Road Tripped Photography

What a whirlwind these past 3.5 years has been at GCU! I can’t believe it is already over. The past few years are nothing less than a complete testimony to God’s faithfulness in my life and those around me. Thank you to everyone who has completely supported me throughout this time and have helped me become a faithful servant.

 

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Collegiate

Well, graduation is a week away. When they say time flies when you’re having fun….I didn’t believe it until I got to college. The joyous evenings of laughter with the roommates, all-nighters with some girls down the hall and thousands of minutes of laughter all contained into one moment when I walk across that stage.

This season of life has not been without it’s difficulties. Both of my parents got remarried along with my two older sisters. One of my freshman roommates passed away due to cancer. I struggled with serious anxiety and depression. Juggling, at most, 3 jobs at a time in the midst of scholarship commitments, classes and a social life.

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Road Tripped Photography

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This hidden gem of a location is hidden between the busy streets of downtown Gilbert. Agritopia is a beautiful location for simple walks and a healthy locally grown lunch. This urban farm grows their food all locally and everyone living in this neighborhood has their own little place to grow their own fruits and veggies. The 15 acre plot of land is overflowing with beautiful flora and trees at each direction with grape vines lining the way.

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CollegiateCreation

My life is pretty chaotic. How do I know? It’s not my schedule, although that is busy. And it’s not the length of my to do list. It was the status of my email accounts. Cluttered and filled with chaos and ugliness.

I realized my life was inundated with all of this….well for lack of a better term, crap.

Thousands of emails get passed through my 5 email addresses…yes, 5 emails, on a weekly basis. Subscriptions to things that I didn’t need, want, or care about. I’m pretty sure I dinged their “open-rate” on a wide-scale (did you know they can track that stuff??).

I looked at my inbox and realized what a mess it was. So I started, day by day organizing my work email. And then my Gmail accounts. And then my Yahoo accounts. Once I started doing this, I realized it helped compartmentalize my life into tabs, folders and categories.

How much more can we do with our lives with tiny adjustments, tiny refreshes, to help us clean up our brains, our lives and help us not go crazy with this attack of information?

Without further ado, here is my top 5 ways to refresh your new year!

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Creation

Paris was an atrocity.

I know. My heart breaks into a thousand pieces every time there is a new headline listing that someone else had died or the first hand testimony of someone who was there. It is heartbreaking.

I see what is happening in Syria. My heart shatters even more (I didn’t know that was possible). You do know that has been going on for years?!? But it’s becoming so terrible that it’s now getting some resounding coverage by the media. People are calling for all sorts of change.

Change of political status- posting to Facebook won’t do that

Changing of the allowance of refugees- posting to Facebook also will not do that.

Even a change of media coverage- Media coverage is ignited by the demand of the audience. What are we demanding? We demanded Paris, so we got it.

I scroll through my Facebook and I see people’s Facebook picture tinted to a familiar Blue, White and Red flag showing solidarity.

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Creation

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I agree that men and women both face an inequality when it comes to many different issues. I believe that both men and women have growing room when it comes to who they are and how they identify themselves. It’s easy to argue this. And it’s easy to point fingers and blame the destruction on societies problems based on how a girl dresses, or the “natural” tendencies of a man.

However, it’s a different situation when a woman feels unsafe, just because of the fact that she is…..well a she.

Lately there has been a lot of circling around about street harassment. Whether or not it is a valid form of harassment, and the allowance that falls under freedom of speech, and to just ignore them because it’s just words.

But what about when cars will pace your car to get your attention? Or calling you “baby” to make themselves feel a certain amount of dominion over you?

You’re willing to break the law and speed up, praying to God that they don’t follow you. Or you can box yourself in between cars so they don’t get a good enough look at your face.

“Hey, baby. Look over here and smile. Just a smile for me. Come on baby”

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Basic
Creation

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Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Uggs. Diet Coke. Selfies. Sororities. Yoga Pants.

Did you know that the slang for “Basic” is now in the dictionary? It reads:
“a person, especially a female, who is boringly predictable or unoriginal.”

I don’t like that definition. I don’t like that at all.

The type of self-deprecation that comes with calling yourself basic, is really astounding. I’ve talked to some friends who describe themselves as “accepting themselves as ‘basic’”. I want to point them to this definition. Do they really see themselves as boringly predictable and unoriginal? Or are they trying to beat society to the punch by claiming that stereotype for themselves so they can’t be embarrassed when culture puts it on them?

Where is this claim to shame coming from? The things I listed above aren’t necessarily boring or predictable. They’re indulgent and self-gratifying.

Are calling indulgence and consumerism by the name of ‘basic’ now?

If that is the case, then why are we, as women, proudly claiming this as an identity? Or rather, why are we throwing this identity onto other women?

To add a bigger insult onto this shame based name calling, we are throwing out derogatory terms such as b**** onto the end of this stereotype. Basic b****. Really ladies? Is this the term we are so willing to put on ourselves and each other? C’mon. I know we can do better.

When did creativity something to be stifled? Are we too fearful in creating creative chaos into the already chaotic world? Or are we fearful of delving deeper into the uniqueness that we are made in trepidation of knowing what we will find. Instead we squish ourselves into this cookie cutter mold that the world has created and that we put ourselves into. We accept these degrading titles. We allow ourselves to be titled and our individuality to be suppressed.

We are striving to become more accepting of the uniqueness that God is putting in our character not shoving ourselves into a mold and degrading titles. I believe every person is unique. Totally and completely unique in their being.

