Sorry for the absence. Not too much happening over here that is uber exciting and cool. Just trucking along. Duck season started which is my favorite time of the year. The ducks have been slow in Edisto, but I'm a fan of the whole ordeal so it has been pretty enjoyable. I weirdly love waking up early, getting in the suburban and heading south with some of my favorite guys. We pull up, find our blind assignments, slip into our waders and make the trek out in the darkness. I love watching the sun come up and hearing all of the morning sounds. I wish I could start every morning like that. Plus, blind talks are always the best. Especially with the Dupre boys.
Special guest one day.
Right before I took a dip in the lovely pond
So there you have it. Nothing new to report over here. I will say, I am rather excited that the cool weather has made its appearance. I just hope it sticks.
On another note. Happy Happy Bday to one of my favorites:
Brace yourselves. Shit has hit my fan. It brings me great distress to write this next sentence. Today I found my first gray hair. Mother clucker. All by my lonesome, sitting in my car, I noticed a blinding color coming from the top of my head. I thought to myself, "Oh hell no. It cannot be." I frantically scooted up to the mirror to investigate. Low and behold there it was. My destiny. Like the ugly duckling. Totally unwanted. A short, ugly gray hair. I wanted to cry on the spot. What the hell? I am a young whippersnapper. Only 28 young years old. How can this be?? My life was flashing before my eyes. I always thought that I would find my first gray sometime around 65. Is that so wrong? Dear Lord. Does this mean that I will have to start dying my hair at some point??? Noooooooooooo. I just can't bare the thought of that. I'm not cut out for the world of standing hair appointments. I like the cut. Not the cut and color. Not only did I find a gray, I just realized that I too have the PMS (yes, I am late to the game. I am really good at denial.) I mean come on. I had been denying the whole PMS thing for years. No, that never effects me. I'm all good.. No cramps or unpleasantness over here... Well the truth has been sprung from the darkness. I, too, am reaping the benefits of womanhood. I hope you sense the sarcasm I am oozing.. That's two big ones in one weekend. Woman hood is so not glamorous.
The gray hair was pestering me all day. Luckily I saw a trusty friend. She offered to gently pull it from my beautiful brown hair. I should add that I do not like any type of hair pulling. I am ultra dramatic and like to claim a sensitive scalp. After several attempts followed by hesitation, I let her give it a go. Let's just say that I have a bald spot. The unwanted hair escaped the first pull. I reluctantly allowed a second extraction attempt. Got it. That little piece of stress was ugly as hell. Shorter, coarser and not straight. Awesome. I'm sure there are more to come... Woohoo...
Last week I wrote a post on taking a risk and deciding to love with our whole hearts. It came from getting a chance to hear the Gospel in a different way. As part of a Homily. Well, the words from the Homily are still sticking with me. So here are some more thoughts.
The preacher used a story from one of my all time favorite authors, Henri Nouwen. He told the story of twins in a womb. There is a lot more to it, but I will be brief. A brother and sister are in a womb and the brother kept mentioning there being more than their current situation. The sister isn't buying it. The brother mentions something about a life squeeze. He mentions that they are unpleasant and painful. He says he thinks the squeezes are to get us ready. To get us ready for another place. A better place. (Birth)
I've been thinking about this story a lot and it has been on my mind constantly. Life squeezes. They are not pleasant. They hurt. Honestly- they flat out suck and I even hate them at the time. I would never voluntarily want one. It is easy to become hopeless and doubtful. I have been there. More often than I would like to admit. It is almost worse to watch someone else go through it. But, I keep coming back to the same thought. These squeezes, hurts, losses- they aren't for nothing. They can't be. Because we choose to love, we also choose to lose. But, we choose life. Even in death. I think it is far greater to love than to not. Even if those that we love are lost, we still got the chance to love them. And we got to be loved by them. There is not one thing that is greater in relationship (in my opinion). It has taken me a very, very long time to even begin to write these words. I don't even always believe them myself, but eventually I am redirected to where this all comes from. And to me loving is the only option we have. We have these life squeezes because we choose to love. We take a risk with our hearts and our minds. We give our selves. In love, I think there is hope. A real hope. A hope that grows us in faith. A hope that gives us a peace. A peace that will somehow surpass the times that we have no idea what the hell is actually going on or what we are supposed to do. Or the times where we want to just quit. A hope that leads and encourages us to love. I am not talking a superficial, shallow love. I am talking about a life changing love. A love that is greater than loss. A love that survives death. This love gets us ready. It shows us a glimpse of the Kingdom. A far better place. Where we will see Him face to face. It is a love that I or you should not trade for anything in the world. It is a love that is MORE THAN WORTH IT. FYI- I do not say this lightly. It is just what I have been thinking on today. Thanks for reading.
