Entering Military Life: A New Beginning

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It’s been a year since I last posted on my personal blog. Balancing a full-time job, a busy photography business and making time to maintain personal relationships has made it difficult for me to keep this updated. But now that I’m entering a completely new, terrifying and exciting season in life…it’s time for me to come back.

Let’s just say, a lot of big decisions have been made this past year. Now that things are official, it’s time to put it all out in the open.

2017 was a frustrating year. Tanner graduated with his bachelor’s degree in December of 2016, but right before he graduated, he informed me that he no longer wanted to go into the medical field.

“WHAT?!” was my response.

After spending over four years getting a degree in kinesiology, there really isn’t much to do with that without getting further education in the health field. I honestly didn’t know what Plan B was. And of course, my perfect blue-print of a future was shredded to pieces.

I graduated half a year before Tanner did and was working two jobs to support the both of us. Now, what were we going to do?

Tanner spent the next few months in a limbo of job searching and contemplating where his career would go. Nothing he looked into interested him, and I got more and more frustrated with him not having a stable job.

He finally told me that he was going to look into the military. It was a field that had always interested him ever since he was a little boy, but one he never seriously considered because it wasn’t considered “normal.”

Of course, I was absolutely against it. I told him, “I can’t have you go out and put your life in danger.” I wasn’t the type to be a military wife. I didn’t want to face being apart if he were deployed or worry about if he would ever come home to me. That kind of life was for other people…but not us.

Then Tanner said the one thing that made me realize how selfish I was:

“Who am I to say that my life is worth more than someone else’s? Who am I to say ‘that man can die for our country, but my life is more valuable than his and I’m not willing to do the same.'”

And that was the moment that I realized that maybe God had a bigger purpose for us beyond a perfect, routine, safe and quiet suburban life. Maybe Tanner’s calling of helping people and making an impact was in the form of serving our country rather than being the medical field.

Of course, Tanner’s willingness to “fight for our country” doesn’t necessarily mean that his goal is to be on the front-lines. But he made it clear that if it came down to it, he would be willing to for the sake of protecting what we have.

After letting go of my selfishness, I became more open to the idea of being a military wife.

Following that conversation, I did a lot of research over the lives of military spouses on my own. Tanner also took me to the recruiter to ask all of the questions I had. The more I learned, the more I became on board.

One of the perks of Tanner having a degree was the fact that he would be able to go in as an officer. Since I have always thought that Tanner is a natural-born leader, everything about this military career path fit everything he was looking for in a career. It gave him the opportunity to be in a hands-on environment every day, make a real difference, and lead people.

After a lot of prayer and learning to trust God’s will, we decided to make things official for Tanner to start the process of joining the military. He spent nine months in the marine officer recruitment program before he was later informed that he didn’t have a very high chance of getting in. (Long story). So in January of this year, he went to the army office where he started the process to become an officer in the army. Now three months later, he has a ship date and will be heading off to basic training in two days.

Tanner is officially leaving me this weekend to go off to boot camp and then officer candidate school (OCS). Today and tomorrow will be my last to spend time with him for many months. After he leaves, I’ll be getting information on how to acquire my military I.D and transition into officially being a military spouse.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be a military wife. And yet, I am anxious and excited for it. As I look back on my life I can see how God was shaping me for this in many ways.

There is nothing wrong with a quiet, routine suburban life. But is that life really the life I wanted? Honestly, not really. I’ve always craved adventure and experiencing the world. I like the idea of experiencing a piece of life that most people never experience, or living in a different country and indulging in a different culture. I thought I wanted the suburban life because that’s the only thing I had my eyes set on, but deep in my wanderlust heart, I wanted more. I guess you can say I’ve never been great at conforming.

I know that military life is going to come with challenges that I can’t even imagine. I know it’s going to be extremely difficult and emotionally exhausting. But strong women didn’t get to where they are without challenges, and I want to become stronger. I want to grow.

So here’s to the beginning of a new chapter. It’s all in God’s hands.

If the Lord wills…

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I’ve been doing a bible study on James to dive in on what it means to be a wise woman of God. Recently, a specific chapter spoke to me because it definitely called me out on something I have been neglecting to do.

I’ll start off by saying that I’m a planner. Always have been, and I’m assuming always will be. I’m a detail oriented person and like to plan things out way ahead of time: my life, projects, trips…you name it! As the matter of fact, my full-time job at the advertising agency I work at brings this trait to full advantage.

As the digital media coordinator, I manage all of our digital projects from the creation process to delivery. This means that every piece of creative is tasked out by me and is delivered to me by deadlines that I set. Not only is my work-life filled with tasks and deadlines, but so is my personal life! My husband, Tanner, is the complete opposite of my micro-managing qualities; which is perhaps why he can frustrate me to the core. (Love him to death though). It’s true that opposites attract.

