Ixiah

Its Tuesday, 6:17am. I got up at 4 something so I could get some work done before Zion woke up, and the first thing I read on my phone was a text from Wendy Strong. Wendy is a mom of 4, a wife (whose husband is currently traveling with my husband) and as strong of a woman as her name would suggest. The text read:

"Just in case your mind is playing tricks on you today: You matter. You're important. You're loved. And your presence on this Earth makes a difference, whether you see it or not."  She continues, "I know when the boys are away and doing really cool things that sometimes it actually sucks being home. Saturday for me was crazy and a day I wish I could forget, so if you're having a crazy sucky day when everything seems to be going wrong and your kids and life are driving you mental, I want you to be encouraged that we actually are playing a major "non glamorous" role and to keep pushing through and know that you matter, you're important and that you got this. Praying that you're all having a great day and that when the kids are in bed tonight, that you find time to rest and chill out and not be overwhelmed with the business of our everyday lives."

So, you might be asking yourself, what does this text have to do with these photos? Well, not much. But this editorial looks especially "glamorous" to me. It is glossy and sunny, we aimed to create a 'bronzed goddess' look, rich in color and contrast. But when these photos were being taken the conditions were not as glam. Hot and sweaty sun, hard to stand on rocks, a 2 year old boy a few steps away who was about to either tackle me to my death or fall down the rocks at any given moment. Any moms reading this would understand the multitasking abilities that it takes to watch your child and keep them safe while trying to focus on something else. I've obviously had much worse days than this one and definitely have dealt with much bigger problems than the simpler day to day struggles. But I still felt like I should mention the not-so-glamorous conditions that produced these glamorous images. Its easy to just show our best, but its the REAL that connects you to people, its the vulnerability that brews compassion. 

The point is not to complain or to compare our difficulties, the point isn't to say that balancing life is tough- we already know that.  The point is to remind you that we are all on the same boat, trying to navigate life without knowing where its taking us. Its easy to look at someone's life and assume they have it easier than we do, that if only we had their lives, then we would be happy. But things are never as glamorous as they look. People never have it as easy as we think. And because of that, we are always better off together, supporting each other and encouraging one another. 

"Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

I hope you enjoy 

X Es

 

Editorial for Ixiah - Shop at http://ixiah.com/eboutique/
Produced by WHOOLAND LLC
Photography: Hannah Burton
MUA: Rachel Julia Artistry
Creative Direction: Me

Even When It Hurts

Hillsong United released a live video for one of my favorite songs on the Empire album 'Even When It Hurts'. The video is amazing and the download is made available HERE with a donation of any amount to the World Vision Syrian Refugee Fund.  

I am absolutely in love with this video. Everything about it. From the creative concept, to the song and lyrics, to the people, to the hearts that are so obviously projected through the talent, but used for much more than just making beautiful melody.

Not only is this song beautiful, but this song is a weapon. I wrote something on these lyrics on a previous post HERE. Our hope is that this song, the video, and our collective generosity will bless people everywhere. Check it out and enjoy xx

 

"Following the journey of the song through the first four times we ever played it live, from studio to arena— There is a parallel to be found within the narrative of seasons and days, the constant-unpredictibility of life, and the unchanging, unfailing nature of God and His faithfulness — and what singing His praises unlocks in us. In this journey, the song serves as the constant and honest-confession within us, as the environment and atmosphere changes like the seasons come-and-go around us.

Even When it Hurts is a Praise Song – not exactly in the new-traditional happy-clappy-Sunday-morning sense — no, this is the kind written to sound its loudest in the cold-lonely-silence of the darkest night, or the heart-drenched-desperation of the heaviest of tears. It’s a song that finds it’s voice in the moments and seasons where to all common sense and logic, to sing, and be thankful for anything at all, let alone sing a song of praise to God, makes no sense at all – when the fight seems lost and all strength gone with it – when it’s hard to even find the words — louder then, this is that kind of praise song.

If there is anything to be taken from our own hardship and God’s grace and compassion toward us — and even if we are still waiting in our own difficult night for the morning to come, there is perhaps nothing more powerful that we could do, than to take our focus off ourselves, and help others who are suffering.

We are making the download available on our website below – but humbly ask that you would consider donating an amount to the World Vision Syrian refugee fund.

Together we are believing that our generosity, will ring even louder than our song, and will tangibly become the miracle to the desperate plight and prayers and of so many who have lost everything – It’s impossible to fathom the enormity of the crisis, and the turmoil people have been through, and are going through – forced to flee the oppression and war-ravaged-hell-on-earth they once called home, and the daunting uncertainty of all that is before them.  (Spread the word / share the links / share the video)

LOVE."

