the future

Here is to the here and not yet.

tumblr_ly4v3z7oFd1qejys5o1_500 There's a peace in letting go of certain things when you realize they were never yours to own in the first place.

There's a peace in letting go of certain things when you realize they were never yours to own in the first place because God has something in store for you.

There's a peace in letting go of certain things when you realize they were never yours to own in the first place because God has something in store for you and it's far better than you initially dreamed.

Let go, the future is waiting for you to embrace it.

Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow

It's funny how this season, although filled with uncharted territory and new routine is similar to many of the previous ones where I knew exactly what the next step held. I may walk without knowledge of what the future holds but that is not to say that I walk in uncertainty of who holds it. Jesus, you are the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. You were the same when You gave me the map to my current season and there was no doubt in what my actions were or meant. Jesus you are the same today when questions of my very being and purpose cross my mind. Jesus you will be the same when I finally meet up with whatever tomorrow contains. I trust in you. I know you have hopes, plans, and steps for my future that will not bring me pain. Sorry if I ever thought otherwise and let my self-created fears get the best of me.

Post Post-Grad

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    Some posts ago I said I was finishing up grad school in less than one week, however things have changed! Now, a few blog posts later and grad school has been over for the last 3 weeks (No matter how many times I say that out loud or in my head, realizations like that make me squeel like a little girl who was just hugged by Harry Styles). 

      Given that, I’m sure everybody wants to know what my future plans are (and by everybody I mean probably just my parents, siblings, and a few relatives who have invested a lot of time, words of wisdom, prayers, money, extra bedrooms for me to crash in, and effort into any part of my educational career). Well let me tell you, my plans post post-grad go as follows:

1. Live life. 
2. Repeat step one while doing so in Sydney, Australia. 

      Yep, 12 years of grade school, 4 years of secondary eduction and a one-and-half-year post-graduate degree later the best answer I can come up with is to live life. I’m aware of the fact that my answer doesn’t sound too thorough or stable but still… Isn’t that the best answer any of us can come up with?
      The year before I graduated college I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Truth be told, that was a grand part of the reason why I decided to go to get my master’s degree. Everyone around me at the time had some sense of what they wanted, what they were good at (Maybe I missed the memo about that meeting). So I did what I usually do in situations like that, I prayed. Afterwards I sent in my application for grad school and that was that. 
      While my  time spent in school  did help me figure out more of  what I was interested in it didn’t help me figure out what exactly I could and would do. That part was all God. He helped me realize that the years I spent stuck having a one-track mind were actually limiting me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to make a general goal of where you’d like to be in x-amount of years but we can never successfully devise the actual  steps to get there (Proverbs 16:9 || Jeremiah 29:11). That part, again is all God.
      “Be open to new, to the unknown and the unexperienced”, He said. “That’s where unexpected opportunities and trust in who I Am have the best chance of thriving.” He constantly had to remind me that He knows the desires of my heart - of all of ours - the depths of my mind, and the ability of my hands. He would not have given such things to all of us us if were supposed to stay glued to one thing  for the rest of our lives. 
      So here goes nothing everything. Here is to taking time to design more stuff, starting a  business of my own, volunteering, blogging more, growing roots, listening to people’s stories, taking pride in how far we all have come, late nights followed by late mornings or early mornings preceded by early nights, helping others, sharing my love of Christ with the world, strengthening relationships, travelling, more photos, getting blown away by God’s unconditional and unending grace, new connections, roads less traveled, new customs, old traditions, family, friends, strangers, peers, co-workers, love, never stopping my education long after school has ended, unplanned moments, meticulously planned schedules,
living, imagination, faith, and excitement. 

From Portland, Oregon to Sydney, Australia

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This time last year I was a 21-year-old girl with two suitcases to her name and a head full of dreams. Today I’m still that same girl, only I’m 22, those suitcases are now unpacked with the belongings settled in my closet, and that head of mine now has bigger dreams.

These last 12 months have been such a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts, and actions. I’m finding it quite difficult to actually sum up everything I’ve been through to present to you guys in a cute little package. However, as I write this, the song Oceans by Hillsong comes to mind.

