazy? Yeah, as a creative, I’ve put what I’ve been learning to discover this is what my job ask of me. I am grateful I work as a place that embraces making a difference. “You have an opportunity to enjoy what you do, make a difference and to unlock the genius inside you.”

51mA7IoWUIL._AA160_ I discovered Jesus, -A pilgrimage at a bookstore in Santa Cruz.

The book was so thick, I thought to myself, “There has to be some more information about Jesus that I don’t know about.” I was right – and fall in love with this book. Father James Martin walks us through his journey into the holy land while asking questions and seeing sights where the gospel took place. I read about Jesus home town, what it looked like and what type of people Jesus grew up with. His community, his culture, – learning the context He was living in brought the text in the bible to life. This book brought Jesus to life for me. “As I stood under the broiling sun, I was gobsmacked to see rocks, thorns, and fertile ground. No one planted the thorn bushes, carted in topsoil, or arranged the stones to make the locale look as it did in Jesus’ time, as if we were in the theme park called Jesus Land. They where just there. It dawned on me that when Jesus used objects from nature to convey his message – seeds, rocks, birds, clouds, water – he may not have been talking in generalities, but about these things right here.” 

51Ml+jD9l3L._AA160_The Power of Habits was to understand the science behind the habits.

Not only to create new healthy habits but to understand our currently ones. We have cue’s that make us do task that give us rewards. “How WILL power becomes a habit, by choosing a certain behavior and following that routine when inflection points happens.” Basically this book showed me how to trick my brain into going to the gym, “When a person goes to the gym, they receive a reward that will make them feel better about themselves, causing them to make better decisions about their spend, the food they eat, causing them to achieving their goals.” [paraphrase]

41zz9A8RF8L._AA160_My So-Called Freelance Life was very wordy and chatty.

I tested out my speed reading on this book. The largest take away, to start a job when you received all the information for it instead of creating something with vague descriptions. Gather the content. Over communicate professionally and limit emails- emails take time to write and read, use it when necessary. For me, if I know the person is in the office, I stop by their office to ask them my short questions. To create your freelance price – do you research. What would it cost if you where going to hire yourself, google it and then work from there. “People are not necessarily going to remember how much something cost but they’re going to remember your attitude and how they felt when they went through the process with you.”

51YUixmUSXL._AA160_ I bought, Boys Should Be Boys for my sister but couldn’t help to read it first.

Reading this book help me discover so much about the men in my life. Their development or lack of. The importance of nature of a boy’s father and mother. How each are equally important into a boy’s life into becoming a man. I loved reading the hope God can give to a man who might have had a troubling childhood with their father or mother. “They know that they have a place in the universe despite every failure. They know that God cares and can understand their thoughts and fears when no one else can. Restoring a boy’s fallen spirit is a monumental task and everybody knows it. Giving a boy the security of God, the God that will always see him and always love him is the defense parents can offer up their child.”

Over all – take time to pay attention to your current interest. As you see, my reading list was random, but in a strange way – all connect.

JVC Camera

Rediscovering VHS

Sometimes when things are too easy, we fail to do it. We take living in the modern day world for granted. Just because we can Facebook message a best friend from 10 years ago, doesn’t mean we will. But if I discovered her address in one of my old journals, I would be filled with joy just to see her name again. I would then, go on an adventure to find the perfect stationary and write her a letter. (Yes, I’ve actually done this.)

How many bloggers out there who haven’t written a post in weeks? ME! How many photographers out there who haven’t picked up their camera in months? ME! I still enjoy taking photos, and I do miss writing, but I know I can do it tomorrow.  Usually when this happens to me, I need a new medium to fall in love with again. I need to rediscover the beauty and curiosity I once had.

Today my 8 year old self leaped for joy when I saw this beauty at the thrift store – a VHS RCA video camera! I’ve envied the father’s at birthday parties would bring their video cameras out to film. I would sit there not singing Happy Birthday, but day dreaming of all the movies I could be making if I had one. Now more than twenty years later, here I am given the chance to relive the dream of, “Let’s make a movie!” 

The joy of rediscovering. mmm Now time to create.


The Foundation of Video

The first time I heard the word foundation was when I read the story of the house that was build on the sand. When the storm came, the house was washed away. The house that was built on the rock, when the storm came, it was unmoved. The beauty about the writings from the bible, the words written long ago can teach you just about anything.

As I was teaching my intern how to create and complete a video, I started to share about how important the foundation of creating a video is. Learning how to edit a video isn’t just learning about the software, the computer, or the other tools. Its more than tricks and tips. Its creating a foundation to build your creation on.

