Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm learning how to shoot people.

And dogs, inanimate objects, landscapes.
You name it. I'm gonna shoot it.
If you're lucky, I'll shoot you too.  

As mentioned, I took a one-day photo class this past Saturday.
It was quick & dirty in the best way.
The first half of the class was technical and the latter half practical.

Walking away from the class I am amazed at how much I learned in such a short period of time. BUT, I'm even more amazed that I am proud of any photos I've taken prior to attending this class.

I think I want to take a real photo class. I mean, I already know I like school a whole lot. & I like creative learning processes. Maybe, one day, when I've learned more and gained some confidence, I will start a business. Then I can shoot babies and couples, families and pets.

OK. Enough dream talk. You want to see the photos. & I want to show them to you.
Here are a few things I shot this week: 

Here we are in Mission Beach:::

Learning how to shoot in shutter priority mode (TV).
::::Look at how crisp that is::::
Oh hey man on a bicycle. Are you even moving?


Learning to shoot in Aperture Priority Mode (AV). Also, look at those fish scales. And if you get a chance, recycle. 

Back to the homestead:::

A face only a mother could love



If Harley had a facebook, this would surely be his profile picture.
Moses was being elusive today. 
He either was no where to be found or wanted to be as close to my face as possible.

 One time I bought a cute piggy bobble head with the intention to gift it to a friend. 
Next thing I knew, she was unwrapped and sitting on my desk.

 The sunset tonight was just beautiful. So I worked on +/- or exposure compensation. 
A simple adjustment that makes a big difference.

And that's all folks. Hopefully I'll find some inspiration this weekend. Then shoot it::::

Saturday, October 22, 2011


In a couple of hours I will be attending a 1-day DSLR beginners photography class.
I am very excited to receive some formal training.

Who knows, maybe I'll be a professional after the day is done. But probably not. 

I am glad to return to a learning environment. I think I am on a kick because just the other day I bought a program to learn Spanish and I am considering going back to school next term. Hopefully these aspirations will come to fruition. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


For as long as I can remember I've had an insatiable nature. I'm left wanting more, always more.
I want the roller coaster to go faster, last longer.
I want the joke to be funnier.  
I really want to have more chocolate cake.

I am never satisfied.
Sometimes this character trait is great, perhaps a blessing, or a catalyst for growth and learning. 
I want more of God. Because if there is more of Him that I can know, I want it. I want to go deep and find what lies there. I want to know Christ and him crucified. I want to absorb his signs and wonders, adopt his desire to be in prayerful solitude, kneel to his Lordship, and be a shadow to his servant nature. I want to discover the ways of the Holy Spirit, become more perceptive to the workings of the helper.  I want to know the Father, his kindness and mercy. I want to know his story better than I know the adventures of Harry Potter, or whatever non-eternal thing I find to fill my time.

I want to travel, see the world. I want to know what is out there. I want to taste it and feel it. Meet people from other places, learn from them, love Jesus with them. 

I want to spend more time with friends and family. I find myself never wanting to leave the party early in case I miss out on an adventure, or story, or spectacular moment that could, and will, happen the second the door closes behind me.  I don't want to miss it.

This life is rich and full, filled with great potential and supreme hope.  I believe it. I've lived it.

Insatiable. There are many times this character trait of mine proves to be more of a hindrance than a help.

I am never satisfied. This applies to so many things. Currently, I place my life under the microscope. I feel as though I am in a state of attrition. I am disstatisfied with where I am. In my career, or lack there of. In my search for a job. In the limited nature of jobs that are available. In my inability to speak Spanish. In my lack of 5+ years of experience in the field. In my current living situation. In my relationship with God... I would continue but I fear I've both adequately displayed my dissatifaction with my current state... and have complained quite enough.

My intent is not to complain or pity myself, or cause others to pity me. I am aware that there are many things for which I am grateful for within this list. Things that are purely God given and voraciously, thankfully received.        

I'm not certain of my intent. Perhaps it is to make known, more to myself than to anyone else, that I am in a valley. One that I believed would present itself. One that I am less prepared for than I previously thought. I find myself regretting getting a masters degree. Regretting that I did not think more soundly about the subject matter of said degree. Regretting that I did not project what the job market would look like. Yes, this last one is quite out of my control. But I still regret it. Never satisfied.

And here's the kicker: my home page is set to a Reformed blog called Daily Confession. Each day it posts a devotion of sorts with selections from various articles of confession and catechisms. I'm pretty holy, I know. Often I skip right over the daily confession and go straight to a design site or facebook. But today I stuck around long enough to read Questions 79 - 81 of the Shorter Catechism. They were as follows:

Shorter Catechism, week 40

Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.[168]

Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition,[169] with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.[170]

Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate,[171] envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.[172]

My favorite part has got to be not coveting thy neighbor's ass. 
But all joking aside, I needed to hear this. I need to hear this.
I am commanded to be content with my own estate.
This contentment should flow from my heart and into my actions.
I don't want to twist the scripture in any way but I believe I am
covetous of what I believe I should have at this point in my life.
I covet my desired self.

Am I my own neighbor? 

Whatever I am, I am not content. I must practice becoming so.
I must practice being satisfied, at least in the ways I am called to be.
And that is really hard.
But more than my own contentment, I desire to honor and obey God.
And more often than not, that means laying down my will for his.

May it be so. May you glean from my depravity.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Define the Relationship

Soon & very soon, Jane Addams and I will part ways. I am glad of this. I am not connected to her the way I was to Biola. This is for many reasons, some apparent & some not so. However, this is not the space to discuss the whys and how comes.

