Learning to Let Go

Thursday, May 30, 2013
How fitting that today's challenge topic be to respond to the words "Letting go." This is not an easy feat for me. In recent weeks I've been learning to let go in many different ways, and I've also come to the realization that my process of letting go may look different than others'. And that is perfectly okay.

May has held a lot of "lasts" and goodbyes so far and these will only continue in the next week. My count down to Seattle is increasing and here we are only 8 days away! With tearful farewells and driving off into the sunset, I was concerned and frustrated that I was not the one shedding tears. Nothing seemed or felt real. Much of it still does not. Deeming myself a "post-griever" I've been going through the motions and making a mental checklist of things to cry over later. Pathetic right?

I've let go of my best friends to allow them to move across the country.
I've let go of my safety net and the Baylor bubble to move into post-grad life.
I've let go of physical things, donating carfuls to Goodwill and packing the rest into storage.
I've let go of my 1.5 hour drive home to gain a 2,000+ mile flight.
I've let go of my picture of what my life was going to look like after graduation to embrace God's perfect plan.
It hasn't been easy, but it's what I've done.

When you first move off to college you're told that these will be the best years of your life and that they'll be gone before you know it. Ring by spring is something freshmen girls giggle about, sophomores roll their eyes at, juniors secretly hope for, and seniors either celebrate or ignore. Somewhere along the way I fell into each of those categories. Reflecting now I praise God for the place I'm at in life, ringless but content and blessed to have learned from each of my experiences.

Second semester arrived and graduation was just around the corner. We dove head long into the final stretch then suddenly it appeared! In March I had an encounter with a city that has left me and my future forever changed. I packed my bags and hopped a plane, never guessing that Seattle would become my next huge destination.

In choosing Seattle, I had to learn to let go. I'm learning to let go of the things I've worked so hard to build up on my own. My personal measures of success, safety, and security. I had made my bed and was curled up in it quite comfortably, but when I asked for Him to put a yes in my heart I never imagined I would be saying yes to this city.

Remember earlier how I said I was frustrated that there were no more tears? God's been teaching me something about that, too. Yes, I am sad that this season is over and I have so many good things to leave behind, but I believe that this next season, this next city, is exactly where He wants me to be. Why cry? Why mourn? He has given me a peace in this transition, peace that I've prayed for!

He has promised adventure and I want to take it. I want to let go of my fears, faults, failures, and embrace His freedom. I was reading in Romans yesterday and found the verse in the image above.

"God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!"
Romans 8: 14, The Message

I believe it and I'm after it! Learning to let go has been heard and it will continue to be, but it is worth it. He is worth it. And He has shown Himself faithful!

152 Insights Into My Soul {Blog Every Day in May Challenge}

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Anyone catch the You've Got Mail reference? Anyone? Okay good ;) I'm not really going to list 152 insights into my soul but I am going to continue the Blog Every Day in May challenge by sharing 5 pieces of music that either bring back memories or mean a lot to me right now.

Music moves me more than most things. A beautiful instrumental piece can bring just as many tears to my eyes as the sweetest love song or most genuine worship piece. I'm anxiously awaiting the release of my church's next worship CD. Definitely check out the previous Antioch Live album! Okay, on to today's picks.

1. What I Wouldn't Do by A Fine Frenzy
This song is summer love to me. It is fun, quirky, and so sweet. Now I'm perfectly content being single but it is still fun to day dream. I have many a friend getting married this summer season and I am thrilled that they have found their one and only.

2. You're the Dawn by Strahan
I would walk down the aisle to this song. But really. It is so beautiful and Strahan is my favorite artist of the year so far. I found his music just before spring break. It is so serene but also worshipful, sometimes revisiting old hymns. His music resonates with me so deeply, especially this song.

3. Old Pine by Ben Howard
To put it simply, I could listen to this song for hours. It's bright and tender, the intro is beautiful, and he has a similar feel as James Vincent McMorrow, one of my other favorites. Another perfect addition to your summer's playlist.

4. La Vie en Rose by Louis Armstrong
Type this song into Pandora and you will get the perfect station! I'm obsessed. Old swing and jazz music, half of it in French, I absolutely adore it! Plus Louis Armstrong. Anything he sings is among my classic list of favorites. And the song itself is so sweet.

