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How 'Bout Them Cowboys?

As many of you know, I've been in the great state of Texas for a week. It has been glorious! And pretty eventful, if I do say so my self. Since late November I have been in the process of applying to graduate school for theatre, and in February I began "jet setting" across the country for interviews and school tours. Last Tuesday marked my last stop at Oklahoma State University, and I left with an offer of not only acceptance into the program but a graduate teaching assistantship which completely covers tuition plus a stipend for living. Praise the Lord! There are only two words left to say at this point: Go Pokes!

I have a keychain and everything so it's official ;) Of course, I will always claim Baylor first. I'll be a bear that just happened to go to OSU for grad school. I'm really pumped about it! This has been a long journey without a destination, and the Lord has been so faithful through it all. He's gone with me to Seattle and He will continue with me to Oklahoma.

Goodness gracious, what a whirlwind! I still have 3 months in Washington and I plan to make the most of them. But I'm already daydreaming about my new apartment! It will be nice to settle in somewhere for a few years and to be back in school. My heart just might explode!

How was your weekend, friends?

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March Link-Up || One Little Word 2014

Y'all. Be proud. I accomplished the Match OLW task one full week in advance! It also helped that I was going stir-crazy sick at home, but whatever makes it happen right? This month in the One Little Word class we were assigned a vision board for our word, a collage from magazines and the like to represent our word for 2014. My word is still SURRENDER but when searching though my magazines, I realized that I have only been looking at surrender in a negative way. Surrender meant depraving myself of things I loved, straining to make the cut, a constant down-in-the-dumps outlook. No, no, no! I don't think so.

Surrender is freedom! Surrender is waving my white flag with a heart of celebration, knowing that when I give up control the Lord can waltz in and save the day. He'll set things right. He'll put on the music and dance with me. When it came down to it, the central image was one I saved from Life: Beautiful magazine. As I surrender control, I surrender my future-mindset and choose to serve and celebrate today. Where I am right now.  

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart."
Colossians 3:23

This doesn't mean put off hard work until you "make it" or find that "dream job". That means put in the hard work to make it and to make my current job a dream job. This means praise the Lord for the provision of a job and of a passion and thank Him by making the most of it, trusting Him with the rest. Surrendering my pride and selfishness is what He asks of me. Then there can be joy. Then there can be peace. Then there can be adventure. That's what I want most of all.

I hope y'all enjoyed this prompt as much as I did! I can't wait to see what April holds! :D

One Little Word Blog Hop
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A Hope, a Future, and a Week at Home

My oh my, it is good to be home! Thanks to a two week break between shows, I was able to pop down to Texas for some quality time with family and friends, and I flew in to the Lone Star State this past Sunday. Mom met me at the airport with sweet tea in hand. I felt so known and loved! We hauled my suitcases to the car and headed home.

I'm also on the uphill climb from a week-long sickness. This darn thing kept me in bed Wednesday-Saturday and I'm pretty sure I only crawled out of bed on Sunday because I was running the slides at church then headed to the airport. I sniffled my way through my final graduate school interview yesterday but no one seemed to notice.

This week is a big week in my book. A large portion of my next few years will be decided in the next few days and I need all the wisdom, grace, and clarity I can get. I am a pro at over-complicating and wanting that color coded calendar I keep talking about. However, sometimes we are called to step out in faith even with the road ahead unclear. It's time to hold to the truth that He has plans for me that are to bring hope and a future {Jeremiah 29:11} and it is a comfort to know that the secret things belong to the Lord {Deuteronomy 29:29}. He holds everything safe in His hands and is worthy of our trust.

Today I have the joyous task of returning to the orthodontist (blehhhhhh) to get a permanent retainer put in. Exciting right? But what is exciting follows tomorrow! I have a lunch date with the lovely Victoria, dinner plans with my Big, and a friend's competition show to catch that evening. Friday sends me off to Baylor and back into the family I miss so much! Y'all. Being home is great. I so needed this.

What are y'all up to this week? I'd love to know!

Oh, and be on the look out for a fun announcement on Friday ;)

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Sit and Stay Awhile | Week 1

The blogging world was a mystery to me for quite a while and I kept pretty quiet for several years. I wrote sporadically and for a small audience, mostly family and friends you could count on two hands. I had no idea the explosion that was about to happen in the blogosphere in general or that some of my sweetest future friendships would come from the click of a button. I love sharing my heart with you all and hearing about your days. I wish I could gather you all up for a coffee date and hug your necks, but thousands of miles separate many of us. Therefore I am starting this series called Sit and Stay Awhile. Think of it as a virtual coffee date, or a hot chocolate date in my case ;). Most times you'll hear from me, but I also hope to introduce you to sweet ladies that are absolutely worth knowing and have wisdom to share. 

