Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

Yesterday was my birthday – I am 27.  I figured it would be a good time to ponder a bit both about this past year as well as the one ahead of me.

This past year has been pretty incredible.

Sean and I have done some amazing stuff.


-We went to Hawaii with friends on the vacation of a lifetime – it’s not uncommon for us to turn to each other and say “man, we need to go to Hawaii”. I was always resistant to Hawaii vacations, as I am to anything that seems even vaguely cliche…but man, what a time it was.



-We completed our first Olympic-length triathlon.

It hurt, but was totally worth it.

santa cruz tri


-We went to Ethiopia on a medical missions trip. This trip was my first foray into Africa and way out of my comfort zone. It has brought up a lot of questions about who I am and what I want to do with my life. Questions I’m still wrestling with, and probably will be for many years to come.



-My sister Anya and I traveled to Chicago and St. Louis to visit friends over Thanksgiving – an intense weekend of much needed sister and friend time. My love for the midwest has not waned.

st. louis


-December and January found Sean and I in San Diego for Christmas and Las Vegas for New Years. The Las Vegas strip New Years experience was decidedly more pleasant than I was anticipating.



-Sean and I moved yet again, into an adorable duplex with lots of storage space. We’re still working on home-ifying it, but it’s slowly coming together.


-We visited Denver – a city I’d never been to before. Plus, we got to explore an abandoned mining town, which was a super cool experience.



-Spring marked the start of wedding season – I booked 10 weddings this year. A decent amount for only my second year of being a professional photographer.



-We made another dent in our plan to bike the entire west coast by biking from Monterey to San Luis Obispo. 140 miles over 4 days – best bike trip to date!



-In May Sean and I kicked butt at a sprint tri in Moragn Hill – I beat my previous time by a full half hour!



-Sean and I traveled to Houston to visit Anya and co., and even made a trip to New Orleans. I LOVED NOLA and hope to return there again some day.



-July found us gathering with my whole family in San Diego for my grandpa’s 87th birthday. It just now dawns on me that he’s almost exactly 60 years older than me.




Man, we did a lot of traveling –

I didn’t even realize how much it was until I wrote it out!

…So now what?

Well, here’s a bit of what I’m hoping for / planning on for this next year:

-Another full length tri: I want to beat my time on the Santa Cruz tri!

-Complete a half-marathon

-Visit Tahoe

-Visit Boise

-Book more weddings! (I’d love 20…)

-Bike San Luis Obispo to Mexico! 400 miles of glorious California coast :0)

-Complete a full-size stained glass window

-Start painting again!

-FINALLY visit Russia with my hubby :0)

-I really want to start volunteering in some capacity

….and I guess we’ll just see what lies in store!


Read Full Post »

When I think of summer, I think of St. Louis. It’s true of winter, too….I guess because we don’t have “real seasons” in that way in California. I think of the smell of sunscreen, the overwhelming humidity and the pounding heat, the lush green trees and the unexpected thunderstorms. Here in Houston, I find it’s similar – that feeling of summery-ness. I put on a shirt today that I’ve had since high school, since those days of cornerstone and missions trips with youth group and it made me so nostalgic. For swimming in rivers and lounging on beaches, days spent doing nothing but waiting for the cool of evening, splashing in the random downpours and picnics in the park.

It’s funny, how things like that don’t seem the same to me if the space looks different. We went to a beach here in Houston that was decidedly not a Pacific Beach. It had something about it that i can’t quite pinpoint – the sand was different, the grass was different, the light was different – that made it look definitively like a midwest beach (like the beaches on the great lakes) or even an East Coast beach, but absolutely not a West Coast beach. Suddenly, it was nostalgic, and I could enjoy it more than I can enjoy California beaches. It’s a flaw in my system, I think.

At any rate, summer is here, and it is also in San Jose. Whether the nostalgia is there or not. So when I get back, I’m gonna get in that summer – I’m going to splash in it and bike in it and run in it and get that summer all over me. And it’ll be some good times :0).








