Thursday, December 31, 2009

The wind down of '09 and the wind up 2010.

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I'm going to state the obvious here. 2009 is leaving us, and soon we will start the beginning of a whole new year. Hard to believe how fast the time has flown, and as I get older the saying, "Life is Short," rings truer and truer. Here is a brief run-down on my big accomplishments from 2009.
  •  In March 2009, I spent seven days in Israel. Instead of taking the ten days I had off from school for spring break and going partying on the beach or crashing someplace random like most of my peers, I was given the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land with my school to get academic credit. I went with one of my good, good friends. We graduated from high school together, and while on the trip I was getting over a horrible cold but she stuck with me even when I was pretty out of it. Here's one of my favorite pictures from that trip.  



-Also, another picture from that trip is my picture for this blog. That's me in front of the Dead Sea.


  • In April I traveled with some friends to Washington D.C., where I marched and rallied for awareness of the Invisible Children. I have known about the child soldiers of Joseph since early high school but only recently has the issue been getting the attention it deserves. Peace talks are underway, hopefully the war in Uganda can end and countless children be healed from the horrors of war. If you don't know about the Invisible Children check out www.invisiblechildren.com






  • February was a big month for me. I completed a digital short, spoofing an SNL video with my friends about my college, youtube. That same month I was an assistant producer on a music video for a local band called Point of Honor. The theme was an epic battle between the band and a lot of hungry zombies. I was definitely happy to be working behind the scenes as all the actors other than the band members were covered in chocolate sauce and liquid latex. 




  • All spring semester I had been working with a group to finish on of my biggest projects yet. A student film; Cold Crimes. We started the planning late January, began filming in February, and scrambled to finish it by April. But we completed it and I learned a lot from the experience. I was the producer, and I loved it. While not a perfect project, it is a project I can be proud to say I was a part of. Cold Crimes part 1   




  • In June I hit three milestones. One June 5th I bought my first DSLR with my own money. Soon after I  proceeded to join Flickr. Then on June 13th I shot my first wedding. I also helped with the wedding video so there was another photographer there, which took a lot of pressure off. And finally, on June 17th, I left my teenage years behind me. It was a sad, sad day in my eyes. I truly loved being a teen, I could essentially get away with anything. I didn't have to worry about financial stuff and if I got in trouble with the law (Ha! Not likely) then I would probably get off with a warning. Now I have to be an adult. :(



  • In September my R.D. (Resident Director) at school had a baby. I was given the chance to shoot her baby pictures, something that I really enjoyed doing. The family was so gracious in working with me as I asked them to keep changing the baby girl's clothes, holding her this way, looking that way. But at the end we came up with some beautiful pictures, and I hope they love how they turned out as much as I do.   


  • In October, I was approached by my good friend Megan about doing her engagement photos. Even though I was pretty busy with school, I couldn't resist the opportunity. I wasn't able to get all the pictures we took back to her until November (Oops) but it sure was fun!




  • And to end up the list of big accomplishments, in December I finished one of my harder classes at my college. A script writing class. And I completed a feature length film script! Oh my goodness it took so long. I pulled an all nighter to finish it. That definitely wasn't the plan, as I had the script idea stuck in my head since 2008, but getting really sick with the flu and then having to catch up on several upper-level classes made me leave the script-writing alone for a few days, then turned into weeks, then turned into, "Oh no, my script is due in three days!!!" Yeah, it was bad. But I didn't quit and now I have a script I can sell. Any directors/big shot producers out there who would like to buy a script?
Anyway, while many things happened in 2009, this list holds some of my biggest memories. They are not necessarily in order, and I know I have left many things out. I probably should go back and add a few comments about my last year performing in the colorguard. But it's late, and how can I summarize four months of hard work into a few sentences? I'm still going to be in the Marching Band in the fall, but behind the scenes instead of front and center. 

