It’s hard. Life is hard. You will have days where you can’t even imagine getting out of bed. You will have moments where all you can do is cry. You will reach a point where you question everything you’ve ever done up until this point, because you’re sure that at this point in your life you should have it all figured out. You will occasionally wonder why you ever believed in fairy tales and happy endings. You will feel lost. Life. is hard. At times. But it’s not bad. And that’s an important difference to understand. It’s true, there will be hard days. Seemingly impossible days…to your mind. But to God, it’s all part of the plan. Of your plan. A plan that’s already been figured out for you! A plan that you don’t need to stress over, because it’s a beautiful, wonderful plan! And on those days where you don’t want to get out of bed, God already gave you the strength to do it! And it started with the first breath you took on those hard days. On the days where you feel like all you can do is cry, it’s okay because God is teaching you patience. Perseverance. Strength. Things we can only truly understand through the hard days. And it’s through this that we become the fullest version of ourselves. It’s through the hard days that we learn how important love is. How important being kind is. How important the hard days really are. And the thing is, we get through the hard days. Not without a struggle, but also not without God’s help, love and direction. You see, there will be hard days. I want you to know that. But I also want you to know that life is beautiful and full of smiles, laughter, love, hope, happiness. And it’s so worth all the hard days. __a.c.
Love has not perfection. You cannot control love. All you can do is offer it a place to stay. Make up a cozy warm bed, brew it fresh coffee in the morning. Tell it to have a good day. Expect it home for dinner. But no matter how many bolts you lock on that door, love doesn’t always stay. It slips through the cracks while you have your back turned. And most of the time, you can’t even ask it where it’s going. You sit at the table with two cups of coffee only to pour one down the drain. No trace of it other than your routine. Which suddenly becomes the enemy. Or maybe you wake up to a note on your pillow, inflated from the lack of weight on it. Be back soon-Love. Maybe it’s even left you its next location. You empty out your rain boots filled with tears and head in its new direction. Love has not perfection. It is not human. It does not know how to be one. It does not conform to our ways. It doesn’t know the night from the day. It will take the best of you and the worst of you and mash it all together until you don’t know what’s left of you. It will send you flowers ever Sunday for a year and then out of nowhere, disappear. Those same bright sunflower petals wilting to the ground. It will call you beautiful. And mean it. Even as its wiping away the tears it caused. Love has not perfection. It will give and take and push and pull. It will take the heart you’ve never seen inside of your chest and hold it in its hands- learning every vein, every artery, every ounce of oxygen it pumps with each sweet beat. It will give you purpose. Meaning. It will cause you to question every truth you’ve ever known. It will abandon you. It will welcome you. It will seem unfamiliar at times and the point of home at others. It will hurt you and heal you all with the same powers. Love has not perfection. But Love has God. And with that, everything is possible. __a.c.
People think there’s only a certain time frame you have to get it all figured out. Your twenties is when you’re supposed to get it all together. Graduate college, start a career, get married, buy a house, start your family, blah, blah, blah. And that’s a lot to pack into a ten year span in general, but especially when it’s packed into the wrong decade. And until you actually reach your twenties, you think it’s all possible. You think it’s all going to fall in place. Just. Like. That. Your dreams are set up to achieve it all in your twenties and you don’t even realize that yet. You think that’s plenty of time to have it all accomplished. Ten years. Sounds plausible, right? Then why do we have a world filled with twenty somethings feeling like failures? Why do we we have an ever increasing amount of depressed twenty somethings? Why doesn’t that plan actually work? Because we forget that life happens. We forget that people, even grown people need love and support. They need to be uplifted instead of judged and put down. Maybe you don’t graduate college in four years. Maybe it takes six. Maybe law school or the graduate program you chose was completely wrong for you. Maybe you don’t land a dream career or even a career at all right out of college. Relationships fall apart. Financial problems. Student loans. Not enough money for a house. Bills. A baby. Maybe you or someone you love gets sick. It happens. Stuff happens. Life happens. You see, a lot is going to happen in your twenties. The whole span of your twenties. Every single one of those years is going to soak up this world. It’s going to build you up, push you down. You are going to laugh and cry and smile so much. You are going to face decision after decision. And YOU have to make them. You are going to have plan after unexpected plan because it’s probably not going to pan out like it’s “supposed to.” Because it’s not supposed to pan out in one certain way! So much happens in your twenties and they are such crucial, important years of your life. You’re going to discover yourself in your twenties like you’ve never discovered yourself before. And you shouldn’t spend your twenties feeling rushed, or like a failure. You should spend them feeling amazed, impressed. Excited about the person you’re discovering yourself to be! You should spend them learning how to overcome a situation, not feeling like you fell behind a line. You should spend them getting to know yourself and the world around you. The people around you. You should let them transform you into a beautiful, kind, loving person. Because as challenging as they will be, your twenties are amazing, magical, struggling, beautiful years. And you will never get these twenty something years back. But if you live them right. If you love them right. The rest of your years will thank you for them. And so will the rest of the world. __a.c.
