Touch Not This Cat!

I’ve been pretty discouraged in my photography lately. I am behind in my 52 Weeks in My City project. Honestly, I’ve felt like quitting the project entirely. I bemoaned this to the Bean; whining and complaining. 

“I don’t have “it” in photography!” (Whatever the heck “it” means.) 

“I have old, outdated equipment!” 

I’m just not feeling it.”

“So and so has talent…” 

“I’m so behind, I might as well just give up.” 

I gave Eeyore a run for his money. The Bean tried to encourage me. I could not hear it. We stopped to do an errand and I waited in the car. All around me, I kept seeing photographs I could make. The fifteen minutes alone in the car showed me something. I actually do have photography in me. IT’S IN ME! 

By the time Bean came back to the car, the fight and fire came alive in me; kicking the lies aside. I began to tell the Bean that I couldn’t quit photography, I loved it too much. This he knew all along. But his response made me rock with laughter. 

“Yeah! That’s the McGilvray I know! Fight for it. I knew you had the fight! Touch Not This Cat!” he yelled.  I howled with laughter. You see, my heritage is Scottish and Touch Not This Cat is our clan motto. A pretty badass motto, if I do say so myself. 

Thank you for sending this to me, Uncle Andrew! 

Oh, how I love the Bean. 

I will not give up. I may not have the most talent or the best equipment, but I do have the heart for photography and for people, whom I love to photograph. Stay tuned for the next installment of 52 Weeks In My City.

52 Weeks in My City-Peeps of LA

One of my great interests is people. I love observing, photographing and enjoying people. I love the diversity. I love the uniqueness of each person. I believe each human was made in the image of God. I love noticing things about people. Usually, I bring it to their attention, to their great embarrassment. 

Date Night
Stomping Ground

As I was shooting the Los Angeles skyline, I kept getting distracted by the people who were with us. Couples, teens, tourists, families…this brings me great joy. Much more than the skyline did. 


I enjoy capturing the people of Los Angeles in all their glory. 

52 Weeks in My City-Cityscape

Retro Cityscape

Of course, shooting the Los Angeles skyline is necessary when doing a photography project in Los Angeles. Bean and I went to Mulholland Drive to photograph our beloved city. I quickly found out that shooting skylines are not my favorite, but the tourists and people of Los Angeles distracted me to no end. Also, Bean is pretty handsome…that was a distraction, too. 

Beloved Bean
Land of Dreams

Thoughts on Charleston

I’m grieved, broken-hearted and outraged. I wept when I heard the families of the victims of the Charleston shooting offered forgiveness towards the shooter. I can’t be silent any longer. This act of racial hatred is wrong and evil. This quote by Edmund Burke swirls through my head as I try and make sense of the madness. 

I have many thoughts and questions, mostly for myself. I have been looking inward since the devastation. This post is my way of processing this tragedy. 

  1. What do my black brothers and sisters need from me, a white Christian woman? 
  2. How can I be an agent of change in my generation? 
  3. Why is the Church largely silent? (I have been somewhat encouraged that white churches are speaking out against this heinous act.)
  4. How can I reach out to my black brothers and sisters? I don’t know what to say and honestly, I am afraid I will say the wrong thing. 
  5. I want to understand what it is like for my black brothers and sisters. 
  6. What can I do to make a difference? How can I best respond? 
  7. What does it feel like to be treated in an inferior way 24/7? 
  8. How can I be a reconciler? 
This week, my eighteen-year-old son and I did some practice driving. I looked over at him and had this realization that he most likely may never experience being marginalized because of his race. Aidan probably won’t ever know what it is like to be judged, treated with suspicion, treated unjustly, falsely accused, pulled over by the cops, beaten, chased or killed because of his race. At that moment, I began to understand “white privilege” and it grieved me that this happens in our country to black people and minorities often. 