Read Full Post »


What I loved most about “the old place” were the windows. Huge windows which opened up unto views of rooftops and trees. Our street is lined with the big, leafy trees and adorable freshly-painted stucco houses built in the 20s. Every single one has some sort of gorgeous flowers growing in the front – a fluffy white arch of jasmine over the entry, a beautiful pink tulip tree bending under the weight of it’s enormous blooms, or even a carpet of wild lemon grass with its simple happy yellow. I loved our street. This particular day was the last day I could rightfully call it “our street”, as we tossed the last remaining dregs of “random uncategorizable stuff” into unlabeled boxes. The winter (otherwise known as “lots of rain” in these parts) had finally arrived and it was my favorite kind of weather: miserable and unpredictable and heavy. Of course, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”  was blasting.

I was standing there, looking out the window as the clouds shifted to cover an unexpected ray of sun and it once again began to pour, and I had one of those poignant moments. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of moment you think “man, I really have to write this down” (if you happen to be of the writing sort) but you don’t know what to say about it.  So I was looking out the window, and of course the song “time” started to play. The one about how life goes so fast, and we’re all just sleeping and walking when we should be running like hell. And then, icing on the cake, Sean came up to me and hugged me, and we were both just standing there looking out the window. For the grand finale, the song reached its crescendo: it started to hail, I started to cry.

I was just thinking that the life Seany and I are making….well, it’s not perfect, but its a pretty good start. It’s that combination of recognizing that things, for that moment, for you, are really quite good, and the terror that one day it might NOT be good and it would be too late to change anything. I’ve lived with this fear for as long as I can remember – the fear of the roads untraveled, the races un-run, the mistakes made and the ones that weren’t, the overwhelming amount of what-ifs and what-thens.  I live my life half asleep because I can’t bear it, and then I have these moments of being completely alert and awake and thinking of all the time I’ve wasted. But what was crazy about this particular moment, was that I didn’t think I had wasted a whole lot of it. I thought “by the grace of God, we’ve done alright so far. I have no regrets. ”

And so, we moved, and life goes on. I like moving, because of the poignant moments and the fresh starts. Hopefully, it will just keep getting better, and maybe one day I can be fully awake all the time, and it won’t be so terrifying and overwhelming. Maybe I’ll figure out how to balance it.

rainy rooftops

Read Full Post »

On the very last day of our trip, we decided not to do anything spectacular. We woke up, packed, checked out of the hotel, turned in the underwater camera. Then we went back to the lovely breakfast place we tried the day before. This time we got brunch (fish tacos) and fresh squeezed orange juice and our last fresh Kona coffee.


Last Kona Coffee

We sat outside, and the weather was perfect, and we looked out at the water. There was a guy with a ukelele (no joke) singing peacefully right in front of us, and it was all downright lovely. We reflected on the trip, and decided we’d come back again in a heartbeat. What a wonderful, peaceful place.

We also spent a bit of time reading about the iron man triathlon which happens in Kona every year. For those not in the know, the Iron Man is a triathlon made up of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run.  The original iron man triathlon happened there 30ish years ago, and that was the birth of not only the iron man, but the whole triathlon sport. I have to admit, we got a bit of a glint in our eyes as we pondered the possibility of one day tackling that feat.

And after breakfast, there was a rooster in a parking lot


And then we got on a plane :0)



I have to say that all of my negative assumptions about Hawaii were pretty much wrong. I had assumed that all of it was boring and touristy and yuppie. Perhaps that is the case on some of the other islands, but Kona was really quite a treat. There was so much to explore, and do, and yet you didn’t feel guilty just taking a day to relax and sip mai tais and watch the sunset. All in all, a very successful vacation :0)

Read Full Post »

…I can feel it leanin in, whisperin ”

– Songs: Ohia

If you’ve been following my art blog, you may have noted that it has been raining here. A lot. I would venture to say that the majority of March has been soaked, drenched, covered over and washed away by rain. In coastal California (at least, Central to Southern Coastal California) this is unusual. Here in San Jose, we get our rains usually between November and February, and very rarely in such vast quantities.

