I guess this is goodbye.

Nothing can really prepare you for the sudden death of a close friend, nor can you prepare for the phone calls you have to make to let others know what happened. Then there are the text messages you send to console your close friends to ask, “Hey. How are you doing? I’m here if you need to talk,” Which then brings up more conversations to extend the mourning and grief a little longer.

My friend Andrew Jackson passed away suddenly on his way to London Saturday afternoon, February 24th, 2018. He was going to record an album for work and visit our close friends. Andrew suffered from a massive heart-attack while the plane was landing and passed away during surgery. He was 29.


I first heard the news as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed from my friend Heather who is living in London, whom Andrew was going to visit. I initially was mindlessly scrolling and looked at the photo without looking at the caption right away seeing a picture of her and Andrew. I thought to myself, “I never get shout outs from her. It would be nice to get one every once in a while.” Petty right? Then I went back to look and read to find out what had happened. Up to this point Andrew was still alive. I texted Heather immediately in disbelief asking for her to keep me updated. She told me, that he was taken to the number one heart center in England for surgery. I thought right away, “well… he made it. He’s going to be ok. He came so close, no need to get upset.” Queue the sigh of relief. I then went and posted something on Facebook mentioning to my friends and loved ones to keep him in their prayers. Shortly after, one of my best friends, Luke texted me, “This sucks to txt, but I just saw your post. He passed away.”

Shocked as I was, I didn’t know how to feel. I’ve known Andrew for about 10 years now, we first met in high school during our economics class with Mr. Leavy. Our first day of class Mr. Leavy went around asking people what their first and last names were and what they wanted to be called. Andrew was the first one to introduce himself. When Andrew spoke his first and last name aloud, Mr. Leavy called him “Mr. President” and from then on it stuck. I remember that very clearly, because the whole class had been laughing. Over time I never thought my path and Andrew’s path would cross the way it did, but it did. Andrew and I were never best friends but we were good friends. We had been running in the same circles for a very long time. From being part of the same church for many years and serving together to being in weddings and seeing our friends get married. He was always a guy I could rely on to come through for whatever reason. He was always there in the background. I had called on him for a few favors and without a doubt he said yes.

Right after Luke had texted me about the news, more text messages came through, one of them being from my close friend Hannah. She and her husband had a great relationship with Andrew as well. I called Hannah immediately thinking I could console her, but as she answered the phone as she always does with me, “Hey Brother,” I lost it, crocodile tears were streaming down my face. I was okay until that moment because I could hear the sorrow in her voice and realized this wasn’t a dream and that it was very real.


That weekend, I, along with some of my close friends were out for our annual cabin trip up in Northern Minnesota. Matter of fact we were all out to eat at this restaurant when I stepped outside to find out the news that Andrew had passed. I didn’t know how to feel or what to say that I fell into a crouched position on the sidewalk. I took the phone call and then headed back inside to face my friends with this whirlwind of emotion. We were all having a great weekend and it immediately shifted into mourning. They all grieved with me. Later everyone was able to go back to enjoying their weekend, everyone but me.

I write this not to explain what happened for the sake of story, nor to tell the legacy of Andrew Jackson. That should be done in person celebrating his life over a glass of his favorite whiskey, while listening to Radiohead or Mew. Over the course of the past two days I have heard what I had always known, how amazing he truly was. I want to be honest with what it looks like to grieve from my perspective and how I am going to process everything that has seemed to surface since he passed.

I do this through writing, attempt to tell a story from another point of view so that I can peer in and get a different angle. Sometimes when things are too in your face it’s hard to see beyond what is in front of you. I’ve done this a lot and hope that it helps sheds light to my understanding and maybe yours as well.

I’ve been in a panic since all of this has happened. I deal with anxiety like many others, but lately I have felt as if I have had a grip on it. Well not anymore. Its as though  my fear jar that I was holding closed has exploded wide open making peace an unfamiliar territory. Some people know that flying is hard for me. I text my family right before takeoff to say I love you in case this is goodbye, and then immediately purchase WiFi so I can text my sister because I’m on the verge of panic until about halfway through the flight. Well, my biggest fear actually happened to my friend Andrew, and now nothing feels safe to me anymore.