For all the countless times this song has been played and the  of hundreds of  others that it has been quoted on one blog or another, I am sure that with each one this song has held a different meaning.

_______________________________

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine”

_______________________________

My year has been nothing like I planned or hoped but with that said, it has actually been far better and greater than I imagined. Never would I have imagined myself leading a small campus youth group while en route to becoming a campus minister (Don’t let the title scare you There are no tight white collars and lack of colors around here). I surely would not have seen myself befriending the people I have today - not because of who they are but because of who I was. Lastly, amongst many other unmentioned things, everyday I seem to fall in love with God and His grace a bit more than I think to be possible.

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As easy as it was to list all those things that I have been blessed with, getting them was not. I’ve had my fair share of troubles and doubts, times where all I wanted to do was run back home, travel back in time and pretend that my problems were not my own. However, I couldn’t and the the realization that I couldn’t was painful and surprisingly tiring.

Australia is not some place where you go and the sun shines ever yday, life is  easy and full. It is not the place where your dreams come true… unless you will it to be. For a good portion of this last year, I relied solely on the fact that I had moved to AUSTRALIA! , and that living here would all of a sudden make my life cool and complete. But like any unstable foundation, that excuse started to crumble. God showed me that even the greenest of grasses can turn brown without Him. The most beautiful places on earth are mere smudges without His guiding hand to help you see.

That is one of the biggest lessons I have learned this year. I think God brought me to this exact place to help me realize that. It took a lot of hard work on my part and unreasonable amounts of patience, grace, love, and understanding on His to get me to this permanent mindset.

So whether this next year brings me back Oregon rain or keeps me under Sydney sun, I know I am going to be okay and even more grateful for any position I am put in.

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Lastly, to all who were with me from the beginning or even yesterday; if you read a blog post or all of them; encouraged me; missed sleep because of the crazy Australia-America time difference just to give me an ear to talk to; dished out advice or a mouthful of prayer; if you are family, friends, or just an acquittance; whatever hand you put in or fingerprint you left upon my life I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. This journey and my life would not be the same without you. The blessings you all have been to me, I pray the same for you 100 fold. I love you guys.

Here Is To...

Many of my girlfriends have recently become engaged and/or gotten married. While I am happy for them it makes me all the more excited for myself. It’s a bit crazy to think that whoever and wherever he is God created him just for me. I’m excited for the adventures, the laughs, the joy, and growth. Similarly I’m also expectant of the disagreements and opposing opinions but I’m willing to take them in stride if it means I get to spend the rest of my life with a great guy.

Inspired by my friends who have recently changed their last names, reading through a number of mommy-blogs, and a few talks with God I made a list of a few things I’m looking forward to sharing with Mr. Future when the time comes (Might just have to print them and place them in large format frames to hang on the walls later).

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So whether you are single, dating, engaged, or married, what are some of the things you guys are looking forward to in the future or have enjoyed so far?

Leave your replies here! (bottom of the post) I’d love to hear your stories.

Whilst I wait

Hello there! 

I’m currently on the phone waiting for my tax file information. They have put me on hold for almost half an hour now. No sour grapes here because that means I get to post!

What better a thing to talk about than what to do while you’re waiting. It’s one of those conundrums that plague us everyday: I don’t want to leave the area because I may need to reference one of my papers in case they come back on the line but I don’t want to stay either because I have nothing to do and actually get a jump start on other work is just preposterous.

Alas! I have solved all your problems. I have compiled a list of interesting things for you to read, glance at, and skim through to kill the time. It will keep you entertained and more importantly it in place for when that oh-so-personable and possibly non-automated operator comes back.

1) 15 Swedish words We Should Incorporate Into English Immediately (Thanks Joanna for this)

2) The new Wolverine Trailer - I’m not a reader but I love movies that deal with comic books

3) Better yet, while you’re at it, here are all the new movie trailers that are hitting theaters soon. Get excited, there are some good ones!

4)One of my FAVORITE books (My Careers teacher in 10th grade showed me the documentary version and my way of thinking has never been the same).

5) Bruce Davidson’s Photos

6) Create the future you imagine

7) Designsperation

8) Apartment Therapy - This may or may not be more distracting than Pinterest.

