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Let's Get Organized | Volume I

I might be the most disorganized organized person you will meet. If you glance at my room or on my desk at any given moment you might gape and gasp wondering if anything gets accomplished at all. However, I have to say that I love my systems, and there are a handful that I am dedicated to. I have been sharing glimpses of these processes via Instagram lately and they sparked many a question. Here is my first go at explaining just how my mind works. 

When the actual work is happening, Hurricane Bailey sets in. Papers, books, binders, pens, you name it is tossed about as I move from project to project. I like to have everything on and and to bounce back and forth between assignments to keep things fresh and focused. I have a color coding system with pens, stickers, and highlighters that sweep across my classes and extracurriculars. 

The Staedtler pens are amazing! I swear by these guys, and I've been eyeing the larger set at Target for my Christmas list. Fine tipped and in their own pretty little package, I can toss this baby into my backpack or purse and be good to go. I've used these almost solely for my Simplified Planner (which you'll read more about below) this year, but for 2015 I am changing to the Pilot Frixion erasable pens. They also come in their own package with an assortment of colors but are erasable. I hate writing in pencil, but it stresses me out to put anything in my calendar in permanent ink. The Frixion pens are more expensive and I had to order mine through Amazon, but they are so worth it. Rumor has it they also offer erasable highlighters. Those may be next on my wish list. 

Another system or routine I have found to be immensely helpful is what I call the "Brain Dump".  Most of the time this takes place Sunday night or Monday morning, and it is exactly what I sounds like. I throw anything and everything down on paper that needs to be taken care of in the near future. From daily to-do's to upcoming assignments, everything in-between finds its way onto the list. If I am having a hard time falling asleep one night, I'll pull out my notepad and add to it. 

Once the list is made, I separate the tasks into groups with different colored highlighters. In the image above, pink indicated what needed to be accomplished today, and blue what had to be taken care of tomorrow. Anything not highlighted are "freebies" or fillers. I might detour and tackle one of the bare bullet points on a break, but they do not hold the urgency of those highlighted in pink or blue. 

As you can see in the above list, I have both blog posts and classwork listed, so really anything can make it on there. Sometimes I'll break the page into a grid with a box for each class or area of my life (Theatre History & Theory, Intro to Theatre, Shakespeare, Directing // School, Blogging, Heart, Health). I love this legal pad because it already has holes punched in it, and it works as a catch-all for notes during the day. Class assignments, lecture notes, mid-day memo's, etc. If I don't want to lug my backpack around, I'll throw this pad and my planner into my purse and call it done (Oh, and don't forget my pen pack). I get my love of legal pads and sticky notes from my dad. He likes the classic yellow in both, when I go for standard white paper and neon colors otherwise.

Now onto my Simplified Planner. Man, oh man, I cannot recommend these enough! It is my second year using Emily Ley's planner, and I have my 2015 version waiting patiently on my desk. The daily option is great for breaking down my week ahead of time, blocking out each hour, class, and appointment with the use of her flag stickers. My only complaint is it ends at 7:00pm, and we theatre people are night owls. I've taken to using the "Notes" box to house late night rehearsals, or divvying up the bottom section to note an evening appointment. 

Each class has its own color flag sticker which remains consistent throughout the semester, and they coordinate with the dry-erase markers on my assignment board in the graduate student office. There is a box on the bottom right of each page where dinner plans can be made --you can see I splurged for pizza on Monday-- and I often use it to keep a record of my meals and snacks to see where I can do better or what planning needs to be done. The to-do section is great, and I will often transfer items from my Brain Dump list into the planner at the beginning of the day. 

While the Simplified Planner is larger than ones I have used previously, and more expensive, it is worth the investment. I carry this guy with me almost everywhere, and it really stores all I need. I will paperclip invitations, separate to-do lists or assignments, and notecards inside as needed, and it has held its shape pretty well. She is almost sold out, so be on the look out for her 40% off sale this weekend! **Correction, the planners will be excluded from the sale, BUT she has plenty of other great products!

----------------> But if you want a shot at winning one, check out my INSTAGRAM for the #bravelove2Kgiveaway where you can enter to win a 2015 Simplified Planner as well as some inspirational prints and a thankfulness journal. Check out the details HERE.

So now you have the basics of my planning + prep process. Let's Get Organized, Volume II will appear in late December as I share tips and tricks for preparing for the New Year. 2015 is just around the corner, but we still have time to finish strong! Let's go for it, shall we?

