Tuesday, June 28, 2011

displace me

I am a girl who loves comfort in all forms: food, clothes, my bed...I like being comfortable and I like feeling cozy, protected and snuggly. I don't think there is anything wrong with this--but sometimes along with loving comfort comes the fear of change and adventure. But I also love adventure and new experiences and facing fear...which is why in less than two months I'm going to hop on a plane and move to Los Angeles. 

I'm starting to get to that point of "Yikes, I'M FREAKING SCARED." I'm used to change. My parents divorced when I was 13. That was a change. I packed up and headed to New York City only a few short weeks after my 18th birthday--that was a huge change. I've been a part of teams/communities/ministry and change is a huge part of that. It can be hard sometimes, though. I like knowing my future, so sometimes I get so frustrated not knowing where I'll be in 5 years. Of course, this is exciting but it's difficult because I am a DREAMER! I have a huge imagination so of course I picture myself in different stages of life, and I just have to remember to tell myself: God is in control.

Lately my heart has been hurting for all the different groups of people I've grown to love and then had to leave. I just miss that constant feeling of community, but it's also a beautiful thing to know I have met so many people all over the world. This theme of displacement is weighing heavily on my heart: God doesn't want us to be comfortable. We aren't meant for that--we are meant to go on this wild adventure with Him and spread the most amazing news...that Jesus Christ is Savior. 

At church a few weeks ago I went up for prayer and the man praying for me gave me this verse and I just felt like crying but had so much peace at the same time because it is perfect: 

James 4: 13-15
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16

This is so powerful! I could be saying in my head right now, "Okay. I'm going to Los Angeles and I'm going to get THIS job and make THIS money and have THIS life!" Or...I can open myself up to the story God is writing for my life. I can just go and listen for that still, quiet voice of the Lord leading me here or there. One step at a time. 

Realizing this a few weeks ago was so FREEING--I could go to L.A. and end up being led somewhere else. I could come back here...I have no idea where God is going to take me!  All I know is the next baby step. I can deal with baby steps. That is so exciting!

And also scary. Even as I'm writing this I'm getting just...anxious. I don't want to be away from my friends and family. I don't want to put myself out there and start all over....

But sometimes we have to do things we don't necessarily want to do in this moment, but have to do. I truly believe God is leading me to the West Coast for something. I have no idea what it is. It probably doesn't look like what I think it looks like. But I trust in the Lord so much. Earlier today when I was driving in the car I was listening to an old worship CD we have in the car and Blessed Be Your Name came on and the lyric "my heart will choose to say, blessed be Your name" stuck out to me so much. Choosing. 

I choose to praise God in all seasons of my life. I choose to believe in His goodness--when I'm sad or annoyed or happy. All times. I choose to believe and trust God every moment of every day. 

I feel like I just need to write this right now to whoever is reading this, because this blog is a place of honesty and I don't want to filter anything: I 100% believe life with God is the best life one can live on this Earth. This life we live IS just a vapor--it's so tiny! But God offers us something amazing, spectacular, something we can hardly fathom: eternal life. 

I know I'm a screw up. I know I'm impatient, self-centered, flakey at times (I'm working on not making mroe than one plan at a time! yikes), short-tempered and insensitive. I know I don't even come close to someone who is worthy enough to worship the CREATOR of the UNIVERSE, yet God loves me so much. Loves every single person on this Earth. Before I gave my life to Jesus, I was living for me. Living for the things of this world--status, money, shallow friendships--but none of that matters. It's all so fleeting. As I'm writing this I'm listening to "Come Away" by Jesus Culture (who are AMAZING!!!)

Come away with me, come away.
It's never too late, it's never too late,
it's not too late for you.
I have a plan for you, I have a plan.
It's going to be wild,
it's going to be great,
it's going to be full of me

Open up your heart and let me in

This is the cry of my heart. Let's see....how can I wrap up this post? Usually I don't go all out like this, but for some reason I am feeling so moved to just write about this. I know not everyone who reads this agrees with me. I don't know what else to say, really, other than this is what I believe to be truth soo much. And as I'm preparing in these last two months to make a huge change, I pray that all of us can embrace change, adventure, and be taken where God wants us to go. It's so exciting! And I truly believe it will be wild, great, and full of the One who loves us the most. 


on a side note, i just got a new journal!!! who else is a journal lover out there? isn't it just the most wonderful thing to open up a brand new, blank journal! ahhh, i love it!
isn't it cutteee?! it reminds me of a storybook for some reason. le sigh.

blessings.



Sunday, June 26, 2011

i love christian bale in many forms, but mostly as a singing newsboy from 1899

Sup y'all. I wish I could get away with saying 'Y'all' like it was ever a part of my daily vocabulary. I did spend some time in Virginia at a Young Life camp two summers in a row, but that hardly counts and was barely a month at a time. Whatever. Chanelle says it a lot, I'll just blame it on the fact that I'm picking up the lingo. Yeah.