Kirch Wedding-714

I don’t know if this is grief or that I am just a wreck, but all I want is someone to tell me that it is all going to be okay. I want to be closer to my family. I wish they could see the severity of what I am feeling and get on the next flight to Minneapolis to give me a hug and spend time with one another, but circumstances like jobs prevent that from happening. There is nothing more important than all being together, but it’s just how the chips fall sometimes. I feel really alone. Even though I’m surrounded by tons of amazing friends, I am lonely.

One minute I’m ok; I’m going through my routine of driving down the road and then suddenly I realize I won’t be able to give my friend a hug again. That spirals into thinking, “How is my health? Could this happen to me? Will people feel the same about me as they do about Andrew if I pass? Have I lived a good life? How close am I really to my maker?” With anxiety these are all irrational thoughts, but this is reality.

I’ve had a few breakdowns in the last 48 hours, unsure of what is to come. I wake up in panic because I fall asleep with uncertainty. These are all real thoughts in my head, more than mere fears. It hits close to home once you lose someone who you loved and cared about.

Last week I was really down, and I have been bumming around about a few things: work has been slow, I’m wondering if I’m doing the right thing, I miss my family and rethinking moving across the country was the right call. I have dreams and aspirations, but I feel like I’m not pursuing them properly. Then Andrew dies, making a lot of what I was worrying about no longer an issue. I believe God uses everything as an opportunity to get closer to him. I have a feeling this is one of those moments.


I wonder how long I would have been humdrum and nonchalant. How close I am to my phone? How do people perceive me? Do I have enough money? Do these questions matter? What is really important?

I once heard that a legacy is not what you leave behind but what you gave while you were here on  earth. From what I’ve read and heard from the people that he touched, in Andrew’s 29 years on this earth he gave a whole hell of a lot. He didn’t always get it right, but he knew what was important: people, God, and music. Man did he rock (physically and metaphorically).

Andrew’s death brought so much to the surface in my life and he has only been gone two days. It’s going to be messy for a while but it’s going to get better. I have realized how distant I’ve been from God. Since Andrew died I haven’t once gone to God and talked to him. Frankly because I don’t know where to begin. I know that my fears and grief are meant to bring healing and understanding, but navigating through them seems very cloudy. I trust God with my heart. I truly do. I know Andrew trusted God with his because The Lord is holding Andrews heart now. There are things we can’t explain or have the words for, but one thing is for certain God does. I write all this in trust that I believe this to be true.

I’m thankful for Andrew’s life for many reasons, and in his death I’ve allowed myself to ask what is really important. I don’t have the answers, but I sure as heck know where to start.

Don’t quit your day job.

I haven’t filled out a job application in about 7 years. That was the case, until yesterday. Ever since I got a camera, I knew that this was what I was supposed to do. Not only to showcase my passions, but to sustain my financial way of living. I knew it was going to be a struggle from day one, but I wanted to be some sort of creative.

Now, on the internet, I’ve created a glamorous persona. Often times, people see me go from place to place, coast to coast, showcasing a spontaneous and adventurous life. To which is very real, and not a “show”, because I am very fortunate to live the life I lead, but it has its setbacks that aren’t often seen.


We as people, who are in my age bracket (I refuse to say millennials because I loathe the term with my whole being) don’t do the best job sharing our setbacks, and tend to shine light to just the positive. I’m an avid believer in learning from others and what they are walking in, whether it’s their successes or failures, which is why I try to be as transparent with my life as possible in my writing.

Now, I moved to Minneapolis thinking I was going to wheel and deal with these big clients, make good money and continue to post sweet things on the internet. Which at first seemed to be the case. Then emails didn’t come in. The phone stopped ringing and my confidence began to diminish. I began to get scared. Did I make the wrong choice somewhere?

After I filled out a job application the other day, I was hired on the spot. I wasn’t stoked. I became very insecure, and I began questioning a lot of the decisions I have made in my life.

I got in the car to head home, and all these lies began to pour into my head. “How do you expect to support a wife someday? How will you support a family. You’ve wasted your life. What you do isn’t a career.” And I began feeding into them and letting my attitude change. I started feeling sorry for myself, thinking I was too good for a day job.

Now there comes this moment, where the Lord breaks in. Sometimes it’s very subtle and you have a choice. Continue to be lied to, or choose to posture your heart differently. A split second went by, and all of a sudden I shouted in my car “God I trust you”. I knew at that moment, I needed to just worship the Father. Carry my sad self into the presence of the Lord and let him have his way with me. I hit shuffle on a worship playlist and my good buddy William Matthews song Hope’s Anthem comes on. In that moment I was reminded who was in control of my life, and it wasn’t me.


