Perfect Peace

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.

Isaiah 26:3

I don’t know about anyone else but on this Monday (or whatever day you are reading this) it’s no accident this verse is here. I love this translation version from the CSB because it’s pointing directly to a dependency issue.

When we are depending upon someone or something, we put our trust in it. We know it’s steadfast and true to what it has stated it will do. It comes through on promises. For me, placing my mindset in a dependence upon anything else than God will not bring peace. It’ll bring turmoil, anxiety and a lot of heartache. But when I choose to bring my thoughts back to God, depending upon Him in my thought-life over and over again? Well, there’s a bit of calm. There’s stillness and a quietness that descends.

The noise of depending upon social media, opinions and television just don’t hold my trust like God does. And they shouldn’t. They can’t fulfill promises made, they won’t provide peace. In fact they will often times distort and disrupt peace in order to further our heartache, the lies of the world, and our anxieties to perform for the crowd.

Maybe this Monday holds a lot of worry and chaos. But when we align our minds, pushing into utter dependence upon God alone to give peace in the midst, we find ourselves trusting more and more in the God of fulfilled promises.

Bachelor Mondays

Not since I was interning at my first job out of college have I watched The Bachelor. That’s right kiddos, 2003 was the last time I chose to watch women vie for a man’s affections. Let me just say that in the last 14 years, times have a’changed.

Thanks to a writing project AND The Popcast Bachelor recaps (I shake my fists at their infectious podcast suck of needing to know) I am now experiencing life in Bachelor world once more. My roommate can attest to the fact that this is how I watch on Monday nights:

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It’s confirmed some things I long thought about the show, and it’s also caused me to question the juggernaut that is the female culture in it’s current state. This is, after all, my thoughts and opinions but y’all, I’m worried for my fellow ladies out there in singledom. I also have my questions about why a 36 year old man would want a pool of women whose average age is a decade younger than him, but I think we can all deduce that issue down to one thing….

Last night as I was watching a young woman devise a plan to make sure the Bachelor remembered their relationship (involving a trench coat and whipped cream mind you) was the important one, I could only think that what we’ve been sold as women is exactly what we’ve accepted. Use your body to get his attention, that’s all he’s looking for, all that any man wants. That we have to compete with one another for him rather than encourage and empathize and get to know him to see if what he values and what we do mesh…if he is who we are seeking to have as a partner as well.

Watching The Bachelor showed me more than I cared to see about dating life these days (and more of certain women than I ever want to) but it taught me a valuable lesson that when I question whether my standards for being pursued or being in a relationship are a bit too high that it means I value who I am as well in the relationship and am not just turning into someone who I think he wants me to be in order to not be alone. It also affirms my desire to talk with women of all ages (and the men of our generation as well) about what singledom is, how we can walk it with beauty and dignity, and how we can all respect and enjoy single life and the pursuits of relationship without the degradation of ourselves in the process.

I didn’t show up to the Bachelor watching to preach on a soapbox but to see what a decade-plus later is teaching us and the Millenials about dating life, about relationships and boundaries. But I am also here for the hilarity that is Dolphin-Shark girl, how many times I hear “I am here for the right reasons” and the moral compass that keeps getting reset each week. (Also Corinne…y’all that’s a whole book in itself) I am here for the fun of watching dating life play out in a weird vacuum, edited for entertainment and then presented to the masses starved for a break from their own relationship woes, or lack thereof.


Join me right back here each week as I look a little deeper at the episode and what it can teach us all about dating and the single mindset.

Do The Thing.

Tap.

Scroll, Scroll, Scroll.

Tap.

Scroll, Like, (Ugh, why would you put that out there?), Scroll, Scroll. LOVE.

Tap.

I think the majority of you can ascertain what that is describing, as we all seem to tap and scroll, like and judge on our phones these days.

We see people doing amazing things, putting themselves out there and jumping at opportunities. We see people out having fun, pursuing dreams, and everyone seems to be in a happier place than us. Am I right?

Lately for me, I have used social media as a means of procrastination. I have read posts, looked through photos, found streams of hashtags all in the name of research for my writing. But not much writing has been going on. Instead it’s a whole lot of scrolling and a whole lot of unproductivity. It’s lost time and momentum, and instead supplanted a whole lot of self-doubt and questions.

I wouldn’t say I have become jealous or envious of others’ pursuits as several years ago I prayed through that as I saw others advancing and decided to celebrate them over feeling left out or rejected in any way. (I’m mature, I know)

No for me, it’s getting bogged down in the distraction of it all. In the taking a break to clear the mind and finding myself flipping through four forms of social media I have at the ready of my finger tips. Trust me when I say I do love it, it has connected me with people and broadened my perspective on certain things, discovering new ideas and thoughts that I wouldn’t have been challenged to see.