We have become a very verbally opinionated world. And that’s not the problem. We’re human. We think. We speak. Opinions are bound to be part of our everyday lives. The problem is WHAT we have become so opinionated on. The vast majority seems to only speak on the latest “trend.” And by the way, just because it’s trending doesn’t actually make it worthwhile. People are so opinionated on how someone was or wasn’t watching their kid at the zoo, but how often do you actually play with or read to your kids every day? How someone should or shouldn’t have shot a gorilla, but how important are your babies to you? And do you even fight for animal rights in your life anyways? Is it even relevant to your life? Whether someone is too skinny or fat, or wearing an outfit we don’t approve of, but when was the last time you talked about the word of the day after church? Whether a dress is gold or blue, but when was the last time you offered a helping hand? Whether people are white or black, but when was the last time you talked about or practiced unconditional love? Whether someone is or isn’t deserving of one of life’s blessing, but when was the last time you encouraged people to read the Bible? When was the last time you read scripture? Applied it to your life? When was the last time you went out of your way to help someone? Said “have a good day” to a stranger? When was the last time you went out of your way in your relationship to absolutely make the other person’s day? Volunteered? Helped a kid in need? When was the last time you complimented someone? My point is not that we shouldn’t have opinions. I believe opinions can be a great addition to the world. It was God’s opinion of Adam’s loneliness that led to the creation of Eve, which in my opinion is awesome. My point, you see, is that we should all take a look at what we are so opinionated on. What we are so inclined to verbalized, to put into the world. Because what we speak, write and do stays forever. And are we creating forevers that are worthy to exist? And remember, talking about someone else’s sin does not make yours disappear. __a.c.
I had it all figured out. My plan was set, ready to go. I was excited and ready to take on the world. And then slowly, piece by piece, goal by goal, it all fell apart. And I mean all of it. I failed at some, got distracted and forgot about others, and then somehow I found myself with nothing but a broken plan. Dreams never to come true. Not even a new plan to take its place. Just confusion. Frustration. Fear. How could all that planning. All that dreaming. All that work towards it end up with nothing to prove? Nothing to show. And then I realized it.
After much time had passed I finally realized it. I had something to prove. I hadn’t actually ended up with nothing. I hadn’t actually gone on living without a plan & I didn’t even realize it. Because it wasn’t my plan. I hadn’t been wandering around lost in the wilderness of this world. You see I actually ended up with what I needed. What God knew I needed. Strength. Perseverance. Hope. Faith. Love. Positivity. Patience. Understanding. I had all of these things surrounding me. But they didn’t just come to me. They didn’t just fall into my lap. I had to fight for them. I had to give it all I had to get them. And most of these. Most of these things I earned I never even factored into my original plan. College. Career. Money. That’s the plan, right? That’s how we’ll change the world, right? Make our parents proud? But all of those things are gone eventually. The careers end or make you unhappy. The money runs out or loses its value. And then what’s left?
And the ironic thing is, we never plan those things into our lives. We never pencil in strength and patience on our calendars & count down to the days we have left to reach them. And we need them. Boy do we need them.
You see, I had walked out unharmed, and actually stronger after the fire. After my plans came burning down. And that’s worth something. That proves something. That shows something. Because it’s the things you can’t frame that are worth displaying the most. __a.c.
There are gonna be some shitty days. There’s gonna be bad things that happen to good people and good things that happen to bad people. There’s going to be extreme emotions. Sadness. Anger. Guilt. You’re going to face some brick walls without an ounce of knowledge of how to get over it. Life isn’t all sunshines and rainbows every second of the day. But life is still worth something!! You’ll still get over those brick walls even if it takes you removing each brick by yourself. There’s first smiles. First steps. The sound of heartbeats. Slow dances in the kitchen. Cinnamon rolls. Hikes. Late night convos. Early morning runs. Promotions. Dream jobs. Puppies. Dessert. There’s sunshine and rainbows and the most beautiful sunsets. Puddles to jump in and get messy. There’s laughter and hope. And love. So much love! And that’s so important. Life is so beautiful. It’s something worth living for. There’s SO MUCH to live for. And nobody will ever convince me otherwise. __a.c.
For this concept, I wanted to show that Leonardo DiCaprio was metaphorically creating New York by becoming the wolf. We create so much more than we can imagine by unleashing our inner wolves. The hand is from Leonardo Di Vinci’s “The Creation of Adam.” The wolf is below Leo because it is what walks through the city with the people.