Now, just something quick about 2010. I have at the top of this blog in Orange a little blurb saying, 'What's next on the list? Travel Plans and Photography lessons. I am completely serious. I haven't revealed my love of photography before because I didn't have a plan for it. Travel plans, well that one is easy. I am planning on going somewhere over the summer (still praying for the Philippines!), even if it doesn't work out for me to go, I will be in the air, somehow, someway. But now for the photography lessons. I had been toying with the idea of taking on a 365 project ever since I discovered what one was. I knew it would be a challenge, and that's what I want. But more recently, I've decided to narrow it down even more. I am now planning on doing a self-portrait 365 project. I will be taking a picture of myself every single day until I complete the 365 days. Not conventional pictures, but all kinds of pictures. I want creativity, I want spontaneity and planning. Tomorrow I am going to write out a list of specific shots I want to get, and deadlines on which to have them done by. Oh sure, on some days I might get lazy, but on most days I want to think outside the box. 

And no, this is not a project to puff up my ego. For my future career it is important to have as much understanding of the camera as possible. I'm not worried about always looking pretty, or to break into the business as a model. That's not who I am. I genuinely want to accomplish this project for the challenge, the creativity, and to become as comfortable in front of the camera as I am behind it. 

I guess this is it for now. For 2010 one new picture will be posted everyday I have access to a computer. And as for Travel posts, I am planning on updating at least weekly, if not bi-weekly as the trip gets closer. Please join in my journey as I take on my biggest item on my list yet. As my friend Grace would say, Hollar!!!  

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My journey since September.

           Alright, this post is is to go over why I started this blog and how God has been molding my journey since I've started it.
          I have always wanted to spend a semester abroad, but unfortunately my school doesn't really offer that option. They will, however, work with you to get an internship abroad. So I thought I'd go my junior year, spring semester. That way I wouldn't miss marching band, and I would still be at school for my entire senior year. I started working for this in November of my sophomore year through my professional advisor, Ms. Viets. Then in the spring I contacted the LU abroad department and began the process of working through a missions agency to help a Christian organization in my field (Communications-Broadcasting). Over the summer I decided to go through the International Missions Board and filled out the application, including getting most of my references in. This fall I met with Matt Rawlins, LU abroad's director, along with Che', my mentor through the process. Here is the link to my first post, it goes into more detail as to where I was right then. http://whatsnextonthelist.blogspot.com/2009/09/prologue.html
         Then I started the process of picking a project. Top contender was the project in India. I would be leaving in just a few days if I had be allowed to go there, what a weird thought. Next came Prague. I really thought this was going to be the internship for me. I really, really did. Everything seemed to be going right. Here is the story, http://whatsnextonthelist.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html
         I told Che' and she told her boss to put my name down. Then the next day that internship closed, and I was left going, "What just happened?" I had no other choice but to move my time to the summer. This was a very disappointing move because I had taken some advanced classes specifically so I could miss school in the spring semester. I had to go back and tell all my friends and professors what happened. I know they didn't think too much of it, but I was really upset and embarrassed. After getting over myself, I found an awesome internship in the Philippines. It is basically working with this group called Nehemiah Teams, and they do it all. Orphan work, Agriculture and more. Here is their website if you want to check it out, http://www.nehemiahteams.com/
          Currently I am waiting for everything to be processed, which normally I am a patient person, but I am starting to lose it. I can't really do much until I receive confirmation that I am going, which is the most frustrating thing. But as soon as I hear some good news, I am going to start the ball rolling. Get some new travel gear, raise the money to fund the missions trip (about $2,000), buying a plane ticket (22 hr flight!), it will never end. But this is where I am right now, and hopefully this post explains a bit of where I was and where I hope to go.

If this post seems to "me" centered, let me know, but I'm just trying to be honest. I am working on my spiritual life, and I know that not everyone who reads this blog  is going to be a Christian. In fact they will probably think I'm crazy. So I'm trying to find a happy medium. We'll see how this thing molds out after I get going a little more. And feel free to ask me any questions, I realize I might not have covered everything that has happened so far.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Doing some inquirous reading.