When you’re calling yourself basic, you are calling yourself unoriginal. stereotypical. Let me tell you this to all those who proudly wear the badge of basic;
You are not a stereotype. You are original. You are unique. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are the furthest thing from basic. You are one and only. You are an individual. You are different in the best sense!

We all are and that’s what makes each individual special.

You’re not basic. You are freaking amazing!

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Creation

“I don’t want to adult.”

This common phrase is echoing through social media sphere on our rebellion to the  harsh realities of adulthood. Bills, working a job, finishing classes, dealing with cars, roommates and the beloved rush hour traffic. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to adult.

The other day, this phrase got me thinking. I would never change this time in my life for anything else. Yes, there are bills to pay and hours to work. But I realized that becoming an adult isn’t as scary as we make it to be.

It would be great to go back to the times of mid-afternoon naps after snack time where we get to craft all day and sing silly songs. But my childhood was also filled with things of child-like proportions.

I would not go back to the times where gossip broke someones spirit. Or the times where I was a terrible friend to some people I loved. Where things that seemed important, became petty and useless. Where childish ambition, didn’t stretch far beyond the walls of school.

I have learned to be a better friend to the people around me. I have learned to tame my tongue and to stop gossip in it’s tracks. I learned where my identity comes from and why that matters. I learned that even nap times can happen as an adult, you just have to make time for them.

With all that in mind, I kind of “want to adult” because I would not go back to the immaturity that once was. Beyond the bills and the stresses of adulthood, I cherish the richer friendships I now have and the choice to choose for myself to be who I want to be.

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coffee_table
Faith

Can you hear that? No? Neither can I. The whispers of life outside my window tease me to what I can be missing out on. The clacks of flipflops on the pavement tell stories of running late for church and rushed walking to the coffee shop.

The silence is almost haunting, but yet so beautifully peaceful. The only clicks and clacks from my little apartment are the sounds of my coffee pot, turning on and reheating the freshly aromatic drink that greets my lips every morning.

I sit here in utter peace about life, not in a rush to get from A to B. Not distracted by the glaring messages on my phone or by the hum of a television (we actually don’t have one of those). But instead, I am immersed by the words of a fellow writer, filling up the pages with black ink and experiences. I drink sips of my coffee whilst balancing it on my knee trying not to spill as I highlight the words that speak to me most out of the book. I look at the clock with time to spare before I need to push the start button on my day.

When’s the last time you had a morning like this?

My mornings are usually filled with hitting the snooze button 3….okay 5, times. Throwing my mess of hair back in a bun and slipping on whatever clothes are not dirty and still hanging up in my closet. Running out the door in a huff, spilling searing hot coffee down my hand as I rush to get to the bus stop to catch the shuttle to work. *SIGH*

We need more mornings to be like the former. We need our mornings to be given the acknowledgement that they deserve, a gift from God of a clean slate and a fresh start. The birds that wake us up should not be a nuisance, but rather a reminder of the God who gave them the voice to sing. We need to ease our way into our days, not because it will make the wear and tear of the day not happen, but it’s good for our souls. It’s good to be awaken peacefully and immersing ourselves with things that will give us the inspiration and maybe will soften the blow of what they day has in store.

“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11

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Creation

My original post was about taming our fingers when it comes to online posting. We instantly become cowardly when it comes to posting online and we become bullies. We are unable to effectively communicate our feelings when it comes to our opinions. And instead of attacking an argument coherently, we end up attacking the person and driving a wedge between you and them.

I have two examples of how online commenting looked negatively against a person or group and how it can be done to lift people up rather than creating divides.

Both of these stories lead to a matter of inspiration and conviction of how we are able to communicate on the internet, how our words have weight, and how we need to be careful on how we communicate with others; in person, in a comment, or in a passive aggressive post designed for no other reason but to stir the pot of anger in someone else.

 

 

Shoes

I have a friend with the purest of hearts. She will do anything to make sure that those she loves feel that she loves them. She recently saw brand new shoes scattered across the freeway which caused traffic to slow and swerve around the blocked lanes. She had pulled over, got out, and started collecting these shoes to give to families that can’t afford shoes of their own. This got the attention of news stations and the pictures of them gathering shoes in the middle of the freeway went viral. Now. Dangerous? Maybe a little bit. But as soon as this story got posted, people were all over with comments. Mean, degrading comments that came from not knowing the whole story. Some of them were for concern for their safety, however most of them were saying how cheap they were needing to get shoes off the freeway. Or something to the affect of “Why am I not surprised that these are white girls.” There was name calling, accusations, and harsh things being said about my beloved friend. most people didn’t get the memo that these shoes were for families in need, and yet the comments still went on to say nasty words towards these girls. Most of these comments were ignored and provided a good laugh for those who knew the reason why they were running out into traffic. But I was shocked at how much people will say about something they know so little about.

 

A Phone Number

When the legalization of gay marriage went through, social media was bombarded with ugliness. I avoided going online because just scrolling through my news feed caused me hurt and anguish on reading all the ugly things that were being said (from both sides). Ugliness. Harsh bullying. Slams on people’s choices and beliefs. This caused hurt and pain and even more division. I had another friend take a stand when these comments turned negative. She offered up her phone number so that words did not get mixed between tone and implication thrown in with the impersonal assertion of one’s faith that internet communication brings. She brought up the encouragement of anyone who wanted to talk about faith and how Christ has changed her life, to give her a call and they would meet to talk about it in person.

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