Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I am pretty much afraid of everything.

I am afraid of so much. Like, when I was little I was afraid of butterflies. Butterflies, people! What little girl is afraid of butterflies? This one! I actually remember crying and not leaving my screened-in porch because there was a butterfly stuck in some mud. I was afraid of a poor dying, decrepit butterfly wallowing in the rain and mud. 

Talk about NEUROSIS. Larry David, you got nothing on me. 

Lately I've been kinda meditating on what it means to be brave and not just as a "feeling" ... to literally wake up each morning and have genuine courage. Sometimes this courage comes in different forms....it could simply be the courage to not be weighed down by anxiety and stress during the day. Or courage to have genuine relationships with those around me. I think a lot of us are afraid of slowing down and resting in the present moment. I was just talking to my dear friend Giselle about this. Do you guys know Giselle? If you don't you should because she is da bomb. Anyway, after work the other day we got coffee together and we talked about how it is scary to be vulnerable and intentional with people. It is so easy to coast by on a surface level, but to actually get to know someone? To be there for someone? It's kind of terrifying.

That is my prayer this week. To be intentional with my friendships and relationships. Sometimes I get homesick and I'll just randomly text a few friends with a vague, "Miss you!! Thinking of you!" But that is not enough. What I should do is pick one friend I miss and call them. Write them a letter. Ask them how they are...ask them to meet up for coffee or have a Skype date. To actually live life with them.

This past week my best friend since I was fifteen, Laura, came to Los Angeles to visit. March has been full of people visiting and I am so full of joy and feel so loved...and exhausted. But with each visit I realized how much I just miss living life with people who love me.

I don't have to try when I'm around Laura, the same way I don't have to try around my sisters...it's easy. It's simple. I love that. I am so grateful for her friendship and her encouragement and just who she is. Friendships like that make me want to be real with people. All the time, not just some of the time.

God is stretching me this month. I am learning to let go of anxiety and worry and finding my identity in anything that is not Christ. Love this quote, it was in my morning devotional:

So true. Love it. 

This was a short post but I am so tired and not having internet in my apartment makes it difficult to blog. But I am going to try more because I love blogging OKAY?! I'm gonna go eat some brownies I made. By the way, not having internet has helped me be freakishly productive. And do weird things like bake and clean and light candles and pretty soon I'll probably want a baby or something, JUST KIDDING OR AM I NOW I DON'T KNOW.

Cozy. And if there's one thing I am, it's definitely cozy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

glowing lights

I feel like I just experienced a hurricane of a weekend, if hurricanes were filled with love, truth, familiarity and a sensible dose of bittersweet. I am grateful for this time to detox. To sit down and finally breathe. 

As I drove West on Wilshire* on Thursday, the sun reflected sparkling buildings to my left and right, my body was tense in my car, my back aching as I hunched over the steering wheel, desperate to be home and out of my work clothes and relaxed. Even as the beautiful California sky fell down into a pink blush sunset, my heart was heavy. That morning I had said bye to my little sister and my best friend, Rebecca. Saying goodbye never gets easier no matter how many times you do it. 

*does West on Wilshire not sound like the best hipster California band name ever?!! COME ON!

The thing is, I should be used to it. I should be used to saying goodbye to my family and my friends since I've been doing it since I graduated high school. First, moving to New York City for college. Then moving out here to LA. But the truth is it pretty much never gets easier. It will never be easy to say goodbye to this:

It'll never be easy not being in the presence of Rebecca and Christina and my mom. But I feel like I blog about that all the time, and lately God has put it on my heart to be grateful. If I continually dwell on what I miss, I lose sight of why I miss it, which is actually a huge blessing and I should be filled with indescribable joy. 

So I am trying to every day recognize the small celebrations in my life. I feel like that was a gift Rebecca gave to me while she was visiting; a reminder to remember the "small celebrations." For instance this morning - 

Mmm. Sitting in a quiet cafe in the early morning, sipping a vanilla latte. Feeling the coziness that hits me all the way to my toes. Reading God's Word, filling my mind with truth. 

Also tonight. The small celebration of going for a run at sunset, the beauty of the pink and purple sky, majestic and huge and humbling. Running without any music, hearing my pulse and the uneven breathing, imagining my lungs inside my body and how grateful I am for the air that fills them. A simple run at sunset is a gift. If you think I'm being sappy, you suck. Just kidding. But seriously....why don't we think like this all the time?

How often do you feel overwhelmed? I feel overwhelmed every single day. So many awful thoughts swim through my mind.... I don't like my apartment. Wish I had a nicer car. My hair is ugly. I'm too fat. Not tall enough. Not talented. Lonely. I need to grocery shop. I need to clean. I have student loans. STRESS. How many times do we dwell in these strange lies that just frustrate us?

We need to just understand every day is a gift and we should enjoy it. The smell of the grass when you walk along the lawn of a home. The fact that okay, yes, I have student loans but that's only because I have an education. THAT IS AMAZING.

