“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
Freedom. Independence. This weekend was about honoring those who founded our country, and those who continue to work for the freedoms we are blessed with each and every day. After the many advances our country has made in the last year, I feel a weekend of honoring it was most certainly in order. Though it’s nothing we could have chosen, those of us that were born and raised here are often blind to the blessings. We are so used to them that they seem commonplace. As I get older, the realities of the world are settling in.
So often, I see people my own age get caught up in the everyday; those parts of life that are fleeting, passing fast. Not made for forever. I am hyper-aware of that. I am consciously seeking deeper meaning in moments that may not even deserve closer attention in hopes that, in the process of seeking something greater, some newfound knowledge can be born. I guess what I’m saying is I want to live meaningfully, not on the surface, not selfishly, not for the sake of anything or anyone else. I want to live a life full of faith and purpose, not filled with constant seeking for superficial fulfillment.
After work “Sizzling Summer Nights” at the Autry Museum. It was salsa night and the mostly over 40 crowd in attendance was lively and dressed to the nines. I loved the live music, the culture, the couples sharing time and music together. I missed my dad.
Newport Beach for the day. I’ve had a few friends say that Newport is the place to be on 4th of July weekend for young people. Getting there at 9am, getting settled, eating cheap and delicious donuts from seaside café, fresh brew from the Newport Coffee Company, and a walk along the pier. Though not far from the much-loved Huntington Beach, the vibes were completely different. Beach time. Sketching time (boy, do I miss having a colored pencil in hand above a piece of clean, blank white paper). Music time. People watching. Surfer dudes. Walking around the shops and buying patriotic socks.
Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach has an amazing event the First Friday event every month. Food trucks, shops open late, and an endless amount of trendy young people walking up and down the boulevard. Papusas and a S’mores cupcake for dinner combined to make my already-full stomach kick into absolute overload. We walked it off through galleries and trendy shops. My favorites of which were: Skylark and 5 Points. The latter was a pop-up shop, set in Venice Beach until the 15th of August before relocating to Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a three month stint. This organization was so inspiring. A combination of a plethora of artists to create a collective of sorts. Out back there was a vintage typrewriter that you could type a message on for other people to add to. Also in the shop were watercolor prints, apparel, leather goods, paper goods (which I am a huge sucker for), and a handful of people like Teddy Forance that I immediately felt a connection to. I think it’s a creative-type people thing. Or an optimist thing. Either way, I was encouraged by the organization and the brand. Check them out for yourself here. Our last stop was to Vynl, a record store giving away FREE record art. After waiting in a twenty or so minute line, you could have a rather artsy looking worker apply the paint combination of your choosing to a spinning record to create Jackson Pollock-esque personalized splatter art. Sometimes the best things in life are free… I think this is my favorite acquisition thus far in Cali.
Independence Day! Trip to Vons for ice cream sandwich making materials, an afternoon poolside, making new friends with young professionals that work here as on-screen talent. My favorite part of yesterday was the progressive dinner we had with the program. Appetizers at one apartment, entrees and the next, and desserts at the last. We travelled together to the different places in the complex and enjoyed incredible, all-American food. Then it was off to the Hollywood Bowl for The LA Philharmonic and the Mo-Town king himself, Smokey Robinson. Sitting in the most exquisite outdoor venue and enjoying live music alongside thousands of others, I thought to myself silently about how far we have come. How far I have come. This summer has not been easy, it hasn’t been a vacation. Still with several weeks to go, I sat there proud of all that has been accomplished. Top of the line fireworks set to the sounds of the orchestra closed out the evening beautifully.
I finally attended a church worth writing about. Why stray from my roots? I am a born and baptized Episcopalian worshipper. I went to All Saint’s Episcopal Church essentially my entire life, and an Episcopal-Lutheran private school until 8th grade. Let’s face it, the traditions and structure of the service combined with the belief that EVERYONE is allowed a place at the table of God… that’s the kind of place I want to be singing and praying. Saint Mark’s in Glendale was unlike any other traditional service I’ve attended in that it was completely sung. Though new and different, the service was rooted in all that I know and love about church. I won’t go preaching too much religion to you all, but I do believe one thing is certain: no one should ever be denied God for any reason. Who are we mortals to say that someone who is gay, straight, black, white, green, blue, purple can’t belong in the church or the kingdom of heaven?
It is through our weaknesses that we are given strength. It’s when we surrender to that which we cannot control that healing can begin.
Happy Independence. I wish you all the best today and everyday.