3. The Design

The most consuming element in creating a new video is the design. Playing with fonts, images, and video footage to make it attractive and yet make sense. Making those creative decisions can be time consuming, giving yourself space to step away and return to see what you think about your own creation, noticing your first responds, “Ugh!” or “Mmm..” Being creative takes courage to go against the rules you know, even if it is to try it out. There have been times where I spent hours on a design, have only two hours left in the day to work on this project, and make the big decisions to abounded my previous work to try the new idea I have. Usually my new idea takes less time to create, and I’m done by the end of the day. The first idea just wasn’t working and yes I might have used up time but it wasn’t wasted. I knew what didn’t work, and it lead to me what did work.

2. The Vision

Most times, when a project fails, it can be traced back to the lack of brainstorming. You will be surprise how much time you will save if you take the time to think and ask yourself questions. What is the point of this project? Who will be watching this? What do I want people to do after viewing this? What is the purpose? What do I want to say? How do I want to say it? There is pressure to create when you sit in front of a computer. When you open up After Effects and create a new comp, its looking at you waiting for you to move. When I am stuck, and lack vision, I get out paper and draw or write words. I create a map for my creativity to follow. Just in case I began to go off trail, I can return to my points of the story and get back on track. If the vision comes from someone or something else, its up to you to do the research.

1. Your humanity 

The easy way to create something is to copy someone else. Sometimes this works especially when you have 3 hours to create something. But as an artist, we all know we hate being put in those situations. We want to make something that moves people, that communicates our heart and passion. We want to put something out there we can be proud of. The foundation to creating videos is you. Your unique personality, your perspective, your heart, your style. Just like God breathed into man, breath into your creation. Though your day to day projects might not require your heart, put a little in it anyway.

You are the foundation.

The Risk of, “The Dream”

Sometimes I forget that I once had a specific dream, how hard it was to keep it alive and make it happen. The past few days, I’ve heard people tell me they want to do their dream job. I even asked one woman what her dream was, and she said, “I don’t know.” I guess we have heard do your dream job for so long, that some don’t know what that is, they just know they want it and unknowingly limit their life purpose to a job title.


At church, we are having a missionary conference. Hearing missionaries and entrepreneur speak, one thing they’ve all said, “I had no idea I would be doing this, and if I did, I would have ran.” As I listen to them I see they are living God’s dream for their life, each person’s story was unique, but had the similar journey of kicking and screaming when they were told to do something other than what was in their plan. We have no idea what the future holds, especially when we are so brave enough to say, “God do what You will.”

I know for me, when I was 19,  my dream job was to edit films. It was that vision that brought me to where I am now, thirteen years ago, my profession didn’t exist. My imagination did the best it could, but there had to come a time where I laid that vision down and pick up the plan of God. I knew I wanted to live a life of purpose that impacts other people to influence others. As I find myself in the 8th year of working at church, I ask myself why am I so passionate about it? Shouldn’t I be burnt out? Over it? Ready for something new? When I listen to what God is telling me through His peace, I know I am where I am supposed to be.

When I was in Canada about to make the move, I suddenly realized, it wasn’t about my dream but God’s – that was the dream I wanted. That was the vision for my life I would run with. I know it’s so easy to say the script in your head, My dream job my dream job, but what if we thought about God’s dream for our lives? I often wonder what if I refused to lay down my will, where would I be? My imagination plays a movie of a rebellious girl trying to make things happen and is exhausted. Yesterday my pastor said, “God will come through for you, unless you’re in the wrong spot.”

We don’t know the future, might as well connect with the one who does, and who WANTS to do great and mighty things that will IMPACT the world in someway that doesn’t make sense to us at the moment, but when 70 years old looking back, it does.

That’s the dream I want to live.

When you Bomb a shoot..

The past weekend, a six year old defeated me.

I thought I knew what I was doing, until my nephew refuse to smile. For whatever reason, he suddenly didn’t want to participate. As my sister tried to get him to join in, the larger the ordeal became. With time ticking, I told everyone just to keep on looking at the camera as I snapped. I was hoping I got one good photo.

When I went back to the editing room, I saw I had three different photos that where almost perfect. I opened photoshop and did some magic.


I know when I see the photo hanging on the wall, I’ll remember the back story. Things aren’t always so perfect but that’s family right.

I kept wondering what could I have done to avoid all the drama. What if this wasn’t my family, and clients where paying me big bucks to make their family perfect? I traced it back to when my nephew started to say, “I hate this tie.” We ended up taking off the tie, but I should have listened and offered before he lost it. I also took some photos outside. Maybe when I saw the tension building, changing locations would help.

