March 31, 2012


today i'm feeling awfully restless. maybe it's because i was at work for 8 hours. maybe it's because reality has slapped me in the face. most likely though, it's because this past week i got to get away with my boy best friend and spend 4 days up north, in a place we both call home.

every time i come back to southern california after a little getaway trip with T, it takes me a few days to settle back in. the drive back down the 5 is filled with apprehension, knowing that we're about to face real life head on again - school, work, friends, responsibilities, obligations, the never ending list of things to do. it's only been two days, and already i'm on the verge of feeling drained and absolutely beat.

when we got up north late sunday night, we both walked in the house so energized and excited, despite the fact that the clock ticked near 2am. the house was quiet and dark, yet so warm and welcoming. my mom had left us a plate of cookies and a welcome home note on the counter. travis deeply inhaled and said, 'this is one of my favorite smells.' home smells of escape and refreshment. absolutely nothing could dampen our time up there.

we love the rainy days and the wide open spaces. the endless views, whether it's toward the majestic snow-capped sierras or toward the clear sacramento valley. we love being surrounded by family and finding the time to explore different coffee shops and take long drives to see old friends. we love getting away from the traffic, the bad air, the endless noise, and the hectic pace of life.

to be completely honest with you, there's not much about southern california that i love. for a while, i saw it through rose-colored lenses - everyone fantasizes about beautiful socal, don't they? but after living here for three years, i know without a doubt that i could never spend the rest of my life here, or raise a family here. my soul craves quiet and peace, to be surrounded by God's creation. it is the people down here that have made this place feel like home.

to leave our friends and our family down here makes my heart heavy. we've built a community here, and it is a place where i've been given so many opportunities to grow and to explore. i wouldn't trade my relationships down here for anything. but despite the people, my heart still dreads coming back here. last night, i parked my car on the street and walked toward my apartment complex feeling completely unsettled and uneasy. i don't feel safe here. i don't feel like i belong. this place is not my heart's desire. i truly don't believe that it's the place God has for me, for us. it's been a place of learning and growing, changing and stretching, but it is not home. home is where my love is.

home is by his side, wherever that may be. as much as i love northern california, i hate it when he's not there with me. southern california would not be a welcome place for me if it wasn't for him. for the time being, he makes where i am now endurable, because i couldn't imagine a place without him. no matter where the Lord may take us, i know we'll be side-by-side - and that makes any place the place where i should be.

March 22, 2012

engaged: james & amanda (sneak peek)

yesterday i had the wonderful privilege to photograph my best friend and her fiance - and it was such a blast! they did such a splendid job and are clearly so excited about all the future holds for them. i could not be happier! these are the only little sneak peeks i can share for now, but there's more to come...

March 20, 2012

blessed, & we don't deserve it

i've been thinking a lot lately. well, more than usual. thinking about freedom, opportunity, and how stinking blessed we are to live where we do.

maybe it was the KONY 2012 that triggered these thoughts.
maybe it's this summer's mission trip to a religiously oppressed country.
maybe it's just the Holy Spirit nudging me toward something bigger.

my life is average, i'd say. i'm a college student living in a studio apartment dating the man i hope to marry one day and working part-time to get through school. it's not extravagant. it's not lavish. all around me friends are getting engaged, married, are graduating, or are moving away. i'm here, and i plan on staying for a little while still. i'm like every other student who's counting down the days to Spring Break and isn't paying attention in class whatsoever. in fact, as i type, my professor is rambling on about i-don't-know-what.

lately though, i've been hearing a lot about power, about pressing on toward greater things. and i think i've caught that bug. a few weeks ago, pastor Dave spoke on God's power - a characteristic that we all too often ignore. we focus on His love, His grace, His forgiveness and completely miss that He is also all-knowing and all-powerful. maybe it's because we live in a culture that we can control. we wake up expecting to go through our day as we plan it, eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, go to church on Sunday, and fall asleep again under our stable roofs. to us, that's normal. we are raised by our parents, knowing that they will always be there. we take them for granted and become teenagers. we grow up and [grudgingly] go to school every day. we graduate high school and expect to start college. we build relationships, hope to marry one day, and then raise a family of our own. and most importantly, we hope to please God with our lives. but how do we do that? what does that even mean?

i've been going about my day-to-day tasks lately, amazed at how much freedom i have and how much stability my life offers me. in the simplest ways, i am protected. i live in a country where i can expect the police to actually help. i can go to a public restroom and expect a toilet, a sink, and toilet paper. i can drive throughout town expecting that everyone around me follows the same driving rules as i do. i can go to work, knowing that i am protected from my boss and protected by the government through laws and health codes. i'm an American, and i have rights.

it almost sounds silly for me to mention all those seemingly trivial things. you know what? i think it's ignorant not to recognize them. i read a leadership training manual a few days ago where a Kenyan pastor described his perception of American missionaries. it was summed up like this: everyone knows about America. America knows about no one but themselves. it might be a stereotypical generalization, but if you really think about it, it's true. we know that everyone knows about us, and we do life and go on mission trips and travel around expecting that. and we don't care about them. we don't come down to their level.

none of this is meant to guilt us. i don't feel guilty about it all - but it begs the question: why am i here?

i didn't do anything to deserve the family i have.
i didn't do anything to deserve to live in the United States of America.
i didn't do anything to deserve a public education.
i didn't do anything to deserve the friendships and relationships i have.
i didn't do anything to deserve a life in a country that is filthy rich and disgustingly blessed.

yet, the Lord has placed me here - so why?

our generation today is a young generation of movers and shakers who are all pushing on toward greater things. we are a generation with influence and impact. we possess incredible knowledge and have instant access to an ocean of resources. so how do i fit into that?

there is something bigger than all of this. until that's revealed to me, i plan on being faithful in the little things, faithful in the things God has placed in my life right now, opportunities He's given me, and responsibilities He's placed on me.

