Friday, November 20, 2015

Savoring Singleness

I wasn't going to be that girl. Nope, not me. Plenty of others are doing it right? Riiiiight? I mean, just because I haven't found anyone writing about it the way I want to read about it, that doesn't mean it's not happening. Riiiiiight? 

Ugh. Okay. Fine. 

So, what am I talking about exactly? Oh, you know, only the plague that is singleness.
I kid, I kid, I know it's not a plague, but I also know I can't be the only one that sometimes treats it like it is.
For example, if it's a married gal talking about singleness, I typically run like it's the plague. Awful, I know. 

Now I'm not saying that once someone is married that their experience or struggles as a single gal cease to mean anything. I'm not saying that AT ALL. But my knee jerk reaction is to tune those voices out. It's prideful and petty and all kinds of junk but it's true. To be honest, it often feels like they've already won the race or crossed the finish line or WHATEVER and the icky sticky part of me has a hard time listening.

So, here I am. Being that girl. That girl blogging about being single. That girl I didn't want to be but I feel sort of like I'm supposed to be. At least for now.

So, can I be super real for a second? Well, real again? Writing about singleness terrifies me.

There, I said it. I come up with so many ideas for what to write here, but because I haven't mastered them or I'm not "on the other side" of them I shut it down. Hence why this blog has been quiet in recent weeks. And y'all. I'm not exactly a pro at being single. 

But Lord have mercy and send some grace my way, because that's the reason I feel more and more like I should write about it. I'm smack dab in the middle of it. I wrestle with it. I ignore it. I pretend I'm totally fine and that I've got it under control. *insert nonchalant hair flip here* And some days I do. But most days I don't.

And I want to walk through the muck and the mire with people who are in it with me, AND with people "on the other side". So whether you're single, married, engaged, divorced, dating, whathaveyou, I'm inviting you in.

I'm inviting you to the "in progress" part of my heart. The sticky, messy, still sorting it out part that needs to get words out to let light in. There are some lies and junk that's been bottled up for too long that needs to be flung out in the open and have some truth spoken over it. There are some lessons learned, helpful hints, and a whole lot of questions to share, too. Also, don't be surprised if a disastrous date story makes its appearance because I have a few of those as well.
So here we go: Savoring Singleness. It's a thing.
But why savoring? Why not surrendering or saluting or scrutinizing or skillfully evading?
That is a great question, friends.

The word savor has meant more and more to me over the past year and a half, and I get the feeling there are still bucketloads to learn. I started #savoryourseason last fall after moving to Oklahoma to use as a reminder to savor my current season instead of wishing it away for the next. To soak it up, get the most out of it and put as much into it I could. For further understanding, here is savor defined:

1. taste (good food or drink) and enjoy it completely
2. enjoy or appreciate (something pleasant) completely, especially by dwelling on it

Whoop, there it is. Dwelling on it. Sitting in it. Wrestling with it. Exploring all of it, the good bad, pretty and ugly. COMPLETELY. That's how you savor. Choosing to see singleness as an opportunity for growth and refinement, deciding it will be a pleasant experience and digging roots down deep, now THAT'S how I want to savor.

So, here we go. We'll ask questions, we'll be vulnerable, we'll get to the nitty-gritty. We'll un-earth the ugly, but we'll choose to see the beautiful, too. We'll look for the good, we'll reflect on the past, we'll learn from one another.

Notice I am saying WE here, and it's for a reason. I may be writing and this may be my blog, but this is an exchange. This is you and me, whether it's one of you or one hundred of you, choosing to dig in together. So please, dig in. Say hello. Get real. Share your struggles. Share your advice. Share your resources. Share your hurts. Let's figure out how to savor singleness together.

The first step to battling the hurt and lies surrounding the topic is to refuse to allow yourself to be isolated. Community can kick that junk to the curb.

So... are you in? Cause I am. 
And I know I'm gonna need a hand to hold.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Golden Vlog: Work

Life w/ Mrs G & the Artist

It's that time again! The November Golden Vlog is live! Thanks for your patience as I got it up a little late this morning. Blogger kept trying to eat the video... oops. Today we are talking about WORK! Record your own and link up below :)

Here's the Rules . . .
1. You must follow your hosts on at least ONE form of social media to linkup w/ us. 
2. We want to see your face! How many times you roll your eyes, and if you talk with your hands! So link up a post featuring your VLOG answering this months questions! Please link up a post not your blog's home page, and be sure there is a VLOG (video blog) featured! This is the Golden Vlog after all ;)
3. Add the button above or a text link to one of the hosts to help us promote this crazy thing!
4. Spread the love! go watch, listen, and comment on other blogs and make some new friends!
If you have any questions at all or want to be included on our monthly Golden Vlog Letter with next months questions just email
*all links not featuring a vlog or this months questions will be removed!

