Monday, December 24, 2007

[It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...]

I'm not so sure that the title to this post will have anything to do with what I actually write. But it's the song that is stuck in my head and the warm sensation that keeps my cheeks rosie in my cold (but cozy) bedroom.

Oh Lord.
There are so many thoughts that are running through my mind these past 24...36 hours or so.
I haven't written any of them down yet--no wonder a conclusion has yet to be found!

As an old songwriter put it:
We need to get back to the basics of life,
A heart that is pure
And a love that is blind
A faith that is fervently grounded in Christ
The hope that endures for all time...

Don't get me wrong, I am so excited to open every one of those gifts that has my name on it this Christmas. At the same time, I know that they are hardly significant in the long run. I'm not trying to be a scrooge or anything, but I think I'm just tired of all the stuff. Being with my family around the Christmas tree, laughing or talking together, and doing stupid things that you never do in front anyone else is what makes home so beautiful.
It really is a beautiful thing.

And I know that not everyone has experienced what I have been blessed with my whole life.
But why can't they?!
Cuz we live in a broken world.
GGGOOOOOOOOOOOSSSHHHHH, if there was some way to express on an internet blog just how much my heart aches & aches & aches for people to know what hope is!

Hope is an adrenaline rush.

Hope is knowing that dreams, even in the deepest part of your heart, can come true.

Sometimes I forget things hoped for.
Now that I am back on familiar territory,
hope is rediscovered.
The adrenaline starts pumping.

I don't think hope is very far off from faith.
God, can this REALLY take place?!
Yes, Child.
Are you sure? Cuz I'm not...
I promise, stop hesitating. Go quickly and just do what I tell you to do.
I don't want to hesitate.
So don't.
There's so much to learn. So much to know.

Oh to see transformation.
It's hard to hope; hard to trust...
But I am determined to see all this through,
because my hope is in the Lord.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

.Frustration, Love, and Loneliness.

It is so easy to find problems yet so difficult to figure out the best way to fix it.

And, although we may fit perfectly with that one person that has been there all the time, we get tangled in the mystery of someone new.

Why is it considered such a bad thing to be alone?


I feel like I am fighting a battle within my own self.
None of us seem to know what we want!
The moments we do are so temporary.
At the same time, life would be boring if our initial goals were permanent.

In the midst of all this rambling inside my head, God is whispering, Trust me. Let me take you through the twists and turns. The journey is what will turn you into solid gold.

Psh, I mean, of course He's right! I know He's right...there is evidence in my own life; in the history of all civilization for goodness sake!

Ohh the frustrations of life.

I am convinced that love is the most formidable catalyst for human struggle...
Sometimes I simply feel desperate to look that person in the eye and say exactly what I have been storing up in me, but I have only ever experienced the outpour of a fetid can of worms as a result.
Take note: this theory of mine is not restricted to romantic love or feelings.

I have reached a conclusion that wisdom comes in keeping your mouth shut.
Not in a way that everything gets bottled up inside (though that is a risk factor),
but with a motive of praying it through and thinking about the situation realistically before taking any steps.

Oh! But I long for progress! I long for a conclusion, a knowing, for a confirmation of mutual attraction or understanding!!

That will come. In My timing and in My plans, that will come.

Sometimes lonliness can spring from such situations.
I felt it last night.
But I don't get why people must wade in their lonliness until they get lost.
There is great gain once being alone is embraced.
In a lone environment, I finally have opportunity to catch up with my own soul.

Yes, God said, it is not good for man to be alone.
I am not saying to be a loner for life!
But take time to breathe!
It's fun to be with people all the time,
but the addiction is not worth having.
Especially if it is preventing growth or forward motion.

"When we have no project to finish,
no friend to visit, no book to read,
no television to watch or no record to play,
and when we are left all alone by ourselves
we are brought so close to the revelation of
our basic human aloneness and are so
afraid of experiencing an all-pervasive
sense of lonliness that we will do anything
to get busy again and continue the game
which makes us believe that everything is fine after all.
John Lennon says:
"Feel your own pain,"
but how hard that is!"
~Henri Nouwen

Friday, November 16, 2007

I <3...Nashville??

Thanksgiving break is coming up. I leave for home on Tuesday night. But something in me doesn't want to leave...

I think I'm getting attached to Nashville.