The Chorus of the Anthem is this “My hope is in You God, I am steadfast, I will not be moved, I’m anchored, never shaken, all my hope is in You.”

After I began worshipping God, I became more thankful for the blessing I was about to receive. My outlook changed and I became grateful for what I have than what I didn’t.

One of my favorite bible verses is Phillipians 4:6-7   “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The two emotions that mess us up the most is Anger and Fear. You can’t be thankful and Angry at the same time, nor can you be Grateful and Fearful simultaneously. Gratitude and thankfulness are the only antidote. You have to choose into one, so make the right choice. Declare what you’re grateful for and watch the peace that surpasses all understanding overcome you.

There is a quote in my all time favorite movie Good Will Hunting. “Sure, we will have bad days, but they will always wake you up to the good things you weren’t paying attention to.”


I know that where I am with my career isn’t where I want to be, but it’s temporary. Sometimes it’s hard to look towards the future, when the world is crashing down around you. I believe it is how we respond to these situations that we are put in, to delight the Father. Did I respond in fear, or with love and trust? That is where we have to lean on the promises of God to get us through the next day.

No matter where you are in life or what you are going through, it’s temporary. Joy comes in the morning and sometimes at a brief second in the car while on your commute. He is my joy, He is the joy. Be thankful for what you have and say it out loud. This life sure is grand.

Be blessed.

The Shoebox Theory

In my closet, next to my baseball cards and trophies lives an old shoebox. This shoebox has been in my possession since I was nine years old. Not a soul knows what has lived inside that shoebox for the last nineteen years, except for my mother. And now you.

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved a girl. Not a specific girl, but in general. There has just always been a girl to admire. I have only been in two relationships in my life, and both were when I was 18. This year I will be 28. So yeah… A bit of a dry spell in the last 10 years, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t met and fallen for girls. Went on a couple dates and liked a few. None of them worked out.


When I was in the 4th grade I liked a girl named Elizabeth (Can’t remember her last name). Elizabeth and I would hangout on the playground, we’d play kick ball, and ate lunch together. Then one day she was over me. She moved on overnight to a kid named Michael Normington. She probably had commitment issues, which seems to be a pattern for girls I’ve liked. Joking. Maybe, I don’t know. We were 9.

I remember I was devastated. I came home from school, went straight to my room and cried myself to sleep (I still treat rejection the same). My mom woke me up right before dinner time and obviously knew something was wrong. I told her what had happened, she then held me and told me a life lesson I’d never forget.


My mom told me to write down everything I liked about Elizabeth. Everything I could think of that made me want to like her, which at the time was nothing significant, but for story sake I had written a few things about her that made me interested. Pretty sure I wrote “Plays kickball like a boss, likes to catch frogs, and let’s me have her snack pack.”

After I had written down these things, my mom pulled out one of my shoebox’s and told me to put what I had written inside. And every time I came across a girl that I fell for, I was to write the things I loved about her and put it in the box. She then proceeded to tell me, that when the time comes for me to meet the girl of my dreams, I am to pull out the box and read all the things I’ve written over the years and I’ll know, I have the real deal.

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Now of course not everything is going to sync up with my future paramour, or what I have transcribed over the years (although I do hope she plays kickball like a boss) and one thing is for certain, nobody is perfect, but it’s helped me to know that my girl is out there. Even when it’s sometimes hard to focus on the future, especially when things look grim, with the one you care deeply about.

When that day comes I’ll know. The things I will have written about her, will someday overflow the shoebox. She will be more than I would’ve ever dreamed of, and more than words could ever write on those little sheets of paper.

I still add to the shoebox…

Just the other day I added about a girl I’m fond of. “Loves sports mainly baseball and hockey, fishing is key, family is most important, and loves Disney and Star Wars.”

One day I’ll pass down the shoebox theory to my kids, or I’ll give the idea to my wife to then give to our kids, so that they can hear it from mom. Just like my mom did for me.

Because moms always know best.

Cats out of the bag…

Cats out of the bag…

Most people who know me, whether we’ve just met or we go back 20 years, find me to be a lovable person to be around (I say this humbly). I enjoy being happy. I love having fun and most of the time I’m looking for the next thing that will make me laugh. I care for others greatly, and  I’m often the one people talk to when they are going through a hard time. You would never know that over the last month and a half I have been taking anti-depressants, because I have been living with crippling anxiety and depression for the last 7 years of my life.