 Since beginning to plan for my trip over the summer, I have branched out and started to regularly read websites that talk about traveling. Many discuss all the ins and outs of what they do and of course how much money it takes for them to travel freely. They are all very encouraging about taking the plunge from regular society. And quite possibly after this summer I might want to become a "Travel Ninja" as one blogger calls it, or a "Professional Hobo" as another does. This guy is currently in the Philippines, which is why I chose to link to this post. There is a touch of language, but nothing to bad. Here is the link if you are interested!

http://www.thelongestwayhome.com/blog/philippines-journal/reverse-backpacker-culture-shock-damn-they-are-dirty/

I think next post I will discuss exactly what internship I am applying for and where I see this blog heading for 2010. I have some exciting things planned!

Friday, December 18, 2009

January

Ok, so I was planning on updating the day after my last post. But I got pretty discouraged when I found out that I might not get word back about my internship until January. Such a bummer. I know I have a spot in the IMB which is the organization through whom I am doing my internship. So to hear that I have to wait so long until I am actually signed up for the trip I want is so frustrating. I feel like I have done everything on my part to be where I need to be, yet I am still stuck in waiting mode. Sigh.
But I did find out something very encouraging. And it is too coincidental to not be a God thing. Tuesday around noon I decided to eat in my school's dining hall, where I happened to bump into a friend.. We decided to eat together and catch up, since the last time we talked was early October. After settling down to eat, we began to discuss break plans. Two of our close friends are getting married in May, with her as the Maid of Honor, so naturally after talking about Christmas break we brought up the summer. As I told her my plans for the Philippines, she started to laugh. She then told me that I was going to find this really funny. It turns out that she is also going to be spending two months in the Philippines. We started digging deeper into the specifics. I couldn't believe that she's applying to the same team through the IMB just like I am. The only difference is she is going to work in an orphanage for two months while I'll be doing media. There are a few teams in the Philippines under the same organization, so while the chances of us getting to see each other while over there is slim, it is really comforting to know that I will not be alone while away so far from home. We might even be able to fly out together. Which would help to survive the 22 hour flight without being completely bored. Hopefully both of us will be processed through without any problems. I know both of us will be crushed if we are denied.
  

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Waiting

Why must we be such impatient creatures? Even back in the Garden, man was impatient. I think God laughs when we get worked up over things that conspire over months, weeks, days, minutes. I imagine that what stretches into a lifetime of waiting for us, is not even a drop in the bucket to Him.

On Thursday I talked to my mentor, Che', and she said she would sign me up for the internship in the Philippines. But I still have yet to hear back on whether it has gone through or not, or if I really can go this time. Last time I got my hopes up so much, then God slammed the door shut. So now I feel like I am walking in the dark, just waiting for a hand to reach out and confirm that I am going in the right direction. I'm going to text Che' tomorrow, just so I can finally start moving with purpose again.

 Because once I have conformation I really get to start hammering out the details. Not mention telling my entire family I'll be spending two months in the Philippines instead of working with my uncle, which is going to be hard. Wow, pretty soon everything is going to start moving so fast. But still, this bit of waiting is so hard to bear. Hopefully I'll have some good news to post tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

10 Things about Family Holidays

1. Family reigns supreme this time of year. Doesn't matter how you feel about them, it is important to spend time together. If there are some members of the family fighting or they have to choose which household to go to, take them out to dinner the night before the holiday. I recommend Texas Roadhouse. They are pretty much guaranteed to leave happy after eating one of their meals.

2. You will be spending hours cleaning. It's ok, you won't be alone. It's good to have a cleaning time in the fall. It's like spring cleaning, only this time around it's just for the rooms your guests will be in and you will be under extreme pressure to meet your deadline. So what if everything from downstairs gets stuffed in the extra room upstairs or squashed under your sister's bed so no one knows? Your downstairs will be spiffy clean, and that's all that really matters.  

