Monday, November 28, 2011

Friends & Christmas

Hello Beautiful

I am so crazy about Christmas time.  Each year I cannot wait to break the seal on my Christmas music, make hot chocolate with eggnog (just try it), and find the perfect gift for my family.  Yesterday I pulled out the decorations and sprinkled some magic all over my house.  After church my friends came over to eat some pizza and share stories.  My house felt so incredibly warm.

I think the holidays are best when you have amazing people surrounding you who share not only a common view, but a passion about the true meaning of Christmas.  My friends are not overcome with the consumerist horrors of Black Friday shopping, bad work parties, and apathy towards holiday music.  They are filled with child-like excitement of all the festivities because to them Christmas is the craziest birthday party for their Savior.  Each light that is strung and dish that is prepared is filled with divine love.  Each activity is purposefully driven by their joy for the birth of Christ.

I grew up in a family the also adored Christmas for the same reason.  It filled the house with so much love.  It is more than just knowing a belief.  Many people of the same faith do not find Christmas as incredible.  It is when your belief is manifest in tangible activities with great zeal that Christmas time is exceptional.  Lavishly decorated houses, elegant dinner parties, and warm fireside moments are all declarations of a deeply rooted love.

Christmas time is the most expressively beautiful times of year.  Here our hearts and our hands come together with others to share love. In music, food, film, decorations, presents, and festivities we beatify the human spirit through the celebration of the divine. When my friends come together over the next month we will create some of the best memories.  Our futures will be shaped by the mirth we will inspire.  And through all this the beauty in each of our lives will be elevated.

I hope that this Christmas season you share your love with those around you.  I hope that you share you are beautiful.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pure

Hello Beautiful

This weekend I had the privilege to partner with Purity’s Treasure Ministries for their conference promotional media.  I was capturing the stills for their print material as they filmed a series of shots that would later be masterfully stitched into a touching video.  As I watched these young ladies labor meticulously I was captivated once again by our desire to create something greater than our personal ambitions.

These women from all different walks—students to professionals, short to tall, and everything in between—believed in a common goal and message: purity.  This morning in my office I watched the first clip of the video and had a new revelation of purity.  Many of us are familiar with the idea of maintaining sexual purity and its importance to our relationships; both with God and man.  However, I feel that we focus so much on the consequences of purity that we perhaps forget to consider purity itself and what it can do for us.

It is difficult for finite man to image such a thing as pureness.  By our own nature, the imagination of something that is pure is impossible because we always introduce our own imperfections.  However, to strive for purity is not to achieve a flawless state, but to seek freedom.  Freedom from our hindrances and inhibitions.  During the shoot I observed girls filled with all the normal insecurities of life free themselves from their shyness.  In watching the short video clip this morning I could feel a purity of cinematography that was real and releasing.  It will inspire change and freedom because freedom was projected into it. 

In our world we have so many opportunities to lay down our hurdles.  Should we truly desire purity, change, and freedom we would combat our struggles.  We would earnestly seek Godly intervention in our lives so that we can move beyond ourselves.  Imagine if all of us could be released from the obstacles that prevent us from achieving our goals.  What great things could we achieve without the struggle of self-esteem, addictions, or finances?  By chasing purity we can move our world.  By seeking purity you are beautiful.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cathedral

Hello Beautiful

I am enamored with cathedrals.  They are magnificent structures that testify to human’s desire to serve the divine.  Laced with intricate glass murals and mightily fortified by stone, these structures merry strength with grace.  Their existence testify of our faithfulness to a cause.

Cathedrals have stood strong for the last millennium.  It may take over 200 years to construct one.  Generation after generation worked on them without hope of seeing it finished.  Families of stone masons perished from particulate asphyxiation, falling stone, or disease.  Yet they persevered.  Stone by stone they laid foundations and walls for families they would not know.  In faith they created a place of beauty.  Hoping that one day there would be completion.

We would serve the world well if we kept a timeless mindset in our microwave society.  We breed impatience; instant Google searches, fast cash advances, and streaming entertainment.  We are constantly infected by the lie that the world revolves to meet our immediate needs.  Our society would benefit greatly if we would consider our descendants. 

Our current attempts to think of the future manifest themselves in environmentalism and foreign policy.  But what true good can we leave for our children.  Clean air and peace are wonderful gifts.  Yet I feel as though there is more we can offer.  A world full of beauty requires more of us.  I imagine a world where humans truly care for one another with no selfish gain.  A world where hunger and natural disaster do exist, but supernatural love motivates us to constant action.  A world where diseases like child molestation and serial killing have been eradicated.

To build this cathedral we need to invest now in ourselves.  Each day we should consider the work that we are doing; the stones we are tasked with placing.  Are we building up ourselves to succeed as parents, spouses, and siblings?  Do we create elaborate murals of transparent love, kindness, and goodness?  Are we laboring to dispose our  quickness to anger, addiction to materialism, or swiftness to jealousy?  It may be hard to see the completion of your small task on this earth.  Even more impossible to imagine the cathedral we are trying to build together.  I do not believe we must earn God’s love, but I do wish to create something together that our Creator will look down upon us and say, “Indeed, you are beautiful.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cerebrum

Hello Beautiful

Last weekend’s crisp fall air set an amazing tone for my photo shoot with Heat Entertainment’s new artist.  After spending a few hours with da Kid, I learned of his dreams and aspirations, not just in the entertainment community, but also in his pursuit of life.  His desires not only include music, but a degree in graphic design.  At the end of our session he asked me one question in reference to music and modeling: “Do you think I can make it?”

So often we ask this question.  We look for validation and encouragement from others.  We seek out milestone by which we can measure how much further we have to travel.  But we forget to see how far we have come.  “Yeah,” was my initial answer.  I expounded that he is well on his way.  We need not be so caught up in succeeding, and realize that the plan for our lives will be actualized if we simply do our part.  It is laziness that holds us from our dreams.  But it is busyness that keeps us from enjoying our journey.  There is path between laziness and busyness that is meant for us to walk upon.

Most encouraging to my conversation with da Kid was his desire to obtain his degree.  It is not just a backup plan, but a compliment to his life.  We should seek to constantly further our education.  Perhaps not always in a formal environment like a university.  One should still seek to develop every aspect of self: body, soul, and mind.  Complete beauty engages the mind with the eyes.  Captivating conversations draws an audience past the superficial.  One’s intelligence can further their opportunities.  It is with knowledge that we may advance our creations for the world.  So often I am amazed by the creative lyrics of today’s rap artist.  They draw references from current culture and combine them with eloquent linguistics to formulate music; constantly challenging their knowledge and talent.

We should never cease to further our minds.  Developing every aspect of ourselves deepens our beauty.  It increases our ability to contribute to humanity.  And through our creation, whether music or photography, medicine or politics; we can beautify our world.  Develop your mind to show you are beautiful.