Love, Skip, Jump Anyway

As part of The Influence Network's Book Club, I was sent a free copy of Shelene Bryan's new book Love, Skip, Jump. I hadn't heard of the book before, but I never say no to free books so I jumped (pun completely intended) at the chance to get my hands on a copy.  It sat untouched for about a week, but this weekend was dedicated to relaxing and catching up on my to-do's, so reading a few chapters made it to the top of the list.

I'm only four chapters in and my heart is skipping and jumping away, already demanding attention I haven't given it in a while. Shelene introduces the core ideas (Love, Skip, Jump) as things we should be doing in order to say yes to the adventure God has for us. Adventure was one of my words for 2013, and I had my first taste of what saying yes to such a thing could really mean when God took me to Seattle. Here in grad school, it's harder to see the adventure ahead.

In the first chapters, Shelene shares the yes-adventure that took her to Uganda to meet the children her family had been sponsoring. She and her husband packed their bags, bought plane tickets, and though she ended up traveling alone, adventured across the world to make a difference. She provided food for children, beds for a small village, and paid for a dock to be built for a remote tribe. Her heart was ready to say yes and her wallet was well stocked and willing.

I threw the breaks on at about the time she pulled cash from her pocket to pay for the river dock. How easy is it for her to say "Go! Do!" when her life is set up for it? Oh, sure, let me skip class, empty my already-empty bank account and go... right. Can you tell I needed a heart check here? Skepticism and cynicism were dripping from my sneer, and they revealed the walls I've had up for a long time. You know what those walls protect? My comfort zone.

My comfort zone is a sacred place.  I'm, well, comfortable here. 

My one bedroom apartment, my consistent school schedule, the five hour drive to my parents' house. The picture perfect dream I have for my future that sits compact in my pocket until just the right time. Comfortable. Safe. Mine.

I'm barely four chapters in but I can already tell you that Shelene's out to wreck my comfort zone. And the excuses I'm already making are evident that it's a sore spot ready for tending. So what if I don't have a job that will let me jet off to a third-world country? So what if my days are spent doing acting exercises rather than riding food packs to remote tribes on bicycles? There is still a yes-adventure waiting to be had. 

Even last week's #fireworkpeople chat was about taking risks and breaking from the comfort zones. I get the feeling this is about to be a reoccurring theme in my life. Honestly, I'm terrified. Risk-taker and adventurous have never been next to my name in the dictionary. I'm a planner, a thinker, a schedule-out-all-the-details kind of girl. The idea that there is a wild unknown waiting for me is terrifying. But a good kind of terrifying.

It points me to the concept of fearing the Lord. That kind of fear is an awestruck wonder, a respect and desire to follow, love, and know the Savior of the World intimately. Fearing God does not mean cowering under His wrath --though it is an almighty thing and He is that powerful-- but standing before Him with nothing to give but two hands raised, empty in surrender and praise. Even if my knees and hands are shaking, I want to lift them. I want a yes-adventure even if it costs me everything.

Boom. I think the air got knocked from me as I wrote it. I kind of want to backspace it and pretend I never said it. Because saying it means I have to follow through. Saying it means I have to trust Him with it. And if we're being honest, I like the picture of my future that I have in mind. It's safe. It's simple. It's structurally sound. But it may or may not be His plan. And if I want His plan more than anything I have to be willing to give mine up. Yikes.

During the Twitter chat last Tuesday, I tweeted: 

Sometimes I need to take my own medicine. I say that I dream in six different directions, but I also have a feeling that there's a dream just waiting to be revealed. Something bigger, something grand, something Jesus has up His sleeve just for me. I don't want to miss it chillin' on the couch in my comfort zone. I mean, I'd love it it fell into my lap that way, but I don't think that's how it will happen.

Love, Skip, Jump is already turning my world upside down. I've been learning so much about God's goodness and timing and gentleness these past few weeks, and I know it's leading up to something big. Even though I can't see how a yes-adventure will fit into my season, I want to say yes anyway. I want to love, skip, jump anyway. Will you join me?

GLOW: Live as Light

Today I have the privilege and joy of guest posting for GLOW: Live as Light, a Christian women's lifestyle blog whose vision I am 110% behind! Alyssa and the ladies she has gathered to share their hearts and testimonies are some of the most inspiring women I know, and I was overjoyed when she asked me to contribute. Check out today's post on 5 Resources to Refresh Your Quiet Time, featuring some of my favorites and frequently requested items from my Instagram.

Speaking of Insta, I'll be taking over the GLOW account this weekend. Check it out here!

The Diary of a Theatre Gal

When I was five, I dressed up as a teacher for career day. I had on a cute knitted vest with the ABC's and a bright red apple stitched onto the front, my hair in a big bow and a bright smile on my face. I knew that I wanted to work with students, stand at the front of a classroom, and forever be part of the learning process. Ten years later I would deny with my whole heart that I would ever willingly step back into a high school after graduation. Teaching? Psh. Who actually wanted to do that?

