xochitl adriana

Just some thoughts on comparison…

Sheesh, it’s been a long time since I’ve even logged in to the blog, much less wrote anything! I have been journaling a lot more this summer since I was working through a lot, and I kept thinking about sharing on here but so much of it felt too personal, or whiny, or just me blabbing on forever, so I just kept it to pen and paper. But I’ve been thinking a lot the last couple of days about some conversations I’ve had with friends recently and things that have been going on in myself, and I felt moved to share on here.¬†

So, here we go ūüôā This weekend was an absolutely beautiful one, full of so many good, happy occasions, and then a little bit of my gross brokenness came through and it sucked, but then the Lord used it to really convict me and show me His love, and it all ended up good again ūüôā

Saturday was a day filled with so much celebration: it was one of my closest friends’ birthday, my sister & her husband’s wedding anniversary, my roommate’s bachelorette party, and another one of my close friends had her baby! I spent the day smiling and feeling thankful for all the joy I was seeing around me, and I had genuine happiness for my friends and their blessings… and then I was hit with what I struggle not give in to – that nagging voice that was saying “What about me? Why have you forgotten about me yet again, Lord?”. This was at the end of the night, as I was sitting with a bunch of friends winding down from a long day, and maybe it was all the emotions running high all day, or the fact that I’d been drinking wine in a hot tub, but all of a sudden I felt suffocated and just wanted to go home. I left my friend’s house and walked home in a pouty huff, with a bad attitude and childish outlook of everyone is getting more/better things than me.¬†

A couple of friends stopped by when I got home, and as I complained about feeling forgotten, I started feeling convicted because I started remembering the good I have been experiencing in my life lately, and as soon as I started thinking about that, I saw just how silly I was to think that God has forgotten me and is blessing everyone except for me. You see, as I let myself fall into this pity party of “Why don’t I have big parties thrown for me? Where’s my husband and the family I thought I so clearly heard You tell me I would one day have? Why are all these great things happening to everyone around me and not me? What about ME, Lord?”, as I fell into that pity party and took my eyes off of Jesus and loving others, I became self-absorbed, started comparing myself and forgot about the way He is just pouring out heaps of blessings on me in completely different yet equally beautiful ways. I forgot about how much I love each of the people that had reason to celebrate that day and how incredible it’s been to see the Lord work in their lives. I forgot to praise Him for the healing, redemption, joy that my friends have experienced after going through struggles, tears, hards time but staying strong and obedient in following Him.¬†

But most of all, I forgot about what He did for me. Not just the blessings that He’s been showering me with lately, but that He died for me and chose to do so so that I could have true life in Him. The truth is, it wasn’t that long ago that I was in such a dark, horrible place in my life, that I was someone who hurt others and hurt myself and was completely lost. Sometimes I look back and that person seems like a total stranger, but other times, I let that old brokenness comes roaring back as if I had not been transformed into a new being; those are the times that I forget about Him coming along and bringing me out of that. How can I sit there and complain that He doesn’t care about me as much as He cares for others when I know what He snatched me out of? And that since the day I decided to follow Him, He has been pursuing me relentlessly?! He has been patient, merciful, generous, loving, and shown unbelievable grace to me over and over, no matter how many times I give into lies and feel like turning back to old habits because I have taken my eyes off of Him.¬†

You guys, He hasn’t forgotten about me at all; He never forgets about us! I see how He has blessed me with the most incredible family and group of friends that love me and hold me accountable and call me out when needed, and do so in the most loving ways, they themselves showing patience and grace that reflects Christ and points me back to Him. I am blessed to have work, including a new job I felt He had waiting just for me, to have opportunities to create and stretch beyond what I knew I was capable of, and to love doing what I do. I am blessed to have a home I love so much, and man! has He been providing for me in the most crazy awesome ways so that my dream of having a home with a guest room so I can host people who need a place can become a reality. I mean, serious provision and blessings being poured out on me, and I was not paying attention to them because I was too busy looking around at what I didn’t have and what He hasn’t given me instead of at Him.¬†