Lord, that's my prayer this week. To focus on your blessings and to calm down and celebrate the tiny moments in life that so often I am blind to. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ikea Boy

The simplest of love poems to cute guys who shop at Ikea.

* * * 

Hey cute boy shopping at Ikea
I see ya,
See ya looking at those home-goods.
Boy you look real good. 
The way you're testing out those faucets,
And you're wearing flannel, I just lost it.
It's convenient this store is like a maze,
Because your glasses have me in a haze,
As I stumble past bed frames,
I'm just wondering what's your name.
There's just something 'bout a man with a domestic side,
ladies am I right? If you disagree you better hide.
Because you're dumb and I'll come getcha,
A guy buying a laundry basket, he's nice I betcha.
Sure, Target's got some cuties.
If they're at Pottery Barn, they're just snooty.
But Ikea takes a brave man with the sensory overload of dinnerware,
Double points if he's shopping alone and he doesn't even care.
Hey cute boy shopping at Ikea,
I have a nice idea,
we should shop together.
That'd be so much better.
We can compare placemats and try out fancy desk chairs,
You can carry my basket and I'll compliment your hair,
then after we can get pancakes and pretend we're in an indie movie,
sure I'm not as cute as Zooey Deschanel but you can still woo me.
Oh cute boy shopping at Ikea,
there you go, out the door I see ya.
I hope I see you sometime here again before next fall,
maybe next time we can enjoy a Swedish meatball.

* * * 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

JJ Heller on a gentle morning with a cup of coffee - peace.

My mother is a pillar of strength. Everyday her joy and faith in the Lord pours out of her - even from 3,000 miles away she is a great source of encouragement for me. I am a bundle of nerves and anxieties and emotions that fly at rapid speed...ask anyone who knows me. In just one day I can experience eye-crinkling happiness, and then an hour later be worried or stressed. Some probably call this bi-polar, but WHATEVER! I call it being passionate. That sounds so much better, doesn't it?

The thing is, I need to take a page out of my mother's book. I'm sitting here and it's March 1st. Today Chanelle and I start our move to another apartment and as I sit here, drinking my Dunkin' Donuts coffee and enjoying the familiar taste that reminds me of home, listening to JJ Heller and the soothing sweetness of her voice, I am feeling p e a c e. 

I'm not foolish enough to believe I will feel this peace every single moment of every single day. Anyone who tells you they are constantly peaceful is a liar, I'm sure of it. But I hold to this peace and this wonder at God because I know it is true. 

James 1:17
17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[a]

Every sweet and beautiful thing in this world is from God. I believe this with every fiber in my body. Why is it so easy for us to fall into sin and temptation? What is absolutely mind-blowing about God is His grace and His mercies. I know...I don't deserve any of it. None of us do and yet there it is - the strange, terrifying, amazing gift of the cross. 

Lord I am ashamed. I am ashamed for all the times I doubt You. And yet, there You are. It's like this whole moving situation. I was panicked, I was nervous...I knew it was going to be hard to find an apartment on our own, especially in LA when everything is so pricey. And then BAM! God provided a girl with an awesome apartment in a beautiful location who needed roommates. And she loves the Lord and goes to Chanelle and my church. I sit here and I am just amazed!

I also think of my job situation. I spent the first several months here in LA nearly falling into a sort of depression. I was not prepared for the total identity crisis I would have that came with being unemployed, and then working a part-time job I really didn't care for. I was looking and searching for my identity in my job instead of as a daughter of God. Eventually I just had to let it go. I prayed and prayed and struggled and was really confused. And then the minute I let it go and and realized, It just doesn't matter, God completely blind-sided me. I got a job at Paramount Studios. PARAMOUNT STUDIOS. I'm not saying God gives us everything we want, or a life with God means we'll get stuff. NO. I just mean....we can't freak out. We can't stress. We have to know God has a plan. And with this amazing, wonderful, ridiculously fun job, I have to know it could be gone at any second. And I can't find my identity in it either. I am so grateful every single day that I get to go to work at a real movie studio. I get to walk by film shoots, I get to see free movies, I get to be in an environment I love. What a blessing, a deep and real joy. 

I am learning so much. I am taking classes, going to casting workshops, trying my best to stay busy. But throughout all of that, I need to remain strong in my faith and know that I can't let this Hollywood business break me. Because it is all vanity....it is meaningless. What I must focus on is how I can glorify God in my work and through my passions and talents. If I wake up every single day and follow God and do what I love, then everything will fall into place. If I love writing, I must write everyday. If I love acting, I must work on that constantly. And finally, I LOVE the Lord....every day I must strive to grow closer to Him. 

I encourage anyone who's reading this. Even if you don't believe in God, or if you do, WHOEVER YOU ARE. Don't find your worth in what you do or the things of this world. If we do that we will be hurt and disappointed every single day. Just know there is something more...there has to be something more. 

"You burn away the ropes that bind
And hold me to the earth
The fire only leaves behind whatever is of worth
I begin to see reality
For the first time in my life
I know that I’m a shadow
But I’m dancing in your light."
Only Love Remains, JJ Heller