I am prejudiced. Prejudice simply means to “pre-judge” though there is nothing simple about prejudice. Sinful, yes. I confess I pre-judge all the time. I hate that this is true of me. I pre-judge people according to their race, political beliefs, doctrinal stances, clothing choices and many other things. The Lord has called me on this time and time again. Forgive me, Lord! I am asking Him to change my heart. 

I am calling on the Church to lay down these prejudices, come clean about them and move toward love and unity. Admit our shit. Seek to understand what it is like for the black and minority people here in America. Speak up. Stand up for those who are oppressed! Love. Humble ourselves. Ask forgiveness on behalf of the white people who have done harm to our black brothers and sisters. 

I want my black brothers and sisters to know that I am ashamed of this act of injustice (and many others over the years.) I ask your forgiveness for all the brutality and injustice. I value you as Imago Dei humans, made in the beautiful image of God. The Body of Christ is not complete without you! 

“Love is a day in and day out fending for the dignity of another, despite race and cultural difference. A love this nation has never seen, across all lines, will cause us to rise, and rise we will.” ~Adam Thomason

If you agree with the thoughts in this post, will you pass it on? It’s time to stand up for the oppressed. 

52 Weeks in My City-Studio City

At the beginning of the year, I decided to take a year to photograph the city I love live in. I really love Los Angeles. I want to bless my city however I can. Right now, it’s through this photography project which is a love letter to my city. 

Studio City is a trendy little part of town, close to Universal Studios. One of my favorite places to have coffee is Aroma Cafe. The desserts are ginormous and melt in one’s mouth. ‘Tis a great place to date or celebrate. 

Days Gone By
California Classic
Tisket, Tasket
As I wander through my city, I continue to get a heart for Los Angeles. I know that while I am living here, I will continue to seek the welfare of my city. 

The Final Countdown

In five days, I will be graduating Aidan. GRADUATING MY FIRSTBORN! At his graduation, his dad and I will hand him his diploma and say a little something to him (with tears pouring forth from my eyeballs.) Last week, Aidan and I were scouring old scrapbooks for photos for his slideshow. We came across many gems. All the while, emotions churned inside of me.

Aidan, 6 days old. 
Flashbacks and memories surface, bringing joy, sorrow and wonder. One memory that surfaces is every mama telling me how quickly times flies as I am holding my newborn man-cub. As a new mama, I simply could not fathom. But it is true, painfully so. They do indeed grow up so very fast. 

The predominant emotion I am feeling this week is joy. Joy and gratitude well up inside me as I think back to all the ups and downs Aidan and I have had. The stand-offs, the fights, the tears were all very real and seemed to last an eternity. The fun, the laughter, the incessant teasing…well, that does last a lifetime. 

I confess that one of the reasons I decided to homeschool is because I wanted to forge a close relationship with my man-cub. There were many days when I wondered if this desire would actually become a reality. Aidan and I have worked very hard to have a close relationship. It’s been a difficult journey. However, all the hard work, tears, fights and prayers have been worth it. 
Another feeling I have is pride. Of course, I take some of the credit for who Aidan has become. The Bean and I have been a major influence on him, for better or worse. The Bean is an amazing husband and father. Yet, I don’t take all the credit. Aidan is an amazing young man because he is an amazing young man. I am proud of him because I have seen him make good choices for his life, without our help. I am proud of him because when the going gets rough, Aidan grabs his guitar and begins to worship the One who gave him life. I am proud of him because he is his own person, separate from me. 

I feared this separation, honestly. When he was twelve, I felt the Lord begin to prepare me for the pain. I am grateful for the warning. I haven’t always handled the separation well, but I see now it’s the healthiest thing a mama can do. Recently, a wise woman encouraged me that man-cubs do leave their mama, but they come back eventually. I am holding onto this promise today as I countdown to graduation. 

How to Trust God for the (seemingly) Impossible

A few weeks ago, I had the idea of doing a “How to” Blog series. I am blogging once a week on a topic sharing “how to” do something. I am no expert, but I am writing out of my experience. I have age and grey hair on my side. 

My family is trusting God for some impossible things right now. By impossible, I mean things I cannot make happen on my own. Here are a few things I have learned on the wonderful, scary journey of trusting God for the impossible. 