I can handle most things. Or, if I can't, I just pretend I can and then evacuate whatever horrible situation it is that I am trying to handle. It usually works. Until yesterday. Yesterday I had the unfortunate luck of wanting to just die on the spot. This may sound dramatic, but I, Sarah Sass, have never been a huge fan of casual nakedness. And I am pretty sure I will never be on the walk around in public places while letting it all hang out train. Pretty sure I will purchase no ticket for that. Let me explain.
Yesterday I was walking into the gym locker room and was headed for a locker. A nice safe locker in the corner. Away from all of the people. As I rounded the corner I saw two butt cheeks. Just staring right at me. I mean, come one. It was way too early to be greeted with cheeks before I've even had my coffee. Especially a strangers cheeks. ( For some reason maybe I would have been more receptive if I had known the cheeks, but actually I'm not sure..) I'm kind of caught off guard. I don't want to look at the cheeks, but I don't want to make eye contact either. Tough situation. I had a dash of inner panic. Wasn't sure what to do. So I made awkward eye contact. So awkward that I think the girl thought I was looking at her butt... Good lord. Now I feel like the bad one. Hello?? I am fully clothed and I feel bad. What the junk? So I proceeded to my locker. Awkwardly pretending I was listening to music. Unfortunately naked lady was applying her deodorant right behind me.. I turned around only to realize that she was now wearing some clothes. Well, I wouldn't call it clothes. It was a thong. Let me be the first to say that those do not supply the most coverage one would like. Uggg. Great, now I have a thong walking in front of me. Not awesome. Where are you supposed to even point your eyes when you have a neon thong in front of you?? I finally made it out of there and on to exercise.
Afterwards I made my way back into the locker room to shower. Once again, fate had it's way with me. I went to my little section to find more nakedness. Worse nakedness than before. This lady must have just been air drying or something. She was standing in the middle of the lockers straight up naked. I mean, I saw things that I never wanted to see. How do you even pretend not to notice?? I may have to practice this because I am horrible at it. I probably turned bright read or averted my eyes so blatantly. I walked by and hit my shin on the bench and frantically dropped the f bomb by accident. Only to have her turn around and look at me. Full frontal. Terrible mistake. (I'm not saying she looked bad by any means. I just don't enjoy being 2 feet from someone's boobs.) (Just saying). I could not for the life of me get my combo lock to work. My hands were all shaky because I was having inner panic. The lady was like 1 foot from me. She was patting baby powder everywhere... See what I'm seeing here?? I kept hearing pat pat pat.. I could see the mist from the powder from the corner of my eye. She was blocking where I put my iPhone so I had to awkwardly scoot around her. I was petrified we would touch... Good lord. I was dying. I am the person who takes all of their shiz into the shower and changes in there. No nakedness over here. I don't care if I was looking like a Victoria Secret model. I will not go prancing around the ladies room letting it all hang out, traumatizing innocent 28 year olds... Finally I made it to the showers. I made sure to take a long ass shower so naked lady would have made her dismount by the time I emerged from the stall. Thankfully, when I got out, fully clothed women were in there doing their makeup. Thank God. I survived another day. (Hope I did not offend you)
I heard something really cool slash interesting the other day. It's a quote from Graham Cooke (whom I love). I'm not sure the exact wording, but it is along the lines of:
"Whatever you need the most, be the first to give it away."
I have been thinking about it a lot. What do I need most? Grace? Love? Affirmation? Encouragement? (Rice Krispy Treats??) The list could go on for days and days. I think that I enjoy loving people. In fact, it is very easy for me to do so. Why? Probably because that is what I need most. Sometimes it's hard to admit, because we are taught to be all tough and ass kicking.... But, I'll be the first to say that I need some loving:) But, truly, there is no better feeling than giving away love. I don't do it perfectly and I probably don't even do it well. But I think it is something worth giving a go. So think about it. What do you need the most? And can you give it away?