The last year and a half have probably been the hardest out of the 27 – it felt as if it was all  bursting at the seams.


Like I said, I had been living with anxiety for a while now but it started getting worse and worse, until I was no longer in control of it. Now, to be clear, my anxiety, like all cases, is fear based – irrational thoughts that seemed mildly controllable, until just recently.

Last summer I was asked to work in Paris. A friend was going to fly me out there, and pay me to go. I was excited about the idea but, the moment it became a reality I shut down completely. I didn’t eat, didn’t sleep. Both of which are weird because I’ve been there, but this time I would be going alone. I was instantly overcome with fear, so much so I made up an excuse so that I wouldn’t have to go.


Just recently, about a month and a half ago, I had the most severe panic episode of my anxiety career. I was on my way to visit my sister, headed to a concert to see of one of my favorite bands growing up, and I had just spent $100 on a ticket. I left my house sweating profusely because I knew that a panic attack was on the horizon. It was only a matter of time. My sister lives about 3 and a half hours from me in San Francisco, 200 miles away to be exact. So when I reached mile 100 of my trip, my breathing quickened, my heart rate increased, blood pressure spiked, and my palms began dripping with sweat. I was having a panic attack.


If you have never had a panic attack, kiss the ground you walk on and thank your lucky stars because you have been blessed. For me, every time panic sets in I feel as if I’m dying. My brain goes into fight or flight mode and for the longest time I fought it, but now I was resorting to flight. I turned my car around and drove straight home. That drive home was probably the longest drive I’ve ever had. Depression sank deeper in my stomach than ever before, because I felt weak. I was not in control of my own thoughts and body.


After making a giant U-turn on the freeway I arrived home around 3pm and turned my phone off. I spent the rest of the day in my room, blocking out all sunlight, and sleeping till 11am the next morning. My heart was shattered. I felt broken, un-fixable, and quite frankly out of steam. One of the hardest parts of all of this was watching the look on my parents face, knowing they didn’t know how to help me. Throughout my life they have always come to my rescue, and now they had no idea how to solve this puzzle.



One of my closest friends suffered from similar symptoms and sought medical attention and they encouraged me to do so as well. About 3 years prior to all of this, I did just that. I went to the doctor with my anxiety questions, he told me about anti-depressants, and prescribed them to me. Of course I didn’t take them. I remember paying for the medication and throwing them into my nightstand drawer (where basically all things go to die and never be seen again). This time around I was willing to do whatever it took to get better. I was treading water and praying for a life raft.


So a doctor, a psychiatrist, and a priest walk into this bar… That joke seemed to be my reality. I saw a counselor, and we began to talk about where the root of all of this came from which helped for the most part but still felt like I wasn’t getting better. Then I went to the doctor and asked him about possible chemical imbalance that I might have. He prescribed me an  SSRI (anti depressant) commonly known as Zoloft. I was pretty on the fence about taking medication for something I felt was possible to fix myself, and when the doc sat me down and told me all the side-effects I freaked sideways. Especially the suicidal thoughts. Who in their right mind would ever put themselves in a place where they could potentially hurt themselves or take their own life? Certainly not me! I walked out of the pharmacy with my prescription in hand and again felt like throwing the pills in my nightstand, but my close friend really encouraged me to try them considering how much they had improved their life.

Simonis Wedding Preview


I remember the day I swallowed the first pill. I called all of my closest friends and confessed what I had been going through. I was just waiting for one of them to tell me not to get on medication but none of them did. Everyone was supportive and loving. Reassuring me that this was going to be a good thing. Lastly, I called my mom. She works as a therapist in the medical field where medication is often overprescribed and used unnecessarily. Her experience has lead her to believe that medication is generally prescribed as a quick fix to combat the symptoms, instead of dealing with the root cause. She has not always been a proponent of medication, so when I told her I had made up my mind about taking this antidepressant, to my surprise, she told me something I did not know. She had been taking a similar medication to help with her current situation in life. She has been separated from her husband for little over a year now, and was feeling down to the point where the future looked grim and not promising. Even though things are on their way up she still felt too heavy and had been feeling that way for some time. That was all the reassurance I needed.