1. Did God speak? 
  • I went through a period of time where I found myself being disappointed with God. In my opinion, He didn’t come through for me on certain promises. God gently showed me that I was presuming He had promised certain things when actually He hadn’t spoken specifically. Now I make sure I have heard specifically from Him. Abraham is a great example. God promised Abraham a son. Abraham believed (though impossible to make happen on his own). This is the correct order. 
2. Trust. 
  • If God has spoken, then hold onto the promise no matter what. No matter how impossible it may seem, hold on. God is in the business of doing the impossible. Freaking out is entirely acceptable. It does not mean there is no faith. Hezekiah freaked out too (check out Hezekiah’s story in Isaiah 36-37). Last week, I was freaking out. God does not get impatient with me, He just reminds me to trust Him. 
3. Pray. 
  • Pray. I have been praying and praying about the situation facing our family because I have a relationship with God. However, I love that God reminds me it is not up to me. I pray often and often, I forget to pray (and freak out instead). My lack of prayer doesn’t affect the outcome. It’s up to God, not up to me. My job is to trust. Read #2. 
4. Do the possible; let God do the impossible. 
  • I ask if there is anything I can do (obey). God will often ask me to be active in my faith. My other job is to obey and sometimes step out in faith.  Do the possible; let God do the impossible. 
5. Recount the times God has been faithful. 
  • This ought to keep me busy and stop me from freaking out. God’s faithfulness never ever ends. 
5. God is good. Period. 
  • If I never see the fulfillment of the promise, He is still good. I may go to my grave never seeing the fulfillment of all that God promised me. I am in good company because many heroes of the faith did the same thing. Still, I believe. I hold on. I don’t give up. 

I hope these few tips help. I will probably have to come back and read this again when I am tempted to freak out. 

What challenges you most about this post? 

How to Keep the Love Alive

  1. Don’t stop dating!
      • Whether you are on your first date or married for thirty years, don’t stop dating your beloved! Weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Make it happen. If on a budget, do it cheaply. Be creative. Swap babysitting with friends. Light a candle once the offspring goes to bed. Play cards. Go on an adventure. 
  2. Laugh often. 
      • The Bean can make me laugh like no one else. He usually tries to make me laugh when we are in a fight. He has a 50/50 chance it will work. I bet people didn’t know he was such a risk-taker. By the way, it usually does work. 
  3. Laugh naked. 
      • Need I say more? 
  4. Forgive. 
      • When Bean and I first were married, we made a decision we would always forgive right away when we hurt each other. We decided we were not going to bring up past hurts in current fights. When we forgive, it’s over. This is easier said than done. It takes me quite awhile to get over hurts. However, eventually I say, “I forgive you.” (Why is it men usually forgive so quickly? It’s irritating.)
  5. Listen. 
      • Take the time to listen to your beloved. Put the screen away and listen. Go for a walk, have a cup of coffee together, go sit outside, go hike a mountain. Listen to their day, their worries, their interests. 
  6. Do fun sh*t, together!
      • Bean and I love to go on photo-dates together. Also, we are both very interested in worldview issues. We love to discuss the latest article we’ve read or podcast we have listened to recently. Find something to do together! 
  7. Brag about your beloved. Never speak negative about them to others. 
      • I had an acquaintance who constantly nagged about their spouse on Facebook! Yes, on Facebook. I couldn’t believe it. Encourage publicly, confront privately. It’s a good rule for any relationship; also quite challenging. 

This is not a comprehensive list, but I believe a relationship can thrive even in the darkest times. It just takes a little effort, a little Astroglide and lots of care. 

52 Weeks in My City-Eagle Rock

I had some time to kill in Eagle Rock while waiting for my man-cub to be done with his youth group. I love this part of Los Angeles. My church is in Eagle Rock as well. 

A True Angeleno

Music Students

Day off


The Hangout
Signed, sealed, delivered
I love that my church is trying to impact the community with the love of Christ.