Here is another interesting thing. The other night I was having a pretty hearty convo with the resident counselor of Gryffindor tower. We tend to cover many things, but we just so happened to be talking about relationships and sacrifice and love. Not that I have mush experience in any of those, but I am always fascinated by each of them. Lately I have just been amazed by certain things. Things that I don't even want to write on here in case I pissed anyone off, but I have truly been amazed. In positive and negative ways. People and their relations truly intrigue me. Back to love. While talking she threw out some examples of sacrificial love (none of which made me want to jump on the sacrifice train) and I was truly stunned. (In a good way). She also casually explained that we should be able to love and expect nothing in return. Nothing? Ain't so sure about that. It's total and complete vulnerability. Doing things knowing that they may go unnoticed. Or unappreciated. That is the killer for me. I don't like things to go unappreciated. Well guess what? That's also where I realized I may need to do some growing. I have to be okay with doing things (out of love) and them going unnoticed. (Hell, that's probably how it's supposed to be anyways.) I tell you what- I learn something new every single, dang day.
I've been thinking about a whole mess of things lately. Sorry for the blog absence, but I've been meaning to collect my thoughts on many things and haven't had a real sense of what to write. But, today, sitting in my office, I got a tid bit of inspiration.
Last week we said goodbye to a sweet, sweet boy. A lot of my favorite memories with the Dotts include Michael Reese. I don't know if I can recall a time of not seeing a smile on his face. I feel like we have been dealing a lot more with loss lately. Especially this year. The low country has said goodbye to some of the best and most loved people. And it has been hard. Hard to watch. Hard to experience. And especially hard to watch other people experience. But, I learned something at Michael's funeral. The message was on love and grief. At first I was immediately not a fan of this topic, but then something hit me. He said (this is paraphrased a bit), if we choose to love greatly, we will lose greatly. We will grieve the losses of loves. At first I thought this sounded absolutely horrible. But, then after a few days it kept coming back. We can choose to play it safe, not risk too much and keep to our selves. Sounds pretty safe. Not a lot to lose. But, if we choose that, then we aren't choosing to live. To really live. To really live as we are called is to love. And if we choose to really love, then we are taking a risk. A huge risk. We risk our hearts. Vulnerability at it's core. In my personal/very non professional opinion- it is more than worth the risk. We have the chance to love people. To have relationships that encourage us. Relationships that make us feel worthy. To be able to share that with others is so cool. The hardest part about loving well though, is when we lose those that we love. There is no way to describe it. It is the most horrible feeling ever. I wish it upon no one. But, I keep coming back to what the preacher said. We can love greatly. We can change lives. Just by loving. With loving greatly does come losing, but I can't imagine not taking the risk. Not fully living and not fully loving. We have such an amazing chance. A chance to love people. When they are awesome and when they are not so awesome. At their best and at their worst. Why? Because someone loved us first when we least deserved it. Love on. Love well.
Whole Foods. So much to say here. I both love and hate the Whole Foods. Here is what I love: its like an ice box in there, the fruit is beautiful (like for real. I want to buy it just because it makes me happy to look at), the pizza, the sandwiches and 2 of the cashiers. Here is what I hate: All of the herbal stuff (because it smells and I have not a damn clue what any of it is), the magazines, and the crappy feeling I get shopping there. I am just not a Whole Foods girl. I wish I was, but I am not. I'm sure this is all me, but I'm always feeling a little judged in there. Like the people somehow know that I would rather be eating at Boulevard Diner. Let me move on to today's point.
The Hot Bar/Salad Bar. At first I am always deceived. I think to myself, "Self, you can do this. You too can be one of these people here at the hot bar." And then reality sets in. People swarm the bar and panic sets in. Sometimes I feel like a tribute in the Hunger Games making a dash for the cornucopia... I happened to be there at feeding time the other night. Terrifying. I picked up my earth friendly box and began constructing my healthy dinner. Right off the bat I felt like an inconvenience. I had to borrow the salad tongs from a lady with zero patience. I dropped some spinach in the romaine. Dear Lord I'm a sinner. I thought the lady was going to swallow me whole. Then I move along down the trough. All I want is some shredded butternut squash (never thought I'd say that). So I was waiting for the lady in front of me to finish her business. I get some squash and go to drop the excess back in the trough. Apparently that is not protocol. I got the look of death from granola girl next to me. Sorry, I can't eat 3 lbs of squash. I will die. I move along. I tried to count out some chick peas. Don't want to over due it. My body isn't used to all this roughage and I don't want to over load it here.. I get to the meat. I parcel out some turkey. And put 2 back. Sorry, that adds like 3 dollars to my box... Once again I get disgusted looks. I decide to get some orzo. I felt like I had 20 people waiting for me to finish. I couldn't get exactly what I wanted because I felt like I was majorly inconveniencing the line that had amassed behind me. Then I made my way around the corner. I spotted tofu. I am not a tofu gal. But, against my core beliefs, I tried one. Yes. I stole a cube of tofu off of the salad bar. I tried to be sneaky as I popped the cube of who knows what into my mouth. Only to turn and see two men staring at me. Oops? Boy was I sorry. I thought I may die on the spot. There was nothing to wash it down with. I once again confirmed my carnivorous love. I move along. To the cheese and dressing. Finally, something I know! I am pretty sure I am the only person who eats from the cheese on the bar. It is always full and I always feel judged when I add my cheese. Same with the dressing. The dressing is what seals the deal here. I need it in order to actually eat what is below it. I feel like such a salad fake. A greens wannabee. And then the reality sets in that I'm not a Boulevard Diner. Or Mozzo. Nope. I'm eating greens and legumes. And other things that I am not even sure what they are called. And then disappointment washes over and I in turn resent the hot bar/ salad bar and its people. Whole Foods shame sets in. And I exit. With my $10 salad...