Anyway, what have I been up to lately? Working. Ew. A blog post to come on that later....also, I recently played an intense game of monopoly with my sister Rebecca (who has a travel blog coming out soon--stay tuned!!!) and my grandmom. AND I COMPLETELY PWNED THEM. I felt a little bad about it, because it's my grandmom and all, but still....isn't monopoly such a good illustration of real life? The richer get richer and the poor stay poor. Yikes. Anyway, if it hadn't been for me landing on Free Parking FIVE TIMES!! then I probs wouldn't have won. It's okay though because I did and let's be honest, winning monopoly is such a good feeling.

GUYS. I have a confession. I am in love with singing boys in historical clothing. (if you need explanation on my historical obsession as a child you can go here) I know, it's wrong, but I can't help it. I blame it on the topic of this blog today: 

NEWSIES!!!!

yeah, you kick dat leg Christian


Chances are if you're a musical theatre nerd, girl, or fanfiction aficionado (like me, AND I'M NOT EVEN ASHAMED!!) then you will most likely be a fan of Newsies. The first time my ears and eyes ever graced the wonders that is this campy movie, I was in my 8th grade English class. I don't even know why we watched it. But let me tell you, I FELL IN LOVE. Hard. Like, in 8th grade I had limited experience with boys and liked it that way, but Newsies was definitely my first true love and guys what a real love it was (is). You don't even know. I have journals from 8th grade where I just write, "Why can't I be in the world of Newsies?! WHY?!" Ummm, maybe because being a poor orphan living in a lodging house full of other poor orphans, hawking headlines for a living and also, being a girl, would have absolutely sucked and I'm pretty sure I'd be either dead by the second week or trying to get a job in with Medda the Lark.

Which brings me to another question--why the heck did all the boys love Medda so much? Lady (Ann-Magret) was like 50 and had way too much uncomfortable, wrinkly cleavage and it was all so awkward to watch. Ah. I digress.

Are you guys fans of
Newsies? It is a true story, after all. Very inspiring. I mean, honestly, WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE PEOPLE!!!!? You do not understand what Newsies meant for so many years of my life. It was beyond a healthy liking. It was obsession. I used to force people to watch it with me, praying they'd be moved by the choral number of 'Seize the Day' -- just hoping they'd get chills the way I did and be rallied in their heart to a better tomorrow by the hoards of singing boys on the screen, doing all sorts of chaotic fancy dance moves that only Kenny Ortega (the genius behind High
School Musical) could create. THIS MEANT SO MUCH TO ME.

It all makes sense. In 8th grade I had braces, baby fat and read Harry Potter on the weekends. I had yet to meet Laura who I would spend hours with just laughing until we peed a little, I had yet to start high school, I had yet to really do much of anything. I
lived in the world of books and movies. 8th grade was also the year I lost my grandfather. The first really close death to my heart and I am not even kidding when I think falling into the underground, online community of Newsies (and YES there is one, full of fanfiction contests and livejournals and all sorts of weird, wonderful things that were perfect for my 13 year old self) was a coping mechanism. I didn't have a relationship with Jesus...I had no faith at all, really. The closest I felt to comforted was when I blared 'Carryin' the Banner' in my room and journaled about my love for Mush.

Oh yeah, I loved Jack Kelly and his awkward Santa Fe dance number, but my heart belonged to Mush and Spot Conlon.

I mean..look at that face on Mush...well, also he's shirtless which is super awky.






And Spot may look like a little frog, but my inner fangirl swoons with nostalgic delight.

I think I'm also feeling nostalgic for a movie that played such a key role in my adolescence because they're making a Broadway musical of it soon and you best believe I'ma see that. 

Whenever I think about listening to a song from the soundtrack, or I have a fever and need to watch something that warms my heart and put the DVD in, it feels like I'm smiling back on an old friend. It's nice. It makes me sentimental, kind of embarrassed, and makes me laugh. 

What are some of your favorite childhood movies? Long live awkward singing teens with cool clothes and terrible New York accents!!! Huzzah!

Love&enjoyourSundaywithacupofcoffeeandamoviefromthe90s,
Nina.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

mischief managed: on the defense of pranks

You know the power of an adrenaline rush? How some people get it kayaking on a river with crazy rapids (I nearly had a panic attack kayaking down the Delware but that's a different story, fun but I'm a city girl at heart people!), or sky-diving, bungee jumping, repelling down a mountain in the Alps?

I get it from pranking people. 

Hear me out guys. Pranking is awesome. I'm not talking mean-spirited, gross or inappropriate (well, mildly at times) pranks. I'm talking being a good, old fashioned prankster. And listen, I'm not even an expert here. You should talk to Chanelle (read her blog here) .. the girl could write the handbook on pulling pranks. But listen, I've always had a love of laughing, joking, messing around and pranking. But then when I got to college and met Chanelle and we became super close the spring semester 2009, I was brought back full-force to the wonders and amazingness that is pulling pranks. Funny how I went to college and THEN began to master the art of pranking. Although, honestly, I'm not a master but I'm getting there. 

Anyway.

There is nothing wrong with pulling pranks. Some people say that prank-pulling is a result of immaturity. BAH! I laugh in your faces! In love, of course, but still, I laugh. I throw my head back and cackle gleefully, because all you prank-haters out there, I have to heartily disagree. Pranking does not mean you are immature. I would actually go so far to argue that it points towards the mature aspect of laughing at yourself and not taking life too seriously all the time. You know what shows immaturity? 
1. Not being able to hold a conversation with someone.
2. Gossip
Well, I'm sure there is more but those two are all that I'm getting right now because I have a headache and have been drinking not nearly enough coffee...but this post isn't about what is immature, but the beauty of pulling a prank.