I spent a good deal of time with the Lord on Sunday repenting for my hardened heart and thanking Him for all He has done in and for me. I told Him that I don’t want to be a person that is constantly comparing myself to others – that I am not thin enough, or successful enough, or have a beautiful enough home or a family – IT’S EXHAUSTING. I want to¬†be joyful and happy for my friends, to be for them, encouraging them, lifting them up, instead of looking at their blessings, being pouty about not having those specific ones, and using that as a way to bring myself down. I pray that I stop looking at myself and others in comparison to one another, and that I can instead see them and myself the way He looks at each of us. I pray that I remember to always have a heart full of thanksgiving and come alongside others in their joy, not in jealousy. Most of all, I just pray that what He has done for me, the most beautiful thing that can happen to a person, is always enough for me without it having to come attached with worldly wants.

A time to play and childlike faith.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, trying to decide if I should post it or not. One of the reasons was because I have been sticking to just posts about pretty and exciting things happening in my life accompanied by pictures and not really focusing on just writing down thoughts and “real life” that is going on. I decided though, that if this is going to be a place for me to share my life, I can be ok with letting words and thoughts not having to do with a recipe or an adventure be a part of this. I promise it won’t be a heavy post, it’ll just be a bit wordy ūüôā

The last few months of my life have been really interesting – a lot of changes have taken place – good, bad, hard, exciting, fun, unexpected… It’s been a season of a lot of things seeming to be all over the place and for a person like me, one who is super organized and plans things out weeks in advance and has to-do lists every day, it has been hard. I have always tried my best to be responsible, have the security of a job, pay my bills on time, be a grown-up and do the things that come with that. I take my responsibilities seriously and always thought that was a good thing, but lately I have been seeing how taking things too seriously, even good things, has been sucking the joy out of the things I am doing and turning me into someone that has not been living life, but merely going through the motions.

After getting to do my internship with Kinfolk (one of the first of many unexpected blessings), I decided not to go back to work full-time; a decision that was hard to make since I have always tried to be responsible and that meant having the security of a (somewhat) grown-up, full-time job. I decided that I wanted to try my hand at being more committed to writing, to learning more about photography and challenging myself with baking and cooking. I wanted to take the time I was not working and use it to get out of Portland for the day and go explore Oregon, go for hikes or drives through the country. This was all super exciting and terrifying at the same time, but I felt the Lord telling me to go for it. 

At first, it was really fun – getting to play in my kitchen, cooking for my friends’ company retreat, going on hikes and exploring abandoned homes and shipwrecks (post on that coming soon)… but then the anxiety started to set in. I started stressing about not working full-time, feeling like a slacker for only working 20 hours a week and feeling silly for the time I was “wasting” with playing and thinking I could write it off as work. The anxiety got to me to the point were it started affecting my work as a nanny and my serving at church – I started taking the stuff I felt was actually important and grown up and putting so much pressure on myself to do them perfectly. I started lacking grace and humility toward people I was supposed to be working alongside to serve with, taking my leadership role so seriously and turning into a hardass instead of remembering that I was there to love well and be a servant. I started planning out my days with the kids I nanny to where there was a schedule and we had to follow it perfectly, not showing any flexibility and forgetting that these kids are my world and my role is to be there for them the best I can.

It didn’t take long for those close to me to notice this happening, and after a handful of weeks, my dear friend and mentor brought it up to me. It was one of the most unpleasant conversations – mainly because of my emotional reaction to it because I knew she was right. I felt like that conversation brought up things that I had seen happening in myself but didn’t want to own up to because, come on, none of us likes to admit our flaws. As hard as it was, it was also the best thing that has happened because it started a snowball of good changes. Hard, exhausting, emotionally draining but good changes. I had to start praying for a softer heart and a kinder attitude, more grace toward everyone around me. I started evaluating why I was so anxious and what I could ask the Lord to help me with.

The word I felt the Lord tell me? 

CHILL.

For the last few weeks, I have felt Him just telling me to relax. To stop being tightly wound. To trust Him. To enjoy myself and PLAY.

That to me made no sense at first – I’m 30 years old, I should be working hard and not playing, I should be building up a nice nest egg and not slacking off. But over and over, I keep hearing Him asking me to relax and trust that He is taking care of me, to have a childlike faith.