5. Christmas in the City by Matt Wertz
I know, I know! It's summer and I'm listening to Christmas music. Well, I haven't been listening to it but this song came to mind when writing this post. Christmas in the City is about spending the holidays in New York, something I've never done but long to do!

Bonus. In His Hands by Devin Perry 
I wish I could share this incredible song with you all but it has not been released by the artist. It is by one of my dearest friends and my grand-little in Baylor's theatre department. She is an amazing singer/songwriter and I had the joy of an impromptu concert last week. This song in particular speaks right where I am these days.

I know you're scared & unprepared but He knows all your faults.
I know you're scared & unprepared but He knows all your strengths.
I know you're scared & unprepared but He loves all your faults.
I know you're scared & unprepared but He loves all your strengths.
He is gentle, He is kind, He's yours and He is mine.
He is gentle, He is kind, He's yours and He is mine.

What music speaks to you? What are some of your favorites, I'd love to know!

Pictures Only {Blog Every Day in May}

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I haven't exactly followed the Blog Every Day in May challenge all the way through, but I love the prompts! Today's was "Pictures Only". It's so hard for me to leave these here without much explanation but all you need to know is on my Instagram feed ;) All in all it was a spectacular long weekend filled with lots of love, weddings, and sadly many a goodbye. But more on that later.

Also, today starts the countdown until my big move! I am 10 days away from packing up and heading across the country to Seattle, Washington. It will be my home for at least a year --maybe longer-- and I am oh so excited to start this adventure! Also on Twitter I'm counting down by sharing one thing per day that I'm going to miss about the great state of Texas. Today I shared that I'm already missing leading Lifegroup --my college ministry's small group-- with two incredible friends Nate and Kristen. Kris was one of my roommates and Nate's a long-time friend.

Both have been wonderful sources of encouragement for me and I know their new Lifegroups are going to reach so many and point them toward the Lord. On that note, I hope you all had an enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend. So thankful for so many that gave their lives for our freedom. Enjoy your Tuesday!

A Beautiful Mess {Currently in May...}

Saturday, May 25, 2013

...reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren & The Chance by Karen Kingsbury. I'll let you know what I think of them soon!

...watching Sweeney Todd. At least I was watching it, around 10 minutes ago. I'm sure going to miss movie nights at Bagend (my Lord of the Rings loving friends live at the end of Bagby and the name seemed fitting!).

...trying to finish cleaning and packing my apartment. Today is our last day!

...eating yogurt & granola, a staple meal that I just love. I typically add strawberries but mine were thrown out. Bummer.

...drinking as much sweet tea as possible. This southern girl is going to go through withdrawals in the Northwest, I'm tellin' ya.

...pinning this gorgeous wedding by Jose Villa. I'm in love with the piece at the altar. It's swoon worthy!

...tweeting about a great giveaway over at Katie O'Keefe's blog. She's giving away a copy of Love Does. Such a good book.

...going gaga over  this blooming letters DIY at Urbanic. Definitely a must once I get settled in Seattle.

...loving the 10,000 Reasons album by Matt Redman. Check it out!

...hating the smell of bathroom cleaner. Just say no. But say yes. Because a clean bathroom is a happy bathroom.

...discovering patience in small trials. It does not come naturally for me. During the move I have broken finger nails, lost a brand new dress, misplaced papers, and been testy with my parents. Asking for patience also comes with the opportunity for your patience to be tested. God certainly has a sense of humor.

...enjoying the sounds of laughter wafting up the stairs. It was my last night in my Baylor apartment and I'll miss living with these beautiful girls.

...thinking about all of the places I want to see. I have a serious case of wanderlust and I would give anything to hop on a plane to London this afternoon and stay the month. Maybe someday :)

...feeling full of anticipation! I have two weeks until I move to Seattle and there is so much ahead!

...hoping to catch the bouquet at a wedding tonight. Totally kidding. I am excited to see so many friends and celebrate the marriage of such a sweet couple.

...listening to Stories to Tell by Dave Barnes.

...thanking Jesus for such generous parents and grandparents! They've spoiled me rotten with gifts after graduation, preparing me and setting me up to move across the country. I am so blessed.

...finishing this blog post. Your girl is exhausted.

...starting this next season of life so excited for what God is going to reveal to me and the adventures we will have. His timing is perfect and His ways are above our ways. I also cannot wait to share this journey with you all!