Okay, let's come back to reality for a second here. I am so ready to see my family and sleep my real bed that isn't lofted 6 feet off the ground like this one is. I can't wait to stand in the middle of downtown Chicago and just watch people pass me by. And I'm definitely looking forward to home cooked meals...ahhh, the food I can't get anywhere else but home. :)

But, this semester more than ever, I have really begun to admit to loving this place. It's such a beautiful area and the perfect mix of a city and nature. I went out to this bike riding event for a ministry fundraiser w/ a friend one weekend and it was only about a 20-25 minute drive down my college boulevard. A turn to the left, a turn to the right and we were suddenly in this quaint little town! The minute we stepped out of the car I felt like a warm blanket was wrapped around me. To make it better, we all had to drive out to the top of this hill... was love at first sight. :)

I would dare to say it was that Saturday morning that I decided to allow Nashville, it's multifarious culture and beautiful hillsides, to finally enter into my heart. What a change since I first began my life down here!

Let us move ahead so I give you a more explicit update of where my thoughts have been since the last entry. Get ready.

Why do we live?

We grow up learning things from our family and friends and through getting an education to have a profession so we can....fill in the blank.

Achieve a degree. Buy a place to live. Be successful. Enjoy a good income. Provide for our families. Live up to a standard.

What about...

Passion. Service. Contentment. Good Stewardship. Faith. Humility. Indignity.

Why must these things be put to rest when they are the things that truly make us feel alive?! I just cannot understand it! Sometimes I feel like now that I am being molded into an adult I have to follow this standard of always doing the most practical thing, the most dignified thing.

All I want is to do is love God with my life.
My whole life.

I'm not saying a Christian can't have a good education, a great job, or even a "materialistically successful" life. So long as that is the will of God for him or her everyone can see the good and ripened fruits of their labor.

But so many times, in our fear of instability, we run to what is practical, predictable, logical: "secure". We replace our trust in God to provide with longer hours and less relationship time. Money and time, it's always money and time. Which is a better investment?

Well, which one lasts the longest?

Money can sit in your bank account for a long time while the minutes and hours whisk away, but if those hours are spent on the right things the profits could be everlasting.

So this is the crossroads I have been standing at for at least two weeks:

God is the practical thing your will? Or do you call me to experience indignity?

Whatever it is, I want it. I just have not yet been able to discern what "it" is.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October's halfway over?!?

It's amazing how quickly days are passing! Time goes at a more steady pace each day though. For the most part, I'm not complaining. Socially, a nice steady pace through the semester is welcome...Educationally, I'm just ready to get done with these classes and get movin! It's been crazy cuz I've really been learning how to manage my time with things that need to get done now, but also in preparing for things in the next semester, this coming summer, next year, and even next summer! It's crazy that all this planning needs to take place now, but I'm sooo unexplainably excited to see if these plans pull through!

Part of me wants to just spew out all the details of my excited thoughts, but I can't, it'd be hasty to start talking like I'm sure that all these dreams are soon to become a reality. Through all of this God has been making me smile each day. I just love love love being his and following him as he teaches me new things.
Presently, I'm learning how to wait on Him, to be a good steward of my time, and to commit my plans and relationships to him. It's great! You don't normally hear people say that letting someone else rule their lives is the best thing that ever happened to them...but let me be the first. :) Serving God is the best thing I've ever chosen for my life. It's basically grown to an addiction! Haha, but one that makes me healthier than ever.

I was hopin to get some shots up here from October so far, but for some reason blogger's not letting me. Booo. Oh well, next time, next time! Happy weekend!!!!!!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Picture Summary of September :)

I know, I know, I'm behind on my blogs...story of my life once the school year hits again! Here are some pictures that consist of what I've been doing over the past month just to give you an idea of the awesome life I have down here (tho stressful at times, but that's inevitable).

Of course there's tooooons more, but I never pull out my camera when I'm in the midst of those pinnacle moments with people. I'd rather be swept in and live through the moments instead of thinking about getting pictures all the time. And then of course, the studying/schoolwork part of life will never be documented on camera! lol

But God is so every high and low of this has been amazing to see how much my heart & mindset has changed over the past year. Even though it can be hard sometimes, going through each day is amazing because I get to take another step further into this adventure I am on.

I'm glad that I can honestly say: even through stress, I love my life. :)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

An Unbelievable Adventure.

This has got to be the most powerful picture I have ever taken in my entire life...


It's amazing what God has been doing in my three weeks here so far. Honestly, it feels like I've been here for months, but rightfully so...

I've never experienced Christ like this in my entire life!! Typing out my experiences is a poor attempt to try and
explain all that's been goin on.

I really don't know what to say...God's working like CRAZY!! I've been learning so much discipline and seeing prayers answered right and left!

Just look at this picture and know that that's what's going on in my campus and this city. I've really been brought back to remembering that life isn't about the fancy restaurants and high fashion clothes...or even success in business. It's just about Him. It's about simplicity & hard work in humility.