I have been pondering that a lot lately Рa childlike faith. I have been thinking about the things that come along with that and how hard it is (for me at least) to put into action. It means trusting that He is in charge and is going to take care of me during this time of me playing. It means that I have to remember that He wants to provide and bless me in ways I had not even thought about. 

This came to me the other day and I felt like it perfectly illustrated what He wants me to learn: I went to work the other day and told the kids we were going to go to the park so they should get ready. In a few minutes, they had their shoes on and were waiting by the door for me. We walked out the door and got to the park, where they played, and had fun and ate a good lunch I spread out on our picnic blanket. As we were eating, I realized how sweet their faith in me was. I told them we were going to the park and they prepared themselves to go and enjoy their time. They didn’t worry about anything but trusted that I had nothing but good intentions for them. They didn’t think about packing a lunch or if there was gas in the car or bringing extra clothes in case they wanted to splash in the water. They trusted me to meet the needs that they couldn’t meet themselves, to “pick up the slack” of the things they couldn’t take care of. And they did it without thinking twice about it.

That kind of faith is what I feel the Lord is asking from me. One that trusts Him and that knows He will take care of the details and the things that I need. Right now, He wants to me to play and relax. He wants me to have fun and loosen up, to not be anxious about providing for myself because that gets in the way of Him being able to provide for me in ways I didn’t even think about. And He has been doing just that – providing for me through the things that to me seem like I am playing because I enjoy them so much. Things are coming up that I had hoped for with my writing and cooking, but I had been too worried about not working full-time to see how He is giving me what I want through all of this.

He is doing some wonderful things in my life, and I am learning to trust Him with a childlike faith. I am learning to relax and let loose a little, to play and enjoy my life and those in it, to have grace and flexibility and love people well. I am learning to not take myself and everything around me so seriously. It has been tough, but I am loving this experience. I can’t wait to see what He continues to do and what else He has in store for me to learn.¬†

It’s been a time for learning things the hard way, but in me learning to have a childlike faith, I am remembering to look at Him as my Father – one who loves me so much that He wants me to enjoy myself and will discipline me when I need it. I’ll leave you guys with a verse and a quote that have been helping me a lot lately:

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11

” ‘Laugh and fear not, creatures. Now that you are no longer dub and witless, you need not always be grave. For jokes as well as justice come in with speech.’ So they let themselves go, and there was such merriment…” – CS Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

Peonies on Kinfolk

Good morning, everyone. Hope your Fridays are all off to a good start!

I’m so excited to share with you guys one of my stories that came out on the Kinfolk website last week – Tips for Growing Peonies. During my time at Kinfolk, I got to generate content for the site, sending out ideas for photographers and stylists to bring to life, but this particular story was really important to me because I got to work it from start to finish.

The idea of doing something with peonies was with me as soon as I realized I could submit ideas for stories; they’re beautiful, grow all over the place here in Oregon and they happen to be my favorite flower, so I got to brainstorming about what the story might look like. When I started researching more on the flower, I came across the¬†Adelman Peony Gardens¬†and their 15 acres of peonies, with over 350 varieties of the flower. Immediately, I knew I wanted to do something with them and that I wanted my talented friend, Jay, to come along as the photographer. Thankfully, the people at the farm were open to us coming and hanging out at the farm and Jay was free to come shoot, so our story started becoming real.¬†The story took a few different turns before it became the finished product – it started out as a photo essay, then an interview, to finally tips on how to grow the best peonies with tips from the farm owner, Carol.

Once we knew what we needed, we were off to the farm. I have to say that even though I was excited to be working on this with two of my really good friends, Jay photographing and our friend Emily as the model, I was also pretty nervous. This was the first time I was taking on an assignment and doing it on my own, not having someone else with me to make sure the shots were what they wanted, that the styling was right on, that the lighting and models and props and all that goes into a shoot was the way it needed to be. But as soon as we got to the farm, met up with the owner and started talking to her, the anxiety started melting away. First of all, I was on a peony farm. With 350 different varieties of my favorite flower. 15 acres of beauty. I was like a little kid in a candy store. Second of all, Carol, the owner of the farm, was welcoming, accommodating, and so kind, quickly making me feel relaxed and at ease. This being my first time interviewing someone, I was a bit worried about making sure I had enough questions, the right questions, but as we started talking, it just felt like any other conversation with someone who shared the same passion for this gorgeous flower as I did and I could learn a lot from. 