In any case, I left knowing I would learn from this situation. Family portraits, no matter how old everyone is, it’s never easy. Something always happens, but in an case, never give up… there is always photoshop! Or you can hide behind the couch and snap a photo of the kids playing!


The Wanderer Generation

8034729490_957b759d02_oI’m not sure what it is, maybe its the age group I’m a part of or the times we live in. For some reason it seems my peers are wondering around life with no real direction. I myself am tempted to live this life style of “whatever happens, happens”. I see photos of fellow college mates all over the world snapping shots of themselves in front of landmarks, using up their favors with friends to help them out while they figure it all out, in other words, it seems like they are in search of home.

It is a tempting lifestyle, one in which I tried myself but I knew I had a destiny to get to, work had to be done and the cost of living to pay. Whatever decision I made, I had to make it fast before I burnt bridges.

As I am working toward my goals, I want to stop half way. I tell myself, “This is good enough.” But I know it won’t be good enough in a few weeks when I become restless again. I must admit, I don’t know specifically where I am going, but as I navigate through each hour I try to be intentional with my decisions. To read instead of watch a movie, to create instead of be entertained, to think instead of zone out, to save instead of spend, which I don’t always make the better choice. It’s the little decisions that matter.

What I appreciated from traveling and school was that it required me to think and gave me time to figure it out. Now that I am in the middle of a full time career, I have to make it a priority, to keep on thinking, looking ahead, and setting new goals. If you ever got in the car and drove with no place to go, you’ll realize it gets you no where. It leaves you lost and with an empty gas tank.

Proverbs 22:3-5
Sensible people foresee trouble and hide from it,but gullible people go ahead and suffer the consequence.
The plans of a hard-working person lead to prosperity,but everyone who is always in a hurry ends up in poverty.


Book: Making Ideas Happen

We’ve all heard, “Fake it until you make it.” Well, I’ve never been a good actor and my awkward facial expressions revile I haven’t a clue what I’m doing.

Last month was one of the most challenging at work, our conferences demand innovations, creativity, and meeting tight deadlines. I found myself with a large work load which for a second I allowed myself to get overwhelmed. I started to ask the questions, “What would I do if I were a creative director? How would I lead my team of designers and other visual communicators? How would I approach clients with ideas instead of waiting for them to give me the answers?”

I began to search for more insight on line and found, Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. I bought the audio book so I could listen while I worked. It gave me great insight that I wasn’t the only creative who was going through what I was facing. Many big corporations and marketing firms where facing the same issues, “How can we make creative ideas happen? 

It was nice to learn how to be a creative director. I never thought of myself as one, but the more I listened I saw I had been organizing creative ideas with my team for the past year. Here are some of my highlight notes.

Creative plus structure and organization equals impact
Ideas = impact

When having brainstorm meetings leave with action steps. Each person needs to own their action steps, have everyone repeat them back to be sure they understood.

Capture ideas by creating a place where you can save references, ready for you when you need them. I started to save images of instragram photos I really like for later inspiration. Blog: Be Deliberate with Instragram 

Create your “to-do list” with action steps using a verb: ex: capture new footage and delete off SD card.

Write awaiting if it includes another person’s responds. Use the word Insure to remind yourself the task isn’t complete. ex: awaiting video approval, insure Jane approves before it’s uploaded.

Share knowledge with your team: Email team to submit leadership, marketing or production article or podcast: something they learned or that’s interesting.

Have a back binder idea list, maybe now isn’t the time for the project, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be used for the future. 

Get action steps from team confirmed, so you know it’s understood it

Idea: Create an energy line on a white board, create note cards listing projects and place on a line of urgent, importance, future. 

Challenge meetings: this doesn’t make sense, why are we doing this..

Make the changes in the beginning of the projects and not during the project’s launch 

Celebrate progress when task is complete

Idea: Post it note to do list

Allow your team to get in the zone. A good sign is head phones. 

Organization is a major force into making ideas happen

All fantastic ideas for leading a team of creative with major projects that have heavy deadlines. After all was done, I saw myself in a new light. I just added another skill to my resume of life. I later heard a teaching from,  Paul Scanlon who is a pastor in the UK say, “Dress for where you are going… The movement beginnings inside you first.”

After completing the book, I was able to approach stressful situations with an idea of what to do, what to say and what ideas worked best for my team. I was also able to empower those who where making large decisions it was okay to experiment and try different things out.

So I encourage you. – Give your self a promotion and start dressing for the part.