Join us again in December for the last Golden Vlog of 2015!
December Prompts:
-what did you do for thanksgiving this year?
-what are your plans for Christmas?
-what is your favorite holiday treat or meal?
-what is on your wish list this year?
-what's the best gift you have ever received?
- do you put up a Christmas tree or decorate?
Do you wait till after thanksgiving or do it before?
- what's your favorite Christmas song?
- must see Christmas movies?
-what are some favorite traditions that you and your family have?

Life w/ Mrs G & the Artist

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Currently in November

Stolen moments at home during the day are one of my favorite things. I'm on a brief lunch break before a couple of meetings, and a nap is in my future as well. I may or may not have accidentally stayed up until 3am reading a book... which I'll tell you more about soon ;) I hope everyone's weeks are off to a great start! 

Now for what I'm currently up to:

Reading... The Selection Series. Y'all, SO GOOD! It's been a while since a series caught my eye (I'm talking Divergent before the movies came out) and I devoured three books in two days. I'm trying to pace myself, but I just can't stop! And I've loved spotting the author, Kiera Cass, in the Illustrated Faith hashtag ;)
Playing... Christmas music already. I know, I can't help myself! I may have been listening since September... shh!
Watching... Inside Out! Again! I showed it to my family for the first time over the weekend. So cute. Also, there's a short called Riley's First Date that is just adorable and continues the story!
Trying... to get to bed early this week. We'll see how that goes.
Cooking... my meals at home. Another goal of my 6x6 is to eat healthy and from my own fridge more often than not. Chicken and veggies are the go-to.
Eating... the above. With the icing on the cake... BLUEBELL ICE CREAM! It made its way to Oklahoma finally!
Drinking... Diet Snapple Peach Tea. You might say I'm addicted. I would simply say dedicated.
Calling... Anthro over and over again. I'm working over the holidays but still have paperwork to do.
Texting... to catch up on what I missed this weekend! My phone bit the dust on Saturday, womp womp, so I'm trying to get ahold of everyone again.
Pinning... inspiration for my December Daily album. I can't wait to share these pages with you!
Tweeting... wise words of Bob Goff" "It's easy to confuse a lot of activity with a purposeful life. Get some rest."
Going... to work on my homework shortly. Oh the joys of grad school life.
Loving... being on the Illustrated Faith creative team! What a joy it is to work with and learn from these ladies!
Hating... the ridiculous uproar about the Starbucks red cups. Y'all. Chillax. Spread love. 
Discovering... a freeing feeling during "No Netflix November." It's doing wonders.
Thinking... about some exciting opportunities in the weeks to come. Stay tuned.
Feeling... in awe of how fast 2015 is flying by. When did it become November?!
Hoping (for)... an easy day of classes today. My first one is meeting for coffee and then my day is mostly open!
Listening (to)... the Hamilton soundtrack. Oh, what I wouldn't give to be in NYC to see it live!
Celebrating... the fall weather! We get the 60's all week long!
Smelling... my favorite Christmas candle: Sweet Vanilla Cinnamon. Mmmm!
Ordering... NOTHING. This shopping freeze is harder than I thought. Etsy is full of delightful things!
Thanking... the Lord each day in my Gratitude Documented journal. Get a glimpse HERE.
Considering... adding some new items to my ETSY SHOP! Have you seen the Bible tabs yet??
Starting... to prep posts for next week. Hopefully a regular blogging schedule is coming soon.
Finishing... my Christmas tree! I was missing one more role of burlap and it's almost done!

What are YOU up to currently?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Making NOVEMBER Happen

Hello, beautiful November! There's something about this month that gives me the warm fuzzies. Maybe it's the promise of sweet time with family around a table full of decadent food, or the glitter of Christmas calling from the month's end. This November is no different. 

I have to say that after the whirlwind that was October, November was a welcomed sight! Plus with fall back Saturday night? Man! What a way to start things off! October was full to the brim. After flying through September with 30 blog posts (hooray for those of you who participated in The Blog-tember Challenge!), I was in great need of a blogging break. Funny how that works. I built up so much momentum then BAM, I hit the breaks. 

