I have a serious love affair with a gnome.  He’s a finger puppet.  And I like to wear him around.  I get this ridiculous big grin on my face, and childlike joy courses through my body.  This was my experience with Jzin Teng of Castle of Costa Mesa.  And perhaps why she gave me my finger puppet.  A reminder of a morning I won’t forget!  An absolute fairy tale, just take a step inside her garage.  The interview and shoot took us maybe just over an hour, but as we emerged from her garage, I felt like I had been lost in a magical land for hours and hours.  Unbridled joy taking a front seat.  The article written by the Mesa Maven here made me tear up, remembering what a special experience this was.

I really love this project.  We’ve been going around the city of Costa Mesa for going on 10 months now, and I don’t even recognize the person I have become.  There is something beautiful and transforming about being vulnerable and courageous and connecting with others who are doing the same.  I come home every week from these interviews, inspired by someone’s story, success, struggles, failures, trials, triumphs, resilience, every single person has taught me something.  The personal growth has been rich and immense and makes me yearn for more.  Good news is, there’s no end in sight to this amazing project!  It even just got some new legs on a new idea we are doing, Hearts of Costa Mesa.  Follow along as we document all of these incredible individuals we meet!

I’ve been failing miserably to document these beautiful experiences.  It’s been a creative madhouse over here with all this personal growth!  With inspiration abounding, I’ve taken up drawing and water color painting and have massive amounts of photos to edit.  The only organization to it all is in my brain.  But this is what growth looks like.  Sometimes pretty, sometimes messy, always beautiful.  I want to do a better job of documenting all of our experiences and interviews, if only to capture those connections that are changing my life, one person at a time.  Here is the beautiful art and work space of my new friend, Jzin.

2015-10-30_0025 2015-10-30_0024 2015-10-30_0022 2015-10-30_0021 2015-10-30_0020 2015-10-30_0018

As if the morning could have gotten any more magical, a butterfly hatched in the doorway of her garage.  And my heart almost burst from the joy.

2015-10-30_0017 2015-10-30_0016 2015-10-30_0015 2015-10-30_0014 2015-10-30_0013 2015-10-30_0012

I think I want to own almost every gnome that she has…are they not whimsical and intricate and beautiful??

2015-10-30_0011 2015-10-30_0010 2015-10-30_0019


Such a beautiful day.  Thank you, Jzin, for the experience, and sharing matters of the heart.  Unforgettable connection.