Oh wait, I did. I do. But it's not just teaching that is on my horizon. It's theatre, the art of intentional and creative storytelling, a passion I hold near and dear to my heart. It is so much of who I am and why I do what I do, yet I rarely write about it here. Strange, huh? At least I think so.

It seems easier to tell you about my goal planning strategies or to hit the highlights of Instagram including weekend trips and wacky encounters, but theatre? I've found myself word-less too many times, worried that diving into this part of my life might send people away. It's silly, but I catch myself thinking that this world is too much of it's own bubble for other people to understand. I don't know why that's my way of thinking. 

One of my favorite things to do is to ask other people about their passions! Whether it is accounting, skiing, or high-wire trapeezing (if that's even a thing...), I love hearing about it, even if I didn't know a thing about it before the conversation started. Why then do I feel the need to almost apologize for my chosen path. Maybe it's the ten-too-many looks of surprise or condescension I received in college when saying that I was a theatre major. People don't often know what to make of that. Maybe it's my desire to teach in a field where so many want to "make it" in New York or LA. Simply because my calling is different does not make it less-than. That is a truth I am trying to sink into.

So somedays I spend three hours sewing fuzzy dorm rugs together to make a bean bag chair for a show. Others I read script after script, play after play, analyzing theories and writing papers. I might spend an entire evening in the theatre's basement rehearsing for class, or take a Saturday to memorize ten pages. Theatre is such an exciting and meaningful part of my life. I want to feel confident enough in it to share it with you more often.

I really wasn't kidding about sewing fuzzy rugs together.. that's how I spent my Saturday last weekend. But I also spent my weekend auditioning. Someone asked me if it was like in the movies where you have to wait for a list to be posted to know who is in the show. Well, my friends, let me tell you it is EXACTLY like the movies in that way. 

On Saturday morning I waltzed into the theatre to perform a monologue --a one-minute, one person scene-- in front of professors and directors, and halfway through it I drew a big ol' blank in my mind. The lines I had memorized flew away against my will, and I had to improvise a few lines before remembering the ending. I laughed, smiled, waved, and waltzed right back out the room, my fate in the hands of five people. (There's a great article floating around there about the ridiculousness of casting and just how crazy this theatre thing is...) From there I changed into paint-covered clothes to sit on a balcony and sew for five hours. When the work call ended, I changed back into a dress and hid in the lighting booth to play music for a show the rest of the evening. A day full of theatre is always a day well spent in my mind.

Sunday morning I returned to the theatre for callbacks. After the initial round of auditions, each director chose a handful of actors to bring back for a second round. I was called back for the play and the part I most wanted, a beautiful piece called These Shining Lives. It is about the radium girls of the 1920's and 30's, women who went to work to make a better life for themselves only to be poisoned by the radium they worked with. The play follows a young woman named Catherine who is telling her story and the women's journey for justice as they decide to sue the company.

We spent three hours reading various scenes from the play, all waiting and hoping that the director would like our particular take on the character. I'm not kidding when I say waiting your turn among ten talented ladies to read for a dream role is one of the most stressful things I've done in a while. I'd forgotten what this feels like. I only read for Catherine, but so did many others. When we were finally released, the butterflies in my stomach began tap-dancing, and they did not cease for the next six hours. 

In the usual fashion of a theatre gal, I went straight from auditions to a performance and from the performance to a rehearsal. This world never stops spinning. It wasn't until after rehearsal on the way to a meeting that I dared to run into the theatre building to get a glimpse at the call board. The cast list was posted and my heart dropped to the stomach. But then I saw my name... I got the part! 

My spring has just bloomed into the most beautiful kind of crazy. I am over the moon about playing the lead in a play I love so much, and it feels like years of hard work have finally paid off. I wanted to share the news with you all, and invite you into the process. Want to know what my life is really like? Follow me on Instagram @baileyjeanrobert and be on the look out for #diaryofatheatregal to see just what I do day in and day out.

Thank you all for being such a sweet source of encouragement and support! I cannot wait to share more of this with you! 

We Are Firework People

I believe in the power of community. I believe that speaking life into others will change the world. I also believe that you have what it takes to make your dreams happen. Do you? If so, let me introduce you to Firework People. These women have been in my life for less than a month and I am already radically changed! When women rally together to encourage one another, celebrating their unique giftings and dreams, big things will happen. Big things are already happening, and #fireworkpeople is making major waves.

