Undaunted; Beginning a Journey with Christine Caine

Saturday, December 29, 2012
Undaunted. The word itself holds power. It defies anything that seeks to stop it and is a roadblock to fear. Undaunted. This is the title of a book by Christine Caine, a passionate Australian woman who is right in the middle of the fight to end sex trafficking. In the book's intro, Max Lucado describes her as a Mary, Paul, and Esther of our time, combined into one. I completely agree.

Christine spoke at a missions conference hosted by my church two years ago, and again this year they showed a recorded interview with the feiry woman. Every word that escapes her lips was full of strength and deeply rooted in Christ's word and desires for our lives. She sees the heart of God and is able to communicate it to the masses unlike many I've encountered. But from beginning this book I can already tell that she takes that fire and passion and pours it out in gentleness and comfort to the girls rescued from the slave trade but still trapped in the darkness of their pasts.

I return to the word undaunted. I want to be undaunted. In life I find myself worried about the thoughts of others, of what my words or actions will seem to mean to the people I come across (from the waiter at a restaurant, my friends in class, or my parents at home). I filter, I sit quiet, or I agree with the majority even when my heart says something else. Why? Because it is a daunting task in this day and age to stand firm in an identity and opinion that differs from those around you.

But I should be undaunted. I have reason to be undaunted. For my God reigns on high. My God has come and conquered death, the thing many people fear most, and He rose again to proclaim that there is freedom and security for every sinner. And believe me, I'm no saint.

I've only just begun diving into Undaunted and you will most likely hear about it another time or two. If you pick it up, do let me know! I'd love to chat with you about it! But for now I'll leave you with this. My kindle app is calling my name.

Third Time's the Charm {Instagram Grand Finale.. For Now}

Saturday, December 22, 2012
I know you've waited anxiously for the final installment of my life lately via Instagram (...or maybe not because there is such a thing as Instagram to follow along...) and here you have it! The week is coming to an end and Christmas is only a few short days away! My little brother has been a diligent advent calendar keeper-upper-with (how's that for English?) and knows at all times exactly how long it is until Christmas. Before we know it he will be counting down to his birthday. More transformers! The more the merrier! And here's a last look at what I've been up to. Enjoy once more!

1. This happens almost every night I'm home. Mom, Dad, Mitchell and I gather around the living room to watch Arthur Christmas. I always vote for How to Train Your Dragon but Mitchell-man wins every time. This movie is now a Christmas classic for us and I love watching the little guy become so enraptured by it all. The magic seems to exude from this picture. Isn't he precious? And that's my dad. He's great, too :)

2.  I found this quote in a similar fashion on Tumblr (my guilty pleasure...). "Your beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 5:3-4

3. I've driven by Ross Antique Mall countless times on the road between Baylor and my hometown. Somehow I always miss the exit or I've been in too much of a hurry to stop. But this week I finally did! It's a cute place, full of booths of vendors and antiques, plenty to look at but mostly over priced. One day when I'm not broke I think I'll go back. There was a set of red goblets and a cake plate I'm dying to get my hands on!

4. Jesus Calling is a small devotional that is part of my morning routine and I highly recommend it! It is a simply but beautifully put guide into His Presence with verses to look up and springboard off of each day. It was such a great find and it's available in so many places, so treat yourself to a Christmas gift and buy one if you don't already have it! It's so worth it!

5. I adore this little man more than you know. Mitchell is my nine-year-old brother who loves all things transformers, ninjago (ninja legos), and Cartoon Network (I'm more of a Disney Channel girl myself, but it's what he likes...). He is one of the sweetest, most tender-hearted, good-natured kids you will ever meet. Mitch brings my heart so much joy and adds a sweetness to life that can't be found elsewhere! Isn't he a cutie?

6. Last Saturday, my family took a trip to the Gaylord Texan for their ice sculpture exhibit/experience. This year's theme was Madagascar. I'm not a huge fan of the movie or of 12degree temperatures, but we had a really good time! The wait wasn't long and we even did some sledding/tubing and slid down some ice slides before warming up with hot chocolate. If there's a Gaylord Ice near you, go for it!

7, 8, and 9. The fun did not stop at the Gaylord. Fair Park is hosting a Chinese Lantern Festival which was stunning! It was only a 30 minute walk through but the creations are beautiful and full of whimsy. Plus there was a HUGE dragon probably over 50 feet long made out of porcelain plates, spoons, and teacups! Talk about impressive! A beautiful, beautiful night for sure.

Instagram All the Things! {Life Lately #2}

Friday, December 21, 2012
Instagram is a beautiful thing. But it doesn't stop there. VSCOcam, Afterglow, Squaready, Picfx, more and more and more! I love the filters provided by instagram but there are many-an-app out there to add to the fun. The above are a few of my favorites :)  And now on to Life Lately Via Instagram, Part II. Enjoy!