It's amazing. Completely amazing.

I wish words were more sufficient. :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"It's Kinda Tough Gettin' Older..."

Tomorrow starts the month of August and I am down to less than 2 weeks left of being in my beloved city...Sigh. I can't say it's not hard or even that I'm looking forward to it w/ 100% enthusiasm. Granted, my feelings about it have improved over the last couple weeks and I am anxious to see some friends and just be in awe of all that God has in store.

I shot some senior pictures for a friend a little while back and we were just talkin about God and life. And I told him about how God's been speaking adventure into my life...that I wasn't meant to just sit around waiting for only the average stuff to happen. He then said, "Well, it looks like where you're at right now is just the prelude, huh?"


I'm a little scared because thus begins yet another year of change, challenges, and growth. I have no clue what to expect. All I know is that I love my family and the beautiful Chicago more and more as I'm being separated from it.

Oh Lord, what do you have in store?
I expect that my nervous, apprehensive heart will be taken back by His pure goodness.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (New International Version)

7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.

8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Birthday x 3!

So, I turned a year older this past Thursday...but, you can't know how old I am cuz we're on the internet and I just think that's too much information! lol Things turned out to be so different than what I expected (story of my life and you should know that I have the GREATEST friends ever! :) Here's the layout:

Celebration #1:
Tiramisu "cake" at Maggiano's!! One of the best desserts that ever was...

Celebration #2:
This was on my actual birthday, my brother and sister took me out to Romano's Macaroni was the best!! I could live off of Italian food and am actually trying to learn how to speak Italian too so it was a HUGE treat when our waitress came out with the. most. delicious. chocolate cake in the entire world. At the same time, she sang "Happy Birthday" in Italian!!!! She made my day :)

Celebration #3:
That same night, I had dinner w/ my whole was nice. :) I don't think I ever laugh as hard as I do when it's just the 5 of us sittin around the dinner table!! In case you don't know this yet, I love my family to death cuz they are just absolutely amazing!! :-D

Celebration #4:
Yesterday, my mom cooked up a storm!! She always does when we invite a bunch of people over. At first, I didn't expect there to be more than like 10 people, but people kept comin & if ya add some Filipinos into the mix the sound of loud, hearty laughter fills the air...ah, sweet familiarity. :) Unfortunately, I haven't imported the pictures onto my computer yet (I've been loading it up with a bunch of stuff lately....gotta get more memory!!) But it was so chill and fun to just relax with people who are so familiar & loving. We ate & ate & ate, some kicked the soccer ball around and others were chatting. Then we came in & sang worship songs w/ Andrew Barlow leadin the way! There was mad gab & group picture time before people gradually said good night. My cousin & one of our friends, Aubrie, stayed the night. I think we all were in and out of sleep while watching Ocean's 11! I think we finally made it upstairs to hit the sack by 3am...

I am SO blessed!!! :-D

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and start the week w/ fresh eyes. Look for God in each day--He's in every part. :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Back to the Citay... :)

WOW!! The past 5 days have gone by sooo fast! From Wednesday to Saturday, I went out to the East coast and stayed with my Aunt and Uncle. :) We crammed in visiting Philadelphia, the Jersey Shore, and New York City! It was a very spontaneous trip and, though it was short, it was very worth doing.

After a day at the Jersey Shore:

New York City was sooo overwhelming!! It's been years since I've been there and it was just a weird mix between complete awe at all the music industry stuff:

...and disgust...I could never live life that fast!

We got back Saturday night and the next morning I went w/ Sarah Barlow to shoot a wedding for my first time!! Yes, getting the 30D was the start to doing photography "for real". :)

Presently, my friend Amaryah is here to visit me from Miami & we decided to have a day to relax...We're watchin Pride & Prejudice! Woohoo!! lol

Anyway, I'd like to elaborate on the wedding yesterday and my happening w/ Amaryah in the upcoming posts so stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Some New Development...

Hey Ya'll! (I'm prepping for goin down south in a few weeks from now...)

I hope you've all been enjoying this wonderful summer season!! I know, personally, that my schedule has suddenly flooded with things to do it's INSANE but awesome at the same time!

Over the weekend, my brother, sister & I took the train down to the city. Ahhhh it's like a breath of fresh air just to chill downtown...I like nature a lot, but I think I need the balance between country & city to be truly healthy! Anywho...