I love rain. I love the way it sounds, the way it smells, the way it makes all of the colors rich. I love to make my tea, prop my slippered feet on the window sill and watch the birds hunker down into their feathers and twitch and shake the water off their backs. I  like the motion of water falling from the sky, I like the change of the seasons. I like the anticipation of the rain stopping, eventually, and how green everything will be. It is a good time to ponder and reflect.


I can feel a new season in my life starting. Being married, and self-employed. Trying to figured out how to be productive when there’s nothing governing my days but me and my own will. I get out of bed, usually later than I should. I shuffle about, making tea, reading the latest blogs, checking my email, seeing whats going on in the world. I look over my schedule (which I have written for my self in a vain attempt to…well…have a schedule.) I have Juniper Spring work for four hours. Then a break for lunch. Then a trip to the ymca, a shower, artwork or housework or more Juniper Spring work, depending on the day. It’s quite nice, if I can manage not to spend hours on end staring into space or wandering about aimlessly on the internet. I’ve never been particularly good at self-control…as it relates to anything, really. Time, food, tv, money. It’s not a strong suit. So I am having to learn self-control in all of those areas, because no one else is going to do it for me. I think I might be getting better…but I am not sure. At least these past few weeks have been fruitful. In March I have 4 engagement shoots and two weddings. So at least that keeps me motivated and inspired. I’ve been taking pictures every day, and knitting. But as always, it’s the balance that’s the issue, and other things fall the by the wayside. Laundry needs to be done, dishes need to be washed, unpacking needs to be finished.  And that trip to the YMCA…well, it’s been planned for days and has yet to happen.

And then there’s the ever-nagging question. Is this -IT- ? The thing I am meant to be doing with my life, with my time? Don’t get me wrong, I love my “job ” (in quotes, because it rarely feels like work) and my freedom, and my husband, and the ability to live in comfort and make things. This is a beautiful thing. I am truly BLESSED.  But I want to know, is it -THE- thing? Am I blessing others? Am I on the right track? On the right path? More specifically, have I been following my own dreams and drives, or have I been seeking after God’s plans for me? Is there any way to know?

I guess I’ll just keep going until I get some direction one way or the other.


Read Full Post »

There’s a strange thing that happens to me at church. One minute, I’ll be paying rapt attention (mind you, this usually only lasts for one minute), and the next I’m feeling an overwhelming desire to make something. Usually it’s stained glass (there’s not much mystery in that – my church is a hundred year old brick building with simple but beautiful stained glass – muted yellows which filter the morning sun). I just want to do it, make it, be around it, consume it. I get fidgety. I have a hard time sitting still. Ideas come, right after another, fleeting, unhindered but undeveloped. They don’t come out of me, but through me, like a sudden gust of wind through a barely opened door. I don’t usually have a pen and paper to write them down – I don’t usually think of writing them. I can’t imagine ever forgetting them, or ever losing that desire, the hunger, the thirst to create.

By the time the sermon’s over, and the music has stopped, and the greetings and smilings and windy mountain roads have passed…the feeling, too, is gone. “I turned to look, but it was gone, I cannot put my finger on it now, the child has grown, the dream is gone”*. The rest of the day is usually filled with the requisite chores and errands, visits with family, the occasional blessed hike out in the forest. All good things; valuable, necessary things. But it’s not the same as that high that I felt before.

