I really love when timing, fate and serendipity play a part in life. Definitely check out the page - Serendipity in Chicago. 

This year (2017) I turned 33 and as the day approached, a Tuesday, I had no plans for how to celebrate. I was genuinely concerned that this would be the first birthday I experienced where I did not celebrate it, nor would I feel bad about not celebrating. It would just come and go...another year...no big deal... But then God showed His plan...

Back in 2009, I found that I was really drawn to Photography and was starting to do a lot of research into cameras and professional photographers. I turned 25 that year and there was something inside of me that said, "25. You need to step up and give yourself more." I knew that I was a creative person, but never had the full confidence to express it or share it to the fullest. There was something about the age of 25 that rang to me as "serious," and I used it as my launching point. 

I have a friend from high school, Carolina, who was always a kindred spirit of sorts. She has a kind and open heart and I've valued our friendship for a long time. I was two years her senior, and we eventually noticed that in the course of our friendship, we had found a way to see one other at least once each year since meeting in the year 2000. Usually it would be during summer or holiday breaks in Connecticut (where we went to high school), but eventually adult life emerged. This streak of sorts, included my going to college in Tennessee, her going to school in Boston, her moving across the country to California, me eventually moving across the country to California...somehow we'd at least hang once in the year. Incredible. 

One of years I cherish most was 2009. For that important 25th birthday, I chose to travel to Boston from Connecticut to spend two days in "Beantown." Carolina was gracious and welcoming, allowing me to crash for the weekend. It was a great time as we went to Celtics playoff game, and caught up with a couple of other friends (I had a photo that I was going to include, but I'll have to find it later and insert it into this post some other time.) 

That weekend was also cool because I remember sharing with Carolina how excited I was to get into Photography. Of course, she was supportive and excited for me. A week after the trip I would purchase my first DSLR and begin to create a portfolio.

As for present day, Carolina, and our friendship streak... in December of 2015, I realized that I had yet to see Carolina and the timing just wasn't going to work out. I was slightly devastated. 2000-2014 was a good run. The streak was over. Unfortunately 2016 did not produce a reunion either. Oh no. As 2017 came around, I knew that one of the journeys I was looking forward to making was to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. Naturally, I wanted to include a stop in San Francisco and see Carolina and her husband, Ross. Let's begin a new streak...

I made my road trip plans for the month of May and texted her with the news. Excitement all around. Then...on this Tuesday morning, April 18th, my birthday, I was driving around, doing a little work and I received a message from Carolina. The gist of it: "I'm sorry, Mal, I won't be in San Fran when you come up this way." Heart. Breaking. We're only talking the distance between San Fran and LA. It's a 45 minute flight. Two adults should be able to make that happen within 365 calendar days. But you know...life happens. I played it cool and understood. 

Her next text though, was the stuff of destiny. "On a spontaneous note, I'm on a very quick day trip to LA...it'd be fun to quickly see you..." I was honestly not even surprised. I just felt like, "yep. God knew what He was doing." I'll never question if Carolina is someone I'm meant to be friends with. I never did, but this really solidified it in a spiritual sense. God knew/knows that I was trying to see my friend, and for it not to work out as I planned is understandable, but it didn't mean that He didn't want me to see her, it just meant He had another idea. "I'll send her your way on your birthday." I tear up just thinking about it that way.  

I casually reminded her that it was my birthday, which shocked her and made it all the more apparent that we were meant to reunite on this day. 

We were able to spend an hour or so together and I thought of the quickest and most "LA" place to go for our short rendezvous. We drove over to Griffith Park Observatory.  I had my newly acquired Nikon D800E with me and chose to take a couple of photos as we walked through the park. I could not help but really appreciate all the positive meaningful vibes of the moment: my birthday, with a friend that I spent an important birthday with in the past...a birthday that marked that beginning of a new creative chapter of my life, and I had a new camera...

It all came together beautifully to make for a memorable 33rd birthday: 

Thanks God, thanks Carolina for the surprise and the memory: 

A last little silly coincidence. I care, but not too much, about my Instagram numbers. I just like to know which images touch more people. What do people like and why? I find some of my favorites are not followers favorites, and others I don't enjoy end up being well loved. It further proves that it's not about me, but what God is trying to say through my images. All that said, two images from this set, the Los Angeles skyline and the Hollywood Sign are respectively my two most liked Instagram posts ever (as of May 2017). Coincidence? The funny thing is, I was not even really focusing on those shots. I was telling Carolina things about the Observatory and just snapped them quickly. I know something/Someone greater was at work then :) 

Also see...