We did a little interview in the garden outside their home, then we hopped on a golf cart and were taken through the fields. I wish I could put into words just how happy I felt over the next couple of hours – I was getting to do something I loved with people I loved in a place that felt like heaven on earth. Every few feet, we would stop and be shown a new variety of flower, and with every flower we came across I had a new favorite kind of peony, but after a few stops, it became impossible to choose a favorite. The shoot became pretty natural, with Jay going through many rolls of film, Emily being the perfect person to have in the fields of flowers and Carol teaching us the history and tips about the flowers.

I learned a lot more than I knew was possible to know about this flower, but I also learned a little bit about myself and my abilities to take on projects and make them happen. Though I had a list of shots I wanted, some of them weren’t going to look quite as I had planned, and I realized that sometimes you’ve gotta be flexible and change things up a little. I learned to just trust my instincts and felt honored that Kinfolk trusted me enough to let me do this on my own and that they would be happy with what we got. I loved getting to see the other people there doing what they loved – Jay taking phenomenal pictures and Carol clearly reflecting her love for these flowers in the way she spoke about them.¬†After a few hours in the fields, it was time to wrap up and head home. We got sent home with buckets and baskets full of peonies; enough for me to keep for myself, take to many different friends’ homes and for all the people back at the Kinfolk offices to take home themselves.¬†

The peony story, small and short as it may be, is so very special to me. Seeing something start out as an idea in your head come to life and become a story is such an incredible experience and I am so thankful that I got to make this happen. I am thankful to Jay for his hard work, putting up with some unforeseen circumstances and being a good sport; to Emily for being a trooper and coming along with us; to Carol and the rest of the folks at the Adelman Gardens for their generosity, hospitality, and the beauty they are bringing with their farm; and most of all, I am thankful to Kinfolk for letting me do this, for trusting me enough to give me this assignment and let me run with it.

If you are interested in learning more about peonies or are looking to buy some for your gardens, I highly recommend checking out Adelman Peony Gardens. Also, it’s a great place to go to just to take in the beauty of these amazing flowers!¬†

Now, here are some shots that didn’t make it into the story but that I wanted to share with you guys. All photos by James Fitzgerald III.

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Ok, this last picture is from my iPhone, so not the best quality, but sadly, it was the only shot we got. This, my friends, is the Cream Puff peony. Have you ever seen anything like it? It took my breath away and wish I could somehow have one of these with me at all times!

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A Juliet Zulu weekend

A few weeks ago, my friend Lindsay asked me if I wanted to tag along with her to help her cook for the Juliet Zulu¬†company retreat. I immediately said yes for a few reasons: Lindsay and I have been friends and planning to cook together for about two years now and it had never happened, so here was our big chance; I had known some of the people that work for the company for a while but hadn’t had a chance to hang out in a long time, so I was excited to catch up; and lastly, Lindsay told me it’d be at a cabin by the river, which are two of my most favorite things, so I jumped on board right away.¬†

Lindsay and I got together to plan the meals and get ready for the big weekend. Thankfully, the girl is as organized and as much of a planner as I am (a four page spreadsheet shopping list with all we needed alphabetized? YES.), so after a big Costco shopping trip and a last shopping stop in Salem, we somehow managed to fit everything into her car, chose some favorite episodes of This American Life and set off for the cabin.

The next four days were incredible. It was a lot of hard work followed by a lot of playing hard. Having never cooked with Lindsay before and me being a bit of a control freak in the kitchen, I was a little nervous about how things would go, but it could not have worked out better. Lindsay is a phenomenal cook and I was really excited and honored to be working alongside her in the kitchen, picking up some tips here and there. We had some moments of tension and stress, as would be expected when two people are in a little kitchen cooking for a big group of people (average per meal was 25 the first couple of days), but it didn’t keep us from getting everything done and making it work. There were last minute changes to the meals due to fruits going bad, things getting frozen instead of refrigerated, running out of ingredients or just realizing we were a bit overambitious when planning the meals. Still, it all worked out just fine, the food was enjoyed and everyone was so appreciative and encouraging about the cooking. It was a really good experience and a chance for me to learn to be more flexible, something I am working on in my life.