Jesus was a radical man. He did not live carefully. His life was not contained in a box. and i am called to be like Him - in fact, the Bible tells me that i will do even greater things because He lives in me. do i believe that? do i live life empowered? do i act like i belong to the Almighty? because i do. and so do you.

there is something bigger out there. there's a restlessness inside me, and yet, there is also peace, because i know that my life is in His hands. every day, i pray He would draw us nearer to Him.

March 17, 2012

hello new name...

so i changed the name of this blog to something i finally thought might apply a little bit. i've been brainstorming for a while now and have destroyed sheets of paper jotting down words - words that describe me, the things i love, the things i stand for - and after all that chicken-scratching and doodling, this name, came to me without a single thought. this blog is exactly that, life: the way i see it. through my perspective, my pictures, & my words.

i've wasted hours trying to design a header, but i can't figure it out! if anyone can, please help me. i feel so challenged right now.

i haven't written or posted pictures in quite some time, mostly because during the semester, my #1 priorities are school, work, church, and relationships. unfortunately, that comes at the cost of updating this blog. i've learned valuable lessons though in saying no and setting boundaries. for the moment, i can't make this blog a priority - maybe, one day, it will be. i have so many dreams and plans forming in my heart and in my mind, but for the moment, i have to say 'wait a sec' and do the things that God is putting in my life right now well. who knows when new things will come, or how...but i've firmly decided not to rush anything and do it sloppily.

for now, i'm a college student who is struggling to find the passion to learn. i'm a girl who is extremely lucky in love and is blessed with a wonderful group of strong women. i'm a mission trip leader in the making, a woman who God is molding and shaping every day into what He desires. i'm a sister and a daughter. a girl who loves coffee, her camera, and life's tiny little details. i'm learning to be content with where i am, and yet, i'm always looking forward to the next thing...

March 8, 2012

KONY 2012

i haven't blogged in a good while. over a month actually. not because i haven't had anything to say, but because there's been so much going on that i've been trying my hardest to keep my head above water. good things. but a lot of them.

from my best friend's wedding, which was beautiful and perfect and so refreshing, to my college best friend's engagement one week later, i have now realized that i will not escape wedding fever for the next few years. and in total, i'll have been maid-of-honoring for over a year. it's an honor.

valentine's day came and went (remember that? seems like so long ago), and then a couple of weeks later, it was time to celebrate T's 22nd birthday. i LOVE birthdays. balloons, cake and candles, a surprise party - the whole shebang. it was such a blast celebrating and spoiling him for the whole day. he deserved it. i kid you not, i woke up on his birthday probably more excited than he was. i'm telling you, i love birthdays.

two days after that, we celebrated our first year of dating, and it was such a happy day. i can't believe so much time has passed, and yet, it feels like it flew by. every day God gives us together is another blessing.

between endless exams and class readings, i'm trying to stay afloat and survive til spring break. school is, unfortunately, so not my priority.

there's your brief wrap-up and now we're here today. well wait. backtrack. yesterday. what a day.

yesterday, i spent the whole day in doctor's offices, shuffling paperwork, and making phone calls. health issues are not something i'm used to. and to cap it off, T and i saw the BIG ROCK. you know. the rock? the giant boulder that's slooooowwwly making its way to LACMA? it was actually pretty cool - and we were interviewed by ABC7! our interview didn't make it on the news, but i still did - just in the background, taking pictures, you know, the usual.

yesterday, though, i watched the KONY 2012 video. have you seen it? click the link and watch it.

i was introduced to the invisible children last year, and the first video i saw shook me. the situation is tragic, evil, and must be ended. this year, 2012, IC's campaign is to 'make Kony famous.' he's the International Criminal Court's #1 most wanted. he is the world's worst war criminal. and no one knows about him. he, like the children he abducts, is invisible. this year, he will be made famous. this movement is something powerful and something i fully support. you know why? because outside of the politics and the arguments, there is one simple truth - we are called to be people of compassion, defenders of the weak, and liberators for the oppressed. our role is not to argue with one another just for the sake of being right. just for pride's sake. our life's purpose is so. simple.


sound radical? maybe it is. but that was Jesus' life. radical and filled with love. you can throw all your hesitations and concerns at me about the legitimacy of IC. be hesitant, that's fine. but don't try to sway me. the video states, 'where a child is born should not determine whether they live.' how lucky are we to be here?


no child should be taken from their parents. no child should have to kill their parents, their friends. no child should be denied the choice to live and live well. that's what KONY 2012 is about. children. not politics - politicians and their policies are merely tools. not money - it also, is a tool. not campaigning - posters, stickers, and propaganda are also just tools.

it's about 30,000 children who deserve a chance. and we have the opportunity to give them one. we can at least try.