What are you up to this weekend?

It's Graduation Day! || Blessed to be a Baylor Bear

Saturday, May 18, 2013
Four years. Four short years have positively flown by! Somewhere between 10:00-11:30am I will walk the stage and become a Baylor alum. I will have received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance and officially be a college graduate. Wow! They weren't kidding when they said your college years are the best and most transformative of your life! So far, they have been.

When I think about Baylor, the word THANKFUL immediately comes to mind. This school has been such a blessing and has opened so many doors for my future. At Baylor, I have been refined. My mind has been opened, the dreams of my heart revealed, and I have found friendships I know will last a lifetime. I have learned that God is the ultimate Comforter, Healer, Best Friend, Love, and Satisfaction. I have been thoroughly convinced that theatre is powerful and can be used to share the gospel and to point people to the deep questions of life. I have been taught the value of surrounding yourself with an encouraging community, and that it is vital to travel and be exposed to more of the world as often as possible. I have been forever impacted and changed by these last four years, and I wouldn't change a second of it!

Congrats to everyone graduating this month! In the words of Elle Woods, "We did it!"

Graduation Countdown || The Value of Community

Thursday, May 16, 2013
I graduate in two days. TWO DAYS. Saturday morning I will don my cap and gown and walk across that stage completing my four years at Baylor University. If you had told me --which plenty of people did-- that college would fly by as fast as it did, I'd have brushed you off back then but allowed you an "I told you so" today. One of these days I'll hit the highlights from the past four years I'm not ready to cry yet ;)

Two weekends ago my friend Cameron and my roommates threw me a graduation party. These girls have such a special place in my heart! I came home from a picnic to find them carrying the living room furniture into our front yard under the shade of the trees. It was perfect! The weather was gorgeous, the breeze just right, and they had some of my favorite foods for everyone to share. So many sweet people came from both my church community and the theatre department. I felt so loved!

I am so blessed to know these men and women! They love Jesus and love me so well! I have never met a group of people that show God's kindness and compassion as well as they do. And they're so thoughtful! They had me sit on my "throne" and went around the circle encouraging me and saying what they loved about me. I thought my heart might burst! I don't want to leave them behind.

At the end of the party, they also asked me to share how could they pray for me in the coming months, and I thought I'd share this with you as well.

1. Grace in transition. One season of my life is coming to an end and another is beginning. Please pray for peace and grace to embrace where I'm at, enjoy today, and trust God with tomorrow. He has provided in the past and will provide in the future, and I know this door is one He's opened for me.

2. Deep friendships & community. Being surrounded by a positive, uplifting, encouraging community of friends and mentors has made all the difference these past four years. I'm moving to a city where I know so few people and am having to start from square one. Please pray that the friendships I find will be solid and encouraging, and sooner rather than later. I believe God answers even the smallest and most specific prayers, and I'm asking for friendships this summer.

3. Clarity of dreams & passions. I firmly believe this next year (and beyond!) are meant to be a time to find which dream He's given me that He wants me to chase. There are so many things I'm passionate about and want to pursue, but they head in every different direction. Some of them seem to run the same course, but I want to go after the one He wants for me. Please pray for continued surrender of my dreams and the courage to run hard after whichever one will bring Him most glory and follow His plan.

Community is something I so value, and the blogging community is one I have also come to love! You ladies have been so sweet and supportive. I'd greatly appreciate each of you. And I don't want to lose touch! I've heard rumors that Google Friend Connect disappears this summer, so I've added a link to where you can follow me on Bloglovin. I've used that site for quite some time to follow my favorite blogs and I highly recommend it!

Every Day in May: Better Late than Never

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I'm jumping late on the train of the link party happening at Story of My Life, but I love the idea! Blogging every day is something I struggle with, but also don't want to feel confined to. This challenge supplies prompts as well as a new community to meet and mingle with. Let's jump in halfway through, shall we?

