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 tho...lol) 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 Grill...it 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 family...it 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 anything...shopping 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!