1. Kevin! This guy is one of my favorites! Here we are sporting smiles at the Denmans' annual Christmas party. Wassail for all, plenty of puppy chow, and Christmas story-telling by the fire are only a few of the things that make this night highly anticipated each year. Gotta love it! 

2. With six girls living in the same house, rarely are we all together. However we did manage to have a Roomie Dinner and Secret Santa exchange. It turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself.

3. Back to the Denmans' we go! Claire, Hannah, and I had the privilege of being willed three tacky Christmas outfits to be worn to this party each year. Mine consists of a very scratchy, ugly sweater with a "Seasons Greetings" Walmart t-shirt. Claire has the red fleece and Hannah the holly covered scrub top. She of course makes it look just fine by adding a red blazer, but we made her ditch it for the pictures. These three gems will be passed on to three lucky ladies at the end of the year!

4. Oh goodness. The Winter Theatre Banquet is always a festive affair. This year I was in charge of the photobooth. Mix together three Christmas trees from Goodwill, fishing line, snowflakes from dollar tree, and a bunch of twinkle lights and TA-DA! And naturally I found a table from the banquet hall kitchen to stand on to hang them all. Duh.

5. A favorite quote as of late: "Don't waste time looking for your style. The truth is you already have it. You may just need to create more in order to see it."

6. Last week I took a day trip to Austin for an interview (more on that later!) and on the way home I stopped at a few thrift shops. I have several projects in mind for these beauties. Pepper grinders, vintage gloves, a pretty blue glass, and a painting that looks as though the Dawn Treader could appear any second (Chronicles of Narnia, anyone?). I'm excited to get started and I will keep you posted about the other ;)

7. Christmas parties galore, I tell ya. The Three Musketeers (our self-pronounced nickname since freshman year) got all spiffied up for the senior theatre party. We had Secret Santa --John got me such a nice blue scarf!-- and plenty of good food. But with our busy schedules the whole group of us split ASAP. No offense taken, it was finals week after all.

8. Cameron is not allowed to leave. This beautiful friend graduated last weekend and I had the honor of taking her grad pictures! She is such a treasure! Cameron has a heart of gold, an infectious laugh, and I trust her with everything. She values me and encourages me and I always leave spending time with her feeling positively refreshed. I can't wait to camp out on your couch in Austin next semester! (I'll tell you all why oh-so-soon, I promise!)

9. Lastly, we venture back to the Winter Theatre Banquet. These gorgeous girls are part of my BUTheatre Family! Jennifer sparkles in both that dress and in real life. My Little is hilarious and SO talented! I adore her! And Devin is my Grand-Little, a freshmen. She brings me so much joy! She now has fiery red hair and she is so on fire for the Lord! I learn so much every time I hang out with her.

I hope you enjoyed Part II! Be on the look out for Part III coming ASAP.

Life Lately Via Instagram {One of Three}

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Life lately's been crazy. But isn't it always? As much as I wanted to I did not make a huge effort to lug my Canon around with me in the craziness. Oh, it made an appearance or two, but my iPhone and Instagram were front and center. It's just easier. So on that note, welcome to the first on my crazyhecticexcitingentertainingtopsyturvy life lately :)

1. A lesson I've been learning lately is patience and understanding and trusting in God's best for me. This is a quote I came across in one of my old journals. "Ladies, let the men be men of courage. Just as Christ initiated the great awakening with His people, just as He pursued His Bride, just as He loved us first, so shall it be with the men of God. Allow them to initiate, pursue, and conquer fair heart. Allow them to awaken love when He desires. We were not designed to do the chasing and the wooing. Look to Jesus. Waiting can be such a delightful season of great fruit bearing and seed sowing. He alone shall satisfy." ~Susanna Cotter

2. Photoshop is a beautiful thing. I've been tweaking with the look of Anchored in Love for a while and working on a few pages to be added soon. Also, a photography website is in the works and under much construction. 'Tis coming soon :)

3. Continuing with the lesson being learned in #1, my chalkboard is a bright and bold reminder each morning. "I am worth being pursued and I am worth more than 1,000,000 canaries." For the latter, see Matthew 10:29-31 in The Message.

4. At the annual Lifegroup Leaders' Banquet, there was a gingerbread house making contest. I suggested we build Big Ben (well the parliament building that is home to the clock tower) and my team went full out! We made a scene complete with the London Bridge, gummy bears walking across and boating down the river, and the London Eye. We SO won most creative. No really, we did!

5. Mid-week Mom and I met up to see the Radio City Rockettes. They were fantastic! It was such a nice study break and a bit of early Christmas cheer. We both love dancing and have never been to New York City, so maybe one day we will actually see them there!

6. At yet another Christmas party (there have been sooooooo many), we divided into teams by "grade" for a second gingerbread house contest. I was the only girl on my team and the four boys decided to build something from Lord of the Rings. Now I have watched two of these movies but do not have the extended editions memorized like they do. Whatever the building was collapsed and we decided at the last minute to call it the Tower of Babel which fell because a lack of communication. Talk about quick thinking! We didn't win but we had fun, and it tasted so good ;)

7. Back to the Lifegroup Leaders' Banquet: every year there is some crazy theme. This time it was 80's Prom & Your Mom! Thankfully I still had my Footloose costumes tucked away in the closet so out came the prom dress. Tons of hairspray and bright red lipstick later, Alyssa and I were ready to go. I just love her! 

