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Thursday Thoughts: This Beautiful Moment

"Everything I want is just Him, to get lost in Him, to feel His love and more and more of this dazzling that He does. I wonder at His beautiful system and how it feels better than anything I could choose or invent for myself. I wonder as I gaze up at the night sky, this love letter from God to creation, this reminder that somewhere there is peace, somewhere there is order, and I think about how great His kingdom is, and is going to be, and I wonder, in this beautiful moment, how could I ever want to walk away from it all."
Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

Oh Deer, Lord {Currently in August...}

...reading She Reads Truth study of Women of the Bible, Part II. And Exodus. I've been slowly re-reading the Old Testament (obviously very slowly as I'm only on the second book). I'm in Psalms almost every day, and I highly recommend jumping in anywhere if you're in search of a place to start! As for the OT, re-reading stories I know well or grew up studying has been so refreshing. I notice new things every time. It's all included for a reason! 

...watching So You Think You Can Dance videos on YouTube. I had great intentions of getting a good night's sleep, putting the lights out early, but an hour+ later here I am. Season 9 has a few of my new favorites: one, two, three. Enjoy.

...trying to process the past few weeks (days even). What a roller coaster. But God is good and faithful still. That's the hope I cling to. 

...eating nothing currently. But I did stop by Menchie's after work earlier. Always a good idea.

...pinning DIY's for our new house. I'm going to be in the basement once again so I'm desperate for ways to brighten up my tiny room and make it feel like home.

...tweeting, or rather re-tweeting, my some of the most inspiring people: Bog Goff and Christine Caine! If you haven't read Undaunted or Love Does, get yourself to a bookstore asap. These two have hearts of gold and a bold passion for Jesus that both convicts and inspires.

...going to the outlet mall to make a return or two. Sometimes what fits in-store just doesn't look the same in front of your own mirror.

...loving my Anthropologie discount and employee benefits! I snagged some great tops and dresses yesterday for so cheap! It's a good thing I get paid on Thursday ;)

...hating the discord in my heart. Or at least my fleshy reactions to it. It's creating greater communion with and dependence on God, which I have been asking for. Sometimes pruning isn't pretty, but it is necessary. I'm becoming so aware of my selfish and prideful tendencies. Now may I have the grace and diligence to surrender them and follow His lead away from them.

...discovering that my picture-perfect plan for life is not what God has called me to. He has called me to live a life committed to saying "yes" to Him, not to securing worldly possessions or position. The raw, vulnerable, and messy places in my heart and life are where He desires to meet with me most. I don't have to clean up my own mess before coming to Him. He takes me as I am and washes my feet willingly!

...enjoying having a week off. Camps are over for the summer and I get to go home on Sunday! I am excited to relax and refuel this week then head home to see family and friends!

...thinking about this blog. I have some revamping in mind (and I won a blog makeover so that is coming, too!). 

...feeling a little out of focus. No really, one contact fell out this morning so everything is a little lop-sided and fuzzy.

...hoping for a season of character refinement and simplicity. He's already started the work and I want anything He has to offer! Even if it's not easy. It will be worth it.

...listening to Rivers & Robots. They are my most recent discovery and I'm loving it! The first song I found was "The Bridegroom" and boy is it beautiful!

...thanking Melani and Ken for opening their home to me this summer! I cannot believe I only have one week left here.

...starting to countdown to Christmas. Just kidding. Sort of. I am ready for fall weather though. Scarves, sweaters, boots, hot chocolate, and all the glory that is to come!.

What are you up to this week?

Nothing I Hold Onto || That Song, That Moment

If you haven't noticed, things have been quiet on the home front for these past two weeks. I have opened Blogger numerous times to write, but every time it has been closed upon an empty page. I want to share what has been happening in my life and heart, but it has been hard. In many ways, these past two weeks have been the hardest of the summer. In a season that has been so sweet and so rich, I was blindsided by a rough patch. I need to keep processing and praying through what's been going on in my heart before I share, but I thought I'd pop in for a moment anyway :) 

I was searching for just the right thing to share when I stumbled on this link-up at Sweet Home Santa Barbara called That Song, That Moment. There are many sweet friends sharing about their favorite worship music and encounters, particularly single songs that moved them at one moment in time. Boy oh boy, have I been blessed to have a few of those! Here is the first that came to mind.

Nothing I Hold Onto by Will Reagan & United Pursuit
If you haven't heard of Will Reagan or simply haven't heard anything by him, hop on over to Spotify asap. Their worship albums have rocked my world multiple times over, particularly this song. When I was praying about graduating from Baylor and what He had next for me, over and over again I would hear His still small whisper pointing me to the mountains or to adventure, to Isaiah 55:12 with promises of joy and the mountains breaking forth. At the time, I felt very strongly that I was going to move to Norman, Oklahoma to spend a year in a discipleship training school, taking a break from theatre to refresh and refuel while serving the local church and applying for grad school.