But October also held my "thesis" show for my Masters here at OSU, and the play I had been directing since August (studying since February) demanded all of my attention. I spent hours painting paint sticks (600+ in fact!), programming lights, finding the perfect music, and working with my actors to put on the three best nights of theatre we could muster. Then in a weekend it opened and closed in a flash! 

Almost, Maine was a success if I do say so myself and, SURPRISE! We get to do it again in February! This was perhaps the biggest surprise of all! Due to some complicated circumstances, a space opened on the theatre department's main stage in the spring, and the faculty decided that Almost, Maine would be a good fit! So after a few months off (and a few months of further analysis/writing) we will rally the troops and give it another go! I simply can't wait! 

Now onto this month's goals. I didn't share any for October, even though I filled out my PowerSheets as per usual. This month brought the 3 month refresh, and I was glad to take another look at what I want to make happen these last few months of 2015. 

On Periscope (@baileyjrobert) last week I shared about a practice I learned in undergrad which I call a 6x6. I select six goals for six weeks and work intentionally toward those each day. These goals are at the top of the list for November!

November Goals:

1. Cultivate contentment. A shopping FREEZE. I can't just say shop less or save my money, because neither of those things have worked in the past. So I am putting a FREEZE on shopping for the month. Unless it is a Christmas gift for someone ELSE my money stays IN. MY. WALLET. Something's gotta give here, so hopefully this helps. However, I will make a Christmas wish-list, don't you worry ;)

2. Study PRAYER. If you missed yesterday's scope, I talked about some of my favorite resources and books I hope to read to study prayer this month. It's time to dig in and I'm so excited!

3. Begin 100 Days of Heart Healthy Habits! You know me and that I love a good challenge. They really kick me into gear so I started a health challenge over at @hearthealthyhabits. 100 days of getting active and eating well, documented for accountability. Let's do this!

4. Spend Thanksgiving/extra time with my family. One of my favorite things about this month is just how much time I get to spend at home. I'm headed home this weekend to hit The Dallas Flea with my Mom and sister (talk about tough on a spending freeze!) and then our big Thanksgiving family reunion is just around the corner. Bring on the fun, friends, and MONKEY BREAD! 

5. Decorate for Christmas. Can I mark this one off already? I spent Halloween putting up my Christmas tree (pictures to come!) and I've been listening to Christmas music for weeks. I'm gone so much this month and half of December, so I wanted to enjoy the decor for as long as possible. And Mom and I are already making plans to tackle the house when I get home.

6. Contribute to the Illustrated Faith Creative Team. WOOHOO! We finally got to share the news yesterday, and I am OVERJOYED to have been chosen to be on the IF creative team. Did any of you try to guess the info collages yesterday? The one pictured above was, well, obviously mine. Apparently the Shakespeare collection gave it away ;) I'll be blogging for IF in late November and working my way through the #gratitudedocumented journal this month as well. Also, part of my 6x6 was to paint a page per day, so it's going to be an Illustrated Faith-filled month!

7. #NOnetflixNOVEMBER. SO TOUGH. I have been working my way through Bones, Fixer Upper, and Scandal the past few weeks, but I am putting the breaks on the Netflix marathons this month. I'm determined to be productive in other ways (can you even call Netflix bingeing productive?) and only catching up on my shows via Hulu if I'm at the gym. But come December, bring on the cheesy ABC Family Christmas movies!

8. Prep my December Daily album. This year I am participating in Ali Edward's December Daily challenge(?) and I could not be more excited! My kits are here, some of which are going to be used for an Advent journaling Bible, and I want to get a head start.

9. Simplify and organize. This past weekend I started organizing my apartment, but I know there is more editing out of the excess to do. I have a pile for Goodwill and a pile to be put in an Instagram sale soon. It's been put on the back burner until I can get more schoolwork taken care of. 

Alright, November, I see you. It's going to take intentionality and accountability to make all these things happen, so who's in?

What about you? Any goals?
What are YOU making happen in November?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

To Maine and Back Again

My heart is oh so full today, friends, and it's time I put this wild and beautiful ride into words. This weekend we opened and closed my "thesis" show, Almost, Maine, and I feel both spent and bubbling over with joy. 

The Blog-tember Challenge was such a delight, and I loved getting to know so many new faces that popped in from time to time! However, when October 1st rolled around I had to push pause. While so many of my blogging gal pals have been pouring out their hearts in the Write 31 Days Challenge (check out Rachel, Nicole, and Annie!), I had to step away to get my show off its feet. I am in my second year of graduate school and this is it, this is THE BIG ONE. Almost, Maine has been on my heart and mind since February, and this weekend all of the pieces came together for a beautiful final product.