3. You will eat too much. If your a football kind of guy, then you might work it all off later by yelling at the TV, rooting for your favorite team. If you are not into this kind of bonding, then I say talk a walk with your grandmother. It'll be slow going, but later you'll feel really good about it.

4. If there is a food item you really like... Then tell the person who made it with an extrememely solemn face, "I think you need to try again. This isn't perfect." Now before the person starts to break down and cry, you need to break out into a huge grin and say, "But it's so close, I want more! So I mean it, try again! I call the first slice!" In any case, I'd be willing to bet that your favorite food item will at least show up again next year.

5. What to do with the leftovers? Well for this Thanksgiving, I'm throwing a party the day after so hopefully most of the leftovers will get eaten. But generally this doesn't happen. If you hate eating leftovers, or really have a lot after the big day, try to get together with some neighbors or friends to share. Or create your own soup, which you can freeze for months. And if you happen to own an animal, then it can be pretty easy. Just watch what you give them and how much, but in general, dogs and cats can be like vacum cleaners.

6. Black Friday Shopping. Wow, things get crazy. The only thing I know to say about this one is; don't buy something just because it's a good bargin. Know what you want to buy ahead of time, then only go for those items. Otherwise you can waste a lot of your valuble time just wandering around searching for the best deal. And most of the stuff you bring home just ends up being clutter anyway. Trust me, I know. I have endured many marathon Black Friday trips.

7. Traveling back. After Thanksgiving, the absolute WORST day to travel anywhere is Sunday. Traffic starts early in the morning, and it lasts late in the night. Last year I went back to school with my friend Grace, and what normally is a 5 hour trip turned into 8 with bumper to bumper traffic. 

8. Christmas Crazy. It's already started. The Christmas Music. The Christmas Movies. The Christmas Presents. I already know what I'm getting this year. There might be a few small surprises, but this year I asked for three things and two of them are stuff I really need. So many people get caught up in the gift giving mode that they forget to just live in the moment and enjoy being alive.

9. A Brief Presents Guide. This Christmas, so many charities are suffering, I would recommend donating in someone's name as their present. Of course, if someone really needs something, it is pretty obvious to get them that gift. But if they don't need anything, or you are just giving them excessive stuff, send the money on. Last year I bought a pair of ducks from World Vision for a family in Peru from my sister. World Vison sent me a card a week before Christmas that I was able to give to her that said thank you. She loved it! I plan on doing it again this year. Two other gifts that I know will always go over well is pretty much any food item and music (like an itunes gift card)

10. Know what the Holidays are really about. I think this one is the most important. The Holidays are really Holy Days, and if it wasn't for important dates in history, we would never have such great memories. The first Thanksgiving feast was a bright spot for American history, a time where complete strangers got together to help one another. Christmas, as well as Hannakuh, were major events that changed the world. We share gifts on Christmas to celebrate God's amazing gift to us. His son. And I'm not Jewish, but I have celebrated Passover. Take the time this season to grow spiritually, not superfically.

This concludes my Holiday post. There were a lot more things I could post on, but I said ten, and so here are ten. I hope everyone enjoyed it, and God bless!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things are getting difficult.

I looked up the cost of a basic ticket round trip to the Philippines and back today. Cheapest I could find is $1360, with a 22 hour flight time. Wow. But I'll look around, see what kind of better deals I can find. I really hope I don't end up spending two full days on a plane just because I went super cheap. And on other news, when I looked up flight costs I also looked up news on the Philippines. When this article popped up my heart sank.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125897179384860325.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_world
This knowledge does not scare me, in any case I'm pretty sure I won't even be near an area facing these dangers. But it is a serious event, and my heart definitely goes out to those families affected. And knowing my family, this is something that could completely shut down my already slim chances of going. I've have decided that it's not in my hands, so I will just move on to what I need to get done to go on this trip.