If you and I sat down for coffee, I'd order hot chocolate with extra whipped cream and sprinkles if they have them. We'd tuck in at a corner table by the window and I'd inevitably people watch as we talk. Don't worry, I'm great at multi tasking. I'd catch myself doing it and apologize with a laugh, focusing both eyes on you with a question.

How are you doing? 

We ask it in passing far too often and receive a breeze of an answer. "Oh, I'm good!" or "Fine, and you?" But I wouldn't let you get off that easy. I want to know all about you. What excites you? What are you looking forward to? What's been troubling you? Every up and down is important to me. Why? Because those make the fabric of our days and knit together our stories. And your story matters.

If you asked me those questions, this is how I'd answer:

How are you doing? Honestly, I've been better. I have been down for the count with a cold for five days now, doing my best to work through it. Actually some days I succumb to the "sick day" and sleep past noon then curl up with a good book for hours. Not exactly the productive week I'd been hoping to have. 

What excites you? What are you looking forward to? Life is not all down in the dumps though. I am so excited about my blog re-brand and a new vision behind it! I am also so excited to head back to Texas for over a week! I hop on a plane on Sunday and in a few short hours will be back in the land of sweet tea, Southern accents, and family. 

I am eager to spend a few days at Baylor, saying hello to old friends and catching a little of that school spirit I've been missing. I am also ready for some alone time. Not that I haven't had any in Seattle, but some quality time by myself away from it all to spend with Jesus working toward these big decisions. To move or not to move? To apply or not apply? To stay or not to stay? I need clarity.

What's been troubling you? I'm wading through big life decisions and tying up loose ends of graduate school applications. My top school replied with a "Thanks but maybe next time," and other schools are waiting for recommendation letters I have no control over. Sometimes I wonder if I'm piecing this plan together on my own or if it is really the direction God is pointing me in. 

Back to the exciting department, I will also tell you that I have several collaborations for Brave Love in the works! Books to read, review, and give away, potential conferences to attend, and a string of posts ready to publish. I'll begin my second children's musical in two weeks and am gearing up for the last go-around of the semester. And I will finally have the opportunity to perform again, seeing my dream of activating artists within the church come true in May. Now that's exciting.

If you and I went out for hot chocolate coffee, we'd talk for hours. It simply happens that way :) I could ramble on for days about theatre, and I'd lend a listening ear to your passions as well. But at the end of the hour (or hours) parting time would arrive, and I'd want to ask how can I pray for you? 

Prayer is powerful and two strangers, friends, or sisters joining together to lift one another up in prayer is absolutely impactful. So friends, I'd like to partner with you. How can I pray for you this week?

And how are you doing? I'd love to hear about your life! Won't you share with me?

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#72. Go to Disneyland

A few weeks ago I shared my 101 in 1001 list and towards the bottom smack dab in the middle was my desire to return to Disney.  I am what you would call a Disney fanatic. If there's a Buzzfeed article I've probably read it, a youtube video I've seen it, and if a movie is released into theaters you know I'm there opening weekend. I had the JOY of going to Disney World for the first time when I was seven then again when I was nine. Those first two trips to the Magic Kingdom set my heart aflame for all things Disney. I asked to go back every year on my birthday for the following 10 years.

Finally, two years ago, my mom called to say it was time to take Mitchell. I promptly informed her that they would not and could not go without me. Plans were made, a room at the Grand Floridian booked, and we were headed to Disney World at Christmas. It was MAGICAL. We saw Cirque and almost every park, attended snow covered parades and dessert theatre, hitting the Magic Kingdom nearly every evening. I loved it.

This February, we planned a family vacation to San Diego. We were going to hit the hot spots: Legoland, Sea World, and --insert drumroll here-- DISNEYLAND. I was beyond excited. The first two adventures were for my 11 year old brother, but this... this was for me. It was like Christmas morning! We loaded into the car and started the 2 hour drive to Anaheim. I was rip-roarin' and ready to go.

Now let me remind you that our first trip to Disney with Mitchell was... well, interesting. It included a few meltdowns but we managed to have a pretty good time. This go-around we pulled into the parking lot and he declares "Yeah, I'm not really into this Disney thing."  We were still in the parking lot! I in turn informed him that we were going to have a great time and it was going to be magical anyway. He was still skeptic. We made it through the gates and I was already dizzy with wonder. To pacify him, we started out with the train that runs around the park. Meanwhile I made note of each and every show I wanted to see and ride I wanted to ride.

