Wednesday, July 27, 2011

this is about relationships, but not romantic ones (though it probably applies to those too)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how interesting relationships are. Every single human on this earth is so individual, so every single relationship is different. Some are similar, sure, but there are nuances that make every couple, every trio, every group just a little different. And how you interact with someone and what they mean to you has so much more to do with personalities and the way your hearts connect than it does with time spent together or length of acquaintance. The people I spend the most time with aren’t all necessarily the ones who know the most about me, which is also odd to contemplate. It takes a special someone to really know someone else. It takes genuine interest and love. In fact, I believe it takes God’s love to really connect with someone else. In all honesty and in my experience, relationships are so much easier when God facilitates them. Because then it’s not my humanity—my fail-able, imperfect, selfish, despicable humanity—trying to maintain a friendship. That’s why I don’t give up on some of the relationships my human mind wants to let go of because they’re a little harder to keep up than others. It’s like God says,Look, I know this takes some effort, but they need your love and you need theirs, and so you ARE going to ask them how their day went and tell them you’re praying for them, you ARE going to stay in contact with them, because in the long run, they’re worth it, even though your puny human brain can’t understand that all the time. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

ArtLife 2011

Just deleted this entire post I had written about Art Life. Oh man. This is rather lengthy, I realize, but this past week was so wonderful, I can't help but share.

So, Arts Camp, renamed ArtLife this year, has been taking place since the summer of 2003, hosted by one of my dance teacher's parents at their home, which is a Christian retreat, and local church in Buffalo, TX. This year, we outgrew the facilities there (we had about 60 campers and 25 staff & chaperones), so we moved to Waxahachie and the campus of SAGU. ArtLife includes dancers, musicians, actors, and artists of all kinds. My dear friend Shannon and I had a handful of kiddos to watch out for, and I got to teach a beginner/intermediate contemporary dance class, but for the majority of the week I got to act like a camper and participate in class, which was really wonderful. 

For the past year and a half or so, I've been questioning whether I might be through with dancing. I'll always dance as a form of worship (I'll never be able to stand still while singing to my loving, awesome heavenly Father), but even though I have taken some classes, I've been feeling like the classes and the performing aspect of dancing may have run their course in my life. Now I don't think so. Nor do I think I'll ever go back to dancing hours upon hours a week, and I still have no thoughts of being in any kind of professional company, but I am not done learning yet. Also, if the pieces I get to perform are half as worshipful as the one I did Friday night, I'll keep doing it. 

"Come," choreographed by a beautiful young woman of God I look up to greatly, the video of which is at the bottom of this post, was about each of our individual walks with God, searching, seeking, struggling to find that place of rest where we rely on our Father to take care of our lives, which He absolutely will. It is His desire for us to place our trust in Him and let Him guide our lives down the path He has set, to follow His perfect will. It was such a blessing for Sarah to share the concept with us and also allow us to truly make it our own journey by letting us choreograph and improv some of the movement ourselves. 

The piece is what we worked on each morning following breakfast in preparation for Friday's "Come to the River" night of worship. Before rehearsal we had a worship session of singing and time in the Word with Pastor Bob. Then after lunch, Pastor Rodney spoke for a bit about missions (more on this later) before we had four classes, dinner, and then a cute little theme party each night (superhero, nerd, twin, and luau). Before bed came something extra special and never-before-done at Arts Camp; we had a special guest, Michelle Patterson (and her husband Barry arrived Thursday) to serenade us and give us another chance to experience worship. One night someone videotaped, which is also at the bottom of this post. Michelle is a singer/songwriter who is a personal friend of the couple who host Arts Camp, and she's more or less a living legend around our dance studio. We have performed to a number of her songs; the girls who did recital dances to her stuff got to perform them live, which was extra special for them and for us watching. She brought her kids and two of their friends, and all of them were little blessings to spend time with.

The theme of the week was "The Overcomers," so Pastor Bob's lessons pulled from Revelation 2 & 3, where there are seven letters to the seven churches, detailing what they need to do to overcome criticism, disillusionment, unbelief, deception, duplicity, and self-sufficiency. As part of the armor of God, Ephesians 6:16 instructs us to "take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." Revelation 12:11 says, "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." We sang a song called "The Overcomers" by Abel Musuka (the youtube video of which can also be found at the bottom of this post [:) which was absolutely fabulous.