In other news, I went in to my old middle school with my younger sister today. My mom is a band director who is teaching her kids how to march for the Christmas Parade. Both my sister and I have been active members of Marching Band for 5+ years. She only had the color guard today, we are both going back to help the entire (145) band at nine o'clock in the morning. For college students on break, this is going to be a feat. But today, it was really quite fun to go in and help some young spinners. I'm going on my 8th year of color guard, so trying to help kids who are just learning was very humbling. I couldn't believe how these kids were twisting simple moves so much, but then I would remember how I had to learn just like them when I was in early high school.
We were stuck inside for the practice, so I couldn't really do to much in cafeteria without hitting the ceiling, but half-way through the kids started asking if I could show them some moves. Of course I showed-off, and had a lot of fun. But then had to deal with all 16 or so kids trying to mimic the moves I was doing. Pretty interesting results. Well, this is all for today, really looking forward to tomorrow!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New directions

Alright. Well, a lot of things have happened since my last post. My internship to Prague closed, so I am not going. :( The only other option was going to India for four months. I would have gone with no hesitations, but my parents flat out said I cannot go. So my goal now is to do my internship over the summer.
I discovered this one internship being offered in the Philippines, where I would essentially work with a ministry team who do all kinds of street evangelism in the city. I would video tape them working and photograph the people in their culture. And from my understanding, I would be in charge of all the media that goes through their website. It is a really good opportunity and I have been wanting to go to the Philippines since this past summer. Though once again, I'm going up against some tough opposition at home. If I can't go on this project, then I am going to have to pull the plug on going abroad. It is really frustrating, because after I graduate I plan on going around the world, visiting as many countries as I can throughout my lifetime. I am trying so hard to respect where my parents are coming from and to follow their rules while I am living under their roof. But God has put people on my heart. And while America will always be my home, I do feel called to go out and be a witness to the rest of the world.
I think that right now, they think that this urge to travel is just a passing faze, that I won't continue with this for the rest of my life. I feel like that is probably why I do have to almost fight to do this work for God. We shall see where I end up this summer, but no matter what happens, I won't let earthly things get in my way. God still has a plan, and even if I don't end up going out of the country for an internship, it will only work out for the better.

One last thing before I am done with this post. Because so much of my internship is up in the air right now, I've decided to branch out and not just make this blog about chronicling my internship experiences, but a blog to challenge myself. Lately at school I have been so overwhelmed with schoolwork and projects that I have been neglecting a lot of things. Including growing daily in the Word of God. Hopefully concentrating on something other than myself (even though I am talking about myself on here, ha ha) and schoolwork will help me overcome some personal demons and live life the way God intended it to be lived.

Whew. I am done for today, but I really hope to be back on here tomorrow. These next couple of days should be really interesting as Thanksgiving is coming up and I'm relaxing at home. The family is coming to my house for the big Turkey Day, so I know that my sister and I will be cleaning up a storm this week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Decisions and Warfare.

Wow. I cannot believe we are four days into October already. Where did the time go?! I haven't forgotten about this blog at all, but I haven't been able to update in forever because of a lot of school work and social responsibilities. :( But I have been working on the things on my list. And so I get to check off another major number on it!

I picked where I want to go!!!

Pretty much since last year when I first talked to Che' about where I could go and she mentioned India I wanted to go there. I talked to my parents about it, prayed about it, talked to a lot of good friends about it. I knew my parents were against me going there, but I was convinced that's where God wants me. In the very beginning of September I had my prayer group at school pray that God would change my parent's hearts and fully support my semester in India. After talking again to my parents about two weeks ago my dad was still very against my internship taking place in India, but my mom seemed like she was quickly changing her mind.

Well, I have to say, I did not pick India. Right now, I am hoping to go to Prague. I know I mentioned Prague in my last post, but I wasn't very serious about it at all. But over all, everything started pointing to Prague. It's definitely the best career move, the language I could pick up quicker, and quite frankly it would be a lot easier living in Prague for four months than India. Even though my heart still wants to go to India, I'm at peace with this decision.