I prank people because it keeps me young. It makes my friends and I laugh and laugh until our stomachs hurt and chances are we peed a little. It makes a dull night so much more exciting, it's silly and fun and usually the person on the receiving end of the prank is good-humored and enjoys it as well. When you get to the expert level of pranking, you pick up patterns. For instance, say you texted your friend (who shall remain nameless) who is obsessed with Megan Fox (and is female) from an unknown number, telling her to press 1 because she just won a contest to get a phonecall from Megan Fox. Well, if this girl (who is so totally not me!) gets pissed and throws a hissy fit, you know never to prank that person again. HOWEVER...if this girl gets so excited she does a heel-click and desperately waits for the operator to connect her to Megan and is confused when nothing ever happens, then you have successfully pranked this girl. (For the record, I don't have an inappropriate crush on Megan Fox...I simply think it would be fun to raise a family with her one day...I mean... what?)

For anyone interested in getting into pranking, I compiled a little list of some good self-starter pranks to get you out there and into the world of pranking. One day, hopefully, you'll get so good at pranking that people will eventually start to blame you for certain pranks you never even attempted...it is a hilarious feeling to know that you didn't actually do that, but are getting the credit. Merrum.

1. The Sky Is Falling Fakeout
This is a great, simple prank. Nothing is required except the sidewalk and you. This was perfect when I was in school in NYC. All you do is continue on your way, walking down the street, and right as you are about to pass a group of people, you double-take up at the sky and immediately cover your head, acting like something is coming down on you. Enjoy watching the people passing you freak out & ultimately create mini-chaos on the street. 

2. Dude, where did you get your shirt?!
This prank is especially dear to my heart because I made it up. I guess it's less of a "prank" and more of just casually messing with someone. It's not mean, I swear! It's not mean because it's harmless and actually can lead to real conversations. Say you are at the gym. You just go up to someone (more fun when it's the opposite gender) and say like, "Oh my gosh, I love your shirt! Where did you get it?" It's fun because everyone is just in a T-shirt. They either look at you weirdly, or respond enthusiastically. For instance, the first time I did this I approached a cute NYU freshman (I am not ashamed of this because any straight, single female who went to NYU understands that NYU turns you quickly into a cougar) and asked him where he got his T-shirt from that said "China" on it. He was flustered for a minute before responding energetically, "My dad went to China!!" and then bounced off. It's fun, trust me.

3. The Classic Prank Phonecall
This is soooo chock full of adrenaline it's redonk. Especially when you prank phonecall someone you haven't talked to in so long. The best is the people that go along with it. I have to admit, I'm a terrible prank phone-caller. I always freeze up and just start giggling. But it's still fun and Chanelle's the best at it. 

Those are 3 of my faves and pretty simple/easy. You could get really elaborate and steal a picture from a friend's apartment during a party, hold it for ransom and send them pictures of you holding the picture with a stocking over your head, but that's pretty advanced and most people just find it creepy....anyway, that is my post on pranking. Go forth and prank, little marauders!!! 

On a different note, I can't wait to read this book:

& really should have already read this book:


ugh, I'll get there eventually. First I have to finish Narnia. I imagine when I finish reading Narnia, I'll feel like a new mother. Like, I've been carrying the thing around for nine months but FINALLY I can sleep on my stomach again...

wait

what?

Love&man-arms/wittybooktitles,
Nina.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

the art of sticking to your guns


Yesterday was a rollercoaster of moods. To any females reading this, I'm pretty sure you can relate. Just one of up and down and up-up again. Silly life. The day started out well--I woke up, had a pretty successful visit to the gym (60 mins cardio: running/walking mix) and came home where Rebecca and I decided to go find some iced coffee. Usually, I like to frequent Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. I KNOW! I know...mainstream corporations...how...unINTERESTING of me. Blegh :-/ But you know what? Starbucks and Dunkin deliver consistently good products AND they are conveniently located. However, Rebecca and I decided the sunshine was calling our names to Media, where we could walk around and find a cute coffee shop. And we did!

photo taken right from their Facebook page

 The minute we walked in I fell in love! It was so charming inside!- a hodge-podge, slightly messy and ridiculously cozy atmosphere. I felt like I had wandered into someone's cottage rather than coffee shop. I had always known about Seven Stones, but never actually gone in and tried their product. Yesterday was the day my friends!

I had set out with Rebecca in the quest for an iced coffee--maybe an iced latte if I was feeling super fancy. But usually, I never bother with earthy ice-teas or minty drinks; I am a coffee drinker through and through. But for some reason (I blame it on the sun, the humidity, the fact that we parked a good distance from Seven Stones and I was a little sun-famished from the walk *should have worn shorts!!*) I opted for this exotic green tea concoction. I blame it all on influence, people. There were thin, airy, long-skirt wearing women in the shop and I wanted to feel light too! Coffee would weigh me down, right? Probably make me feel sick out in the sun again. And that exotic green tea just sounded so....cool. Different.

Blagh.

I should've got my iced coffee.

Now don't get me wrong. It was good! But definitely didn't satisfy my iced-caffeinated beverage craving. It was too....healthy tasting. Organic-y. Something someone who lives in Swarthmore and reads Tolstoy in their spare time (my copy of Anna Karenina is glaring at me beneath its layer of dust) enjoys while planting fresh basil in their front garden.

Not my kind of drink.

It's okay though, the afternoon was lovely, followed by a slight mental breakdown upon going home and dealing with student loans (NYU, you're worth it, right?) followed by a night of silliness that brought me back to being thirteen. I love laughing, love messing with people, love the nights where you make fun out of nothing. This time living at home isn't so bad after all. I need to keep this mantra going in my head. I need to find the little treasures home has to offer (quite a lot). Knowing I'm moving to LA!!! at the end of the summer is definitely motivation to slow down and bask in the familiarity of home. I'm glad, in this moment, I'm content.

Weird, good, wonderful, hot day yesterday. Today my day looks like gym in a few hours, cleaning my room and probably applying to some more jobs. I applied to about four today (go me). I should probably work on some writing too. I have so many projects started and so many to finish! Should I choose one and go with it, or just sporadically work on all of them? This is a time when I could really use a house-elf to do my work for me! I hope you all enjoy familiarity today. The good things about home, or wherever you are. It's nice to be in a place with memories and love.


awkward family photo with my sisters. a perk of being home. also, i have realized if you were to look at my facebook profile pictures, it looks like i have no friends besides these two. makes me smile. they really are my bestfriendzzz

Sunday, June 19, 2011

i AM compassionate DANGIT!!!! ... wait... what?




There were two friends in my life once that had kind of a destructive relationship. They were named Envy and Compassion. One was a good friend, genuine and real and precious but the other was one of those friends that drags you down way more than lifts you up. You know what I mean? Unfortunately, we sometimes have those relationships in our lives. Envy is this "friend." Envy loves to put burdens on me, plants little lies in my brain and overall just puts me in a cranky mood. 

Compassion, however, is a real friend. But, because I am human and mess things up... a lot...Compassion is that friend that I take for granted. I know Compassion is good and healthy and is a friend I should pursue, but so often I avoid Compassion because I'm already so involved with Envy that I just feel guilty whenever Compassion taps me on the shoulder. Does that even make sense? Maybe I'll stop trying to be all cool-bloggery and just write what I'm feeling.

I want to say that I'm a compassionate person, that my heart goes out to friends and family and that I am selfless. But it's not really true most of the time. So often I am crippled by envy and selfishness. I have realized lately that being jealous of someone else buildes this wall--starts out as just a little speedbump, a little ledge but then gets bigger and bigger until I find myself actually resenting someone for absolutely nothing and in that not being a good friend to them.

This is awful to admit to myself and even more awful to blog about, putting it out there for people to read. But church this morning was very inspiring and just...amazing...and I think, I don't want to be filtered on this blog. I don't want to have this blog only portray the good parts of myself. You know? 

When I went to Peru in 2009, we had to read this book called 'Compassion.' Honestly, I can't remember most of it because that was two years ago, but I DO remember how convicting and amazing it was. How this lack of compassion in my life is the reason why it's so easy for me to fall into being all about ME ME ME. Sometimes it is so hard to care about the world, about serious issues out there because I am so crippled by MYSELF. 

I had this experience lately with someone who is very dear to my heart. I love this person so much, but for so much of my life I have struggled with an intense amount of jealousy toward them. It's that kind of jealousy that is really toxic....You ever feel that before? It's like when you finally feel super good about yourself, are confident, and then this person shows up and womp womp woooomp. You completely deflate. You feel thirty pounds heavier. You feel stupid, silly, in their shadow. 

Isn't that awful? Ridiculous? And SO not from the Lord? Anyway, this is what I was going through with this person a lot. And then recently, this person was going through a very, very difficult time in their life. Really, really needed me. And I wasn't a very good friend to them, not that I was mean or anything, but I wasn't picking up the signs and hints that this person really needed me. And because I was so busy being jealous over them, I neglected to have compassion for them and I really missed my chance at loving them and supporting them. And let me tell you, it was awful. I have never felt that sad in my life but I also needed to realize here was my chance to turn it around! To not wallow away in sadness, but to face it, realize I screwed up and CHANGE IT. Take action. Literally, pray to God to give me compassion and be there for them.


It is a journey and a process. I will always work toward having compassion in my life. I think it is healthy to look at yourself and realize your flaws, but to also not let that trip you up. You need to understand something needs to change, pray, and let it CHANGE. You know? Because when I find myself sitting in that rut of guilt, nothing happens. I just throw myself a pity party. Yuck. That's lame.

I love Henri Nouwen. Here is one of my favorite quotes by him from one of my favorite books: 


“What is my new desert? The name of it is COMPASSION. There is no wilderness so terrible, so beautiful, so arid and so fruitful as the wilderness of compassion. It is the only desert that will flourish like a lily. It shall become a pool, it shall bud forth and blossom and rejoice with joy. It is in the desert of compassion that the thirsty land turns into springs of water, that the poor possess all things.”
— Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out.

YES. This man gets it. I kinda feel like this post makes me sound like a sucky person but I don't care because it's not about that. This is just on my heart and I said early on I wanted to be truthful on this blog so...yep, there it is.

I'm not going to worry about editing this blog post because the words are just coming and I just needed to write them down. All I know is on my heart today is the need to be compassionate because through compassion is freedom and the ability to love easily. I want to love people the way the Lord loves--and goodness, that is a journey! But one I love being on.

On a completely different note, I found this photographer last night and I'm in love with his photographs!! When I get married one day I think I'll beg him to be my wedding photographer. Ahhh. So beautiful. 

http://joshgoleman.com/blog/

my favorite wedding he photographed:
http://joshgoleman.com/2010/11/beth-finn/

favorite picture from the wedding. beautiful.


he captures NYC beautifully too. makes me miss living there!!!


maybe one day i'll go back, but for now the west is calling my name.

all photos-- Josh Goleman




Tuesday, June 14, 2011

aliens make me all.....sappy?

It's as cold as it always is in a movie theatre and the smell of the air conditioning filters through my senses, reminding me of the countless times I've been to this movie theatre all the summers of my life. There is something wonderful and nostalgic about going to the movies in the summertime. It's a familiarity I enjoy. 

It happens again as I hear the crunch-crunch of fellow movie-goers munching on their popcorn, sipping their Coca-Colas...this pull at my heartstrings. My eyes are round as they absorb the story unfolding on the big screen and that craving comes back, that incessant little drumbeat that picks up rhythm whenever I am in the audience. 

I want this. I want this. 

It's the glassy eyes of the lead as he delivers an impressive performance for a 15 year old who's never been in anything before. It's the loud explosions that send my adrenaline running, that little tomboy part of me that wants to scrape my knees in an old lot and blow things up and laugh when someone trips but really, I don't mean to laugh. It's the music that tells of the relationship between two people on screen without them even saying a word. It's the running, the screaming, it's the way the entire audience yells and shrieks when the calm before the storm is broken by the screeching of an alien or an explosion or a car crash.

It takes me away to other moments and the way I feel then. The movie montage at the Oscars every year that gets me all teary-eyed and usually results in a fist pump to the air and a feeling of hope that dissipates  the next day when I go back to my daily routine of running toward a goal, knowing that I must hold strong to the hope instead of letting it slip away. It takes me away to other moments, like the way I cried the first time I saw 'Stand By Me' when River Phoenix is all like, "Not if I see you first," and I was all like, "Dude, why'd you have to go and get addicted to drugs?" Because it's just so good and he's just so good....

I have to remind myself I'm just in a small town kind of crappy movie theatre watching an alien movie. I'm probably the only one having this ridiculous, epic moment of 'This is what I was put here to do!' This conversation with God, where it's like:

Me: Hey God. Ummm, I really, really want to do this whole making movies, being in movies, writing thing with my life. And I want to glorify You in it all. Can You help make it happen?

Matthew 6:33-34

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.



Right. It doesn't matter. As I sit in my squeaky movie theatre seat, watching the kids on screen run and yell and say witty one-liners only a thirty/forty something with a degree in film and television/writing could produce, I feel peace fall over me. I lean over, take a sip of my diet coke and know that if I'm pursuing the Lord everyday, I need not worry so much. God has a plan, a big, big plan. Do I know that plan? No. Do I trust it? Absolutely. 

And for right now, sitting in a dark movie theatre watching an alien soar back to his universe, I think, for today it is simply enough. 




Saturday, June 11, 2011

how crawling through mud and wrestling girls over boys changed my life

summertime always reminds me of young life....not just young life in general, but young life camp. even as i write this my heart aches because this will be the first summer in six years i won't spend at a young life camp. gosh, this makes me so sad but at the same time it makes me excited because the tide is changing. i am moving forward, onto the next chapter of my life and even though it is scary and i wish so badly i was at a young life camp right now, i know i just have to trust in God's plan for my life.

i think about it often but i've never blogged about how much young life changed my life. i admit, i was of the party, "young life's a cult!!! they're weird," before the summer after my junior year of high school. but the minute i stepped onto Saranac Lake (well...not the actual lake) and two men repelled from the trees, decked out in camo-gear and fake Australian accents, my life has never ever ever ever been the same.

God works so much through young life and sometimes i take it for granted. but i remember how my mind was completely blown when the very first night of camp i was crawling through a mud pit, yelling war-chants with a cabin of girls i barely knew, running and diving and laughing and thinking, 'where the HELL am i?' i remember eating big cookie and thinking 'THIS PLACE IS FREAKING AWESOME.' i remember getting called up to the stage for girls wrestle for guys and having a ridiculous amount of fun taking girls down who i didn't even know as the entire camp watched and cheered. i think of parasailing and being in awe of God's beauty...nature....i remember our camp speaker, Renee, telling me about a God who loved me so much He sent His one and only son to die on a cross for ME....telling me the Creator of the Universe was madly in love with me. i remember meeting summer staff and work crew and thinking 'why are they so nice? why are they so happy?' i remember, let's be honest, how good looking the guys at young life camp were and thinking 'jeeze, what kind of camp is this?'

i remember having my twenty minutes in a field and feeling something pull on my heart, something i couldn't name, feeling like maybe, just maybe i didn't have this life thing figured out. thinking maybe i couldn't do it on my own and i needed something greater, something bigger than myself. i remember hearing the bell to the club room ring and hearing singing and walking in to find the work crew and summer staff singing 'prince of peace' with such pure joy shining through them and i remember crying and thinking 'i want that. whatever they have...that's what i want.'

that week was honestly the best week of my life. and after that i couldn't get enough of young life camp. i went again as a camper and brought my boyfriend at the time, i did summer staff twice, interned last year. i've met some of the most amazing sisters in christ and best friends i've ever had. i've learned so much about myself as a woman and as a person...

i think what i treasure most about young life is community. i didn't have strong community rooted in Christ in high school and then at NYU it was hard to have strong fellowship....but in young life, i got to serve alongside people my own age who were so passionate about the Lord...it was amazing. i miss it so much. jake ousley's song, "stay" pretty much sums of every young life camp experience i've ever had.

"farewell to all these friends,
i hope someday we'll be together again
yeah i hope someday i'm back here.
yeah i know someday i'll be back here.


and i don't know why i love this place so much
but i wanna stay
i don't know why i love these people but i do and i wanna stay
i wanna stay."


* * * 

i was just talking to my sister about this yesterday. she is transferring to james madison university and while i am so, SO excited for her, a part of me is jealous. i always think in the back of my head, should i have gone to a college that had a strong young life community? should i have gone somewhere where i could have lived in a house of girls? should i have put aside my desire to pursue acting?

these questions are futile. God isn't about circumstance. God is BIG. i'm moving out to LA and completely trust and believe God will provide me with a community there and i am ready to look for it. i also know that no matter what, even if i went to school somewhere else or got a 9-5 job, i know there would always be something in my heart that yearned to act. it's been a part of me forever.. i'm excited to see how God is going to use it.

going back to young life, the most amazing thing about it all is that young life led me to meet my Savior. it was the platform, the tool that led me to falling in love with Jesus and giving Him my life. young life isn't perfect--no ministry is. but it will forever hold such a special place in my heart because it led me to eternal life.

so even though i am saddened that i won't be standing on a chair, clapping my hands at lunchtime as campers rush into the dining hall....i am so excited for what God is going to do this summer at young life camps everywhere. i am praying for kids to open their hearts and just be blown away by the love of God...i'm praying for leaders, for the assignment teams, for property staff....because young life really is amazing and because God is bigger than any of us can really imagine.

as my girl JJ Heller puts it,

"i don't want to make you small
i don't want to fit you in my pocket
a cross around my throat
cause you,
you are brighter than the sun
you're closer than the tiny thoughts i have of you,
but i could never fathom you at all."

so good, so true.

:)

haha, i couldn't find any pictures from my first year at camp, but this is my second year. i thought this was silly....right before parasailing. coincidentally (or not so?) i went with rebecca and lindsay to peru two years after this picture was taken...another amazing memory in my pensieve.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

gin blossoms (the only form i like gin)

"In the green of the grass....in the smell of the sea....in the clouds floating by....at the top of a tree....in the sound crickets make at the end of the day....


'You are loved. You are loved. You are loved,' they all say." 
-Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You by: Nancy Tillman (children's book)

Have you ever heard God whisper to you? It mostly happens in the strangest times....like tonight. I had just gone to Starbucks after visiting Borders and having my heart broken (I had to put a book back on the shelf that I DESPERATELY wanted to buy, but I still have to finish Narnia and I'm trying to be smart with my money...but legit, it was painful not buying it....books are my weakness). Lately I've taken to evening Starbucks runs by myself. It's the best way for me to decompress after a long day. I love driving alone, blaring my music and getting my delicious iced caramel macchiato and just....loving every sip and minute. Going to Starbucks and Borders is just such a comfort to me. But anyway.

I was driving home. Outside was that summer thick haze you can just feel through the car. The sun is setting, everything seems lazy with a hum-hum of fireflies and busy bees. I love it. I love summer. I was sick of the radio so I pushed the CD player in my car and all of a sudden I was serenaded by the Gin Blossoms and I just felt....peace. Gosh, the Gin Blossoms are such a good band, huh? Reminds me of being fourteen and watching Empire Records and wishing I was Liv Tyler.....it made me excited to fall in love one day but at the same time be content with where I am right now.....isn't it crazy how music can do that to you? How art can move you?

I was just thinking about that today. I think art is one of God's most precious blessings on earth. Art moves people. It lifts people away, whisks them off to another world--gives you goosebumps. I love many different forms of art--literature (poetry, novels), paintings, sculptures....music....but my most favorite, the form of art my heart belongs to is movies. Film. 


God whispers to me through movies the way I hear Him in the waves of the sea, the crickets music in the summer, the clouds floating by..... When I am deeply moved by a movie, I can't help but feel God gave me that passion for a reason. Which is why I bought a one-way plane ticket to Los Angeles, California for August 27th.

Guys...I'm excited. My heart is free, light and I feel....ready. And not ready. And terrified and already homesick but mostly just....AMAZED. In the words of my dear friend Belle (my favorite Disney princess) --"I want adventure in the great wild somewhere...I want it more than I can tell."

Oh how I do! And Lord, I want to surrender it all to You..... I love this feeling of half reckless abandonement, half courage. I have no idea how God is going to use me in California. But I am excited to find out. It probably won't look anything like my own little plan and that is just fine. I am just excited that the ticket is bought, it is really happening. Wowowowowowow.

What is God whispering to you? How does He whisper to you? I love talking to people and seeing their gifts...passions...talents....what makes them who they are. It's beautiful. I'm tired so this blog entry is so scattered but all I can think about is God makes us all so unique, so wonderful, so special!!! Oh let us not lose sight of that, and let us always give the glory back to the Lord--it's all His. I love that....Lord, it's all for you!!

me, california crusin' spring break 2010. can't wait to be back!






Tuesday, June 7, 2011

8:30am gratitude

so often i blog about what i'm struggling with or random, sporadic thoughts. today the balmy wind is rustling through my kitchen window, the house is quiet, JJ Heller is crooning softly in the background via Pandora and i just ate the most delicious, wonderful cereal. there is so much i am thankful for and so often i just don't even think about it. but a lot is going to change in a few months. at the end of august chanelle and i are moving to los angeles to pursue our dreams. it's so weird to write that down here. it's always just been this thought, this far away dream but it's quickly becoming a reality. i'm starting to think about what i can sell to make extra money, i'm saving every penny, i'm trusting in the Lord and it's terrifying and frightening and exhilerating all at the same time.

i'm sure i'll blog more about the move later but for today i want to focus on being grateful. blogs are funny things. i feel like they only show the good parts about my life/myself. i want my blog to be a place of peace, truth, struggle, reality and more than anything a testament to God. i am worried that people who read this will think i'm someone i'm not. do you ever feel like that? i don't want to put up a front. i don't want to be fake on here. i am impatient, self-centered, obnoxious and vain. i am sinful. and yet God loves me, i am his daughter, and that is amazing....THAT is the grace of God. wow. 

that was a little tangent....but here we go. 

God, thanks for:

1. Running
Talk about taking something for granted....last summer I hurt my ankle pretty badly and couldn't run for a few months. Those were some of the worst few months EVER! Running started out for me as a way to lose weight my senior year of high school and pretty quickly I abused running. My senior year I became obsessed with losing weight and it was awful. Sure I was skinny but I was grouchy all the time, put way more value on food than was necessary, and was never happy with myself. Eventually I got over it (thank goodness, before it got to a really dangerous place) but since then I have fallen in love with running. Now I run because I love it and it makes me feel GOOD. Makes me feel empowered. Makes me feel close to God. If I lived near the sea I'd run by it everyday. For now I'll settle with the neighborhood or the treadmill (I'm one of the few people who love running on a treadmill just as much as a wooded path)....but anyway...Thank you Lord. Thank you for the ability to RUN. It's like that scene in Avatar when Jake Sully is in avatar form for the first time and starts to run....and like in that much better movie, Tangled, when Rapunzel comes down from the tower for the first time and sings about running and splashing and omgosh it's so wonderful and I love it!!!!!!!!!! You go Rapunzel. So yes. This morning I am especially grateful for running.
my awesome new running shoes. it's like i'm running on clouds. nomnom.

2. Coffee
my favorite coffee shop. it's in SoCal. I can't wait until august when I can have this all the time!!!
I think half of the reason why I love it so much is the whole caffeine addiction, but it's more than that OKAY!? Here's the thing about coffee. It's social, not just delicious and addicting. Some of my best conversations with people have been over a cup of coffee. I love going on coffee dates with someone and alone. There's something so wonderful and peaceful about having a conversation over a steaming cup of Joe, whether it's a conversation full of laughter, tears, silly questions or honesty. I love it. I also LOVE going to coffee by myself. Sometimes I'll bring my bible and journal, sometimes I'll bring Narnia, sometimes I'll just get the coffee, go for a drive and enjoy licking off the latte foam. I don't remember the last day where I didn't drink a cup of coffee. The best coffee I ever had was when I went to Peru. Our host family made the most amazing coffee--it was rich and we drank it black and....mmmmeeehhhhh. I'm starting to drool just remembering it. I also had some Cuban coffee at Cuba Libre, a restaurant in the city. Now that was amazing coffee as well. Is it bad that I legit get angry when people tell me I should give coffee up? I don't think I'll ever be able to....actually, I think I'll go make a cup now. 

3. anti-dream killers....aka my mom
yeah, i definitely take my mom for granted. it sucks. i'm so used to her loving me unconditionally that it's easy to forget that i'm extremely blessed. when i was in 8th grade and told my mom i wanted to go to new york university and become an actress, she didn't laugh at me. she didn't tell me i'd never get in or that there was no way in hell we could afford it. she just told me "okay, then that is where you'll go." i remember sitting in the New York City studio building as I awaited my NYU audition. I wasn't even eighteen yet. I didn't have a headshot--I brought my senior portrait proof that said "unlawful to copy" across my forehead. everyone was so glammed up and glossy and artsy looking. i had on my payless boots and a skirt i had bought at kohl's. talk about feeling like an underdog. i was the second person to be seen and i remember crying there in the hallway, looking at my mom as she waved me and had tears in her eyes. that is a mother. she believed in me from the beginning. she didn't tell me i had to go to a state school or community college first to save money. she knew that God had brought me to NYU for a reason and she knew being an actress was something i dreamed of since i could speak. my mom didn't have the chance to finish college and pursue her dream career--but she made it possible for me to. i can't wait until the day i can tell her she doesn't have to work anymore. Lord, thank you for making my mom....my mom. 