 

 

 

An explosion of Color.

I love changing things up. There are always so many creative thoughts going through my mind, so many different vibes on my inspiration board. Why not be both classic and silly? Play with both beautifully simple black and whites and explore explosions of color? If we have been given the freedom and capacity to create, the free will to choose love and recognize beauty, why wouldn't we open our minds and hearts to the bigger picture rather than confining ourselves in the "safe"?

Its all abut perspective. Abraham Lincoln once said “we can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” We complain about this generation that has become so promiscuous and irreverent, but what are we actually doing to shape this generation? Are we even relevant and appealing?

When I speak about creativity I don't only speak of art. Creativity, to me, is to have the understanding of how to not necessarily adapt but help SHAPE our culture. Create a new beautiful, define the new "goal", live by the moral standards you say you believe in and present that as the new cool. Figuring out how to align your life with the Word while having an impact  and understanding of the World. Why try to separate and divide what is meant to be united for the same purpose? Isn't our duty to utilize the tools God has graced us with to glorify him in our individual ways? But for whatever reason we still choose to play safe. Culture doesn't define us, we define culture. The closer we get to our creator the more creative we get. The more creative we get, the more we can help shape culture. 
 
“How is it, that for many of us, being a good Christian is nothing more than being a good person? The entire focus of our faith has been the elimination of sin, which is important but inadequate; rather than the unleashing of a unique, original, extraordinary, wonderfully untamed, faith.” 
― Erwin Raphael McManus

Whoever tells the best story shapes the culture. 
 

Shot by Hannah Burton
Art Directed by me

All over the place.

image.jpg

I have to admit that I am one of those people who seem to have a million unread emails. I know- I'm embarrassed. But the thing is, I am always in a rush, always on to the next thing. Running behind, running late, trying to run with it. Lately I've been wondering what the problem might be.  Am I disorganized? Am I taking on too much? Am I not productive enough? 

I want to blame being a New Yorker for the cause of my mental mess because it's the nature of this city. Our lights never go out, our phones never shut off, the pressures never die down. But in reality, you don't just have to be a New Yorker to relate, our culture is perpetually flooding our lives with more to look at, more to do, more to consume us away from the most important things. This generation doesn't disconnect, it is nearly impossible to go off the grid. How does one, then, keep their sanity, balance, health and peace of mind? How does one invest in family, friends and career? How does one possibly find the time for themselves, their needs, their wellbeing... time to allow God to restore their souls? And then we wonder why we aren't living as effectively as we'd like. 

I often get asked the question "How do you juggle it all? How do you manage?" like I'd have any answers. In my head, I am struggling just to perform at an average level. Nobody carries exactly what you carry, nobody can measure your level of stress, nobody knows about the pressures you feel; it is all internal. But who has time to think about pressures anyway? Thinking about "the pressures" only makes you procrastinate, thus generating more pressure. I just take a day at a time, put one foot in front of the other. Deal with one email at a time. And because of that, I have been too busy to even remember to ask myself how I am doing.  

We never seem to have much time left to replenish our souls enough before we have to pour more out again. We always feel like we are running on reserve. We expect God to show up in big ways but we don't even save him enough time to show up and refuel us. Isn't one of the points of knowing God that He will replenish our souls and quench our thirst? Why, then, am I exhausted? Why am I running? Why, then, are we restless and anxious? Why are we disoriented? I thought one of the perks of knowing God was to know his peace...

We are certain that to live in God's presence is the only way we can find fulfillment. But living in God's presence isn't achieved just by "knowing" God. Whether we fall short, run out of options or run out of fuel we expect Him to show up, replenish and restore our souls. We say that we know him but we forget that the key is to WALK with Him. But we just KNOW God. We speak to him, we speak well of him, we set our alarms to remind ourselves to spend time with him. We are acquaintances, good neighbors. 

But good neighbors are who you go to when you run out of sugar, they are not your first call, your first thought, your go-to. Not who you share most laughs with, they are certainly not part of your will. But we want God to show up in our lives and replenish our souls when all we are is "good neighbors". We were called to WALK with him, not to just know him and pay our respects on sundays. 

May we be the generation that figures out how to walk how we were intended to walk. Let us never settle for any less than our promises and let us not possess any less than our inheritance. 

Knowing and accepting God saves your soul, but walking with God replenishes our souls.

X Es

image.jpg

Wearing: For Love And Lemons/ Converse
Creative and art direction: Moi
Shot by Hannah Burton