What started as a weekly Twitter chat, the tag #fireworkpeople, has now blossomed into a movement of over 600 women who are fire-starters and world-changers, ready and willing to launch one another forward and call each person to their greatest potential. This is a radical group, going against the grain and joining forces to create community where elsewhere on the internet comparison and competition reigns supreme.  Firework People is just beginning, and I am personally inviting you to join us!

I have the joy and the honor of being part of Firework People's core team. The three other ladies, Ashley, Mandi, and Jordan, are swiftly becoming dear friends and have provided a constant stream of laughter and support in the short amount of time I've known them.

Firework People is a place for women of all seasons; we have college students, stay at home moms, entrepreneurs, you name it. If you want to find like-minded women and a support system, we're you're go-to. These women have caught the vision and are running with it at the speed of light, carrying one another and linking arms in the journey. The heartbeat of this movement is encouraging community. As our website proudly states,

"We are radical encouragers. We are celebrators. 
We are brave. We are full of nation-shifting ideas. 
We are more together than we are apart. We are kind. 
We are generous. We are commissioning you."

Still not sure? Here is what I suggest: Check the tag #fireworkpeople on Twitter and Instagram. Connect with a few gals, shoot me an e-mail, ask around. Take a peek at the magic happening. Below I have included a Storify review of last week's Twitter chat. This, I believe, is the best example of what those Tuesday nights and Thursday mornings look like. 

We have a Facebook group that is quite active, a space to share your story and passion, as well as to find women doing the same. Everyone is also assigned a Community Builder/group --that's my job-- as a way to give you a smaller, more intimate group to get to know within the larger community. We'd love for you to join us!

Be You, Bravely | Featuring Stef Krach

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It's time for the Be You, Bravely series again, and today I'm featuring a dear friend and fabulous photog Stef Krach! This lovely is a sister soul of mine, and some of my favorite Seattle memories include heart-to-hearts with her over pedicures or happy hour. She is a visual storyteller with a heart of gold; check out her Instagram for further proof. I am so thankful for this woman, and I hope you enjoy getting to know her story below.

Who are you, my dear?
Hello internet! My name is Stefanie and I am a 20-something, Seattle dwelling, espresso slinging, Jesus loving gal who has a penchant for the outdoors, photography and all things lovely. I spend my days working for a local non-profit, sharing stories and asking people to partner with us to help those in greatest need. You will rarely find me at home during the weekends, as I am typically out and about exploring what the great region of the Pacific Northwest has to offer. This is due in part to a little app many of us know as Instagram. As silly as it sounds, I have seen some of the most beautiful places and become friends with some of the most genuine and incredible individuals - all thanks to an app! As a lover of people I couldn’t have asked for a better tool to connect to others as quickly, or as beautifully as I have. If you are new to a city, or even just visiting I encourage you to break out of your comfort zone and try reaching out to others. It might just lead to an adventure of a lifetime!

What does it mean to be you, bravely?
Oh goodness, now that’s a question! When I think of myself, the first word that comes to mind certainly wouldn’t be brave. As a woman who stands proud at 5 foot 9 inches tall, I have a tendency to run away when anything with over 8 legs comes my way! However, over the past few years I have learned that it does take a certain amount of risk and a dash of bravery to live your life true to who you are and who God has created you to be.

Scriptures say that we are all crafted in God’s image, that He knit us together in our mother’s womb and that the Lord even knows the number of hairs on our sometimes rather thick noggins. We have all been equipped with our very own set of traits, gifts, quirks and personalities. I think that too often we try to push down what makes us, us to be a shadow of something or someone else. I know, because for years I tried to fit the status quo. To be myself - and bravely at that - means accepting and celebrating the way God crafted me, and trying my darndest to thrive with what I have been given. It means growing in certain areas, and not being too hard on myself in others. It means tossing aside the daily lies that are so easily put on repeat, and intentionally listening to the One who saved my soul and calls me child. It’s not easy, and there have been so many times when I failed to live life as bravely as God has called me to – but there is a grace that covers my weaknesses and an understanding that life is a journey to be lived.

If you could have a heart-to-heart with younger you, what would you say?
SO many things! We would probably have the longest conversation over coffee, ever. Remember that whole standing proud at 5 foot 9 moment I just had? I would tell myself to stop slouching and to go out and enjoy all the benefits of being a little bit taller! I’d also definitely have to have a little talk about the opinions of others and the world vs. the opinions of our Heavenly Father. When you are younger, your world and what it revolves around is often so close to you that you can’t see past a few inches. I’d tell myself to go buy a telescope and get to some higher elevation!