First stop was Disney's Magic Paintbrush or something like that. It was a great show full of familiar tunes from favorite movies, exciting special effects and a unique spin. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while others who shall remain nameless counted down the minutes until it was over.

Look! He's smiling! But of course, it's only because we were about to ride the monorail. I did manage to talk him into riding the spinning tea cups with me; he was worried about how fast we'd spin, but once that initial fear subsided we had a great time! And I had the hand cramps to prove it. Spinning those things is not easy, especially when he shouts "Faster, faster!" at the top of his lungs.

This was also in the middle of directing Alice in Wonderland, so who should I run in to but Alice and the Mad Hatter himself! They seemed to be following me everywhere and were delighted to say hello!

When Mitchell and I waited in line for the teacups, Mom ventured into one of the shops. She emerged minutes later wearing sequin-covered Minnie ears. I squealed out loud and Mitchell threw me a funny look. I threatened to make him wear them but he wasn't buying it. We also got the entire family on the carousel (even though Dad and Mitch opted to sit on the bench behind us). It was then that we parted ways, the boys were off to the race track while Mom and I bolted for Snow White's Scary Adventure and Mr. Toad.

The boys tuckered out far earlier than we did. Our last stop was Frontier Land (I think?) and we stumbled into one of those dinner/dessert theaters. Mitchell almost ran out of the room. In Disney World we had reservations at one of these places and they pulled him on stage. This time he was not going to be recruited no matter what. They ended up pulling in a woman from the front and it was pretty funny. Mom and I agreed that I could have played it up a bit better ;)

The day came to a close much earlier than I would have liked, but I loved every minute of it! It also helped that we went straight to Chick-fil-a then popped over to a movie theatre. Mom and I saw Frozen and the boys caught The Lego Movie. I'd say it was a fantastic end to a great day. I don't think I'll ever tire of Disney and I'd still go back in a heart beat. I would forgo pretty much any and every other vacation (except maybe a trip to Europe) to simply go back to Disney World. I'm that obsessed. If you're planning a trip, be sure to leave a little room in your suitcase for me. I'm so there!

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Falling Down a Rabbit Hole

It's happened again. My show has come and gone, and the day afterwards my immune system went on vacation. This happens every time. I go-go-go, work a million miles an hour, sleep very little, and tackle a hundred tasks during the week leading up to a performance, then once we strike the set my health peaces out. I may or may not have zipped off to Target for tissues, ice cream, and NyQuil. And I might have forgotten the NyQuil.

Last week was tech week for Alice in Wonderland; I have been directing the musical at an elementary school since early January. It is a unique adaptation, calling for 3 Alices who change places and "size" in the course of the show. I'm pretty sure the script was written for a cast of 25, and I had 44 students. 

Yes, that's right. There were 44 of them and one of me. There was one music director and one choreography assistant, too, to be fair. Either way we were outnumbered to say the least. Four days a week I would make the trek to the suburbs and be stampeded by 8- to 10-year-olds, all wanting to make it to our classroom first then cause as much chaos as possible. Okay, okay, it was relatively organized chaos and they were pretty great, I'll admit it ;)

Children's theatre is an animal all its own. No matter the exposure to it I've had before, nothing prepared me for this. It has to be approached with a particular mind set and plenty of patience --far different from the world of college theatre I've been living in-- but it is still so valuable.  We are cultivating life skills. Yes, I struggle to maintain focus and, yes, singing 1-2-3 Eyes On Me twelve times per day is not ideal, but I am confident that a difference was made.

For some students, they had their first introduction to the world of theatre. How exciting! For others it was an exercise in learning to share focus and work as a team. It was not my job to re-parent them or force an actor's life upon them, but to encourage them in their strengths and instincts and enable them to follow a project through to the end. It was character building in multiple ways.

It was also a trial by fire getting the production on its feet. Our set was donated by an Anthropologie downtown and borrowed from a local church. Our stage hands were parent volunteers, and our mic count went from 10 to 16 to 4 in a hot second. Dress rehearsal flew out the window as students flew down the hall in search of pizza, and our first run of the show was not exactly smooth sailing. But I still call it a successful show.

Why? I learned something. They learned something. And we will all take something with us past the Saturday closing. I learned that my craft --my passion and my art-- will not and cannot continue into the future if I am not an active part in cultivating the future audience. Instilling a love or at least an appreciation for theatre in the next generation is imperative. Remaining present with the child in front of me even when my to-do list is ten pages long is just as important. Sacrificing perfection for progress and personal connection is a must-do and a game changer.