The first week was the hardest. I was still wrestling with the fact that I needed to take something to help me feel better. It was such a crazy thing to wrap my mind around, it almost felt out of body. I over analyzed it so much that a majority of that week I stayed in bed. After 10 days in I began coping with the fact that this was going to help me and started going about my everyday life. Sure enough, it was no longer a big deal. I began to feel better. The things that normally stressed me out didn’t, my irrational thoughts had all but ceased to exist in my brain. Sometimes they would come, but I had the power to push them out and think rationally.

Earlier, I talked about bailing on the trip to San Francisco. One of the fears leading up to the panic attack on that trip was that I would’ve had to drive over a bridge to get there. I know what you’re thinking. Really? Bridges? Yes, I kid you not. Driving over bridges stressed me out. They never used to, nothing really stressed me out, but as my anxiety got stronger I would build up these crazy scenarios in my mind. For instance, I was expecting an intense earthquake to happen while I was driving over the bridge, it’d collapse and I’d be swimming with the fishes. These crazy scenarios would come when I was about to do something awesome and fun. I love camping, hiking, and being outdoors – to me there is nothing better. When I began to have this crazy fear that I’d have a heart attack in the middle of the woods and nobody could save me, I avoided it completely. I tell you all of this, because this is common with most cases of anxiety. One of my closest friends, the one who encouraged me to seek medication, shared that they had these fears too. They would be afraid every time they took their son to the grocery store, afraid that some estranged person was going to steal their son. If they didn’t see them moving in the baby monitor while they were sleeping, they would think he wasn’t breathing and they’d race in to go check on him to make sure he was still alive. People with anxiety struggle with a wild/scary imagination.


Last week I noticed the medication had taken an affect when I drove over both bridges in San Francisco. Something that bothered me so significantly was now a distant thought in my mind. 40 days into the medication I’m able to control my wild imagination and take hold of this mental illness.

Makhuli Engagement-1

I’ve wanted to be open about my whole process to shed light on this common stigma of mental illness and medical attention for it. I myself used to look down upon medication, something that is truly a gift from God. My well being and quality of life has changed drastically for the better and it feels as though my life has made a complete 180. When I say there is a stigma around taking medication for mental illness, I’m talking about the fact that I wrote it off as “I’m crazy”. I felt I would be seen as a person who people couldn’t trust because they obviously couldn’t handle things on their own. This belief is so false. Recently I watched an interview with Kristen Bell and Sam Jones called “Off Camera”. It’s one of my favorite podcasts, if you haven’t heard it go subscribe. Kristen shared that she struggles with severe anxiety and depression and has been taking anti-depressants for a long time to help her because she is overly emotional. This helps her as an actress to relate to characters but affects her in her day to day life, causing her to live anxiously. Kristen says in her interview “In the medical community, you would never deny a diabetic his insulin. Ever. But for some reason, when someone needs a serotonin [reuptake] inhibitor, they’re immediately crazy.” I was blown away by this, because there was this thing attached to something that could have saved me several years of heartache and stress, and because of it I wrote them off. I fed into the stigma and thought only crazy people needed to be on medication.


To quote the Huffington post, “nearly one in five American adults will experience a mental health disorder in a given year. Despite how common it is, it’s still highly stigmatized — and that’s a huge problem. Research shows negative perceptions can hold people back from seeking treatment and sometimes prevents individuals from revealing issues to their doctors.”


Since I have been open about my condition people have opened up to me about theirs. This is what we need. Honesty, vulnerability, and trust that the world will not judge you. You yourself hold the key to unlocking someone who is trapped in their own mind. All it takes is saying, “I’m with you on this, I struggle with the same thing, this has helped me find a breakthrough”, like my friend who encouraged me. I listened because I trusted them.


I want this to become an open conversation that is as common as the common cold. We need to be willing to say “I’m not ok!”, “I need help!”, “I can’t do this alone!” We get through life together and community is our saving grace. I pray that you find healing in whatever illness you are walking in. Just know that healing may come in many forms. Sometimes in the form of therapy, a friend saying how are you?, or a tiny pill once a day. You will get through this. You are never alone.

What I have to offer is Me.

I’ve been stewing on this post for a while now –  writing it multiple times just to scratch every copy in an attempt to keep this from turning into an autobiography. My life has not been deemed worthy of a hollywood blockbuster yet, so why bother? Recently my heart has been communicating to my brain for the first time in a while and I find myself here.

Like I said, I don’t want this to be a huge blog about how I got here – but we need backstory. I’ll keep it brief.

