Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kenya Photo Sessions

 Alright, if you've been thinking, "We really need some updated photos (family, portrait, engagement, prego, senior, baby, etc.) and you want to support a good cause..." I've got something for you. For donating you can enjoy a 20 minute photo session, unlimited images & an online album of full resolution photos.

Just pick one of the available times from the bottom of this post and email me with the contact form on the right. Then donate $100 or more to our Kenya Trip (read more or donate here). I will remove time slots as they are booked.

A few images taken at the June 7th location (or view this post):

Saturday June 7th, 9a - 1p (Downtown Fullerton location, think brick, colors, variety).
9a (Wright)
10a (Becker)
1030a (Quines)

Thanks for sharing in our journey!

Phylicia (& Charles) Stoicu

Monday, March 17, 2014

DAILY in (y)our marriage

Charles and I went to our first marriage conference this past weekend. It was a good chance to be reminded of the important foundational tools for a healthy marriage. Yeah, we're only 10 months in, but we know intentionality in this area is a good habit to create. These 10 months have really flown by and they have been filled with a whirlwind of decisions, learnings and adventures.

There were some great, and yet simple things to be reminded of. One of the first sessions included "The Power of Daily."

Deal with your stuff - be ruthlessly honest about your own brokenness.
Attitude is everything - self care is crucial, be flexible, minimize frustrations (not maximize).
Intentionality - Be willfully committed. This takes effort.
Like vs. Love - mutual submission. We often love each other but do we like each other?
Yahweh reigns - Is Christ the center?

This might not make sense without the full context, but it was a good simple thing to remember. 

It was great to be in a room full of people choosing to be healthy, heal, and love each other well. I know there was also a room full of brokenness, hurt and struggle. Charles and I don't have it all figured out (not even close), but I do know choosing to be intentional and engaging in real honest community is so important. I'm trying to do my best in these areas and would encourage you to do the same - married or not - with what life brings your way.

Keep on keeping on, friends.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Can we end slavery?

Today Jessi and I got to go to the annual Justice Conference at Vanguard. We've both been fired up about this issue of injustice and excited to expand our opportunities to contribute to the end of slavery. What's happening in our own city? How can we help raise awareness? Hope can we contribute to the end?

Today was only a half day and yet packed full of inspiring, heart wrenching, and moving conversations. One of the sessions was with Stephan from World Relief and it was incredible. Not only is he doing much, well educated in the issue of trafficking and a great speaker but it was great to hear a man speak up so much about caring for, protecting and empowering women. Less than 10% of the room was men but Stephan brought such heart and passion to the topic. I can't even sum it all up well right now but one of the best pieces was the list of 10 things that make this fight against slavery possible. We're not all called to fight in the same way but we can all do our part, even if it is just paying attention around us (more on this to come..). These are quick bullet points from a session packed full of noteworthy items but hopefully they make sense.

So, 10 things that make this fight against slavery possible:
  1. Lament: Let your heart tear apart. Don't be afraid to feel. This all begins with empathy. Enter into suffering & don't lose hope.
  2. Create economic solutions: micro-financing, inner city urban gardens, etc.
  3. Support the creation of John Schools: Education for men who bought sex and got caught. These schools inform them of the reality of this issue and bring change. Talk to local enforcement agencies, mayors, etc. to make sure this is happening in your area.
  4. Shout: Blog, tweet, facebook, share stories. The collective matters. We have the tools to talk and share with the world.
  5. Clean up supply chains. Free children matter more than free markets.
  6. Advocate for legislative change. Politicians, congress, senators. Immigration reform: immigration is ripe with trafficking.
  7. Call forth the creative people in our midst: use your gift & calling to shake up this issue.
  8. Take on pornography. Allow men and the church to come out of hiding. Because we love our sisters and want to release them. If the church can't talk about it, then who can?
  9. Become a foster parent. From an FBI raid on 70 US cities 60% of freed victims were from the foster system. We need parents to love! (Note: churches must support marriages and families to be healthy foster homes, not just promote fostering).
  10. Come together. Collaborate. Partner. This cannot be won alone. 
 I love all of these. I particularly love #1, #4 and #8. We have to be wiling to feel in order to do anything. And then we have to share. So many have no idea slavery still exist and we must bring awareness. And then there's #8. I am so glad he mentioned that. There's such a huge connection between porn and trafficking. The consumption of porn is far too high in the Christian world. We have to be willing to talk about it, to provide a place of freedom and healing and to care enough to stop consumption because people are not items for our use. 

I am stirred up. But also so tired as I write. So, that's it for now. Thoughts welcomed.

Let's end this.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Photos for Kenya.

Back Story:
I have been mentoring one of our Eastside High Schoolers for her senior project. She has begun her photography career and she asked me to be her mentor in this field. It's been so fun to connect with her, see her grow and share in her journey. She came up with a great idea to raise money for our trip to Kenya this summer where we will be doing portraits for kids and families in the Mathare Valley schools and slums. Her idea challenged me and I will be joining her..

So, Taylor and I will be offering our photographs in exchange for donations to our trip. It just made sense. We take pictures. We're going to Kenya to take & print pictures (and love on all we get to interact with) for this project. Why not include pictures in our fundraising process? I am really not sure which of my photos would interest anyone but worth a shot!

So,  here is the deal..
Every $100 donation = 1 5x7 matted image
Every $200 donation = 1 8x10 matted image
Every $300 donation = 1 11x14 matted image
Every $500 or more donation = a 30 minute local photo shoot

You can choose an image from this gallery or you can wait until after our Kenya trip and choose an image from our Kenya gallery. If you want to learn more about the trip Charles and I are taking you can view our Kenya page here.

I hope this is a way I can share a special piece of my journey with you.