9) 19 Things To Stop Doing (Not just for 20-somethings either)

10a) Hopefully by the time you have completed numbers 1-9, a 10th task won’t be necessary.

10b) However, if 10a is not true go here. Read this. and Know these words are true.

You're not a cookie, God made you into a brownie.

"You’re not a cookie, God made you into a brownie."

I told that to my sister a few years ago before she met my charming and funny brother-in-law.

Life is complicated because we don’t have a reason for everything. No one knows why certain things happen, especially when it comes to finding love. A few years fresh from grad school, it seemed as though everyone in my sister’s circle of friends was either getting married, having babies, or both!
 Major news like that, if it’s not happening to you can leave you questioning yourself, your looks, and the way God made you. Seeing my sister in that state got me thinking too. I mean, my sister by no means is ugly- she’s quite gorgeous. Her persona and personality are magnetic, and she loves to watch Pride and Prejudice (one of my personal favorites about her). Why are all her friends in relationships and she’s not?

Enter the cookie/brownie analogy. He [God] explained it to me like this:

Some women I made into cookies, and some women I made into brownies. All the women you see planning weddings right now are cookies. Their time in the oven has come to an end and they are ready to be taken out. However, some people like Simi, [my sister] are brownies. In no way are they any less than cookies and in no way are they any more, they just have different “baking” times. Imagine if you took a brownie out of the oven the same time you did a cookie. What would happen? The brownie would be somewhat hard on the outside but icky and gooey on the inside. It wouldn’t even be the gooey type that some people like to eat. In other words, the brownie just wouldn’t be ready. So, not to fret my daughters, if you are not a cookie it is not the end of the world. Just wait a bit longer and soon enough and it will be your turn.

I just thought I would share that with all the girl readers out there- guys too. I say a big congratulations to all the cookies out there! Additionally, to  all the brownies, just wait and see. Your time is coming and it’s gonna be ah-mazing.

——
In case any of you were wondering, below is a picture of my sister and Sam, her husband below. Her waiting proved to be worth while. Not only did she get engaged ( I got to take their engagement photos!) but she just recently celebrated her  6-month anniversary.  Congrats you two. Love you both.

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I’ve been sitting in front this page for the last few days attempting to think of something cool and profound to say. I came up with a few good words but they didn’t feel authentic. Not that anyone would have noticed if I did not say this but I had to delete everything and start over.
You see, what I have been trying to do is come up with a way to thank God for a great life. I am truly grateful to Him for all that I have. I am well aware that there is no way I could possibly repay Him for all that He has given me but to just say “Thanks” would feel even below inadequate.

You cannot know how deeply indebted I feel unless you have lived in the blessing that is my life. Now I know latter half of that sentence probably came off as arrogant or boastful but it’s not my own that I take pride in. It is His actions, and His actions alone that I do so. I would have nothing without Him and that is a fact. However I must not stop the story there. Aside from the obvious money and health it’s amazing how much He has been a part of everything. It’s not like He plainly gave me all that I have and left me to my own but He put Himself in the details too so that I could make the most of it all!

Take my friends for example. He placed them in my life for something. Some friendships, I’m not gonna lie, I thought would not make it to the long-term. However, He knew I would need them and appreciate them more down the line. He somehow planned for them to stick around despite myself.

My four years at the University of Oregon, although extremely stressful and at times uncertain, they were some of the best years of my life. Filled with the cliches of love, laughter, and lasting memories.

My spiritual mentors, again, no one I would have picked but it was done that way for the better.  Man, I cannot say how much I love you guys. You were placed in at a time in my life when I didn’t know how much I actually needed you. You all stuck around even long after.

Every job I have ever had. Each one was able to fill more than my pockets but my mind with new values and lessons; my hands with new abilities; and my heart with a stronger passion for my calling in life.

Family, yes we have had our ups but the downs have made our bond stronger than fortified diamonds. I needn’t say anymore lest I desire to cry.

Self love. While it’s important to have love for others, I also got mad love for myself. I now know it is not who I am but whose I am.

All these words may come off as ramblings but I had trouble expressing such a raw form of appreciation. I could continue on forever, literally because God’s wonders never do cease, but even all the positive adjectives in the world could not measure up to one iota of how grateful I am.