The week was basically pure joy. God actually planted a seed in my heart that He may be asking me to go on a mission, quite possibly to the Philippines, in the future. I was, frankly, shocked when I heard that from Him; I have never felt personally called to missions in such a way before. I understand that it's part of the Great Commission written in Matthew 28:19 to "go and make disciples of all nations," and I've gone on a few mission trips just in Texas, but I've always felt that I could be missions-minded without actually being the one to go. In all honesty, I've been quite annoyed when camps or retreat weekends focus was fixed on missions, because I feel like there is so much more to being a Christian than just telling people the gospel. But I'm beginning to understand that though it's true that giving money and praying for missionaries is vastly important, it's even more important to obey God's command to spread His love. The thought of going to the Philippines is actually incredibly exciting to me. I've been kind of in love with the islands for quite some time; I know several people who have been there, and even had a good friend in high school who was born and raised there. The language fascinates me, I think the people are beautiful, and I would love to go love on them in Jesus' name. The thought of raising the money to go there terrifies me. However, I know that if it truly is God's will, it will happen. It's only a seed right now, but I'm praying about it and was blessed this week with another couple at camp who I can talk to about making the possibility a reality. I just want to follow God's will, because I know it's the perfect path and plan for my life.

All of this being said, it is my prayer that this is no "camp high" that I'm experiencing. I want to stay in the sweet, sweet spot with Jesus I find myself in, and I want to grown only closer to Him, rather than going back to the dull day-to-day routine I've sunk into. And it's my prayer that anyone reading this, watching these videos, listening to Barry & Michelle's music, would know God's love the way I do, and would understand that His will for your life is wonderful; all we have to do is trust Him, listen, and follow.

We've conquered all in Jesus' name

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mission Arlington

This morning I went to Mission Arlington with Beth and Ana to deliver clothes we'd gathered from students in the BSM and our friends to donate. This place is unreal. They provide medical services (including dentistry), food, clothes, furniture, and basically anything people need, all day every day. Mrs. Tilly, who runs the Mission, arrives at 3:30 every morning, and people work until 11pm. The amount of donations that are poured in and out are incredible. It was such a great experience to walk around and see what goes on, and then to sort through clothes for an hour or so, some of which were ones we had donated (haha). It's a place I can definitely see myself working at more while I'm living in Dallas. God's work is being done there at Mission Arlington, and I want to be a part of that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

weekend of the movies.

okay, so I'm planning a slightly deeper post for tonight or sometime soon, but first, I thought I'd talk about the movies I went to see this weekend. It sounds incredibly odd to say that since I very rarely go to the movies. This school year I've only been to see Harry Potter and Black Swan, and then suddenly BAM! two in one weekend.

first, Friday night with my friend Cody, I went to see Rio. yes, we are small children who watch G rated movies. at least we went to a late showing, ok, so we're not twelve. ;)

I really had no expectations for this movie, and I really enjoyed it. It was cute, and Jesse Eisenberg's voice just cracks me up a little. He is great. The movie was really colorful & had birds doing the samba. What's not to love?

this afternoon I went by myself to see Water for Elephants because I had purchased a groupon a while back for Studio Movie Grill.

I was hoping this movie would be good -- I have the book, though I have yet to read it. I was doubting it though, because I'm not really a fan of Robert Pattinson and I've never actually seen a Reese Witherspoon movie (I know, I know...). However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was much less of a romance story than I expected, and I really thought it was a good movie. Now I want to read the book even more.

today I also saw a photo of the original actor cast as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movies, in costume and everything, and I am SO much more in love with Viggo Mortensen now. It scared me a little to see what we may have had instead of that wonderful man.

it has been a very trying week.

but you know what? It's resurrection Sunday. (not that we can't/shouldn't do this everyday, but) today I celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, after he took MY sins upon himself & died to keep me from spending eternity in Hell. If that's not something to celebrate, I don't know what is. And next to death on a cross, my petty troubles are absolutely nothing. My God can bring me through anything, so no matter what physical pain I'm in, no matter what rude comments people make, no matter how frustrated I am with the world, I know that He will help me press through, and I'll do it for His glory.

on a side note, if I wasn't so dependent on facebook for communication, I'd give it up. I think what I should do is use it solely for communication, meaning if someone posts on my wall/sends me a message I'll respond, but I'm done scrolling through my news feed. too much of what comes up frustrates me, and that's not what I want to be focusing on right now. I want to be focusing on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable (Philippians 4:8).

