A Turning Point

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The book The Story by Robert McKee describes a turning point as a moment a character is forced to make a decision. I read the book years ago but never forgot the revolutions I received from adjusting my prospective to a writer of my story when it came to my own life. Author Donald Miller had the same experience and even wrote a book about it named Million Miles a Thousand Years. I was reminded about what I experienced after listening to his audio book.

When life takes a turn of its own, with no control of my own, I am reminded of the power of making a decision and what story I want to create for my life. I can’t control the twist and turns but I can control what has power in tossing me around.

I was one of those girls who wouldn’t or couldn’t make up her mind. I soon saw that making no decision was indeed a decision of choosing not to act. This left me stagnant in life, unable to move forward, leaving me not happy with where I was, and who I was becoming. I gave up control to the cares of this world.

What drove me to finally start making a decision was the fear of not living the life God has written out for me. What I failed to see that it was He who placed the typewriter in my view to start typing out my story. I had a say in what happened, the decisions I make, if my will is to please Him, wouldn’t lead me to harm like I was fearing. Trust is what I was confused about. I was placing my trust in myself instead of He who knows every mystery of the earth. His love for me is more powerful than the mistakes I have made and will make, and because of love, I am free to create the story I want to live.
The turning point was indeed surrendering.

The more we get what we now call ‘ourselves’ out of the way and let Him take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.” C.S Lewis

Book: Every Idea is a Good Idea

I look at books as mentors. Its my way of having a cup of coffee with an expert on any given subject I’d like to learn more about. Seems like there is a new wave of books are being written – sharing information.

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I discovered, Every Idea is a Good Idea by Tom Sturges while at the book store with my nephews. As they were checking out the toys, I was drawn to this book because of the cover. I loved the simple design idea. It had a retro look to it. When I opened it, I read a small part about how to create new ideas. Since I am collector of ideas, and depend on my found research to create new work, I got the book.

The first few chapters is more about how successful song writers found their ideas. Though, I’ve only day dreamt of writing a song, it was interesting to hear how iconic songs were written or tv sitcoms came together by discovering and collaborating ideas. How one find’s an idea and makes it into something

Here are some take aways that will encourage you to be prepared to do something with your ideas.

-  You sit and focus completely on your creative goal, almost meditating on it and then with a burst of energy give into the entire first draft of your idea, letting it explode out of your intellect.

- Look for a chance to change what you do and how you do it. Think reinvention, not only of yourself and your creativity but of your process, too.

- Show up every day… sooner or later your talent will emerge.

- See what you are not great at and find someone who is as great as your weak links as you are at your strongest.

- Only you can complete your thoughts. What ever it is before you get up and walk away make sure it has a beginning and an ending. Do not let your idea just sit there unfinished.

- Mark that spot with the big X and move on; just keep creating. Do not interrupt the flow of your ideas, the pace of you’re thinking, the tempo of your thoughts…Trust your mind to find the right word or phrase later when you’re not under pressure and in the middle of transcribing a new idea from your mind to paper or computer.

- …if it is something big and long and complicated, a table of contents will be a blueprint from which you can more easily and readily access and evaluate the quality of your efforts… keeps the focus of the peace in view.

- “Even half a good idea could inspire someone else’s even better idea.” Ken Levine, television writer

This paragraph describes creativity beautifully.

 – Creativity is the freedom that comes with believing that there is no perimeter, that there is no stopping, that the possibilities of thought are endless. It is the power to believe that there is no shoreline. Creativity is having faith in the sanctity and perfection of the unlimited imagination and the joy of the knowing that ideas are infinitely available, always being refreshed by some deep underground stream feeding into the pristine lake.

Don’t underestimate your ideas. Be ready to do something with them.

I create new ideas from asking questions, being inspired by a phrase I think of. Usually its my opening sentence. An element that attracts me from another’s design, art work or music. Something insightful said by my pastors, boyfriend, or family member. Books, books and books. Podcast, tweets, and past memories. Movies, commercials, and a comment someone says. Anything that makes me say, “Huh.”

Thanks Tom Sturges, I enjoyed the cup of coffee with you exchanging ideas and talking about creativity.

Beyond the Words

The holidays require a lot of energy – of course the setting up, cooking and so on, but the talking seems to be the most challenging. Just being in the same room with other people takes work. Of course, I often get stuck in my head and yes…I am an introvert.

Have you seen that youtube video of The Wonder Years where the narration is taken out? Kevin is even more awkward without the voice. He stands there trying to come up with a respond to his mother’s questions. Sometimes I feel like that. The space between the question and my final answer has a gap of silence. I try to give a simple, not giving away too much information statement. I do admit, sometimes my face gives away my answer and I am forced to be honest, which I sigh in relief.

I started to think about the person I am in my head, and the person I project to the world. I wonder if I will ever allow the world to really know me, to know the unedited me. When you think about it, we have our thoughts, adjust them accordingly and then deliver. Of course this has taken us decades to master.

When we go through tough seasons, this skill seem to weaken. How can I be my true authentic self without acting like a rude teenager? I guess the real me is indeed quite and observant. To me, there is more to be said that interest me than words.

I can recall memories pretty well, it’s what I was thinking that I remember most. The random conversation I have inside my head, the song that was playing in the background, the mood I was feeling, and the way the lighting was casting shadows. It’s like I’m watching the movie of my life. Its a gift but if not taken care of well, it can cause me to miss out on whats in front of me -People, family, and future memories that I will need to bring me comfort when life changes. One thing I know, is that time seems to travel faster than the year before.

I might be the artsy girl at the family gatherings who hides behind her camera, but I know the moment I am seeing will soon fade away. The holidays remind me to enjoy the company of people around me.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.