Mug Life – Omaha // Photo Study

I have a great fondness for coffee shops who’s aesthetic invites me to stay and relax. Where the space is as much of an experience as the drink the baristas prepare. Spaces like this could be found around every corner in parts of LA, but in Omaha like many things, you have to search to find these spaces to experience. But things worth enjoying, are worth searching for, are they not?

Mug Life is a small shop on Harney Street west of downtown. They share a space with Green Street Cycles. The first time I went in was when I was visiting Omaha before I moved back from LA. The owner modeled their coffee preparation on my favorite coffee shop in California – Portola Coffee Lab, so I was immediately hooked. The first coffee I learned to drink and like was the iced mocha from Portola (I have an expensive palette). The mocha at Mug Life is the closest I’ve come here in Nebraska.

The space while small is cozy and the light that enters at the right time of day is lovely. Please enjoy my enjoyment of the lights and shadows within Omaha’s Mug Life Coffee Lab & Roastery.

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Aaron + Tabitha // One Year

Congratulations to my brother and sister-in-law for celebrating their one year anniversary on June 6th. It’s still crazy to me watching our family change from 3 siblings growing up together to my younger brothers getting married and adding sisters to the family and now babies and the story of siblings and cousins will go on for another generation. Family really is the best.

Aaron and Tabitha’s family story is only beginning, and it’s already been filled with new job opportunities and medical events and I think more than they were expecting at the outset of “I do.” They’ve handled it with grace and love. Proud of you guys. Love you lots.

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My Bucket List

In an unorganized, unfinished list, here’s my bucket list. I reserve the right to add or subtract from this list.

  1. Visit “Middle Earth” in New Zealand
  2. Sit in the pub where the Inklings met.
  3. Be debt free by the time I’m 30. November 2016
  4. Work at movie theater.
  5. Move to a new city where I don’t know anyone.
  6. Watch a concert or big event from a VIP box
  7. Visit every continent
  8. Stand in running water in the mountains somewhere wearing those funny pants
  9. Start my own company with my friends and siblings where we get to play everyday
  10. Develop a company that people want to work for and where they’re taken are of.
  11. Get to invest in other people’s dreams.
  12. Own a debt free company
  13. Attend Comic Con with Leo Partible and other Act One people
  14. Meet Zachary Levi at Nerd HQ
  15. Publish a children’s book
  16. Write and publish a book series
  17. Write a screenplay
  18. Turn a book series into movies and other new media
  19. Give away 90% of my income and live on 10%
  20. Get married
  21. Go on adventures with my husband
  22. Adopt
  23. Take my kids on adventures
  24. Be a foster parent, loving kids who need it and telling them that they’re worth it
  25. Live in a van for awhile, traveling around the country, taking pictures and telling stories
  26. Design and own my own home
  27. Own a place where other creatives can rest and create for a season like others have done for me
  28. Come to the end of my life, spent, having lived my purpose and given all I have. Live well.
  29. Visit London, the British Isles, Iceland and Germany
  30. Take classes at Oxford
  31. See the Swiss town that was the inspiration for Rivendell
  32. Learn to do handstands and aerial/acro yoga
  33. Tell stories that remind people that there’s hope, they’re made for more and they’re worth it
  34. Help pay for my nieces and nephews education
  35. Love without strings attached
  36. Take a singing lesson  November 2016
  37. Take martial arts or boxing lessons
  38. Learn to rock climb
  39. Jump from a plane
  40. Meet Malcom Gladwell
  41. Hug Bob Goff
  42. Shake Donald Miller’s hand
  43. Shake Scott Harrison’s hand
  44. Meet and work with Jeremy Cowart
  45. Discover the best chocolate chip cookies and be able to make them at home
  46. Work in some way shape or form with Pixar and ILMxLAB
  47. Meet and work with Kathleen Kennedy
  48. Live in Israel for a season of my life
  49. Own homes with my siblings across the country so we can travel and stay together.
  50. Pay for my parents home, so they can retire and travel without worrying about having what they need at the end of their lives.
  51. Travel to places along the East Coast where America began
  52. See shows on Broadway
  53. Hike all over Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park and all the parks in Utah
  54. Pick blueberries in Maine
  55. Watch a season of Sherlock when it’s released in England
  56. Visit South Africa to see Kruger National Park
  57. Own a hat from Worth & Worth

A Deferred Hope

Hope deferred makes the heart sick – or how I’m looking at this right now, unfulfilled dreams hurts.