When we weren’t cooking or cleaning, we got a chance to do a lot of hanging out. I loved reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, getting to know people better and enjoying the ridiculous amount of laughter that went on over the course of those few days. I got to spend a lot of time on the dock, on a boat, or in the water, which is exactly what I was hoping for. I am person that loves rivers and swimming and I made it my goal to swim across the river and back every day, which I accomplished three of the four days. There were bonfires every night, I learned a new game I now love, LCR, which we played with an awesome 90s music soundtrack playing in the background. I got up at 5am one morning and went for a beautiful morning walk where the mountains were shrouded in fog.¬†

The weekend was one of the best so far this summer. I worked hard and had tired bones. I played a lot and felt refreshed. I saw a family of elk drinking at the riverbank as we went by on the boat. I had river hair that smelled of bonfire. I was blessed by laughter and wonderful conversations around a fire. 

I took a ton of pictures while we were out there, so I’ll share some here. These were all done with my iPhone, but I’ll post some camera ones once I get the film developed. Until then, hope you guys enjoy these!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Sauvie Island

There is a place just outside of Portland that makes me very happy; this place is called Sauvie Island. Sauvie became my favorite place from the very first time I went there – it is green, beautiful and peaceful. There are farms, animals, a few beaches and the most beautiful scenery. The drive through the island calls for windows down, pretty music playing loudly and no words being spoken, just taking in the sights and the moment you are in.

I spend quite a bit of time at Sauvie Island throughout the year, but mostly in the spring and summer. There are farms that offer berry, apple, peach, and flower picking (Sauvie Island Farms is my favorite), beaches to picnic on with the Columbia River just waiting for you to swim in and in the fall, there is The Pumpkin Patch, where we go to eat kettle corn, pet animals, go through the corn maize and ride tractors that take us to huge fields of pumpkins until you find the perfect one.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I happened to have plans three consecutive days on the island and I had my first roll of Kodak Portra 160 film to shoot. I was excited to shoot with it since I never had before but had seen how wonderful it looked and because I would be around people I love in my favorite place.

I got my film back yesterday and was not disappointed. There is still a lot I have to learn with my camera and there were a few I was a bit bummed about not turning out right (too bright, too dark, out of focus, etc), but overall I was pretty happy with the results. Here are a few of my favorites, from a day of berry picking and adventuring around the island and the evening of our Kinfolk community potluck. Hope you guys enjoy them!

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Hello! I just started this blog and already

Hello! I just started this blog and already I have been slacking on posting as much as I wanted to! The last couple of weeks have been sun and busy and I have been running around with barely any time to spare. 

Last week was my birthday and I got to celebrate it with some of my most favorite people. I did not know what was planned, just went along with what my friends had in store for me. I was spoiled with breakfast at my favorite place, hours of swimming at a secret spot in the middle of the Columbia River with the gorge all around us and a BBQ with my nearest and dearest to end the day.¬†The rest of the week was filled with a friend’s birthday, 4th of July, backyard camp outs, river times, BBQs and so much fun.¬†

It’s been a really good time lately, but I am finding myself getting worn out and needing to be better at slowing down and saying “no” to things sometimes. I need to get back to my normal routine and be better disciplined about how I spend my time.

Now, I know this is the quickest little post, but I promise to bring back my full attention to it in a couple of days. I am going to have some wonderful photos and  things to share with you guys here in the next week! 

My time with Kinfolk Magazine

I’m so excited to share with you guys a little post about my time doing an internship with Kinfolk! I first came across Kinfolk right after they launched their first issue and immediately felt drawn to the simply beautiful aesthetic and the idea of gathering around a meal with your loved ones. I kept up with their online journal and eagerly awaited the next volume, then in February of 2012, my friend¬†Parker Fitzgerald¬†asked me if I wanted to be in a shoot for the magazine. I am not that comfortable in front of a camera, but I was excited to get to be a part of a magazine I enjoyed. The photo shoot was a really fun experience, and getting to be in¬†Volume Four¬†was great, but I had no idea that meeting the forces behind the magazine would take me where it did this spring.