I’ve been sitting in front this page for the last few days attempting to think of something cool and profound to say. I came up with a few good words but they didn’t feel authentic. Not that anyone would have noticed if I did not say this but I had to delete everything and start over.
You see, what I have been trying to do is come up with a way to thank God for a great life. I am truly grateful to Him for all that I have. I am well aware that there is no way I could possibly repay Him for all that He has given me but to just say “Thanks” would feel even below inadequate.

You cannot know how deeply indebted I feel unless you have lived in the blessing that is my life. Now I know latter half of that sentence probably came off as arrogant or boastful but it’s not my own that I take pride in. It is His actions, and His actions alone that I do so. I would have nothing without Him and that is a fact. However I must not stop the story there. Aside from the obvious money and health it’s amazing how much He has been a part of everything. It’s not like He plainly gave me all that I have and left me to my own but He put Himself in the details too so that I could make the most of it all!

Take my friends for example. He placed them in my life for something. Some friendships, I’m not gonna lie, I thought would not make it to the long-term. However, He knew I would need them and appreciate them more down the line. He somehow planned for them to stick around despite myself.

My four years at the University of Oregon, although extremely stressful and at times uncertain, they were some of the best years of my life. Filled with the cliches of love, laughter, and lasting memories.

My spiritual mentors, again, no one I would have picked but it was done that way for the better.  Man, I cannot say how much I love you guys. You were placed in at a time in my life when I didn’t know how much I actually needed you. You all stuck around even long after.

Every job I have ever had. Each one was able to fill more than my pockets but my mind with new values and lessons; my hands with new abilities; and my heart with a stronger passion for my calling in life.

Family, yes we have had our ups but the downs have made our bond stronger than fortified diamonds. I needn’t say anymore lest I desire to cry.

Self love. While it’s important to have love for others, I also got mad love for myself. I now know it is not who I am but whose I am.

All these words may come off as ramblings but I had trouble expressing such a raw form of appreciation. I could continue on forever, literally because God’s wonders never do cease, but even all the positive adjectives in the world could not measure up to one iota of how grateful I am.

I’ve been sitting in front this page for the last few days attempting to think of something cool and profound to say. I came up with a few good words but they didn’t feel authentic. Not that anyone would have noticed if I did not say this but I had to delete everything and start over.
You see, what I have been trying to do is come up with a way to thank God for a great life. I am truly grateful to Him for all that I have. I am well aware that there is no way I could possibly repay Him for all that He has given me but to just say “Thanks” would feel even below inadequate.

You cannot know how deeply indebted I feel unless you have lived in the blessing that is my life. Now I know latter half of that sentence probably came off as arrogant or boastful but it’s not my own that I take pride in. It is His actions, and His actions alone that I do so. I would have nothing without Him and that is a fact. However I must not stop the story there. Aside from the obvious money and health it’s amazing how much He has been a part of everything. It’s not like He plainly gave me all that I have and left me to my own but He put Himself in the details too so that I could make the most of it all!

Take my friends for example. He placed them in my life for something. Some friendships, I’m not gonna lie, I thought would not make it to the long-term. However, He knew I would need them and appreciate them more down the line. He somehow planned for them to stick around despite myself.

My four years at the University of Oregon, although extremely stressful and at times uncertain, they were some of the best years of my life. Filled with the cliches of love, laughter, and lasting memories.

My spiritual mentors, again, no one I would have picked but it was done that way for the better.  Man, I cannot say how much I love you guys. You were placed in at a time in my life when I didn’t know how much I actually needed you. You all stuck around even long after.

Every job I have ever had. Each one was able to fill more than my pockets but my mind with new values and lessons; my hands with new abilities; and my heart with a stronger passion for my calling in life.

Family, yes we have had our ups but the downs have made our bond stronger than fortified diamonds. I needn’t say anymore lest I desire to cry.

Self love. While it’s important to have love for others, I also got mad love for myself. I now know it is not who I am but whose I am.