The bible says it’s good to work hard.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” – Colossians 3:23-24

But all of my hard work and productivity comes with ME in mind. My life. My time. My money. In the midst of all of this life planning, it’s all about what I want, what I have earned…rather than constantly recognizing that nothing I have is my own.

I want a house like this, I want a job like this, I want a lifestyle like this…you name it! I’ve wanted it all! (Yes, I know I can be a bit high maintenance. Okay… a lot. 😉 )

With breaking into this adult world, where wealth and social status becomes more prominent than it was when I was in college, it’s easy to get myself caught up in desiring things of the world:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Matthew 6:24

I will say that not once in my plans do I consistently think: “if the Lord wills.” Yes, that comes up in conversation occasionally, like getting a certain job “if God willing;” but it never crosses my daily plans or comes to mind when I think of the goals I have for myself.

I’ll admit, I’m the kind of girl that gets mad when I don’t get what I want. Because more often than not, I get what I want because I work hard for it. If I want something to happen, I’ll work hard to make it happen.

As Christians, we all say, “I know what I want is not always what God wants, and my plans are not always His plans.” But seriously…that’s easier said than done!

God, what do you mean I can’t get what I want? I worked hard for it! I deserve it!

Well, the truth is I don’t deserve anything. I don’t deserve the small apartment I’m living in, the scraped up car I’m driving, or my out of date iPhone…because I more blessed than 90% of the world. Yet I’m constantly making plans to make my life better. I make a blueprint of plans for my life and convince myself that my goals are what’s best.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’  As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” – James 4:13-17

It’s time for me to put God’s will back in my plans. To let go of my selfish ambitions, the instinctive planner in me, and let God carve my path. It’s time for me to make all of my plans revolve around the Lord’s will rather than my own will. Because I know for a fact that His will and His plans are better than mine will ever be, and I just have to trust Him.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21

How I Met My Best Friend

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Since being young and married is a unique part of my life, I thought I would share how my best friend became my husband!

Tanner Morgan and I first met on December 6, 2012, at the annual midnight breakfast that Texas Tech hosts every fall semester on the night before the first day of finals. I was already friends with his roommate, Toby, who I had befriended at church and in Complex Council. Having gone to the midnight breakfast by myself, I asked Toby if I could sit with him. Toby then introduced me to his roommate, Tanner. After indulging ourselves in pancakes and partaking in fun conversation, I soon became part of Tanner and Toby’s circle of friends.

After being friends for a few months, Tanner and I started taking interest in each other in February of 2013. We would sing, play guitar, watch movies, and hang out with our friends together. It was over the course of these “hang-outs” that we started developing feelings for one another.

One night I was texting one of my friends that I had a crush on Tanner. Having Tanner in mind, I accidentally sent him the text that was supposed to go to my friend. #TrueStory. I was mortified. I texted Tanner back immediately and said I would just go marinate in shame. 😀 That kind of sped up the process because now the cat was out the bag.

Tanner then made a point to schedule an official date with me later that week. He took me out to eat at Blue Sky and took me dancing at Wild West afterward. We never had a conversation about the awkward, accidental text that night.

Later on that Saturday on February 23, 2013, we met up at a dining hall on campus and discussed the possibility of becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. We laid out boundaries for ourselves and made the important decision to have a Christ-centered relationship with the intentions of getting married. If at any point we felt that we were not husband and wife material, we would break it off. Tanner and I officially became boyfriend and girlfriend that day.

Over the years with ups and downs, laughs and tears, lessons learned, acceptance, sacrifice, and spiritual accountability, I fell deeply in love with Tanner and Tanner fell in love with me. After much prayer, the Lord told me to marry to Tanner. I knew that God had a wonderful plan in store for both of us.

We got married on July 24, 2015. I am so blessed that God gave me a man who fears the Lord and loves me wholeheartedly. It’s been an amazing ride and I wouldn’t trade this decision at all. Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all, and it’s written by God’s fingers.

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25 Random Facts About Me

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To give a little glimpse of who I am, here are 25 random facts about me.

  1. I love Jesus. Feel free to check out my testimony!
  2. I got married at 21 years old.
  3. I have a master’s degree in mass communications.
  4. I am half Malaysian and half Caucasian.
  5. I spend way too much time looking up travel destinations I can’t afford.
  6. I have a gnarly scar on my right arm from breaking my arm.
  7. I grew up in a town of roughly 2,000 people with no stoplights and no Wal-Mart.
  8. I was valedictorian of my tiny high school class.
  9. I can play the guitar, ukulele and piano.
  10. I love singing and can do a few singing impersonations.
  11. I am a stereotypical, bad Asian driver, but I have not gotten a ticket (yet).
  12. I was born without a middle name.
  13. My favorite drink is a chai latte.
  14. Spider-Man 2 (2004) is my favorite movie. Crazy, I know.
  15. Aside from The Punisher, I have seen every Marvel movie released since 2002.
  16. I was first-runner up in my town’s local pageant three years in a row. (Fourth time’s the charm)
  17. I have delayed sleep phase syndrome. Hence, why I’m a night owl.
  18. I’m allergic to cats. 😦
  19. I had the opportunity to meet a bunch of celebrities in one place.
  20. I don’t like fruit. I’m more of a vegetable person!
  21. I’ve never been drunk.
  22. I have a slight, stuttering problem.
  23. I’ve never baked a cake.
  24. Winter is my favorite season.
  25. I’m terrible at anything sporty, and I mean anything!