We just walked around the city til we found a place to chill and my brother went off to take some pictures w/ the new 30D while my sis and I caught up on some reading :)

From there, we took the train out to meet up w/ my cousin, Ralph and our Aunt & Uncle for dinner at this casino/seafood buffet restaurant called The Boat:

On a more exciting note!:
I'm going to be starting another blog pretty soon and you can check out some of the stuff that I've been keepin busy with lately!

Here's a hint: It has somethin to do with San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL, and...Nashville, TN? :)

STAY TUNED! I'm off to bed for the next two hours and then we head out for a road trip to the East Coast! Good night! :)

Friday, July 13, 2007

I guess it's time to confess!

It's true! One week ago today, I began a new relationship and a step into a brand new future...

With the most amazing Canon 30D I have ever seen. :)

I guess it was inevitable for me to get into photography considering the strongest influences in my life (outside of family) are photographers.

WOO HOO!!! I'm so excited to get to know this bad boy! hahaha...I'll be in the city today and tomorrow shootin so look out for some amature shots to come!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Shopping Spree?!

At the beginning of my time at home, I just went thru this craze of making an inventory of my clothes and then sending a bunch to India or Phillipines...then I tried to stay away from shopping until the month of my birthday...July. :)

Dun Dun DUHHH!! lol

It's been a couple trips w/ friends and then the day before yesterday my family did our annual shopping trip (this begun after we each started living somewhere else...). It was awesome! I don't think I've ever had so much fun shopping!
Right after our all day event, my siblings & I went to the fitness center to go work out. Needless to say, we were tired by the end of the night.
Haha, this shot is of my sister...she didn't quite make it to her pj's! And yes, this really is candid. :)

It was nice to "refill" my closet instead of just hoarding everything for myself...I'm not trying to praise myself or is just fun and so is giving things away! :)

To end this post, I just wanna share a silly picture of my dad from the 4th...just cuz, ya know, he's a pretty cool guy. :) lol

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Photographers: Check This!

To all my wonderful picture taking compadres...
Take a look at this website!!

That's all :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Advice Giving vs. Practical Living...

Over lunch today, my dad got my wheels turning over the format of certain churches...I've been digesting thoughts ever since.

The church I go to presently is very different from the church I used to go to...I think I've chosen to stay simply because of the pastor and the fact that I was so heavily involved before I packed up my life and headed down south...

But now that I can think objectively about both churches, I've realized how comfortable I am in my church. It's almost too "good", ya know what I mean? It's so organized it's almost disgusting!

You see, growing up, I was taught to live out the word of God. I am to claim what is mine over evil because I have the power to do that through Christ. Learning about God's word was very physical...very action based.

Where I am attending now is just always listening...and then watching the big screens on the side of the walls like I'm in a movie theater (it just recently broke into the mega church arena...). The pastor's messages are great! But it's all just handing out advice. And then there's the "I know you may be hurting or going through some huge trial, so pray for God's help..."

Geez. Where's the power in that??

I understand the idea of coming along side someone & sympathizing. But please, God commands us to rejoice ALWAYS! And to KNOW that all things are possible w/ Him. God calls us to trust and love Him with utter devotion, not just when it's convenient for us to fit Him into our schedule...

Our lives should be scheduled around Him.
(Easier said than done, yes, but possible, I think).

Thoughts anyone?

Friday, July 06, 2007

God's Favorite Word is: "Surprise!"

Sorry it's been awhile! These past two weeks seemed to have just flown by!

Last Tuesday, Sarah Barlow and I took our friend Jenny to the Chicago Botanic Gardens for her birthday...that place is absolutely beautiful!! I'd like to take even a portion of that place and put it in my backyard! The last two gardens we went to were my favorite: the Japanese garden and the English Walled garden.

The days have just been filled with catching up on friends' lives, being with family (my sister's finally home!), and getting surprise plans from God!

Growing up, I had, what I like to call, a 2nd set of parents and siblings. :) This past weekend my "second parents" renewed their vows for their 25th wedding anniversary. It's such a beautiful thing to witness the commitment in their marriage & my own parents' marriage considering this day and age:

And then there's always the most fun part of weddings--the reception!

That same night, my friend Dan was in town and came by to visit. We both had weddings that day, but managed to squeeze in some chill/catch up time before hitting the sack. Haha, needless to say we were both pretty wiped from the day! Here's some PhotoBooth fun (haha he might hate me for putting this up!):

Hmm...picking teeth? Eww. Anyway, after church the next day we went back to the "renewed Bride & Groom's" house for a picnic w/ them and the family that was their for the wedding.