8. Oh, wait... taking a trip to Hobby Lobby in the middle of studying for exams isn't a good idea? Says who? On my study break I certainly made it to the glorious craft store and picked up at set of 36 acrylic paints. Guess what I'll be doing over the break! Plus it was on sale, that makes it okay, right?

9. 80's Prom & Your Mom! is back again! These fabulous people are the other lifegroup leaders and our section parents. I could not ask for a more encouraging, more hilarious group of people to lead with and to be led by! They're amazing! And we look like some 90's TV series that I would totally watch. Wouldn't you?

All for now dearies!

Joyful Journaling {Site Under Construction}

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Journaling is good for the soul. It's one of my favorite things. Insomnia has me journaling quite a bit more than usual, but I thought I'd share one of my favorite recents with the lyrics from a new favorite song. Endless Years by Will Reagan & United Pursuit is a must-have! I highly recommend it. Also, the page is under a bit of construction. Thanks for your patience!

Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd {Advanced Directing Musical Scene}

Monday, December 17, 2012
There was a barber and his wife... and she was beautiful... So begins the tale of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Now, I know Sondheim is a genius but sometimes I wonder just HOW he comes up with these things? Well, how does he decide that things like these will turn into brilliant musicals? That is the true question. My first introduction to Sweeney Todd was in high school. My best friend suggested we watch it on Halloween (it was haunting enough) since we had decided to stay in. Tim Burton had moulded Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter into the perfect Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett and I was enraptured by the show. 

Fast-forward a few years and I am in London during the study abroad trip, brain storming musical scene options with my professors and friends while standing in line at Leicester Square to buy tickets to see Ghost. Most of the group had opted for Sweeney Todd but I chose another. That is when the wheels began to turn.

In the Advanced Directing course, our second assignment was to choose a 30 minute section of a musical and direct it in a four week rehearsal period. My other option was Bonnie & Clyde but I tossed it out the window when we couldn't get our hands on the script and score. And so, Sweeney Todd it was! The music was challenging, the budget was non-existent, my actors were phenomenal, and the stage was huge. But I chose, I directed, and I think I conquered!

This show/scene was one of the most incredible experiences I have had when it comes to musical theatre. I am not a singer and I typically dance in the chorus, but this piece stretched me to a whole new level. It was storytelling and understanding, taking a dark character and circumstance and diving into it with seven actors ready for the challenge. They did such a wonderful job and I have a slew of amazing memories from this project. Below are just a few glimpses into our show. All photo credit goes to the incredible Jared Tseng (check out his beautiful photography here). Enjoy!

I cannot believe I haven't posted these yet! Do forgive me :) 

Christmas with the Robert's {Rules of the Season}

Friday, December 14, 2012
Home for the holidays. Doesn't that sound nice? Well, let me tell you it sounds quite nice especially when I wasn't sure I would get to do much of that. Just before Thanksgiving I put in an application at Pier 1 (one of my absolute favorite stores) and crossed my fingers. I am transitioning out of my work-study position at the theatre at the end of the semester and needed to find another job. I heard nothing for a week, called in to find out they were training a new manager, and was told to wait to be contacted.

Thanksgiving came and went and nothing. I had crossed Pier 1 off my list and went back to the drawing board. But then, two days later I got the call asking for an interview. It went swimmingly and I was offered the job before I left that afternoon. I did not know going into the interview, however, that this was holiday hire and not the part-time sales position I was hoping for. I would be staying in town most of the break now and going home for maybe three days immediately surrounding the holiday. Bummer.

But today I am pleased to say that I am HOME SWEET HOME!  I had four days in between shifts and I wasn't not going home. Christmas time at my house brings me so much joy and I've been missing this place quite a bit. We decorated over Thanksgiving break so I was welcomed home tonight with a roaring fire (though it was only in the 50's outside) and Arthur Christmas playing on the TV. Does my family know me or what? :)

When we decorated in November, I posted pictures of the adventure with a few Robert Family Rules for the Christmas season. It was quite a hit with my friends and family, so I thought I'd share a few with you, too.

Rule #1: All that glitters is not gold, but everything gold must glitter.
Rule #2: If you won't help stage the pictures, please move.
Rule #3: The more precariously hung the decorations, the prettier.
Rule #4: A quick trip to Hobby Lobby is always an option.
Rule #5: The finishing touches are never finished.
Rule #6: What Mitchell says goes.
Rule #7: Nobody puts Bailey on a ladder. That's what the boyfriend-in-law is for (thanks, Justin!).

I'm sure we will come up with a few more before the season is through. Christmas is just around the corner!