I certainly fell down the rabbit hole this spring. Everything felt topsy turvy and I certainly felt stretched in every which way. Some days I felt on top of the world and at the top of my game. Other days I felt less than an inch tall and as frantic as an ant underfoot.  It's the way of the game, so I'm told. But praise the Lord there is grace. Grace to try and fail, grace to succeed. Grace to want to quit and grace to be re-envisioned for the next circus.

Did I mention having a loving and supporting Lifegroup (plus a few) makes a world of difference? These fantastic people drove all the way out to the theatre to attend opening night. They laughed through the line mis-haps and mic mistakes --I can't blame them I cried laughed, too-- and were quick to encourage when I felt defeated after the curtain fell. I'm so thankful for community and the way these people have rallied around me in recent weeks. 

Peter Pan starts in three weeks and it's back on this merry go round. I am so looking forward to this time of rest and relaxation (and a reuniting with friends and family in the great state of Texas) but I am also looking forward to taking what I have learned and putting it into action with this next show.  It will be an awfully big adventure ;)

Brave Love the Blog

If you haven't noticed, Anchored in Love Divine has taken on an entirely NEW LOOK and NEW NAME! I have been planning and praying about this for a while and though show week might not have been the best time to do it the time finally arrived! Now it is my joy and privilege to welcome you to Brave Love! What is brave love, you ask? Well grab a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate!), settle in for a bit, and I will gladly tell you :)

Two months ago, I attended a women's gathering called Brave Love Seattle. Around 35 women from all seasons of life, every corner of the city, and different experiences in and out of the church spent a weekend worshiping and welcoming one another into our stories, learning what it means to live a life of brave love. I have been to my share of retreats and conferences, but let me tell you, this was so much more than I ever could have expected! Several young women from my church were also at Brave Love, and none of us knew that the others were planning to be there. Small world, huh?

In the first session, we talked about how one of the most inhibiting things we can face in life is the "endless cycle of me". This includes self hatred, jealousy, distrust, walls, worries, comparison, you name it. It is a vicious cycle that many of us live in and the only way to out of that cycle is to actively love! This idea was mind blowing to me. Some of these struggles (anxiety, perfectionism, comparison specifically) I have walked in for years and often catch myself thinking "Shouldn't I have mastered this by now?" or "I've been a Christian for Xnumber of years, I should be past this..." and so on. 

If I am living a life of active love then these things will be taken care of along the way. When stuck in comparison, if I choose to actively love and celebrate the person I feel inferior to, there is a shift. If I feel overwhelmed by my imperfections but choose to actively love the person in front of me or actively pursue Jesus in the moment, there is a shift. I don't have to conquer the world in a day or even my to do list. A life of active love is what that matters. Why?

Jesus is brave love. 

Jesus is ignoring the nay-sayers and welcoming the children to his lap.
Jesus is speaking life into the woman at the well when others spoke judgement.
Jesus is saying yes to the Father's will first and foremost.
Jesus is sacrificing it all to save those most in need of grace.
Jesus is forgiving past a feeling.

Jesus is brave love.

We are called to be and show brave love. When we are faced with lies or hard times or even surprises, choosing to love bravely and actively will make all the difference. Yes, those things will still happen, but brave love will change the way it affects us and the effects we have on our world. I can internalize and journal myself into the ground on that endless cycle of me, trying to fix me, refresh me, satisfy me, but turning it outward will bless others, please the Lord, and bring the transformation we so desire!

Brave love takes us back to the basics.

"My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of god and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love-- so you can't know him if you don't love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about --- not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God. My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us -- perfect love!"
1 John 4:7-12, The Message

One of my favorite parts of the evening was during worship where we each shared what Brave Love meant to us. It was a beautiful moment and I left feeling so inspired. Brave love is a powerful thing and it means something different to each one of is.

Brave love is...
...forgiveness (the un-offendable heart).
...a celebration (not withholding).
...a rescuing love.
...fully embracing others.
...repetitive (coming back with joy again and again).
...ridiculous (proposes crazy ideas).
...living in freedom to embrace and accept who you are, giving others the permission to do the same.
...the kiss of God flowing from you to others.
...assuming the best of others.
...intimacy overflowing into action.
...the possibility of unconditional love filling all.
...relational, simple, every day.
...being present.
...surrendering the vulnerable places.
...sacrificial yet fulfilling.
...unstoppable and it permeates through anything.
...not limited by past sin but empowered by eternal salvation.
...anticipating needs and acting on it.
...looking at brokenness and calling it beautiful.
...going after it.
...living in us and will change the world.
...our calling.
...responding to God with a "Yes!" in our hearts, expecting that He will show up in our weaknesses.
...going to take people by surprise.
...a culture shift.
...willing to be transparent.
...loving beyond what's comfortable and taking a big risk.