All these words may come off as ramblings but I had trouble expressing such a raw form of appreciation. I could continue on forever, literally because God’s wonders never do cease, but even all the positive adjectives in the world could not measure up to one iota of how grateful I am.

I’ve been sitting in front this page for the last few days attempting to think of something cool and profound to say. I came up with a few good words but they didn’t feel authentic. Not that anyone would have noticed if I did not say this but I had to delete everything and start over.
You see, what I have been trying to do is come up with a way to thank God for a great life. I am truly grateful to Him for all that I have. I am well aware that there is no way I could possibly repay Him for all that He has given me but to just say “Thanks” would feel even below inadequate.

You cannot know how deeply indebted I feel unless you have lived in the blessing that is my life. Now I know latter half of that sentence probably came off as arrogant or boastful but it’s not my own that I take pride in. It is His actions, and His actions alone that I do so. I would have nothing without Him and that is a fact. However I must not stop the story there. Aside from the obvious money and health it’s amazing how much He has been a part of everything. It’s not like He plainly gave me all that I have and left me to my own but He put Himself in the details too so that I could make the most of it all!

Take my friends for example. He placed them in my life for something. Some friendships, I’m not gonna lie, I thought would not make it to the long-term. However, He knew I would need them and appreciate them more down the line. He somehow planned for them to stick around despite myself.

My four years at the University of Oregon, although extremely stressful and at times uncertain, they were some of the best years of my life. Filled with the cliches of love, laughter, and lasting memories.

My spiritual mentors, again, no one I would have picked but it was done that way for the better.  Man, I cannot say how much I love you guys. You were placed in at a time in my life when I didn’t know how much I actually needed you. You all stuck around even long after.

Every job I have ever had. Each one was able to fill more than my pockets but my mind with new values and lessons; my hands with new abilities; and my heart with a stronger passion for my calling in life.

Family, yes we have had our ups but the downs have made our bond stronger than fortified diamonds. I needn’t say anymore lest I desire to cry.

Self love. While it’s important to have love for others, I also got mad love for myself. I now know it is not who I am but whose I am.

All these words may come off as ramblings but I had trouble expressing such a raw form of appreciation. I could continue on forever, literally because God’s wonders never do cease, but even all the positive adjectives in the world could not measure up to one iota of how grateful I am.

This one is for you Pops.

My father is a man who knows his words. It has nothing to do with his vocabulary because he knows just as many as the next man. His ability to construct a good sentence does not come from his time spent in school. What many fail to grasp is that a captivating and respected tongue derives from the moments in between each conversation, each sentence, and each word. It comes from the demeanor of the being and the expressions shown upon their face.

Last night my dad sat on the couch next to me and simply asked, “In all reality, what is it that you wish to do in the next few years?” Any child that recently graduated college would have felt the heat and built up a defense stronger than Fort Knox but this time, it was different. The look in his eyes was that of a father who only wanted the best for his daughter and that, that right there made me to do something I have never done before: tell the truth.
 You see, I have never told the truth about my dreams because with everyone who asked there was always a hint of sympathy. “You can do all you set your mind on but…” “That’s a great ambition, why don’t you try it this way.” Replies similar to those helped me to form the very best “lies”. I started telling people what I thought they wanted to hear.”I want to do photography but don’t worry, that’s not the only thing I wish to do with my time.”
To my dad though, I simply replied, “I want to do photography.” Literally, no if, ands, or buts. And to my somewhat surprise he paused, looked up and then back at me to say okay. In that silence I knew I had gained his approval. Those few seconds of quietness rung louder than any other artificial validation I have ever received before. We then proceeded to talk about the many avenues photography has to offer. He asked me about the specifics and also had a few general questions. All things from someone who sincerely cared would care to ask.
Pops, you know the absence of your approval has never deterred me from the things I do. It’s called tenacity mixed in with a bit of stubbornness; I get if from you. However, now that I know I truly have it, it means the world to me. I can go forth with assurance and a little more gusto than I previously did before.
Ese baba mi. I love you.