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I should update this more often.

Here's a quick one, since it's after one in the morning.
Since my last post...
Well, it definitely snowed again. But first, it iced. That's right; we had almost an entire week off of school because of icy roads. We thought we might go stir crazy; thankfully, I at least was able to get out of my apartment (if only to walk to my brother's) and enjoy a random break from classes.
Classes have gone well for the most part. 2 midterms last week & 2 this week, and then Friday or Saturday I'll go home for Spring Break! Though brother and I went home for a weekend recently, I'm excited to have time to spend with my parents and friends.
I'm really enjoying Crime and Punishment, which I'm reading for literary analysis. More on that over on tumblr.
Took a little trip to Corinth with my roomie to watch friends of mine dance last weekend; spending time with them or even just seeing them is so refreshing to my heart. 
Another thing that refreshes my heart: homegroup. Brother's roomie's fiance has been taking me with her and investing in my spiritual life and just altogether making my feel extra loved lately. I am so grateful to God for putting her in my life; I needed someone like her up here.

I will try to get better about remembering to update this!
<3 Have a happy Wednesday~

Sunday, January 09, 2011

first snow 2011

should I really say 'first'? I have no proof that there will be any more; I'm just hopeful, I suppose. the snow today was very lovely; I was glad that I had no where pressing to be and could simply enjoy walking around campus with my roommate and hanging out in our warm apartment. <3

Saturday, January 01, 2011

hello, 2011!

My family rang in the New Year with some dear friends. We ate delicious food (crab poppers & spinich dip with hawaiian bread: yuuuum), watched some of the festivities in NYC, played some rousing games of ping-pong and pool, toasted the New Year (those who aren't underage, anyway), and then watched a couple episodes of Psych (we started the year laughing; always a good thing). I had a great time; last minute plans are always good, right?

Now, as far as resolutions go... I don't ever really make "resolutions." Don't everyone's always get broken anyway? But this year, I did compile a list of sorts.
In 2011, I want to:
. keep a list of all the books I read (and I want there to be a lot of books)
. do a better job of keeping a prayer journal
. do a better job of keeping a journal in general (here or on paper)
. make money over the summer
. remain positive
. try to inspire others
. make good grades
. take pictures everywhere
. travel
. laugh
. love

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in photo review: a selection of (quite a few) photos to represent this fabulous year.

and they don't start until about March; I suppose nothing exciting happened until Spring Break.

Spring Break was spent in NYC with my dear choir friends; and mama as chaperone. (:


I went to Prom with my best friends; good friends, good food, lame dance, but I did wear my converse, which was fun.


SHOWTIME 2010 Choir Show was epic, as usual, and I sang a duet with my dear Krista.


I graduated sixth in my class.


I performed my senior solo for my dance recital to Matt Wertz's "I Will Not Take My Love Away," choreographed by my dear friend, Ashley.


My little cousins turned nine and five. <3

Arts Quest 2010 and Come to the River let me spend a week with my very dearest.


I went back to Boone, and Asheville; these are two of my favorite cities in this country.


I moved to Dallas and started my freshman year at UTD, where I met new friends, took the train into the city to visit museums and the symphony, and had a pretty thrilling four months.

utd friends
sculpture garden

I went to Camp Eagle with the Baptist Student Ministry and slept in a glorified chicken coop.


My cousin, Sarah, got married in Boerne, and I think her wedding decorations were my favorite that I've ever seen. I made the mistake of wearing one of my A&M shirts to the rehearsal dinner and had to explain many times that, "no, actually, I go to UTD, I just like A&M, too."


Our old friend Gregg got married in Round Top, which was about the best wedding location I've ever been to, and also marked my first long drive that I actually DROVE.


I performed a modern improv piece with my dance class at school, on the mall area of our campus.


I made Christmas trees to brighten up our apartment!


I packed up to head home for Christmas.


We went back to Boerne and San Antonio to visit with family who'd traveled from both North Carolina and California, including a cousin I hadn't seen in at least ten years. <3

I went out several times with various friends and my mom to look at Christmas lights.


On Christmas Eve, my family sat around the kitchen table and played Careers, one of our favorite board games.


We celebrated Christmas together! <3

Mom took Shaniqua and me to shop after-Christmas sales.


God painted the most beautiful sky for me to drive home to after babysitting.


2010 was certainly a great year, and I expect 2011 to be even better. Happy New Year!