When it comes to my definition of Brave Love, especially when it is concerned with this blog, brave love is embracing your definition of femininity and using that uniqueness to encourage and empower the gifts and passions of others. Brave love is sharing the deepest parts of me and loving the deepest parts of you. Brave love is seeking Jesus first and sharing the journey. Brave love is messy but sweet and oh so worth it. Brave love is Jesus. 

His banner over me is love, and my banner over this blog is BRAVE LOVE. May we love boldly and bravely from this day forward. And let's do it together, shall we? :)

March: Living, Loving and Learning

So I blogged for a month then I took a week off. I think that's fair, don't you? Last week was long and full and this week will be much of the same. When I shared at Victoria's blog during the #blogeverydayinFEB challenge, I shared a bit called "Living, Loving, Learning". Today, I'm doing it again, only somewhat abbreviated :)

Life these days looks like a whole lot of Alice in Wonderland and not a lot of sleep. The show I'm directing has its first performance this Friday, so it is crunch week for me and my kiddos. And this is the first week Anthro has given me a full week of work in quite a while. Coincidence? I think not. I worked last Saturday and was graciously given the go-ahead to leave early, which meant I had a fun filled afternoon with Luis! We took a semi-spontaneous trip downtown to the market and milled about before a worship gathering at his house. I am always blessed by those evenings. There is something special about meeting in someone's home for a time of worship, and this night did not disappoint!

I am also in a very interesting season of learning old lessons. These are things I thought I had tackled, but the Lord keeps reminding me that I need to give them another go. One is I need to trust Him more. Trust, I think? Isn't that simple enough? Yes, it's simple to say but not necessarily to do. I have big decisions and life changes on the road ahead and I want to trust Him all the way, not just trust that He'll fix the mess I make when I make my own decisions. I am also learning that trust and faith need to be put into action, and He gives us plenty of opportunities to do it. It's time to be brave, take rises, TRUST Him fully.

one. two. three. four

One thing I'm loving is Project Life. I am just getting started on making this year happen, and I am so inspired! I shared a little about it before and I hope to share more of my work in the future. It is scrapbooking made simple, and simple is definitely what I crave these days. Last Tuesday, I started going to Pure Barre and boy do I feel it! It is the best kind of pain I have ever been in. Between my weak knees and general out-of-shape-ness, I was aching and quaking after my first two days. I took an intentional rest day, went again, then an unintentional rest day, and picked back up yesterday. Barre is ballet technique with yoga and pilates, really focusing on small isolations and building the core. I am on ground zero working up, but I love it! Another thing I'm loving is my cozy little wood-paneled bedroom. It is exactly the retreat I need. True, it is usually a mess, which brings me to my fourth love, and that is the new efforts to organize my space! One of my goals for the year is to simplify and it started this weekend by going through my closet and purging the clothes I haven't worn in past seasons or simply don't want any more. They are off to Plato's closet this week, and the junk I've accumulated is going to Goodwill. Man, it feels good to be free!

What are you loving, living, or learning these days? I'm sure we could all benefit from one another and maybe even stumble on a new favorite! 

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Marching Forward to Fitness || March 2014 Goals

BAM! Just like that March is here! Again, thank you to everyone who joined in the #blogeverydayinFEB challenge. You ladies were a joy to get to know and follow! My travels are over for quite some time and this month brings new goals and a new show. I'm directing Alice in Wonderland at an elementary school and the performance is under two weeks away, then two weeks after that I start Peter Pan. There's a whole lotta in-between in there that I'll fill you in on along the way, and my heart is going in about six different directions and I want to share that with you, too. :)

One of the things I'm most excited about this month is my membership to Pure Barre. I have been doing some at-home workouts and I love what barre training offers. It is exactly the kick to the behind (and my wallet....) to get me active and really marching forward in my fitness pursuits. It is taking intentional scheduling and saving to make this happen, but I am expectant that I'll see results!

Follow me on Instagram: @baileyjeanrobert

March Goals: 
Attend Pure Barre 4+ times per week.
Finish You Were Made for a God-Sized DreamAllegiant, and Restless.
Clean out closet/shelves and donate excess.
Finalize One Little Word actions.
Make the One Little Word vision board.
Complete wall collage over bed.
Begin teaching certification classes.
See Lion King the Musical and Warhorse!
Finish the Gospels and Proverbs.

What are you up to this month? Anyone attending Hope Spoken?! I so wish I could make it back to Dallas for that. Maybe next year! *fingers crossed* Happy Monday, y'all!

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