Questioning the process

I have made a vow to myself. Well maybe it is better to call it a reminder? Or a half year resolution? I hate to use such permanent words as promise and vow. If I have learned anything at all in the last few months, it is that there is nothing permanent about this world.

In fact the way we are taught to view the world is completely wrong. We are force fed this idea of processes and steps. One foot in front of the other type of thinking. This is not wrong for everyone, but when from day 1 we are expected to meet certain stepping stones aligned with certain ages.

Walking at 18 months

Preschool at 3

Elementary School

Middle School

High School

College

First Job

Get Married

Have Kids

Move up in your career

etc …

There are sublevels of steps within each of these expected life events. Now there will be variations in this list – obviously. But what if life was not supposed to be lived where we are expected to follow any of this. What if we took it as an adventure, full discovery? What if this is all in the wrong order?

I’m not saying any of this needs to be changed. All I think is that we need to ask ourselves the whys to own our life. If I cannot explain why I am going to college, then why am I going at all?

This is the kind of things we need to be asking ourselves everyday. Why am I eating this food? Why am I watching this TV show? What is all of this doing for me, and what am I gaining from this? Break it all down. Fill in the blank. If we are not actively choosing, we choose to be slaves to an unconscious life.

If you consider the important points of your life, the key moments are made when you pose and answer a question. Marriage, careers, getting healthy. It all starts with questioning your current and future states, and if you are willing to alter it.

So what is that resolution I mentioned in the introduction? It is to ask myself why. To be bold enough to ask it of myself, of others, all day, every day. I know this may be out of the norm to ask of anyone, but that is in fact all it is – out of the social norm. Time to trade in the series of steps and processes, for the messy jumble of questions and see where it takes us.

 

Discovery is the Fall of Fear

So in following up to last week, I have updates. No, mom, I didn’t get a job.

What I got was an outpouring of understanding and affirmation. It is so easy to forget that often times it takes us breaking down and submitting to vulnerability to discover true understanding and find the light. In the words of Rory Gilmore “It’s just like I’m standing on this cliff looking out into this huge foggy abyss”.

Only a few days ago I would have never let myself watch this episode of Gilmore Girls at this point in my life. It is too relatable, and oh so real. Except I was already there, I needed to process to know that these feelings don’t apply to me only, and that 8 years ago they were equally applicable.

It only seems like everyone else has their life together, but even those people feel like me. No one knows what life is going to look like in two weeks, there is no map, there is no wrong answer, no right answer. The days of multiple choice are gone. All we are left is with questions that have an infinite amount of answers, and an infinite amount of context.

I keep dreaming of all the different places I could end up, but the thing is that if I keep dreaming up the places I could end up and feeling let down when those don’t happen, I am going to miss life. Two years ago I had the guts to say no to a dream, and I have been blessed in the many other ways those desires of a life on stage have been satisfied. I never saw that coming. So here I am ready and waiting to see what next thing I am going to be crazy enough to say yes to or no to.

I’m going to choose to thrive in the now, in where I end up, and live a life that is worthy of being a dream, instead of living for a dream with a life passes by. So now it is time to jump into that abyss with full abandon and find out what is at the bottom.

Process & Purpose

April. A time of rebirth, both in beautiful and painful ways. Spring brings both an array of color and life, but also brings deadly tornados and rain. Sometimes the new life leaves a radiant impression, while other times the shadow takes over. This April, I cannot tell you what will remain, the brilliance of new beginnings, or the fear of losing the ground beneath my feet.

Graduation.

I’ve done this once. High school graduation was different though. You walk out and you could not be happier to escape, to find your purpose, to grow. It is the next step that has been drilled into your head since the age of 7. Graduate high school and you make this much money, college and you make this much more, add in a masters and you make even more money. So here I am stuck between college and the next step, but what is it? Have we raised the bar again to the point of requiring another 2-3 years of school, because an accredited degree means nothing? What field will I pursue? Will I continue to grow my depth of knowledge in business, or is there some untapped area of potential that I do not even know about?

This is what I am getting at. I just finished four years diving into the world of marketing and itching to sink my teeth in. I’m at the crossroad and it is time to dive in and decide for myself how I like marketing in the real world.

Except, it is not as easy as it looks.

College is supposed to train you for that step up job, but things have changed since 2007. It makes me question what in the world I spent the last 4 years of my life doing. My heart sinks.

So I look to masters programs. Except, I don’t even know if I want to travel down the business road, because what if I don’t like it? I do not know if I need to change fields, let alone, if I want an MBA you need…1-2 years of work experience.

This cyclical path that post grads are on is torture. It is painful. It is like those questions in elementary school problem solving: “If the frog leaps 13 ft forward and 11 ft back, then 2 ft forward, and another 3 ft back, how far has the frog traveled?” 1 foot. I feel like I am walking in a world of molasses, slow and sticky.