"God’s love takes us on journeys we do not wish to go, by roads we do not want to travel, to take us to places we do not want to leave." ~ Ashley Null
I stole this from my boy Steve Wood's FB page. Going to be bold here and say that is the truth. Almost every learning experience I have had as of late has been unwanted, unplanned, less than pleasant and a little scary. But, the oddest part is that I wouldn't call a redo. (I can't believe I'm saying that..) I've learned a lot. More than I even know. I have been learning a shiz ton about grace, truth and time. And how they all work together. (I happen to be co leading a study on it... so I have actually tried to apply it to myself and it has been a little harder than I once perceived). But, it's real. We need grace. We need truth. And time is a must. Transformation isn't even a possibility unless it is powered by grace. Truth (my least favorite) is necessary and basically gives us some direction.. And time. It makes it happen. You can't rush it. We need it. They all work together when you let them. Are you a grace person? (If we hang a lot then you most likely are) Or are you more truth? (We probably don't see as much of each other.. but I'm working on it) I think it would be real.ly cool to end up being a good mix of both. How's that? Good. That's what I'm shooting for. That's all I've got for today.
Welcome to today's ramblings... Eject now
I have been singing some old school backstreet boys all day. And people, I have an announcement. I think Sarah Sass is back. Where have I been? Many places. Neither here nor there. But, one things is for damn sure- I have not been myself. This whole grief deal has been royally kicking my ass, but I feel different today. I'm not saying that its all over and I am back to normal. Far from it. I'm saying that I feel more myself today than I have in 8 months and I'll take it. (this could be the lunch time mimosas talking)
I love this weather. Colder. Rainy. Today I got to wear a long sleeve t shirt without sweating(although I spilled all over it at lunch..). I got to cruise around in my new car (which I adore 100%). I got to completely rock out to good music. Windows down. Seat warmer on. New backwards hat. Total bliss. That my friends is the version of myself that I love. I haven't felt myself in a long, long, long time. I could feel it in the ole heart. Hence why I was singing backstreets back... Any who. Just thought you should know. I'm sure we could have a crash and burn sometime soon, but it's good to know the old self is still in there:)
I had another thought today. I thought about how I love people. Not in the sense of loving on people. But in the sense of I just absolutely love the people I know. Maybe not everyone all the time... But, I have just been surprised/overwhelmed/thankful by people lately. I don't know if it was because last week was my birthday or what. I am 100% blessed to know the greatest people on the planet. For real. In our bible study we have been learning how we were made to be relational/in community. I LOVE that. I love that we get the chance to do that. So thank you to the people. I love you. If I tackle you its out off pure joy. Just walk it off. Stay classy.
Before we get started. I have a nerdy confession. You know when you are a little kid and you get a present you really like? You kind of refuse to put it down. You may even sleep in it? Are you tracking with me here? Yeah, well this girl, the self proclaimed shopaholic in prissy boot camp changed into pajamas last night to begin her 1 millionth episode of Gossip Girl (Prissiness transformation also includes tv shows). While in my pj's I decided to leave my new, super cool, super stylish, super loved, super surprise present necklace on while watching gossip girl in my polar bear pjs. I felt very posh.. I honestly kept staring at it because it really is cool. (I'm pretty sure Serena on Gossip Girl would wear it...) Any who I woke up with it on today... hahah. Yall may have created a monster...