I just about butchered my reputation throughout my adolescence. If you were to ask anyone who knew me growing up, they would tell you I was the loud outspoken kid who couldn’t sit still and did just about anything for attention. I fed off it. I tried way too hard to find myself inside of what others thought of me.

It wasn’t until my early twenties that I started running with the right people – people who accepted me for who I was. I found my Faith, which helped me to develop characteristics that I value greatly today. The day I picked up a camera  my life changed drastically. I had finally found something that came kind of natural. It was something I felt inside of myself that I really didn’t have to try too hard to understand. And that’s not to say I was a natural at all. I’ve had an immense amount of help getting to where I am today by a large amount of people who I could never repay in a thousand years. And then one day I went from 0 to 100.


I had been given my dream Job/Paid-Internship making films full-time with a respected studio company out of Minnesota. We’ll save the cool/long story of how it all came about for a rainy day but for now all you need to know is I had showed up to Minnesota with two suitcases of everything I had owned not knowing what to expect. Next thing I know I get thrown into the mix with a top-notch team working on projects for big name clients. I had just come from working on small projects for no name clients, so I couldn’t help feeling like I had made it somewhere. In the wake of all of the coolness that had just rocked my life I started getting good at sharing everything that was happening on social media. My world was getting rocked and I needed someone to know, but I felt I had nobody else to share it with. 


In the course of traveling all across the country, working with really amazing people, and doing these really cool things I had developed an internet following. People who once thought I was a complete tool growing up now looked at my Instagram profile and thought I was doing something worthy and hip with my life. I felt like I had finally found who I was, and redeemed my adolescent idiocy by living what appeared to be a cool life on the internet.

So much attention came so fast that I got lost in all the hype. I started sharing things to get people to notice what I was doing. I wasn’t going to appreciate a photo unless someone else liked it. That was my motivation. It got to the point where it felt as though that was all I had. I slowly but surely become so conflicted by how consuming it had become that I had to take a step back and re-evaluate my thought process.

Then, my time in Minnesota had come to an end. It turned out the sweet Job/Paid-intership I was hoping to turn into something long term, wasn’t ideal for the company. I was devastated. I got a shortcut to the top of an industry, then a year later had to pack up my bags and go home to start over. It was a big lesson in humility. 


I thought that if I was the best there was, there’d be no way they wouldn’t want me to be a part of the team. It fueled me. Up until just recently my entire motivation for producing great work was to show the guys back in Minnesota that I was capable of being the best in hopes they’d realize they needed me. That one day my phone would ring, and I’d be offered a spot on their team again… 

But why? 

Why couldn’t I be content with the opportunities that I was given on my own? Why have I constantly felt like I have to prove something to somebody?

These questions kept reoccurring on long flights and drives to photo shoots – so much that I couldn’t ignore them. I felt like all the questions morphed into one. 

What do I have to offer?

I see this a lot with people. Their identities get so wrapped up in what they do, that when they are no longer able to do whatever it is they do best they are lost without a clue of who they are. I’ve heard of professional soccer players who after breaking their legs are never able to play the sport again, and have mental breakdowns. Could it be because they no longer know what they had to offer besides their talents? I thought about this a lot and wondered, “what if I was not able do what I do forever?” Who would I be? 

Ever since I can remember, people have always opened up to me about their deepest and darkest secrets.  Somehow they didn’t feel comfortable sharing with anyone else but me. I have no idea why, but people have always shared things that were really personal to them in hopes I would know what to say. I started asking people why they felt led to divulge certain information with me? And the answer I’ve received from everyone is that I make them feel safe. They felt safe enough to confide in me which is a huge deal. It started when brides would write me after their wedding thanking me not only for my hard work and beautiful photos, but how I made them feel on their special day. “You made me feel secure enough, that I knew you had control. I was actually able to just enjoy the moments that were happening.” 

Just recently I started walking in more confidence that if I were to lose the ability to create or unable share my visual talents with the world, I would now know what I embody. Something  I can’t explain that I carry. A presence that shows up when I show up. I make people feel safe and comfortable. That to me is worth more than anything creative I do, and it will lasts as long as I last.

I hope that others can find what it is inside of them apart from what they can physically do. To know that I am a brother, a son, friend, and hopefully a husband someday. Helps me know that my identity lies outside of what I can deliver. What I have to offer is me.


Definitions of Love..