What is encouraging you this week?
Oh man! Well I just got back from a social media conference in Portland called Socality Live. Roughly 400 individuals from all over North America, and even a few folks from across the pond, gathered for 2 days to see what would happen when you put community into action. It was awesome getting to listen to speakers talk about the Gospel, social media, influence, creativity and community. I'm more encouraged than ever at the potential we have in this present time to connect for a purpose, and to use the platforms and giftings we've been given to share the Good News!

Just for fun, what are 3 must have's?
- Coffee, and a lot of it. Preferably made with beans from Vivace or Storyville. I know, I know. I miiiight have a problem…
- My iPhone or my DSLR. I love detaching from technology, but I love taking photos and being connected too much to permanently sever the tie!
- Red Lipstick. Its my go to when I am being lazy and don’t want to wear much of anything else on my face, or it’s the finishing touch to a fun look.

Making November Happen

I begin every month with the same exclamation: I can't believe it's already ________! November is no exception. As baffling as it continues to be how fast time flies, I love this month already. November 1st brought a Baylor homecoming victory (60-14), the release of the Starbucks red cups, and we gained an hour of sleep. I call that a welcoming weekend!

November is the start of my favorite season. Winter is approaching, holidays encroaching, and my schedule is filling. Honestly, it's going to be the toughest month yet.  This week is show week, so don't be surprised if I'm MIA. I've got a few blog posts planned, twitter parties and #fireworkpeople details to tackle, but I'll be in rehearsal most evenings. But I've got plenty of hot chocolate and Christmas music to keep me going, and no I am not ashamed to say I started listening on Saturday with pride.

Even so, I'm determined to make the most of this month. Yesterday I started a hashtag on Instagram as a reminder to myself to put my dreams and plans into action. It's Now or Never November. It was almost No Excuses November, but the other didn't have any tags ;) Are you in? Care to join me? 

Now for a check-in and goal update:

October's Goals:
Participate in the Write 31 Days Challenge. Erh... I started, does that count? I had to take my own advice and savor my season by taking a step back.
Take steps to savor my seasonSee the above. Some steps were taken intentionally, and boy did life throw itself at me in new ways. Four words: grad school is hard.
Organize/de-clutter my closet.  YES! Sweet success, this happened! It might be messy now, but it is officially fully unpacked.
A weekend trip to Waco to see friends + Les MisWhat a refreshing weekend it was! Speedy, too, but I so enjoyed seeing everyone and seeing the show.
A weekend trip home + First Monday Canton with MomThis happened, too. We gathered the first fresh fall and holiday decor of the season. And it's always good to be home. 
A weekend trip to Wichita to see a Baylor friendYup! Another item checked off. We watched the Baylor game, explored the city, and had a much needed break from school. 
Start a 5k training plan. I actually completely forgot this was on here. Oops.
Blog makeover and updateYes! I have to say I'm loving the new look. Brave Love needed a makeover.
Participate in the weekly #fireworkpeople Twitter chatsThese were often a highlight of my week! #fireworkpeople is dear to my heart and has brought so many new friends in my life. Check out the chat tomorrow at 8pm central!

November's Goals:
Finish this show with a good attitude. My week is the definition of insane, but that is no excuse not to extend grace to people or try to find the positive. I want to be diligent in my responsibilities with this show and end on a high note on Sunday.
Have MY show performance ready before Thanksgiving. When we return from the break we will have 4-5 days to tech the show, with a performance on Friday. I want it to essentially be ready for an audience before we part ways on the 25th.
Assign all Merry & Bright Gift Swap partners.  If you haven't heard of the gift swap, check HERE! I hope to start sending out assignments early next week (no time to breathe this week let alone pair 95 women). You should SO join us!
Finish my research paper! My rough draft is due next Tuesday... don't ask how far I am, or should I say how far I'm not... oops.
Finish The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. This book is rocking my world! Sadly it's been tossed aside and I'm only halfway through. I want to dive in this month.
Read/study Acts & Romans while continuing the Influence Conf. devotional.  Acts and Romans are two of my favorites but it has been quite some time since I dedicated study to it. Also, I've been thoroughly enjoy the devotional from the Influence Conference. I highly recommend it!
Get active 3x's per weekI have to be diligent about scheduling and sticking to my work out routine.
Decorate my apartment for Christmas! Yes, this is happening in November. No, I'm not ashamed at all.
Tackle my inboxes at the beginning and end of each week. I am trying to better organize my work-flow when it comes to school, personal, blog, and Firework People e-mails.  I want it to be a priority on Mondays and Fridays so I can leave it alone on the weekends. 

What about you, friends? What are you making happen this month? Anyone else SUPER excited for the cold weather and warm beverages it practically mandates? I know I am.