I think one of my major difficulties in finding a rhythm and a balance to my life is this…happening. It is not only in church when it occurs – sometimes all it takes is a beautiful Victorian house (there are a lot in our new neighborhood – original leaded glass and everything), or a mesmerizing photo, or a line of words woven together so perfectly and seamlessly that you would think the entire line was one word that could describe everything. Then it comes, the inspiration, the rushing in my ears, the wanting to runrunrun. The hunger – is an apt description, as I want to not only create “it”, but want to also consume it, devour it, become one with it. This beauty. What stops me?

Well, I don’t know where to run. I don’t know what to do. The ideas are so unformed, and to form them would take time, and discipline, and effort – it would take the ability to slow down the rushing sound in my ears and my beating heart and the nearly painful desire long enough to listen. Long enough to hear, instead of a cacophony of noise a melody, a single uniform concept. I don’t have this ability, or rather, I’ve never take the time to hone it. Inspiration is a high, but a painful one when you have no idea in mind and nothing to busy yourself with. It’s like a caffeine buzz in the middle of a slow and boring lecture – you yearn to jump up, out of your skin – “I’ve got wide, staring eyes, I’ve got a strong urge to FLY!  ….but I’ve got nowhere to fly to”*

So you see, it’s so much easier – to watch TV and check up on facebook, play mindless games and wander aimlessly about the house. Dull the senses, mute the noise, until it’s nothing but an uncomfortable buzzing in your ears.

Well. No more. I’ve got a strong urge to fly now, and I’m gonna figure out where I’m going.



*quotes by Pink Floyd from the epic “The Wall”.

PS: My art blog: http://lizardartworks.wordpress.com

PPS: My professional photography blog: http://juniperspringphotography.wordpress.com

Read Full Post »

…so hush, little baby, don’t you cry.

I’ve been hibernating. Which is hard to do when it’s gorgeous and sunny outside. I’ll be bored one day and find a tv show to watch…and then proceed to watch it like a coke addict until I run out. Hours, days of of my life go down the drain in front of a computer screen. It becomes compulsive – I start the next show without letting the credits roll, taking my laptop from one spot in the room to the other – wherever I am. Usually I try to do something else at the same time. Pack, knit, edit photos…just…something. That makes it less painful, to at least have something to show for the days as they drift by. I made 7 hats in the past three days. Hats that no one buys, and goodness knows I don’t need any more. But hey, they are evidence. Liza was here. If only for a moment, I was here.

I don’t know what it is, that makes me hibernate, that makes me need to disappear. Maybe it’s just the availability of the drug – when I start watching a series, I have to finish it. While it’s available, I can’t stop. The loss of brain function, the flat-lining, the simple, painless, brainless consumption of storyline and emotional stimulation is something I lack the self-control to refuse. It’s a good thing I don’t like being drunk, or this drive would be an unfortunate basis for alcoholism.

The more I read of Kathleen Norris’s “Acedia and Me”, the less definition acedia seems to have. And the more I am able to define it for myself, in my own life. For me, it is simultaneously the overwhelming desire to do EVERYTHING and the overwhelming  desire to do NOTHING. One moment I am jumping out of my skin, bouncing from activity to activity, sprinting from one cluttered corner of the apartment to another, wanting to


The next moment, the thought of doing anything fills me with so much apathy that it borders on disgust. Disgust at myself, at my life, and every activity under the sun. Everything is vanity, a chasing after the wind. I want to sleep, and opening the windows pains me. I mentally flip through my rolodex of possible activities, trying to find a single thing, any single thing, that excites me. Nothing works. The sun rises and sets, and through the blinds I barely notice.

Everyone seeks balance…but I don’t know where to find it. Even more so, there’s the ever-present fear that I wouldn’t know what to do with balance if it fell in my lap. Further, that balance would suck the artist out of me as surely as good weather and cheerful disposition makes painting impossible.

Prayer and Psalmody, she says, is the way to battle with acedia and apathy. If only I could bring myself to either. Sometimes, I have to be my own friend, and lower myself through the roof to the feet of the lord for his healing. I just have to get up and do it. I just have to get up.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »