Sunday, August 2, 2015

sabbath thankfuls.

there has been so much good this week.  

i had lunch with my friend, Jen, every day at work this week.  we ate spicy chicken and teriyaki and lots of rice, and prayed a lot.

then, there was National Geographic ON SITE.

okay, not THE National Geographic, but we started calling it that at my office because i kept seeing huge yellow butterflies, baby turtles, a heron, 9 fuzzy baby ducklings waddling everywhere, and a baby hawk who i can hear all day through my window.  she does this little screech, then swoops down to dive bomb leaves and tramples them to death.  it's pretty adorable.  i think she can also see her reflection in the window because she pecks and pecks, tilting her head to the side, as if to say, "who is this?''  i can literally watch her all day; we're practically bff's.

we also had a party for our coworker, Martha's, retirement, and celebrated with Peruvian food.  on her very last day, she snuck a "thank you" note under my keyboard.  My absolute favorite part was "Thank you for always smiling and making me feel like you are happy to see me.  Believe me, that is a gift from God."  that part made me cry because if i strive to do anything in this world, that is it.  so that means i've accomplished something in this little life of mine.

on another note...i got my Bible. :)  it is the most beautiful thing i've ever seen.  i haven't really gotten into it yet, but i can't wait to sit down and peruse through my favorite verses and highlight my favorite parts and make notes in the margins<3

other thankfuls from this week include:

an evening with one of my BFFs, Angie. :) we spent the first half of the evening catching up over tacos and beer, then parked ourselves on the sidewalk outside the nearest Baskin Robbins - with shakes in hand - and watched the moon come out while the warm summer night wrapped itself around us.

Friday night grocery shopping.  i normally LOATHE grocery shopping, but this time, i made an experience out of it.  i spent the afternoon after work meal planning.  then, i downloaded a sermon and spent the evening perusing Trader Joe's, listening to worship, and soaking in my favorite pastor's words.  at the end of the evening, i brought all my goodies home and just stared in awe at the abundance.  coming back from Trader Joe's is literally like coming back from a holy experience y'all.  i couldn't help but feel an enormous sense of gratitude for the colors, the varieties, the flavors, the richness of food.  fresh mangos, bananas, cherries, raspberries.  bacon and eggs and broccoli and green onions.  almond milk and creamer.  and as a Friday treat, a 6-pack of Black Butte Porter, a bottle of champagne, and two bouquets: one of white hydrangeas and the other of coral carnations.

it didn't take me long to get into worship mode while i popped open a beer, pulled each item out of my bags one-by-one, propped my bouquets into little glasses and mason jars, all while dancing along to my favorite worship songs.  

on Saturday, i got to spend the day with ANOTHER bff, Yesenia, and we had the loveliest summer day.  we met at a nearby outdoor mall, which feels more like a carnival than anything else.  we had Chipotle for lunch, spent the afternoon browsing shops...but in the evening?  oh, the evening.  it was pure magic.  another holy weekend experience, where we stopped a fancy restaurant and SPLURGED.  we sat outside on the patio, and ordered glasses of buttery chardonnay, appetizers consisting of fresh artichoke and garlic dipping sauce, and huge plates full of the most delicious cheesecake.

we must've spent hours at that place - sipping wine, dipping artichoke, savoring bites of cheesecake, and talking about life.  about meditation and peace.  about how change is the nature of all things.  about the balance of moving forward while also savoring the moment that you're in.  i could've cried at all of it.  we watched the sun move from the rich golden hour of sunset into the warmth of evening in those chairs.  i could easily rank it as one of the best nights i've ever had.

and now, i'm sitting here at home.  the birds are outside, chirping in my feeder.  the laundry is going.  there are fresh sheets on my bed, with a beer to my left and a mason jar full of carnations to my right.  after hitting Publish on the this post, i'm going to color in my new adult coloring book, Animal Kingdom, before diving into wedding stuff.

life is so rich, and i'm trying to realize that always.  there is chaos, and yet there is order.  morning coffee and birds and and fresh fruit and blankets and laughter with the people we love...these are the things that get us through.  and for all of these things, i could not be more positive that i am the richest girl in the world.  

more to come<3



Thursday, July 30, 2015

I will be Yours, oh...I will be Yours for all my life.

this past weekend was all sorts of sweet.

i spent Friday night drinking beer and watching The Office, while also watching the sun set peer through my windows.  on Saturday, Ethan and i escaped town for the day.  we picked up fancy coffees and spent the day out in Riverside exploring antique shops.  in the evening, we stopped at one of our favorite breweries in Fullerton, where we sipped beer and listened to the most amazing live music ever.  then, on Sunday, we researched wedding invitations, did some registry shopping, and packed boxes before ending our weekend with Moscow Mules, board games, and a lil Parks & Rec. ;)

in other news...

i feel so in love with Jesus lately.  this past week, while packing up all my stuff, I stumbled across an entire box of old CDs.  I had a fantastic time perusing through them, and I pulled some old missed favorites out of the stack and put them in my car.  One of those CDs was an old Hillsong album I had that I had originally bought for one song.  but this time around, i decided to listen to the whole thing.  i kept it on repeat for a few days, and one afternoon, while driving home from work, a handful of lyrics from "Lead Me to the Cross" jumped out at me.

Redemption's hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom."

growing up in church, i've heard those "holy" words so often - words like "redemption" and "ransom."  they become so overly used that you forget what they mean.  but this time, those were the words that jumped out at me.  and all of a sudden it clicked with me...

i am free.

oh my God.

in that instant, i felt like i got a vision of myself as this dirty, bedraggled prisoner.  and a key twists and the lock turns and someone opens the door for me.  i saw only bodies surrounding me - no faces.  and all i could feel was light and bewilderment.  and i stumble into an open, empty hallway, and my mouth is open and my hands are open, with my palms facing the sky, and i'm in awe.  because i know i'm free to go.  i'm free to run through the open hallway out into the world.  i am FREE.

why?  HOW?

and in that moment, i realized that i've forgotten that i'm free.  i don't live that way.  i don't live out what's true.  in my day-to-day life, i feel myself - slumped over, hands out, hoping for rain, for hope, for something.  there is an ever-lingering sadness and a sense of despair, of hopelessness...And it's not that i don't trust God, it's just that i somehow forget.  it's so easy to forget.  but in that moment, i realized how beautifully free i am and how desperately i want to live that way.  of course, since then, i've woken up every morning, wrapped in the same bondage i thought i left at the door the night before.  but i'm trying to remember my vision - to remember how it felt to be in prison and how it felt to walk out of there.  to be able to walk, to run, to laugh.  in my vision, i didn't care what anyone thought, how anyone felt about me...i wasn't concerned about how i looked or where i was going.  all i remember thinking about is being able to be in the sun and being able to eat and being able to run.  to RUN!  i couldn't wait to be alive. :)

since then, things have felt so different in my heart.  i feel this mad crazy longing for Jesus.  every moment of every hour of every day.  i've also been thinking about the Bible a lot lately.  after getting hooked on "Lead Me to the Cross," i decided to download some of Hillsong's newest songs and i immediately fell in love with their song "Say the Word."

Say the word
and there is light.
Say the word
and dead bones rise.
Every start and end hangs on Your voice.
For Your word never returns void.

Written in a billion skies
Speaking to this heart of mine

All that I am with all creation
Hanging on every word that You've spoken
And it will not be shaken
Clinging for life to all Your promise
Hanging on every word that You say

Word made flesh You wrote in grace
Promise kept through cross and grave
Over words of stone You spelled out love

And when You say it is done
It is done

Written in a billion skies
Speaking to this heart of mine
All that I am with all creation
Hanging on every word that You've spoken
And it will not be shaken
Clinging for life to all Your promise
Hanging on every word that You say

this song has been on repeat for me the last several days and permeated my soul so deeply.  realizing everything good has come from His word.  truth.  hope.  life.  EVERYTHING.  and i want His word with me always.

this song also made me think of my mom and brought up thoughts and feelings i've always had about her old Bible.  when she was down visiting several weeks ago, something inside sparked about, and i realized what a deep, DEEP affection i have when thinking about her old Bible.  it was a gorgeous blue color, with silver-gilded pages.  and i remember it being the key part of so many of our conversations.  i remember feeling a sense of comfort and warmth and excitement when she pulled it out.  i remember her softly reading verses to me - the most tender reading of a most beautiful love letter.  that's what i think about when i think about the Bible.  i think my mom made me fall in love with the Bible before i even realized i was in love with it.

so, today, i finally went out and bought a new Bible.  it's unbelievably beautiful - brown with a silver pattern on the front and gold-gilded pages inside.  i left it there this evening, so that they could engrave my name and the image of a dove in silver cursive on the front.  and i can't wait to get it back tomorrow; to hold it close, to carry it with me.

and the cherry on top of all of that was, while standing in line to get my Bible, the song "Called me Higher" by All Sons and Daughters came over the speakers.  and the bridge lyrics sang,
"And I will be Yours, oh
I will be Yours for all my life."

so, i guess, these songs are speaking my heart these days.  "All that i am with all creation, hanging on to every word You've spoken."  and "I will be Yours.  I will be Yours for all my life."

i wish i could explain it more, but to even try will still fall far too short. <3  i am so aware of my brokenness in these moments...but even more aware of how He sweeps His light into the cracked parts and fills them up with more of Him.  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

rambling, unedited thoughts.

You know how sometimes you want to watch something, listen to something, read something, and you know it’s not the right time?  That’s how I’ve been feeling lately about a lot of things.  I feel this longing in my soul, like I’m desperately searching for answers, and I’ve really been wanting to watch Eat Pray Love.  I remember watching it several summers go, and then it was on repeat for months after that.  Every time I watched it, I felt myself grow, felt longings be satisfied, felt myself heal a little bit more.  I don’t know why, but I will always have a special attachment to that movie for that reason.  And lately, I’ve been so desperately desiring a repeat of that.  But every. time. I try to put it in?  I feel this pull…like someone is physically pulling me back.  No, the pull says.  Not right now.  Listen to me.  Search for me.  Listen to my voice.  Strangely enough, I’m listening.  I felt the same way the other day when I wanted to spend my lunch on the computer, looking at wedding stuff, and I felt the pull again.  No.  Not right now.  Come be with Me.  Spend time with Me.  Listen to my voice.  So, I did.  I listened.  Instead, I went walking and I listened to worship music, and there was nothing profound or magical about it.  It just felt good and right.  It made me realize that I’ve been missing Him.  My heart longs for you, Lord.  My heart LONGS. 

I’ve also been thinking about human love a lot lately.  Like, what it is to LOVE someone.  I’ve been ruminating over all the men I’ve ever loved in my life – wondering why I loved them and realizing that it was always for a million different reasons or even no reason at all.  How is it that people take up room in our hearts?  How is it that they literally become part of us?  Like, that feeling of heartbreak – of unrequited love or a closed door – when the person is gone or they’re not who they used to be, and you feel your body physically yearn for them.  And I don’t mean in a sexual way.  I mean, you physically long for who they are – for their soul.  Their thoughts, their laugh, their presence, just having them next to you…how is it that humans can hold us captive in such ways?  It can be painful, but at the same time, it’s really just so beautiful.  Thinking about it makes me think that I wouldn’t change a single person I loved.  I would never go back and rewrite history to make me not love someone.  There must be some holiness I am peering through these days because I feel like I so perfectly see those people how I once loved them, and it makes me happy to know that I had the chances to make memories, to share laughs, to create pieces of history together…and even if no one else knows about those pieces of history?  I will.  I will know.  I’m so happy for that.
i'm sure it seems odd that i would be thinking about any of this over the course of my engagement.  but i can't help but feel there is a purpose in it.  there is this feeling of purging, of coming to terms with closed doors, and embracing the fact that they're closed.  instead of feeling melancholy about what's past, God has made room in my heart for me to rejoice in what has been and where it has led me...