That dream was planted in my heart spring of 2012 and remained there until the following spring, just months before I was to cross that stage. It was then that I felt God changing the whisper --still asking me to trust and promising provision-- but pointing me thousands of miles north and west. Somewhere in the journey (oh, how I wish I had my journals with me!) the song Nothing I Hold Onto played in one of my devotional times.

I wept. The journey was absolutely one of trust and surrender, and this song echoed the cry of my heart. It reminded me that I need only be dependent on God, holding onto Him as I move and step forward, that all else need not a second thought. The lyrics of the song rang out. I could not break free from its message. And I didn't want to.

I lean not on my own understanding.
My life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven.
I lean not on my own understanding.
My life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven.

I give it all to You, God, trusting that you'll make something beautiful out of me.

I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open.
I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open.
I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open.
There is nothing I hold onto.

I couldn't hold onto doubt, fear, comfort, flesh anymore. I couldn't hold on to my dreams. I couldn't hold onto the picture-perfect future I was trying to create for myself. He promised adventure, not a clear path. He promised His faithfulness, not the three wishes I wanted from a magic lamp. I had trusted Him with Oklahoma, with a direction He so clearly put on my heart, that why shouldn't I trust Him if He led me somewhere else?

And guess what? He did. Through this song He said, "This is your next mountain." Back then I thought it was moving to the land of the Sooners and stepping out of the art world I so loved. Now I see that my mountain would be a climb into the unknown, into the distance, into greater faith and trust. My hands were to be held high in worship and not reaching for things to pull myself up by my own strength. It is still a climb. But it's an adventure. And He led me to a city surrounded by mountains. Funny how He works and plants those seeds ;)

There will always be mountains, but He has gone before me and is coming up behind me. He created the heavens. He will make something beautiful out of me, my climb, and my story. Yours, too, if you let him. Believe me, it's worth it! And it's a journey I hope to walk in for the rest of my life.

"For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out wit peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12

Intentional August: What Fires Me Up & Wears Me Out

August, you came out of nowhere. This entire summer has gone by in the blink of an eye, and I have lived in Seattle for almost two months! Some incredible things happened in July and I want to take a moment to celebrate. Plus, it's my blog so I can do that, right? ;) One,  I got a job at Anthropologie! This has been on my list for years, but I've never lived close enough to one to make it possible. It is my go-to place for inspiration, home goods, and spectacular sales, though most of the apparel has always been out of my price range. God's had has been all over this timing, too, graciously putting off the start date until my first camp was finished. I turned 22 and hosted a giveaway for All Girls Allowed. This month was also my first time guest posting at several different blogs and I was able to share about All Girls Allowed. You girls (and possibly some gents out there!) have rallied with me to sponsor at least one little girl and her mother through the All Girls Allowed Baby Shower Program! The giveaway still has a few days, so hop on over and enter here!

While July was good, it also left me run dry and ragged. August 1st arrived and I was exhausted. I still am. Not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. Then --because God's timing is glorious and He knows exactly what my soul needs-- Lara Casey sent out her newsletter echoing the exact same feelings. She had a plan of attack, and I was ready to jump on board.

This month has been deemed Intentional August, and I whole heartedly agree! In July, I was running this way and that, my schedule spread thin between directing, nannying, phone dates, church events, and interviews, then on top of that I began looking at auditions, internships, graduate schools, oh my! Needless to say, my heart quickly became overwhelmed. 
"BUSY is the enemy of peace. 
BUSY takes us away from our purpose. 
BUSY is not truly productive in the big picture. 
BUSY means life's unexpected joys and surprises 
can't find a way into our lives because we're 
moving too fast to see and experience them. 
I don't want to move so fast that I miss my life!" 
~Lara Casey

I also sacrificed dedicated time with Jesus in the morning for sleep, but I know it does not satisfy or fuel me like His Word or encouragement does. The snooze button may seem like the best option at the time, but then I'm left running on my own strength (or at least feeling as if that's the case), and by lunch I'm done for. 

This month, I'm going to be more intentional. I am going to be intentional with how I spend my time in the morning. Instead of checking Twitter or Instagram first thing, I need to jump in the Word. Instead of scrolling through Facebook in the evening, let's read a book. It's time to make use of that gym membership I've ignored for the last month. It's time to do more of what fires me up.

My planner is home to more than just a schedule this year. Thanks to, again, Lara Casey's genius, I've been walking through the goal-planning Power Sheets this summer. When it comes to Intentional August, I want to make sure I'm working from my core, those things I've said are most important in life. Among the inspiration sheets included in the package is a page dedicated to "What fires me up..." This month, I want to do more of these things and take time to rest. Lord willing, it will be possible!

Some of what fires me up....
...handwritten letters
...fresh flowers
...reading Shakespeare
...French jazz on Pandora
...jogging by Lake Washington
...wandering around art museums alone
...phone dates with Baylor friends
...reading/working at Panera
...and much more!

What fires you up? How are you going to spend your August? Want to join the Intentional August movement? Everyone is welcomed! Let's do it together :)