4. JJ Heller
Girl sings with truth. my sister rebecca (read her blog here) first got me into JJ...and i'm officially in love. her music is raw, passionate and sweet. everytime i listen to a song of hers i think "YES!!!! i know exactly what you mean!!!" ... i love that feeling. that connection you feel to a song or that particular strum of a guitar. music is such a precious gift from God. check out JJ here. Christ SHINES through her music. I love it. Plus, her pandora radio is awesome because it leads you to a ton of beautiful songs. my favorite from JJ is probably 'Fly Away' or 'The Pretty & the Plain' or 'Your Hands'....haha, there's so many! but seriously. listen. enjoy. fall in love.


gosh, i'm verbose. i just wanted to blog about these particular things. i'm almost done a new poem which i'm really excited about, so i can't wait to post that next!!! anyway. i guess i wanted to write this post because i want to constantly be reminded of my blessings and of how quick i am to forget them....it's important to be grateful and just amazed at this world we live in. mmhm.

I know You hate to see me cry,
One day You will set all things right...





Thursday, June 2, 2011

this is all your fault mark zuckerberg (just kidding)

i don't blame mark zuckerberg for anything besides creating one of the most addicting websites ever but still, it makes me think. about....stuff.

these past few years God has had me in a place of struggle. uncertainty. loss, pain. there's been amazing moments and deliriously happy i wanna-laugh-forever kind of moments, but all in all it's been definitely a trying season in my life. i won't go into detail but a series of painful events made these last couple of years just...hard. there's no other way to say it. i'd say since march of last year it's been a rough little journey. and i'm not complaining, mostly just reflecting.

how does that little thought tie into mark zuckerberg? it's like this: i think facebook makes it really easy to envy someone else's life. you see pictures of other people smiling, laughing, surrounded by friends and you think 'why can't my life be like that?' i know i say 'since graduating college' a lot on this blog, but heck i'ma say it again: since graduating college, i've noticed that i have been struggling with jealousy a lot. i talk to certain friends or look at their facebooks and it just seems like they have it all together. they have a wonderful boyfriend, the perfect family, the best friends ever....and it makes it so easy for me to take my own life for granted. how sick is that? i have so much to be thankful for, the Lord has blessed me so much and yet when i look through the fluorescent-screen version lives of my friends, i become sad or jealous or unsatisfied with my own life.

i blogged not too long ago about everyone having their own story. God is teaching me so much about this. i know it sounds corny but it is true: everyone has their own story. no one is beyond God's love. i love this idea, that we all have our own lives and our own stories.

i like to be truthful on my blog so i'm going to share something i was thinking about a little while ago. i was thinking about how God uses the bad stuff in our lives for good. this is a hard concept for me to understand. why does he let bad stuff happen to me at all? but it's not about that. when jesus comes back or when he calls me home, then all the bad stuff will fade away....but i'm living this life right now. and in life there is sadness, pain, anger--people hurt me and i hurt people. i was thinking about one particular aspect of my life....

i have never been in the popular crowd, never the 'pretty girl' or the 'cool' girl. sure, there was a time in middle school when i just wanted to be accepted, craved attention from boys and tried desperately to be exactly like every girl around me. i had never been further from myself. eventually, in high school, i found my niche and grew comfortable being who i was, but every now and then it comes back to me. that old feeling of "i am just not that girl"... it's weird it's been coming back around now that i'm almost 22. sometimes it sneaks up on me--that feeling of 'i just wish i was someone else' or... 'why didn't God make me as beautiful as her?' --silly, ridiculous thoughts that are not from God at all.

anyway i was thinking about all this and i realized it's all a part of my special story. maybe i was teased grade school because one day i'll have a daughter who will be teased and she'll need me to understand in that way. or maybe i love books so much i feel it in my heart because one day i'll meet a little girl or boy who shares that feeling and i'll understand. i don't know. i just know God made us all so unique, so special that i never want to lose sight of that! i never want to be ashamed of who i am or what i love--no one should ever be afraid of...themselves.

i have to believe God will use the sadness in my life for something greater than i can imagine. my boy henri nouwen explains it pretty amazing here:


"When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved." Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence." 


that's rad. and beautiful and TRUE. and i'm not sure what this entire blog meant, but it started out inside of me and just needed an outlet. that's the best part about blogs, they don't really have to make much sense at all. anyway....if you're reading this i hope you know so much how much God loves you and how precious you are. 


s.p.e.w. = s-shmee-shmee-shmubbleshmyew.
make me a sandwich, elf. 
on a side note, completely unrelated topic: i SO wish i had a house elf right now to play with my hair and give me a foot massage. but alas, i stray......


love & strawberries,
nina.