We all have a definition of Love and to each their own.  Some people may feel that love is this certain thing and, someone can think the complete opposite. Some people define love based on whether or not their counterpart eats a cheeseburger the same way they do thinking to themselves “Surely this person is just like me so I love them.”  But, then again that is what makes us all unique.

At the end of the movie “Notthing Hill” there is this scene where Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant are sitting on a park bench.  While Hugh Grant is reading a book, Julia Roberts is laying on the bench resting her head on hugh staring at all the kids running and playing.  They are not doing anything but sitting.  They know exactly where the other persons heart lies and words simply can’t measure up.  For me this is my definition of love.  That place where you can just be with someone and it’s more than natural. That “Being” is sufficient enough.

You see we work too hard to make things work.  Even times it cost us to not be ourselves.  I was talking to a friend of mine and she was hanging out with this guy and told me “I don’t even know what to do when I’m with him, I’ve never been in a relationship before.”  The best advice I could give her was to just be natural and to be herself regardless of what it costs her.  Because the moment when something is forced, it’s trying to put something in a place that’s not meant to go.

It seems that if we are being authentic with ourselves and with others is when we can have these park bench type moments because the other person knows you for who you are which is true intimacy and the best way to look at intimacy is In to me you see.  Because if you allow someone to fully look into and be in your life. That person loves and appreciates you for who you are and can just sit with you then there is no room for fear.  Which is a peaceful feeling to think regardless of everything this person loves me for me no matter what.

I believe when I find that person for me to spend the rest of my life with she is gonna get the directors cut of JD.  Not the person I want to be or the person I was but, who I am right now.  Fully open and not afraid to hide anything.  Because if she can love me for who I am right now, she will love who I become in the future and love me for who I have been. I want to be able to sit with her on a bench and not have to say anything but, just feel her next to me and know we both love each other.  Because in that moment the state of hoping is surpassed by knowing.

So… Ask yourself what is your definition of Love?

Are you being truly authentic with the person you’re talking to?

Are you trying hard to put a puzzle piece in the wrong spot?

But, most of all can you imagine yourself sitting on a bench with this person and not have to say a word?

How do you like your eggs?

In the movie Runaway bride Julia Roberts plays the character of Maggie Carpenter who has left  3 fiancés at the altar giving her the nickname The Runaway Bride.  With each man she is with, maggie adopts their preferences and in this case it’s how her fiancés like the way their eggs are cooked.  Richard Gere plays the part of Ike Graham, who is a columnist for USA Today.

Ike exposes the fact that Maggie doesn’t really know who she is, or what she wants out of life or in men.  She adopts what looks appealing and makes it her own instead of finding herself.  So with every guy she is with she eats her eggs the same way they do.  In the movie Ike confronts maggie and tells her “You are so lost you don’t even know what kind of eggs you like!”   Until the end of the movie Maggie shows up in Ikes apartment and explains that after leaving groom #4 she realizes actually how she likes her eggs. Benedict. Not scrambled, over easy, or egg whites.  She finally could eat her eggs the way she liked them.  Because she had found herself, better yet she had met someone who appreciated her for who she was and allowed her to be herself.

There are so many ways of looking at this analogy… But, the place I want to come from is that if you like something ask yourself why you really like it.  Why do you like the way you like your eggs?  Because the more you really know why you like something or someone, the more security you’ll have in your awnser.  I’ve heard so many stories of people not really knowing how they like things until it seems too late… Then someone gets hurt or marriages are ruined because that person thought they knew their counter part until realizing that special someone didn’t really know who they were because of the others lack of identity.

Being 23 I don’t know everything but, I can say I have tried a few kinds of eggs and still trying others.  I wasn’t set on just one thing, because how can I really know how I like something until I’ve tried something else.

In the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower the main character Charlie is in love with a girl that is settling for someone who treats her poorly.  Charlie then asks his teacher Mr. Anderson “Why do we make bad choices or enter into bad relationships? Mr. Anderson replies “Because we except the love we think we deserve.”

What if that is all that she knew how to be treated? What if she had never been treated great by a man.  Because all she had known is what she thinks she deserves.  Imagine if she was treated a certain way that was great?! She would never settle again for something that was lesser than what she had already experienced? You would never know until you have had something else…

Please ask yourself how you like your eggs?

Do you even like eggs?

Why do you like them that way?

Have you tried others to know that those are your favorite?

Life is too short to just eat your eggs one way…