Ten Things that Make Me Really Happy
1. Quiet Time. I like to call myself an extroverted introvert. I need alone time to recharge and relax frequently, but I also thrive on a busy schedule. I try to take extended time in the morning to do a devotional and spend time with Jesus, as well as leave time to nap in the afternoon or read a good book. My room is my retreat and I love to do many things alone.
2. Words of Affirmation. This is one of my top two love languages (along with gifts) that I love, love, love to receive! A thoughtful word of encouragement, written or verbal, can make and change my day altogether. It really speaks to my soul and warms my heart!
3. Cute Stationery. The Paper Source is one of my happy places. I love fresh journals, new pens, sticky notes, and thank you cards. I so dearly wanted a pen pal growing up and I adore beautiful handwriting!
4. White flowers. I love how crisp and clean white blooms are and make me feel. Especially white tulips and peonies, roses too. When in doubt, go with white!
5. Anthropologie Displays. Don't they make you swoon? I am fascinated by the displays every time I come into the store. A dream job would be to be a display coordinator or at least intern someday. Such a unique vibe! It is the biggest inspiration for my future home.
6. Shakespeare. I am making it my goal this summer to re-read his plays and see as many productions as I can. The language, detail, and characters are brilliant and I would be content studying, directing, and performing Shakespeare's works for the rest of my life. I have visited his birthplace twice and cannot wait to go back! Also, if you get a chance to see a show at The Globe in London, DO IT!
7. Wedding Photography. Be still my heart! Weddings are a joyous occasion and I have become quite obsessed with a handful of photographers that seem to capture these events beautifully! I just play around with my camera but part of me hopes to one day be able to shoot weddings as well as those I look up to.
8. Being Initiated With. When someone sends me a text asking me to coffee or someone comments on something I post, my heart swells. I struggle a lot with feeling as though I'm not pursued in relationships, always the pursuer even in friendships and mentor/mentee relationships, and the Lord's teaching me a lot about His character in how He pursues us constantly even when we don't in return. But it does my heart so much good when I feel initiated with. It makes me feel seen, valued, and known.
9. Cheesy ABCFamily Holiday Movies. I can watch them any time of the year! And I do. Absolutely guilty as charged. Plus, most of them are on Netflix. I highly recommend Holiday in Handcuffs, 12 Dates of Christmas, and Desperately Seeking Santa. Enjoy!
10. Stories of Adoption. They are all over the place which causes my heart to sing with happiness! We have been adopted into Christ's family and kingdom, so why shouldn't or wouldn't we show the Father heart of God as He asks us to in taking care of the orphans? I personally know many who have adopted or are in the process of adopting, and I hope to one day when I have a family as well. If you're looking for inspiration or encouragement in this, hop over to The Archibald Project. Isn't God good?

Lies in the Light: COMPARISON

Monday, May 13, 2013

Comparison is one of the easiest traps to fall into. I do it all the time. Oh, I justify it and write it off and often sit in a heap of denial, but comparison has held too much control over my life and year. You beautiful ladies (and any gents out there) are people I want to trust with this fact and ask to be my accountability partners in my journey to freedom. Praise God there is freedom, am I right?

It can happen at any time and look many different ways. When reading your favorite blog your eyes might linger at the number of followers they have and mentally sigh at your own readership. Walking to class on the way to a final you spot the pretty blonde looking all spiffied up and fresh out of a magazine, not to mention three boys in tow. At your weekly Bible study you share your opinion but your neighbor voices a thought or insight that everyone swiftly writes in their journal. Your best friend gets the lead in the play you want when you auditioned at the same time. It can happen any time, anywhere. 

Comparison is believing the lie that we are unequal and of different values to God. Comparison is ranking those made in God's image according to worldly standards. Comparison steals your joy and denies your identity. Comparison leads to no fruit.

This verse is one I am trying to memorize and one that has resonated in my heart these past few weeks. It is from The Message, which is a poetic paraphrasing, but it shares the heart of God so well.

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Do not be impressed with yourself or compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." 
Galatians 6:4-5

But how do we fight the lie and trap of comparison? 

First, put the lie in the light. Problems continue to rule us when we pretend they do not exist. Satan only has power when we keep our struggles in the shadow and try to handle them on our own. We have a God who is already victorious! Let him equip us for battle and lead the way!