My Wayward Child

So I stumbled across these words today…

Story of my life. I’ve felt this way ever since my last first day of college and that notion has haunted my thoughts ever since. Some days I would remember to actually come up with a plan and other days the best thing I could do was deny that the day after graduation was closer than ever. So, as the hours got longer somehow the days got shorter - fears will do that to you. It then dawned on me, I’m not in this alone. The brunt of this choice does not lie on my shoulders alone but God’s too. After going to Him in prayer, he said if you’re truly not ready, stay in incubation for a little while longer (okay, maybe not in those exact words but something similar). With that said, I applied to grad school.

I got to say, the waiting period after sending in my final portfolio pieces and my transcript… can’t even put into words the mix of emotions I had running through me. You know, the ones like: What if I don’t make it?” “Ahhh! Did I send in the right pieces?” “Shoot, did I put in the right address for them to contact me?” “What if getting into grad school is not God’s plan for me and I just thought it was and now I’m gonna be stuck in Oregon foreeeeeevvvvvveeeeerrrr?”

Anyway, long story short, short story long, I received this in the mail…

I got accepted into HOGWARTS!!!

Actually, no. I won’t be attending that school, I’ll be going to the University of New South Wales for their College of Fine Arts Program for Photo Media. Yeah. The only bummer part about this all is that my acceptance letter did not come on parchment in handwritten calligraphy. Oh well, I’ll just have to find someway to deal.

So, here is to the future. Here is to STILL not knowing what I want to do with it but being sure that God is ALWAYS there to lead me away from the path of the wayward.

Nothing Is Okay

Free time can actually be quite debilitating… but only if you allow it to be. 

I just completed my bachelor’s degree. I have no job. My portfolio resembles a piece of fecal matter. Not to mention, I am currently squatting in the basement of my aunt and uncle’s house. To every adult out there this may seem like the worst but I am here to tell you that it is not.

“The future is so uncertain. We are struggling to make it out alive with careers built on love over money. Maybe that is why our parents think us to be lazy beings but it’s like, no mom and dad, we just refuse to work meaningless jobs that take up our time and dry out our passion.”

    -Excerpt taken from my first book, Twenty-Something To Life

When the realization of my current living condition gets to me I just think of that and remember that this (im)position that I am now in is temporary.

—-

I have had a handful of adults as well as a few peers ask me what my plan is now that I am done with my undergrad. I can tell you that each and every time I reply with, “nothing really” I get the same reply: There’s the pause that’s then followed by a surprised look and undoubtedly a list of plans they think I need to follow. And might I add that none of those plans include  what I’m currently doing. I guess what I’m trying to uncover here is, WHAT IS WRONG WITH DOING NOTHING?

Nothing is necessary before the every next and we musn’t forget that. As much as I would like to say because I am twenty years of age I can now abide by the phrase “YOLO” , I cannot. These last few weeks have given me time to process and deliberate my next few steps. I want to be sure of what I am getting myself into before I sign a life commitment.

So, to all the parents out there who have kids sitting at home trust that all you have taught them over the last twenty-some-odd years have not gone to waste. You have raised us well and for that we will be forever grateful. Now is our time to figure out what paths and steps we need to take.  And to my age mates, remember that “nothing” is okay. Bask in it. Learn from it. Let it grow you.

Spoiler Alert!

Spoiler Alert. My deepest condolences go out to those who hate a revealed ending but I just got word today that this thing called life, it actually turns out okay.

It has not been a full week since I finished my last class of college and already the fears of my post-grad mind find themselves making a comfortable nook in the forefront of my thoughts. There are a multitude of things that I need to do and want to do, especially in the next few months but time seems to be evading me everyday. It’s as though for every item crossed off, three more attach themselves to the list. Since being productive seems to be getting me nowhere there was only one thing left to do: complain and whine about it to mom. (She always seems to have the most genuine and heartfelt advice. My dad on the other hand, his words to me were, “Why haven’t you gotten a job yet? What do you plan on doing these next few months?”) Good thing my mom was quick to remind me that EVERYONE who has ever finished college has gone through what I’m are going through. It comes with the territory of transitioning into something new. She reminded me that I cannot control what follows because that’s God’s job. The best thing for me to do is to give everything up to Him and then take it one day at a time.

So, with that said, to anyone who is has finished and will finish any big step in life - not just college - chill, trust, and go. It all turns out pretty rad in the end.