Even sooner, I will be deciding if I want to become serious with Chicago or leave her. Maybe, that sounds wrong. I guess I am not the one deciding how our relationship will turn out.
The thought of not being part of Chicago in a little over a month brings me down. The whole "separating our possessions" will definitely be difficult. I think I brought a lot, both tangibly and intangibly to the relationship. However, I am sure I will be leaving with more than what I came with.

My heart & thoughts are all over the place. I need Jesus and his guidance. & comfort. & wisdom. & clarity. He is a better love than Chicago will ever be.

Also, I wont be working in La Mirada. God has let me know that He doesn't want me there in the fall.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Master Horn

Is what people will be calling me in 51 days.
Count it!

I will be a graduate school graduate. (that's not redundant)
I am excited to no longer have papers to write and articles to read.
I am excited to have the time to read for pleasure. We'll talk about the books in waiting in a different post.

I am excited to no longer endure all-nighters spent studying for Mental Health w/Adults.

I was reading back to my last substantial post written about two months ago. It included many questions about my future. I talked about my desire to live. My desire to spend my time in Chicago well.

What has happened since then?

::warning this post is a bit long::

Well... we got a lot more snow. In fact, we had a blizzard!

The night of the Storm

I believe it was the third worst snowstorm in recorded Chicago history.

Our Street

The morning after

The storm received many nicknames. They included: Blizzard of 2011, Chersnowbyl, Snowpacalypse, Chi-tastrophe, Snowmageddon, Blizzaster, Snowlocaust, Tsnownami, SNOWMG, SnowZilla, Snow Devil in the White City, Snotorius B.I.G., Ditka'sRevenge, Da-Blizzard, Deep Dish Snow, SNOWPRAH, Much Ado About Snowthing........

We went on a walk & stopped by the Pareja's.
This is Haddon taking a break from all that shoveling

Celebrating no school/work with a lovely roommate brunch

My first snowstorm was way fun. Made me excited about snow again. The couple of days we got off from work & school definitely helped in those regards as well.

I convinced some mates to paint a wall in my apartment for me.
The Before&After. It's a Chalk Wall!!

Thanks Josh & Kyle!

I learned how to cook pretty things thanks to Smitten Kitchen.

This is a Zucchini & Ricotta Galette


:::it is delicious

:::& fresh

:::& made from scratch

I got a new camera.

It is a Canon EOS Rebel XSi

<< Early in the morning.
<< Maybe 6 a.m.?

All photos in this post were taken using it.

<< This little guy likes to
<< sit outside our
<< window

I really don't know what I'm doing so many of the shots are taken in either basic manual or auto w/o flash.

Around the 'hood

I celebrated my 24th birthday. I hosted a party and had a blast
partying with about 20 Chicago friends!

The spread!

The friends

The Aftermath & Two Tired Roommates

Often in the past two months I've been able to spend a great deal of time with these two & their parents.

Can you tell how their personalities differ?

Since my last post of substance I've applied to three jobs. Westmont College, Moody Bible Insitute, and Biola University. I applied to be a Resident Director at each of these schools. I am hoping and praying that not only will I be asked to interview but that I will get hired at one of them. Only one of them. I don't want to decide between two or three options. I am anxious about hearing back. I am doubting my application and my experience/education. I have, for two years now, wanted to pursue a RD position. I've been encouraged in this pursuit, sought guidance, and spent much prayer asking God to make a place for me at one of these schools. At the heart of it all, I want to help students pursue after Christ. I want to walk alongside them in their spiritual formation. I want to contribute to a community that cares more about being disciples of Christ that having a sick college experience.

I am anxious that I wont get an interview. But I believe God has given me this passion and He will do something with it. That might not be a RD job. I can live with that. But He does nothing in vain, of this I am sure.

So I turn to Him in petition, asking that He would offer me a calling as a RD. I bow at His feet and offer Him my worries, doubts, and incompetencies. He knows what I am made of and what I'm not. I glorify Him for being long-suffering.

I don't know where I am going in less than two months but I know where I am, who I am, and who is petitioning for me. His name is Jesus and He's the best thing I've ever known.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spring semester with snow on the ground

I am sure more snow will come. Lots more?

I've been back in Chicago, the city with big shoulders, for a little over a week. Already I am tired of the snow and the cold. Last year it was novelty, and continues to be when I am perched in my heated room looking out at the cold. Trudging through dirty snow as I walk to and from the train is another thing. I am always praying not to slip on the ice the lies beneath the fresh snow. So far I've only experienced one blunder. It was pretty comical. I was exiting a bus and splat, I went down. I'm not sure if it was a graceful dive or not but I left the ordeal unscathed.

On a happier note, this is my FINAL semester of GRAD school! It has gone so quickly. Don't misunderstand, much hard work has gone into each 4 month semester to make me more than glad that I am 15 weeks away from the end! In less that 15 weeks I shall hopefully know the next step in this journey. Will I be staying in Chicago? Can I handle more winters? Should that be a deciding factor?

or will I move back to California, the state I did not realize I belonged to until I left it?

or will God take me to new borders?

mmmmh. Lot's to pray about. Lot's of job searching to do. The whole process is so weird and foreign to me. I've had a total of two jobs my whole life. Both were during my college years, both were very part-time and were acquired for the sole purpose of making some play money (like for purchasing Park Place and beginning the construction of my Hotels)

Between now and full-time, real-life career time I have a lot of time on my hands to live and explore and learn. If I believe God is who he claims to be, then he's got my back, and my heart and mind and most of all my future.

I plan to live this semester, to live it well and deeply. I truly love Chicago and the friends she has bestowed upon me. Here is to a great semester, a final semester!

I hope you will join me back here more often as I plan to update more consistently and include many more visual aids. I know I get bored with just plain text and rarely suffer through blogs that look like mine. So an extra cheers to you if you are reading this.

Love to you,

Alexandra Marie