I hope you had fun getting a peak of who I am. Do we have anything in common? What fact do you find the most interesting?

Well, I doubt anyone is reading this, but I would feel bad not including a call-to-action in this post. 😉

Leave your comments below!

Becoming Brave: Living Life Creatively

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If you look at the tagline of my website, you will notice it says “be brave enough to live life creatively.”

I wish I came up with that quote, but I didn’t. I found it on Google as I was searching for a tagline that fit me. It sounded empowering to me, so I stole it. 😉 However, I never really grasped what it meant.

I started this blog up initially as part of a West Texas photojournalism class at Texas Tech. That is solely what I used it for in the beginning. However, I eventually started uploading the occasional photo session, since I deemed it appropriate to have a website associated with my freelance photography/videography business.

As far as other content…personal content…there really hasn’t been much.

Throughout college, I always wanted to work on personal projects, but with balancing the gazillion student organizations I was in, classes, my job, my freelance business, church involvement and leading youth, I just didn’t have the time to work on personal projects. But on top of that, I was afraid to. Afraid of what people might think. Afraid of nobody caring. Afraid of being criticized.

Well, that’s not being very brave, is it? If I’m afraid of producing my own content for the sake of what others might think, that’s not being brave enough to live life creatively. It’s shutting myself in a box of inept fear.

After my internship in L.A concluded last summer, I was inspired, motivated and determined to start creating my own content in some form or fashion. Content beyond my photography/videography services. After working at INSTANT I really wanted to start vlogging because I love videography and I love showcasing my personality. However, I had no idea what I would make videos about; and with starting a full-time job on top of my freelance business, I had no idea when I would have time to make videos.

I’ve come to the conclusion that possibly the most flexible, realistic content creation I can do right now is writing. It’s something I can do in my own time and at my own pace. I’m not near as strong of a writer as other people, but should that stop me from even trying? It shouldn’t.

This personal blog is not for the sake of views or praise, but for the sake of creating something for myself. For the sake of documenting my own life.

I love telling other people’s stories. It’s time for me to be brave enough to tell my own. It’s time for me to be brave enough to live life creatively.

The Hidden Beauty of Airports

When one thinks of an airport, a couple of words might come to mind: travel, lines, luggage, people, metal detectors, terminals, or the TSA.  There are a lot of things that are incorporated into the air transportation aspect of the travel industry.  A lot of times this can be hectic and stressful. Timing is everything.  You might look around at the people thinking, “where have they come from?” or “where have they been?” However, I have come to realize there is bittersweet beauty at an airport that all comes down to something simple: love.

Sometimes memories at an airport can be sad. Families and friends say goodbye to the ones that mean a lot to them. They may kiss, they may hug, or they may give a casual handshake. Sometimes goodbyes come with tears. All of this is a sign of love. Goodbyes would never be hard if it were not for the existence of love. This is the beauty of it. It is hard to say goodbye to someone that holds a piece of your heart.

However, despite the goodbyes at airports, there are also the welcoming hellos. When you stand in the exit area when the passengers are finally released, it is amazing the see the beauty of those reuniting. Family, friends, and significant others await the moment to finally embrace the ones they love in their arms. They may kiss, they may hug, or they may give a casual handshake. Nevertheless, it does not matter how long they have been away. Perhaps a day or perhaps a year. It does not matter where they went. Perhaps in the state or perhaps across the world. All that matters is that they are home. But what is home?

I’m sure many people have heard, “home is where the heart is.” I definitely agree that no matter where you are, home is being with the ones you love. It may not be where you live, it may not be where you have grown up, and it may not be where you are now. Honestly, I believe the heart can have more than one home. I believe your heart can leave pieces of itself across the world. Loving others is a sign of what you have in your heart, and it may not always lie in one place.

 In Mark 12, it says, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Is this not what glorifying the Lord is all about? Hellos and goodbyes are an example of this love…even at an airport. Image

I will conclude with this. Time is precious. Spend time with the ones you love while you have the chance. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, and you never know if that quick goodbye at the airport will be your last. It is okay to cry tears of sadness and tears of joy. It is okay to vulnerable. Remember that earth is our temporary home, and those with Christ’s love will reunite in His kingdom.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – John 4:8