Since the photo shoot last winter, I had kept in touch with the people at Kinfolk. I did some work with the shipping department and as time went on I got to know them better. One day while at the offices, I found out that they were looking for interns for spring. Though I had never done any work with a publication before, I felt prompted to at least talk to them about it, even with me having no experience. Honestly, I thought it was a long shot, but I just had to try. That long shot paid off, because after a few talks and me sending in a writing sample (which incidentally was the first thing I had written in years and I wrote while sitting on the floor at Powell’s while waiting to see Dave Eggers, one of my favorite authors), I got the position of Spring Intern.

Going into it, I really had no idea what to expect. Yes, I had the guidelines and descriptions of what I would be taking part in, but it was all so new to me that at first I felt so nervous about what I had gotten myself into. The anxiety wore off pretty quickly as I became more comfortable and confident about what I was doing. I was learning new things every day and I had the responsibility but also a freedom I had never experienced to be creative every day that I was there. I was not there to make copies and go on coffee runs, but to bring ideas to the table and help with photo shoots and have a voice in a group of people that I had a lot of respect for. Most of the work I did there was contributing content for¬†Kinfolk Digital¬†and preparing for the launch of the new website.¬†I also got to help with shoots, do some styling, work alongside some incredibly talented people and see a concept go from an idea in my head to becoming a story with my words alongside the photography of one of my closest friends,¬†James Fitzgerald III¬†(I’ll be sharing that piece soon). I got to go to the¬†Portland Flower Market, a place which will forever be my favorite place to go run errands. I had the chance to be a part of a few of the¬†Kinfolk workshops, of which the flower potluck was a highlight and brought with it¬†connections to some sweet people. I got to laugh and learn and enjoy the company of some seriously hilarious and hard working folks. I was challenged to actually do what I was too afraid to do for years – write. Be creative. Take a risk and do something out of my comfort zone.

I still have a hard time wrapping my head around and putting into the right words what this experience meant to me and how utterly humbled and honored I was to have had that time with Kinfolk. The things I learned, people I met and things I got to do were not something I saw coming or was possible for myself. I am blessed to have shared that time with people who are not just putting out a pretty publication every four months, but actually live in community, have a love for and see the importance of friendship and family and have some of the most welcoming and humble hearts I have had the pleasure to get to know. I am thankful for my time with them and can’t wait to share with you the work I got to do with them as it comes out in the new website.

My first roll of film

 

 

A few weeks back, I came across a camera at a yard sale. I didn’t know anything about it, but the camera, a lens, the bag it came in and three rolls of film were all $3, so I figured it was worth risking the money to see if it worked. I called my friend Parker¬†and he said he’d help me figure it out. When I saw him a couple of days later, he told me it was Canon AE-1 Program¬†and it was in perfect condition! I was so excited to learn more about using it and with Parker and his brother, Jay, giving me some basic¬†instructions, I headed out on a walk to try my hand at using my new toy.¬†

Over the next few days, I went through a couple of rolls of film and had so much fun doing so. I got them developed the other day and though there were some just didn’t turn out like I wanted at all, there were some I was happy with for them being my first try. I am really looking forward to learning more about the camera, different kinds of film and then editing the pictures. Here are five from that first roll of film that I enjoyed.

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Picture four features – Brett and Evan Way of The Parson Redheads and baby George.

Picture five features – Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper

New Beginnings

I’ve put off starting this blog for weeks now and I’ll tell you why.

This new venture into blogging is new and a bit scary for me because it feels like the beginning of something new in my life. After working with kids for the last 13yrs, I am finally embracing and branching out into what I’ve always wanted to do: writing.¬†I have been feeling like it’s time for me to do it and put myself out there. Just last week, I finished a three month internship with Kinfolk magazine. That was one of the most unexpected and biggest blessings in my life. I learned so much in my time with them, and it really helped me see how much I loved writing, styling and embracing a creativity I didn’t really know I had.¬†

So this blog is the beginning of me exploring that. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what this will all look like, but I hope to share with you guys my experiences in trying my hand at something new and seeing what the Lord has in store for me in this venture. I’m excited to learn and try new things, to put myself out there and see what it leads to.¬†