Second, combat the lie with truth.  Memorize scripture. Print it out, write it on a sticky note, put it in your car or on your mirror. Wherever you find yourself struggling with it the most, put God's Word in arm's reach or have it ready in your heart and head. In the New Testament with Jesus was tempted in the desert, He refuted the devil with the Word of God.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well!" 
Psalm 139:13-14

"But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work. God's instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you- from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted!" 
1 Peter 2:10

Know your identity in Christ. Know it and believe it. He is the one who assigns your worth and value. And He calls us worthy and valuable. He paid any penalty and cost by sending His Son to the cross. Donald Miller tweeted this a few weeks ago and I suggest saving it to your phone for reference when you're feeling down, doubtful, or struggling with comparison.

Comparison truly is the thief of joy. Let's shine a light on this trap together and remind ourselves that we are fearfully and wonderfully made! Uniquely made! We are to individually love Him and use the gifts He has given us to bring Him glory. Don't try to do it like someone else or compare yourself to someone else and their gifts. God created you in His image! And He does not make mistakes ;)

My Mind's Eye {Floral on Friday}

Friday, May 10, 2013
Can you believe it's Friday already? This week has breezed past us. We had Monday and Tuesday off of school as study days, but there was hardly any studying to be done. "Dead Days" as the university calls them are always full of activity! The spring theatre banquet was Monday night and the advanced directing final shows happened on Tuesday and Wednesday. Forgive me for being MIA this week, but once finals are over I'll be back to the usual schedule :)

As far as today goes, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from the week. Please enjoy!

One/Two. I've been a huge fan of Rifle Paper Co. for quite some time. I typically find their products at Anthropologie or The Paper Source, but Target now carries a set of their journals and I gifted them to myself for surviving the first week of finals.

Three. Monograms are a recent obsession of mine, something deeply engrained in the Southern culture. I now want my initials on everything and am hoping a necklace like the one above somehow winds up in my graduation gifts. Any takers? ;)

Four. I had my first calligraphy lesson last week and I'm in love! I'm really heavy handed and I hold my pen in a strange way, but I'm still learning. Practice makes perfect, right? I hope to really hone in on my skills this summer and we shall see what comes of it!

Five. Has anyone else heard about the new photo editing app from A Beautiful Mess? It is supposed to come out next week!

Six. The Great Gatsby comes out today! I have to wait until early next week to see it, but I love Baz Lurhman and Leonardo DiCaprio so I cannot wait to see what they've done with the film! I know it's had mixed reviews but I shall wait to pass judgement until I see it for myself. And who doesn't love a little 1920's glitz & glam? Be on the look out for some themed wedding inspiration coming to the blog soon!

Seven. As I said, Monday was the spring theatre banquet. These beauties are my Little and Grand Little in the theatre department! I positively adore Jennifer and Devin, and they've been such sweet sources of encouragement and fun this year. I don't know how I'm supposed to leave them behind.

Eight. And now a little encouragement for all of us: "Give thanks to God; He is good and His love never quits." 1 Chronicles 16:34, The Message.

The 23rd Annual Dia del Ernie!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
There are many reasons why Baylor is wonderful. One of those is Dia del Oso, the day of the bear celebration. I wrote an earlier post about how --after the tragedy in West-- Baylor students rallied to spend their day off of classes serving our neighbors. I was so proud of my school and this community truly rising up to what was in front of us. 

But along with Dia del Oso comes Dia del Ernie. The Wednesday before Dia, the Baylor Theatre Student Society puts on a cook out on the back dock, celebrating our beloved shop foreman Ernie. This has been happening since the early 90's. Everyone wears plaid and gathers for hotdogs and chips to celebrate one of the most wonderful men I know. Ernie, the shop wouldn't be the same without you!

Isn't he adorable?! He got married last June and she is sweet as pie! 

I love my little sophomores. Aren't they funny?

This is my little, Jennifer. What a girl! I'm so blessed to have her ;)

These are the Three Musketeers: Claire, me, and Hannah. They have been my best friends since freshman year and I just don't know what I'm going to do without them next year.

These kids love their hotdogs. Kevin, Patrick, Callie.

Ernie & Joanna. Can't you tell they're best friends?

Seth and Maddie are the cutest! But really, they are.

I love the sophomores!

Richard and Chris, two best friends that everyone adores. They were also Sweeney Todd and the Judge in my musical scene. Such great guys!

Chris and Kat. She and I went to high school together! I love having her in the department.

Shelby and Alexis. I love these girlies.

And there you have it! Dia del Ernie was a success yet again! Does your school have any interesting traditions? I'd love to know :)