I am not saying that I do not have hope, because searching for a job is a full time job, and I am a full time student currently. The process, so far, has been disheartening in comparison to my friends who walked into senior year with a job.

Yet, I keep finding myself coming back to peace. Every time I think of freaking out, of having a melt down out of fear, I find faith. I have made it 22 years thus far being successful when I hand over myself to the Lord. So maybe it is time to change my measure of success. It is time to stop limiting God. There is a peace about this process, that unfortunately gets taken for laziness by most. It is not that I am not trying, it is that I am waiting.

I think the issue I keep battling is not the fact that I do not have a job yet, or that my four years of college debt needs to be paid. The issue is that there are all these people pressuring their own concept of success on me. Expectations of security and happiness.

So I felt called to redefine success. This is what I landed on:

Success is to seek fulfillment. The only way to be fulfilled is to be satisfied that it is not possible in the broken world.

Cyclical isn’t it? But that is the point. It all is cyclical. The system is broken, because we are broken humans. To end the circle I will instead choose to withdraw my focus from the process to the purpose.

Golden Hour = Gorgeous

I had the privilege of getting to take pictures of three gorgeous couples a week ago and these final shots are just swoon. There’s also some portrait shots closer to the bottom, enjoy!

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PhotobyJoy.wkshp (380 of 442)Emily is so stinking cute in these shots! Key thing was making sure she was having fun, because if it is not fun for the model you can’t get shots like these!PhotobyJoy.wkshp (256 of 442)PhotobyJoy.wkshp (250 of 442)

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So here we are, already in April.

How are my goals going? Well it was a hard month. I had to forgive myself a lot, but in the end here I am, still alive.

I may have had to ease off the workouts when I got killer blisters on my heels – darn you cute shoes.

Spring break may have beaten the will for healthy food out of me with a LOT of Mexican food.

I did stress a lot because post spring break brings a new wave of emotion and terror for what life will look like on May 14th.

BUT…

I’m here. I’m still willing to work. To be disciplined. To try. I forgave myself for a lot this month. I am back on top again though. I springboarded this Monday with homework finished, a good breakfast, a good workout, and free mental space to jump in and help others. Meal prep on Saturday gave me free time away from cooking and dishes to invest in projects and people.

So here I am on day 3 of April, and I started my next goal. Now that I have the discipline of spiritual health and physical health, it is time to add in creative health. If you hadn’t seen my instagrams, I am venturing into this month with Creative Sprint. 30 days of pushing your brain to think outside the lines, to tap into that childlike imagination and be able to apply it to adult problems.

So here we go. I am praying for continued grace this month.

 

Dallas with New Eyes

So one of my favorite intentional friendships is with my friend Mandy. It is purposeful and just so rich. This week I took her to my favorite places in Dallas. The problem…she has not had a good experience in Dallas. SO it was time for me to remedy that by going to my favorite places starting with Bishop Arts!

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Odfellows is the BOMB. We both had never tried Chemex or Pour Over so for the heck of it we got one of each and tried two different beans that were just heavenly. I think we spent two hours here without even ordering ay food, and I swear they thought we were probably crazy for not getting any food at all. IMG_8889IMG_8905

Mandy is getting married this summer, so in order to get her ready to get bridals taken, we had an impromptu shoot. Once she was warmed up we got some fun shots! We’ll keep working though.

I was truly moved by the shot below. This mural went up sometime last summer when I was in Washington D.C. and when we stumbled on it, there was something just stunning about the way Mandy approached this mural. She was so respectful and reflective in her approach. Paired with the crumbling foundation and the juxtaposition of the color this shot feels just so hopeful.

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Of course we could not pass the opportunity to buy a piece of pie 😉

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After Bishop Arts we moved to a driving tour of downtown that took us to Royal Blue Grocers and Highland Park Village.

This wall of vines was perfect for some shots, so we decided to take some updated shots for our linkedin’s ha.

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Of course the architecture of the window was so gorgeous I could not pass up some shots of it alone.

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All in all the day was fun and it was so refreshing to see Dallas with new eyes again going to all my favorite places, but this time with a friend to share the memories with.

A garden like no other

One of my bucket list items is to visit the tulip festival in Holland. Tulips are not necessarily my favorite flower, but there is something just incredible about seeing a field full of colorful tulips sprouting from the ground.

Well I got one step closer to experiencing that with a recent visit to Texas Tulips. It is about a 30 minute drive North of Dallas, and totally worth it.

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Flowers are my love language for sure.

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The range of colors are gorgeous, and look at those leaves! They leaves themselves are gorgeous in itself.

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Each stem is $3 and you get to pick them straight from the ground and feel like you are Eliza Doolittle and her basket of flowers.

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I am definitely coming back. Why not make the casual tulip you could buy at the grocer store more of an exciting experience.