Any ways, I have 2 nuggets for you today on this Thursday. Here is the first one. I LOVE THIS QUOTE. I also think it is 100% true. Roar on.
Here is #2. I am an avid reader of Donald Miller's blogs. I may also have an Internet crush on him. My motto is always crush from a distance... He wrote a blog today that basically validated many of my thoughts. It's about not taking social cues from your peers and yada yada yada. I have a lot of friends that are older than I am and for some reason never knew why except that they are all pretty much badasses and awesome. (Power to the moms)(And not moms) And they love me really well and hopefully that helps me to be a better person. Don't get me wrong, I love all of my friends. Sometimes slash lots of times its good to have older friends because they tend to give good advice. Or honestly, they see the bigger picture and can subtly or not subtly help you to be the person that you or God wants you to be (Getting deep here..) Sometimes the Donald just speaks my language. I will leave you with two excerpts that I think are important. You should check out his blog sometime.
"Instead of taking social cues from people your age, take cues from people ten and twenty years older than you."
"Because the sooner you can relate to their priorities, the sooner you’ll be ready for the next stage of your life. I’m in my late thirties but I’m more interested in hanging out with people who are retired. What’s it teaching me? It’s teaching me that what ultimately matters later in life are friendships, family and love. In matters of faith, what they value most is not theological debate, but closeness with Jesus and unity with other believers."
Shopping. I have never been a fan unless it involved guns, fishing, hunting etc.. Until lately. On stressful days I find myself perusing the Internet high way. Sometimes just looking. Sometimes I am dumping stuff in my online cart. I let it sit there for days and then if I still have the urge, I pull that trigger. It gives me some type of amazing satisfaction. I'm sure that's how drugs work, but shopping is probably a better way to go. Or, I could liken shopping to mimosas. When you get a good mimosa going- there is just no better thing(Sometimes day drinking just does the trick). I have been feeling the same way with shopping. (You probably think hell hath frozen over). Today, on my lunch break I scooted downtown. I had some errands to run on King St so I figured I would try my hand at actual live shopping. It was beautiful out. I was with a friend. And it was fun. Our time was limited, so I think that helped. Mimosas would have made it even better, but I try to limit those to special occasions..
I got to make a special stop today too for a little bday surprise. Just adding to my prissiness. We are now at about 12% prissy, but on the rise... So excited. So here I am to say- I am giving shopping a second chance..
Per usual, I was talking with a friend today. Some days, I have a lot of thoughts. When I say a lot, you really have no idea what you are dealing with. Rain Man. Luckily this friend is in for the long haul and has amazing listening capacity. So I was in the midst of processing/blabbing. And a thought popped into my head. (This is the problem- sometimes they come out of no where, un invited, and come right on in.) Today was full of them. Any way. Proverbs 4:23, the guard your heart one. This one keeps coming back to me. So I think I'm going to pay attention to it. I kept pushing it away, because frankly, I may be too good at guarding that thing. It's a steel trap. I like to keep it close. Sometimes probably too close. Fortunately/unfortunately I've not lent it to anyone. It's ok. It's important. But, I think about my heart a lot. Spiritually it is HUGE piece of the framework. We are called to love and I don't want to be loving with a tainted heart. I want to love people/God with all of my heart. I pray that I would be kind hearted. Good hearted. Whole hearted. Scripture (you can fact check me if need be, but I've checked) says it is where life starts (The Message). So I totally get the whole guard your heart from the world, from people, from hurtful things etc. Don't throw your pearls to swine etc.
Here is something I thought about today. We live in a fallen world. I'm a sinner. Even though I keep my heart close, I've let things into my heart that the Lord never intended to be there. Hurtful things, hard things. Things known and unknown. We all have our junk. There are things that I would love to cut right on out. But sometimes I get stuck. Sometimes I like to skip over some of the bad because I don't want to man up and deal. Because it can be hard and let me be frank- it can hurt like hell. (Maybe you do this sometimes?? please say yes.. so I'm on a 1 woman hot mess express..) There are things that I have let barge right on it and set up camp. Hurt feelings, resentment, bitterness & disappointment. But, I've also let in the good. Love, trust, friendship, faithfulness, grief (the good kind). Things that have grown my heart. Today I realized that while guarding my heart, I may also be guarding it from letting those hard things out. I wonder how cool it would be to trash the junk and guard a whole heart?? I want to have a heart of God. I want to love people like God loves. It's hard, but I think it's what he ultimately wants. He wants us to be more Christ like. That's having the eyes of God, the ears of God and the heart of God.
So that's where I am today. And whether you know it or not, maybe that's where you are. So here is what I will do. Starting today, I pray that you and I both would know the heart of God more and more each day. I pray that He would (gently) show us some things that he would like to take from our hearts. The things not of Him. Things we have believed about our selves or each other that are not of Him. I pray that He would help us to be more like Him. I pray that we would love Him whole heartedly. That we would love each other with the heart of God. And that we would fully know the heart of God and that we could wrap our heads and our hearts around just how much we are loved. Keep in mind- this is a struggle of mine. But, I want to guard a clean heart. And I want you to as well. When I do let people in my heart, I want to let them into the heart of God.
In the words of my all time favorites,
Clear eyes, Full hearts,
Mumford and Sons. I've tried to remain low key about this. But, alas I cannot. The reason I have wanted to remain low key is that I flat out just want to brag. Solid self here. The week leading up to it I kept seeing posts about people seeing the Mumford posse and I kept thinking "you know not what you are missing..." I'm all glad for these friends to see them. And here comes the but. BUT, I was dealt an amazing hand by a dear friend. Gentlemen of the Road Stopover: St. Augustine. 4 shows in the USA. Lots of bands and 2 days of music. Yes. Please. And here begins one of the most magical times ever.
Thursday we headed out on a delightful road trip south. This friend and I trip together well. Talking is never an issue... plus some Mumford jamming. I should also mention that an hour before we rolled out- I GOT A CAR. THAT SEEMS TO BE GOOD. MIRACLE. END THAT SHIZZY CHAPTER. So we headed south. Got there, got settled and waited for it to be Friday. Or at least I did. I wanted to sleep next to the tickets. Still was not sure this was all real.
Friday came. We ventured in to St. Augustine. Very cool. The whole town was decorated with Mumford stuff. City hall had huge mustaches plastered and store front windows were decorated. We even went to the hotel where our pals the Mumfords were staying. We walked around. Ate a glorious lunch at the Floridian (where I ranted about side salads) and then headed to the field. I'll just say- it was hot as shit. There said it.. We chilled under a tree for a bit. I'll admit my 27 yr old self was exhausted. My feet were killing, they had turned black with dirt and my moral was dropping. But, my veteran friend said it was time to move. So we began our dissent into the crowd. I had no idea we were on a mission to the front. After much moving and scooching we made it. We found some nice people to stand in front of... And so began the music. So cool. By the time the last band, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and their cult band took the stage, we were basically 3rd row. Pretty sweet. We rolled out right before 11 pm and headed to City Hall. We got to then watch Del McCoury and his band play. SOOOOOO Cool. The fiddler and another banjo player from Mumford came out and played as well. I think we rolled out around 1 am.. I'm not sure. I can't even remember the drive home or walking back into the hotel... Due to exhaustion. Just so we are clear.
Saturday. Game plan discussed. Headed into town. We got through the gates and it was like James Bond. I went one way. She went the other. We were in desperate need of a shady spot to basically camp all day. We found our tree and set up camp. Only 9 hours until Mumford. Game on. Of course, I immediately fell asleep... I was awakened by a new favorite band, Bears Den. Check them out. AMAZING. I think I had a crush on all of them. Then my next favorite came, Half moon run. So cool. There were some other bands in between here and there. At about 6 we made our move. We packed up camp and headed into the gauntlet. I am too passive at this stage of the game. Thank God my friend is much bolder. We calmly made our way into the mass of 30,000 people. We watched The Vaccines and moved on. Then the surprise guest came on. JOHN FOGERTY. From CCR. AMAZING. His house band? MUMFORD AND SONS. AWESOME. I did not want it to end. Loved seeing Marcus on the drums and Winston on guitar. Plus the others:) SOOOO Cool. Then came show time. The Mumfords came back on after a short break and blew my mind. I wanted to cry the ENTIRE time. Every song was incredible. The covers, the originals. Everything. I still can't believe I saw them so close. I couldn't even drink beer all day in fear of screwing something up and not being able to fully take it all in... Priorities people. They covered I'm on fire, Come Together and an awesome accapella spiritual. When they sang Below my Feet I thought that I was going to combust. I'm still on a high apparently... I am 100% sucked in. Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers are AMAZING. Sorry I'm not sorry. IT WAS INCREDIBLE.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”—2 Corinthians 4:16-18(NKJV)
I don't know how I could have possibly missed this verse. Not that I read the Bible on an incredibly regular basis, but I feel like people throw verses around left and right and for some reason this one has never stuck. Until tonight.
I'm leading a small group/Bible study with a friend and today was our first one. I was honestly petrified. I felt like I was going to die on the spot. I would rather get up on a stage and do some type of self deprecating skit than have to prepare something spiritual and share it with the safest people around. But, alas, the Good Lord likes to challenge me. And challenge He did. I wanted to throw up almost the entire time (hopefully it will get easier), but I think it went as best as it could. We shared about seasons/stages of life. As I was trying to explain mine (without being a downer) as of late I realized some things. It has been hard. I have gone through it kicking and screaming and hope to never return. But I will. Life is messy. We love people and we lose people. I hate it, but it will happen. I never thought I could handle it, but I've learned that I can't. Only He can. If I actually let Him. Now, knowing what I have learned, I am so eternally grateful. Grateful to have been surrounded by my people. Grateful to have had to let things go. Grateful to have had to answer when I least wanted to. Grateful to have seen a depth that I didn't know was there or was even possible. I saw something that I never would have.
I think the above verse is killer. My outward self was dying (dramatic I know). I think it was headed that way regardless of the last few months. The process was just sped up a little faster than I would have liked. But, truly I tell you, the inward has changed. There are things deep inside of my heart that I did not know existed. Good and bad. And it has been hard/terrifying and cool trying to hammer them out. My heart feels renewed. My faith feels renewed. Now this isn't all the time. I still have all the hard thoughts, but there is an underlying current of grace. And peace. It's too hard to begin to describe. So just disregard most of this.
Time. I was talking to a friend a about time just this afternoon. How one year felt so incredibly fast. Yet, so much has happened. When I think about it, it is full of moments. ( I am a savor the moment kind of gal) Moments that I would not trade for the world. The things unseen that have happened are priceless and I'm sure I'm still not realizing all of them. Heck- some of the ones seen, as crummy as some were, have taught me the most. The thought of there being more cool unseen things is so cool. To know that these moments are eternal is pretty damn awesome.
No words can describe this past weekend in St. Augustine. I will muster them up later.
I have to give a big shout out to my friend Sally. I went down to Red Bluff with her a few weeks ago to visit our friend Biz. She was taking legit pics for something and I just tagged along. I was coerced into some pics (I usually like to stay behind the camera) and I love them. I've never actually seen a pic of my own self that I thought actually captured me. I don't know how to explain it. But I thought these were pretty damn cool if you ask me. You can tell by my constant laughter that I was definitely about to die... But, Sally rocked it. It was so much fun!
I AM FREAKING OUT. Here is why. At some point this afternoon, I will be getting in a car with a dear friend and heading South. To St. Augustine. Why? Here is why I'm freaking out. We just so happen to be going to attend the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in St. Augustine. What is that? It's basically a 2 day Mumford and Sons music festival. Yes. You would freak out to. 25,000 tickets. Sold out 3 days after it was announced. I honestly did not think for one second that this would go down. And then, boom. We were going. I have suppressed my excitement, due to my pessimistic personality, but today is the day and I can't sit still. AHHHH. It is going to be incredible. I have stalkerishly watched about 500 videos of Mumford and all of the other bands playing. I've been praying that this would just be awesome. And that my boy Marcus won't wear his wife beater. Peace out.
"God allows in His wisdom, what He could prevent in His power."
I have read these words a lot. I keep re reading them and they hit me every time. So, the last few months have been less than stellar. This is a fact. But sometimes I catch myself taking in what I have learned. I never am one to catch myself learning at the present time, but sometimes, much, much later, I realize that maybe God was showing me something. (I always realize these things at the most random times) I say this now with a good attitude. If anyone else were to say this to me (along with several other words that do not help any situation) I would have to restrain myself from tackling them. Plus, I can be told something 1 trillion times, but it only works if I figure it out. Well here are some things I have learned:
You can feel two completely different emotions at the exact same time
Sometimes God has to knock me over the head with things
My faith needed some definite growing
We need JOY
We need to find what we love and do it
We need community
We need good people
You can feel distant from God, but close at the same time
He wants us to ask Him for more
And then I read these words. Game changer. I have been praying and praying and screaming and asking and begging. (This sounds dramatic, but its not.) I have been questioning, doubting and asking up a storm. And I was hearing zilch. So then I would get mad. And the cycle would continue. Before I read these words, I was kind of getting to a rather tough spot. When I first read these words I did not like them. At all. But then I kept reading them and I thought wow. I thought of all the things that have been tough, there have been places that I have learned so much when I didn't even know that I needed it. I keep thinking how able He is. How wise He is. How powerful He is. How knowing He is. I forget all of these things when it all goes to Hell and a hand basket. But, on the back end, they come around. As much as I don't want to believe that He knows everything that is happening, He does. As much as I want to be in control, I know that I shouldn't be and He should. I don't always know it right at the time, but I usually figure it out the hard way somewhere down the line.
