27 April, 2011


I started this post a few days ago and let it slip, but I've decide to go ahead and post it.

What Easter Means to Me:

An empty cross, a barren tomb.
What once was no longer is.
Shattered dreams, relinquished promises
Things not yet understood remain.

Hope. New Hope. Better Hope. Complete Hope.
Resplendent dreams, Ultimate Promises.
Renewed Life. A New Creation.
Not just remade, but made new.

What once was sorrow is now joy.
No longer scared but empowered.
It was all true, and still carries on.

He defeated death to give me life.
I have nothing to offer but humility.
Careful obedience of a life in one direction.
I am alive because he first died to save me.

I sense Easter in a different way this year. I am coming off of three years of almost dead faith. Even before Rwanda I was hollow and sad. The walls keeping me from God too tall for me to even see. They blended into the landscape, they had become permanent to me.

But God does not leave us. It is the one constant I always have - I am never alone.

I am walking back, coming home. I will not bow like the prodigal son, though I do not deserve the fatten calf any more than he did. I am embraced and held by a Father who loves me, who whispered truth to me in my time away, who managed to beat down the wall that kept us apart, and give me instead a place of safety, intimacy and rest.

I am a new creation - new! Not just cleaned up, or rebuilt, or fixed-up, but new. It's an amazing gift, a life-sustaining promise, one I am just starting to understand.

So what does Easter mean to me? Everything.

20 April, 2011

Dreams and Goals

What is the difference between a dream and a goal?

Dictionary.com defines them as follows:

Dream: noun. an aspiration; goal; aim; a wild or vain fancy; something of an unreal beauty, charm, or excellence.

Goal: noun. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

One is fanciful, the other an achievement.

We tell our kids to pursue their dreams, but what if those only become tangible when they become goals?

To perform on Broadway is a dream. Taking ballet, dance, singing lessons, performing everywhere you can, acting in community theater, applying at Juilliard - those are goals.

Maybe it's not that dreams are unattainable, but we can't always keep our focus on them. We have to look to our goals, the steps we will take to get where we want to go.

I had a discussion with someone this weekend to that effect. Where do I want to be in ten years? This is sometimes referred to as "the sweet spot," when you are doing something that gives you bliss.

Identify your sweet spot and then set markers to get there. Invest in education, get your name out there, build your blog readership, read everything you can, get a mentor... All of those build up to what you really want to do.

I am honing in on my list. Narrowing down to my sweet spot. It's ok to have more than one passion, more than one thing I long to pursue. Someday my writing, photography, drive towards ending injustice and education will mold into something quite lovely. For now, they are being developed separately so they can be used together to do something bold.

My dream is to have an impact and to make a difference through awareness, education and advocacy.

The goals are the journey that lead to something only we were made for. 

What are your dreams and goals?

19 April, 2011


DC - Cathedral TG, originally uploaded by mana1024.
This is one of my favorite pictures ever. It was Thanksgiving, and I took this picture from the roof of my apartment building. I love fall in DC. It's days like this I am nostalgic and ready to be back in the city I love.

It took a lot for me to move there. I went with an internship and a place to live. But God was with me. Within a week I had a paid job and fell in with a group of friends. It was incredible.

Each day to the day I got on the airplane was a challenge, full of preparation. I bought a one-way ticket, unsure when (if) I would return to CO. It was faith - and so is this transition.

It's a good thing to remember when all that I have to do overwhelms me. But it's coming... Slowly - it's coming.

18 April, 2011


In case you hadn't noticed, things look a bit different today.

There is a page for my photography and the freelance services I can provide. They are both a work in progress, but they are there. Oh, and you can learn more about me

I am working with Imagekind and hope to have a site set up by the weekend for you to buy my prints.  

I am focusing this week on a business plan, which will help me know how to move things a bit more. It is coming together - and to be honest, this is all I can really think/talk about! 

Small steps in a good direction. 

In May I am going to be selling my photos at a craft fair. This was successful in the fall when I had prints and card sets with my photos from Cambodia and Rwanda. I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas of things they would like to see? A journal maybe? April is a bit late to do a calendar...

Any ideas for the craft fair? 

15 April, 2011

Listen to Your Heart

PaperNStitch (one of my favorite blogs!) reposted some sage advice from Mayi Carles on how to run a Successful Online Shop.

