xochitl adriana

Month: August, 2013

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 🙂

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 – a 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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