For now, these words are heavy. They carry a lot of weight. They give me assurance. Maybe I don't need to be saved or rescued from something. Maybe he is trying to teach me something. Maybe he is teaching me to wait. To trust. To dig in. He could fix it. But what is he teaching me by not? That's the million dollar question.
If you have been reading lately then you know some of the things that have been going on in my crazy train. I've been having a melting pot of thoughts lately. Here is one that woke me up in the middle of the night. I've been asking God a lot of questions. Been trying to cut some deals with Him (which have not worked..) and honestly, I've been questioning His whereabouts. Also, I've been wishing for Him to be a little quieter or maybe just leave me be for a while. (This is dumb I know). Deep down, I've been wanting Him to inform me that he has me. That my life would be safer or easier or less chaotic. Maybe He could direct from backstage? Yeah, that would be ideal... The root of this for me, I think, is that I want to feel safe. I want my life to be safe. I want God to be safe. And sweet. And always nice. (And maybe always do what I want..) I woke up around 4 am this morning with my prayers on my heart. I realized immediately why I wasn't at peace with this. These were sounding like little pansy prayers...
God doesn't promise that He is safe or that we will be safe or that life will be rainbows and butterflies. I thought further. Do I really actually want a safe, passive, back seat driver of a God? What kind of king would fit that description? Then I thought about it on my end. Choosing the easy way isn't what we are called to do. I don't want that anyways. Yeah, sure lately I wouldn't mind it. As much as I b*tch and moan, I want my God to be tough. To fight for me. To fight for you. As mad as I am or can be, as pissed as I am or can get, I have peace knowing that it is nothing compared to Him. The same goes for love. As much love as I have for something or someone, it is nothing compared to His love. I forget that at the drop of the hat on most days, when things don't turn out how I want them to.
I can't remember if I have already posted this quote by E. E. Cummings before, but I don't think soaking it in one more time would be too terrible for any of us. To me, this quote makes my heart full. Here's why. I 100% think this is true. For me at least. I often find myself more insecure than I'd like to think. I am scared of people, I'm always worried if people don't like me and I am a doubter. I used to think that I always had to be funny or people wouldn't like me. There. I said it.(whew) But over the last few years I have learned that is not the case. I have realized that I'm a needer of affirmation/encouragement. I often will get ideas, but I will go ahead and shoot them down before any one else could even have one iota of a chance. But, every once in a while- someone beats me to it. Instead of a shoot down, there is encouragement. Sometimes we are too inwardly focused and need to see/hear from someone else. Someone that we know loves us and wants the best for us. No matter what. I am a first hand recipient of this. It started with my parents, then with my YL leader and then with a few friends now. I can remember very clearly a few conversations lately that (and I know that I did not show it) have been life changers. Simple words. Whether they were meant to pierce my heart or not they did. And they needed too. I am my own worst enemy most times and I know that I can get stuck in that. But THANK GOD there are people willing to put it out there and do life with me (the hot mess express). I can be sitting, having a normal conversation and all of a sudden, my heart will just start racing and I will hear the one voice. The voice of encouragement. The voice of trust. The voice of worthiness. Something just clicks and it's like all of a sudden I realize that maybe I can do something. Maybe I too am worthy or capable of doing something valuable. Sometimes, I think someone else has to believe in me before I will believe in myself. And I think this is important. It's very important to receive it, but it is, in my opinion, equally as important to give it away. If we can learn to see past people and see into their hearts, maybe we can see what the Lord has for them. Maybe we can see just who the Lords wants them to be. And we have this sacred opportunity to encourage them. We have the chance to help them feel worthy. We have this chance to do life together. To love one another. Just a few words or some quality time can be a life changer. I know this is true. And I think this is what loving each other is all about. It's hard. It's messy. But it's worth it. Lives can be changed. Even saved. I think it's just a glimpse of the kingdom poking in:)