I love some of Mayi's advice. It is really encouraging me right now:

1. Listen to the little voice inside your heart. Yep, I typed that correctly. I didn’t mean head, but heart. Be aware about your feelings + ask yourselves the hard existential questions “Am I happy, really happy doing what I’m doing?”, “Am I doing what I was destined to do?. The rush of the everyday tends to dilute our emotions. Tip: Don’t be an android + don’t be afraid to feel + listen to your heart. I promise it will take you far when you embrace it.
2. Be a real person. Doing business online can sometimes feel a little cold, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Allow your customers to “see you”. Put a picture of you in your profile + write a heartfelt about page + tell your story. Allow your customers to easily identify with you, the person, not the shop, but actually I real skin + bones + heart pumping human being.
4. Take yourself seriously. Get yourself an office space + buy the best supplies you can + hire a professional to help you do what you can’t + seek help + open an online shop. Don’t wait for your big break. Don’t wait for anyone to approve of your less than common career path. Don’t wait until Oprah invites you on her show to take yourself seriously. Give it all you’ve got! Turn off the “I’ll do that when I’m rich” mentality. Tip: take yourself seriously + have the gut to make the important decisions your business needs to grow. (site)

Too often we hold ourselves back from even trying, or when we do, we try to force ourselves into a cookie-cutter mold that isn't us - and isn't why we went into business.

Mayi also posted this helpful worksheet for figuring out what you are amazing at! I am using it in my quest to narrow down a start-up right now.


"...I'd leave my apartment--after a hot shower, a cup of oatmeal, and a good cry--
and catch the campus shuttle to school. Then I'd find myself alone on the stairwell again. 
Rinse and repeat." 

That was Jasmine Star talking about her days in law school. She's sit there not because it was challenging, but because it wasn't where her heart was.

"People often assume the risk I took to start my business was not returning to law school. 
But that's far from the truth.

 I would have taken a larger risk staying in law school knowing just how unhappy I was.

Sometimes we risk our dreams for safety and comfort, 
but I was ready to risk safety and comfort for my dreams."

Fear - the thing that tells us we can't. We can't pursue what we want. We will never be as successful as _____.

I can relate to the idea that the greater risk is staying where you are unhappy. It is a greater risk in the long run to stifle that voice in us that speaks quietly, pushing us to do something else with our lives.

All of us are made intrinsically with gifts and talents. Some are more obvious than others. But when we are willing enough to stop and listen and bold enough to act - that is when we see joy and fulfillment in careers and life. Then it is not, "this is what I do..." But, "this is who I AM."

I am on that road, the road of trying to be quiet and still enough to figure out what my dream is. Once it's identified I will be ready to run towards it with all I have.

Maybe in a few years time I will be able to echo Jasmine's sentiment:

"Today whenever I eat a PB&J on wheat, I am reminded of my solitude in the stairwell, 
 knowing life will always be filled with risk...

it's simply a matter of choosing which one you'll take."

What risk are you being asked to take?

14 April, 2011

Getting Started

Hmmmmmmm. Where to start.

With the end date of my job getting closer and closer I am a bit perplexed as to how to break into things. I have read the following advice on numerous sites:

  • Network with other blogs
  • Get exposure on Facebook 
  • Develop a Theme 

This transition has been in the back of my mind for months and now to be starting out. I know it will take time, I know nothing happens over night. I am ready for the uphill battle, but the first steps are always the hardest.

In an effort to not freak out too much at the idea of no income, I applied to several places today for virtual work. This might be an even harder than the business world to break into because it's all over the computer. It is hard to cold-email someone and, with very little tangible "virtual" experience, though, my boss travels A LOT and so I know how to manage someone from a distance. 

It comes slowly. 

My friend told me that my job is to find a job, and that I will probably work harder in the coming months than I have in the last year. But it is exciting to be pursuing something you love. I hope in the coming days the idea will become clearer and I can move in a more confident direction. Right now it just kind of feels like throwing spaghetti on the wall.

Any advice you all would like to share? 

13 April, 2011

New Ventures

A new day is dawning, and I am so excited you are going to be here with me...

I am branching out and pursuing the freelancing/contractor world. Right now it all feels very unsure. I am narrowing down the list of what would be best for me to pursue.

I will document this on the blog, along with links to other blogs and resources that catch my eyes. I will continue to post photos, and let you know what is going on.

The question of purpose looms before me (as it does for many of us!). What we are good at might not be what is best for us to pursue. But one day at a time.

As I get to know myself better I hope to figure out more what I can do to truly have an impact and come alongside others.

How did you figure out what you were supposed to do?