I shared glimpses on Instagram and Periscope, tweeting away the hours spent painting paint sticks (600+) and focusing lights, snapping shots of rehearsal while my actors carried this show on their shoulders. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all of your grace and support these past eight weeks! I couldn't have survived them without you! 

Like I said, I selected Almost, Maine in the spring and I spent quite a bit of time with it over the summer, prepping to hold auditions in August. I knew the play fairly well from seeing it in undergrad, but my writing took a lot longer than usual. I wrote 30 pages on the characters alone! My five actors had the joy and challenge of playing nineteen characters total, and they knocked it out of the park if you asked me. 

Once we had the cast, we dove into the show and divided up the parts, rehearsing Monday through Friday, from 6:30-10:00pm. Rehearsals were full of inside jokes and discoveries, learning how to safely beat one another over the head with an ironing board (we broke two, by the way... ironing boards, not people!) and getting to know these characters and their world backwards and forwards. Watching lightbulb moments happen made late nights so worth it, and I almost never left the theatre without having cried from laughing so hard. It was a true JOY to work with these talented people!

One of the challenges about doing Almost, Maine was needing to have the Northern Lights shine on stage multiple times. Mind you, I had a very limited budget and no designers, so this was all on me. Luckily, I had worked with Anthropologie's display coordinator back in Seattle and I was promptly inspired by previous window displays I had saved ages ago on Pinterest. Painted paint sticks it is!

I ordered them in bulk on Amazon over the summer, expecting that 400 would be plenty, but boy was I wrong. We ended up with over 600 hung around the theatre to make said Northern Lights, and it would not have been possible without the help of the Theatre Council. Ten dedicated volunteers spent five hours painting all the paint sticks white and two shades of blue, then I spent day after day hanging them in just the right pattern. 

I then decided to paint the floor white as though it were ice/snow. My first night of fall break was spent with the cast and crew finishing the paint sticks and setting the first layer of white paint. Over the course of the three day weekend I spent 10+ hours each day either painting, programming lights, setting sound cues, and organizing props. It wasn't much of a break but it was totally worth it!

This weekend all of our hard work paid off! The show opened last Thursday with only a few hiccups (the shoe that was supposed to drop from the sky... well... didn't... but they made it work!) and a surprisingly large audience for a Thursday evening! Friday's show stepped it up to the next level, and the audience ate it up! They clapped for each scene, the transitions even, and gave them a second standing ovation. The audience lights decided to give out at intermission so everyone sat there confused when the actors didn't come back out, but it was quickly remedied.

Then on Saturday night they truly knocked it out of the park! The energy was vibrant, the details perfect, and everything went off without a hitch! I was SO SO PROUD! I still am! I've been getting great feedback from professors and friends who saw the show, and it really could not have gone better in my opinion. A third and final standing ovation was given, and it was well deserved by these hard working actors! When it gets to be showtime, as a director I step back and it is out of my hands. Talk about nerve-wracking! But never have I been more confident and at ease than handing it over to my cast and crew this go-around. They made my job easy and made me look good too ;)

This weekend was also full of sweet visitors! My sister and her boyfriend came on Thursday, as well as a friend from Baylor who lives nearby. My parents came on Friday night, all the way up from Texas as well, as did the leaders of Delight Ministries here at OSU. Those sweet girls are becoming so dear to me! Saturday brought more friends from around OSU, the sweet Ellie B.,  and friends from Baylor once again! I felt so blessed, so loved, and so supported! 

How's that for the most adorable show gift you ever did see? My little jar of love with snowflake notes from the cast and a gold sparkly travel mug have a place up front and center in my apartment. Really, I am overflowing with joy from the whole experience! It was sad to see it all boxed up and painted over on Sunday, but I won't soon forget my travels to Almost, Maine.

Now, back to blogging. Hooray! While I would have loved to join the Write 31 Days challenge, I knew I would drop the ball as soon as I picked it up as my show needed focus. But now I'm back, and weekly updates will be coming your way soon. There are fun things ahead, too, like a journaling Bible giveaway and the 2nd Annual Merry & Bright Gift Swap, plus plenty more. Stay tuned!

And, in true theatre craziness, I was cast in a show that starts rehearsal tomorrow! 
Two days off and we're back at it again ;) But I don't think I'd have it any other way. 

What have YOU been up to lately? 
Did you catch any of Almost, Maine on Periscope?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!