I love Filipino parties! Haha, basically, you come around lunch, talk and laugh really loud with the family while sipping coconut juice(if you can handle the sweetness) til dinner, re-heat the food and stay til midnight! There's always a little karaoke in between. lol

In the time spent outside of these events, God's been bringing in some pretty unexpected things to the table! It's been that type of thing where I say I'll never do this, or this will never happen and then it does. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about! lol It's all been mostly good! A few doors are opening and a couple have been shut, but God's given peace over everything so it's great! I've been learning so much about faith and being patient and humble as a team player instead of just a acting as leader all the time. All of it is exciting really! I've been learning so much this summer that I can't even begin to imagine what the year ahead is going to bring...craziness!! But not knowing can sometimes be the fun of it. :)

So stay posted in the next couple weeks, it should get interesting!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dreaming About David Jay?!?

At about 1 o'clock this morning I climbed into bed and closed my eyes quickly entering the world of my dreams. In the opening scene I was walking through a mall. This mall was a bit classier than the average mall with gold trim and pillars lining store entrances and walls made of that tacky green marble which you only see in old school upper class corporate offices. The flooring was white marble...

As I was walking through, lo and behold, David Jay came walking up to me. My reaction was like this is a normal thing (as if I see him more than once or twice a year!). We started talking about this conference we're going to that he's leading and how exciting it's going to be! lol Apparently, the conference is being held on a boat!

From there we started walking out of the mall and the scenes change to a dock. We board the boat and just keep chattin away like we're ol' pals and such. The boat was a lot different than I expected it to be, but DJ seemed unmoved by the fact that it looked like a fishing boat. We talked about how we were supposed to meet up with Sarah Barlow and her sister Natalie along with all the other people who were gonna be in the conference.

The scenes jumped and next it was after the conference was finished. It was late that night and the boat was out in the midst of big rolling waves. David and I decided to go running on the deck! Of course, DJ was leading w/ his "Fast I Am" shoes and for some reason I remember saying, "High knees DJ! High knees!" As we came to...a hill?!

Suddenly, DJ somehow slipped and fell off the deck and into the water just gripping the edge. There was really only about a yard between the deck of the boat and the water. I went to the edge to help him out and somehow managed to lift him out of the water!

The dream concluded in a blur, but moral of the story: Hmm....well...I guess, DJ, rest assured that if ever we went running on a boat I would save you from falling into the water! lol

The End. :)

Honestly, I have NO idea how this dream came about! Nothing in the course of my day had anything to do with DJ or fishing boats...or even running! lol How random is that??

Sunday, June 17, 2007

((Opposites Attract.))

"Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life"
(Ecclesiastes 9:9).

"I received a letter from a young lady saying, "I'm engaged to a nice man, but we are so opposite it seems we never agree on anything. Do you think we are so incompatible that we will not get along in a marriage?"
Possibly they are incompatible, but I know for a fact that if two people in a marriage are just alike one of them is unnecessary. In great part, God puts opposites together because opposites really do attract. In most marriages, one gets up early; the other prefers to stay in bed. One splashes in the sink; the other cleans up.
All of this is so that one will offset the extremes of the other one. If we look at differences as a problem rather than as a balance, we will end up arguing a lot. By recognizing the differences as an asset, a couple can become one working unit. That is what God desires.
Unless you have an absolute commitment to make the marriage work, it won't, because when the going gets tough you'll want out."

Great is Thy Faithfulness, by Larry Burkett

I know presently, for people my age including myself, God desires us to enjoy the days of our youth before worrying about something like marriage, but I just love learning about marriage and what kind of mindset to have in preparation for a relationship like that... I stumbled across this passage and thought it was absolutely perfect. So there ya go!


Today and yesterday have just been absolutely wonderful!!!

Yesterday afternoon, I went out to Oak Park in a caravan of about 6 cars w/ Sarah, Andrew, and Natalie Barlow, and then Beth, Kristen, Tricia, Bryant, Morgan, and my brother, Steve. Sarah's siblings, my brother and I did some modeling for the photographer's training shoot and it was just sooooo amazing!! So many people in the photography industry are just wonderful, I don't know if I'll ever want to be disconnected from it! We were out from like 2:30 til 9:30pm...

Afterwards, my brother and I drove out from Oak Park (near the city) all the way to Plainfield for my friend Elora's college graduation party. It was so worth the trip cuz they're basically my other set of siblings/family and I haven't had the chance to spend as much time with them this summer yet. By the end of the night I was just wiped from driving all day...

I slept in this morning until about twenty minutes before I had to leave for church--oops! The service was really good and then the rest of the day was just relaxing and hangin out with my dad. I love him so much!! We have some of the best conversations together and I always learn so much from him. :)

Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend!!!