As a general rule, I’m an optimistic person. I look for the silver lining in a situation and tend to find it. The world doesn’t need more negativity or depression. I do have those negative emotions, but if I entertain those thoughts for long, they’ll stick around. Despair settles like an stubborn fog, and I don’t want to give them a chance to get comfortable. Because there is still good in this life. There is still hope.

But there are times when I need to sit with those emotions. I need to acknowledge them and what’s causing them. In the past I’ve buried emotions and stress until they all come out when there’s no room for more.

Now, in this season of life, I’ve walked into dreams and thought I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but I’ve taken another curve in the journey and I’m having trouble seeing around the next bend in the story. I’m acknowledging that I’m frustrated, that I feel like a failure, that I’m sad and lonely and feel out of place. That these unanswered, unfulfilled dreams, hurt.

Dialogue runs through my head telling me I didn’t hear the dream right. Maybe I didn’t hear the promises I thought I heard. Maybe I can’t trust what You said. Or maybe I don’t really know You because I didn’t hear You right. Maybe I don’t have what it takes. Am I fraud? Am I capable? Do I matter? Do I have the wrong motives?

Or per usual, am I just thinking too much?

And then I get angry with myself, because how selfish are these thoughts and doubts. In the grand scheme of things, my life is amazing and simple. Many people are struggling with survival, children are longing for someone to love them, families are trying to stick together, and I’m whining about being stuck.

My feelings are still valid and I’m trying to acknowledge that I’m feeling them, but I’m also trying to remember what I was given when I started this journey. I’m not alone in this process. There are plans bigger than me. I’m a piece of it. The bigger story will be told without me trying figure it all out. I get to learn along the way. I get to meet people. I get to learn to love people different than me. I get to do all of these thing. I don’t have to. I get to. I get to.

I was reading this article from NPR where they were interviewing Tony Hale from Veep and Arrested Development. I’ve heard him speak at a conference and he’s a fascinating guy. In the interview he was talking about doubts in his faith journey and it remind me a lot of me.

I think anytime in someone’s faith journey, my faith journey also, you go through doubting … I think you kind of have to go through that, honestly, just to ask the tough questions. … I mean, life is crazy, and to know that honestly a loving God is walking through it with me is very comforting for me. But yeah, I’ve been through my own times of just, What does this mean and how can this mean this? And ask the questions.

The thing about doubts is that they mess with you. They shake you to your foundation. They’re uncomfortable. They restructure your thoughts. But I’m seeing this as a good thing and not something to fear. I’m believing these doubts are shaking loose the cobwebs that don’t belong and solidifying what does belong.

Hope may be deferred for a season, but that doesn’t mean I stop hoping and working and being who I was created to be. Life is to be lived. To be enjoyed, to love and care for those you come in contact with. For now, those are the things that I can control and how I will continue.

Star Wishes

Stars are beautiful, but they may not take part in anything, they must just look on forever.
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

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The earth slowly and deliberately turns away from the face of the sun. The light on North America starts to fade and the light on Asia grows. But my job is the North America pre sleepers, those Wishers as we call them.

Star light. Star bright. First star I see tonight. I wish I may. I wish I might have the wish, I wish tonight.

I hear this over and over again. It repeats itself one on top of one another. Over and under, a great rhythm and melody of the world. It’s that quiet, consistent hum you in your ears that makes the whole world feel far away. It’s comforting and alienating all at once.

This is my everyday. I hear the wishes from the world below. It’s their night time but when I go to work. As the sun sets, we wake up and the music of the wishes begins. Slowly at first as North comes out, but then the “star light” chorus begins.

Star. Light. Star light. Star. Light. Star bright, bright, bright, bright. I wish wish wish wish I may. I wish I might. Have the wisssssh, I wish tonight.

Then the wish itself comes. Quieter than the wish music. Sometimes I have to listen hard to hear the wishes, but I always catch it. The wishes can be so wonderful and hopeful that I can’t contain the happiness. Other wishes are the force of a battering ram, heartbreaking and lonely. I can’t help but cry.

So many emotions in your world. How do you contain them all on your planet?

Your little ones will wish for interesting things. Sometimes it’s simple like chocolate ice cream for dinner, but other times they wish for a mommy or daddy. Then there are wishes like wishing their brother turning into a frog. I laugh. Your little ones are wonderful.

I don’t have the power to do any of those things. To make their wishes come true. I wish I could but that’s not how I work. I listen. It’s my job and they need me. To be truthful, I need them. My strength wanes when the wish song grows quiet. If we weaken too much our light wanes.

A wish – even the heartbreaking ones – strengthens longer than lack of belief, but the negative and cynicism hit harder.