What has made me at peace with this decision strangely has severely affected my relationship with God. Over the summer and earlier this year I was running towards God and growing spiritually like I never have before. But the day after I made my choice to go to Prague public, I've been under Spiritual attack. If you aren't a Christian and are reading this, then you probably don't understand what I've been going through. But if you have been saved by Jesus Christ, this probably doesn't surprise you at all. Instead of continuing to grow like I was, for the past week and a half I have been falling. I know this is getting lengthy so I won't go into much detail, but I was suddenly faced with temptations from my past I thought I had gotten over. And also let myself get distracted way to much by a guy I think is cute. I know he is not the guy I will get married to, (I haven't met him yet) but instead of focusing on the bigger picture of God's plan, I've been trying to create my own. Things have gotten so bad that Friday I got really depressed and called home. I talked to my dad for a while and he cheered me up. But I still needed some spiritual advice. I remembered who I consider my first accountability partner, she goes to a school in MD. I call her pie-head. I ended up texting her for a while and she could totally relate to what I was going through. While I still feel under attack, I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's going to be tough, but I know God's got my back and this is where He wants me to go. If Satan is going through this much trouble to mess me up, I know that some big things are going to be happening next semester.

Last thing I have to add: I have an internship meeting tomorrow! Once I go to this meeting I can then fill out the paperwork to get my internship approved and bump it up from 3 to 6 credits. Yay!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meetings and appointments

Hey guys,
I've been working hard since my first post on Monday. First, I was able to meet with LU Abroad yesterday morning. Meaning, I gave up my free morning where I would've slept in to go talk paper work. Only for the love of Christ. :) While I was there, Matt (The guy in charge), told me about classes I should sign up for, what meetings I have to go to, etc. He also called up my pastor, because we aren't sure if he sent in the reference form or not yet.
After that meeting I set up an appointment with my advisor for Thursday, again in the morning. Very depressing. But we are going to go over what classes I will need to take abroad and internship papers. So this is a biggie.
After that I went over to the education building to pick up some info about taking the clep test for English. I have to take that fairly soon so I should probably add that to my list.
Later on last night I started sending out more information to two of my mentors back home. Both them replied back today and I loved hearing from them. It was a great way to start my day.
Well, that's about all I can report on right now, but I can't wait to have my meeting tomorrow and then the next date I have written down is September 29th, and that is for a workshop about living abroad for a semester. It's three hours long so hopefully I won't fall asleep and miss out on any important info.
Oh yes, and pretty soon Che' will be back in town. She is my liaison between the International Missions Board and I. She really knows her stuff and is working her butt off to keep me on track.
And she is aware of good projects for my major. Last time we met she was telling me one just became available in Prague!
So, next on my list: Check out Prague.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Prologue

Ok, so I have to be honest. The title of my first blog post is stolen from the title of my pastor's sermon series he is doing this semester. But this title describes so perfectly my life right now. Here I am, working on all the details to get my internship needed to graduate. My internship right now is going to be through LU Abroad, which works with organizations like the International Missions Board, to help students not only get the required credits, but really make a difference in peoples lives while doing it.
Right now, all I have done is tell people I am going. So in the first blog post, I am listing out everything on my checklist I have to do before I can officially leave in January. Every time I get close to my goal or God reveals so much of Himself to me I can't help but have to write, I will be updating this blog. I'm really looking forward to sharing my prologue. The journey I will be on just to get to the beginning.

My Checklist:
  1. Contact home church about fundraising.
  2. Pick where I want to go and what I'll do!
  3. Meet with my professional advisor (aka, guidance consular for college)
  4. Sign up for Missions meeting if possible.
In just a few short months I could be on my way literally following God to the ends of the Earth! Not only am I passionate about producing quality videos that don't follow the trends of this world, but also forming personal relationships with all kinds of people. My plan through this journey is to fuse these together. My last words of this post:
Don't skip the Prologue. This is the moment to really live like you mean it.