But y’all, it’s my excuse these days. I use it when I should be fighting through writer’s block, when I should be digging into His Word, when I should be sitting in the quiet stillness of life. This isn’t a proclamation of social media fast (you all can stop that at any time because it’s okay to just do it). It’s a call to accountability, that I need to do the thing I am called to do instead of choosing distraction.

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Distractions are so good, they feed our selves in such ways that bring us delight in the moment, a reprieve from the hard/difficult/uncomfortable/quiet. I am chief of these in pursuing y’all. I even said last night to my friend that I watch entirely too much television, and then commenced to starting the next show on my DVR. Instead of writing. Instead of taking time to dig into Scripture that God has put on my heart. Instead of praying for that friend who came to mind earlier in the day. Instead of cultivating relationships in and around my life.

Maybe you’re like me and seeking out distractions from dealing with life, a call that has gotten to be difficult, loneliness in the midst of a season of quiet, expectations unmet or unrealized…a place where God isn’t providing how you expected or how you defined. It’s gotten hard or quiet and you just want to be distracted by the noise of the world-good intentioned, but still distracting.

For me, I have to do the thing. Not what my flesh desires but what I know deep within, obedience. Obedience to the thing that is greater than what I desire in social media, television, inherently good things…to the Lord in this moment, just now…for today. It’s not easy, nor will I get it right 100% of the time, but for just this moment when I’d rather reach for my phone or remote, I go empty-handed to Him. To His call. To His Word. To time spent with Him.

Crazy Fun

Life has been what I would call crazy fun over the last two months. I prayed and 11923214_10103299607187635_5614688240623052797_njourneyed through a really difficult season this summer and I truly believe God is showing me what joy and contentment look like when I leave it to Him.

So with that I wanted to share some absolute fun things popping up.

First off let’s talk new fall television. Here’s the rub yall, I enjoy television. I find good quality stuff and I will find utter garbage to watch. I run the spectrum and I am quite okay with that. You should be too. Unless you have an addiction issue then seek help, seriously. A couple of new shows that have debuted this last week I am digging, since frankly Fox allowed Mindy Project to jump to Hulu (sorry, I’m just going to have catch up later) I was side-eyeing Scream Queens. But this is a mix of fun, campy and terrifying all rolled into one. There’s a ton of pop culture references that may have you in need of a pop-up video version.

The Player and Quantico were my gambles, pun intended for that Vegas set betting premise former show. I’m digging them both because they bring something different to the story of an hour long drama that I enjoy. It’s not the played out plot lines. Quantico also feeds my 8 year old self who wrote to the FBI for information about the academy. (Little known fact about me) strong female lead abounds in this show with her own issues but a sassy swagger. (We need more sassy swagger in our female leads)
Here’s the shows I’m aching to return: iZombie, Sleepy Hollow and Blue Bloods. (B2 returned on Friday and this was a summer addition after I watched all five season thanks to my neighborhood library!) My dad and I discuss Sleepy Hollow’s historical references ┬ácause we are nerds like that. Plus who doesn’t love a British man with scruff and longer hair stuck in a 18th century outfit? IZombie is one that no one I know watches and I cling to the fact that it’s my Veronica Mars for this time of life. Throw in another smart female lead and you have a winner peeps.

Speaking of television and my love for all things cop shows, download this week’s PopCast podcast where I land on both TeamKnox and TeamJamie for a bit in relation to my rabid fascination with all things police detectives television shows.

While I do watch some serious TV, I am still chugging away at my book goal for the year. I’m a little behind and I blame binge watching B2 and cultivating friendships. Anyways I will be reviewing a book right here on the blog pretty regularly moving forward, and will be giving a copy away with some of them. Stay tuned on that in the coming weeks. Currently I am diving into Desiring God by John Piper.

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In the last few weeks I kayaked six miles with some coworkers up the French Broad in North Carolina. Pretty spectacular day of getting to know people I work with and enjoying God’s creation. I highly recommend an excursion, especially in North Carolina if you get the chance.

Many of you know the foodie that I am. Well after doing reviews in several places I decided to launch it all on one hosting site. If you haven’t yet, check out the Dining Out Solo blog. It’s been fun going to try out new places each week and write up my thoughts on the experience and food. I’ll be taking it on the road next weekend which should be a blast!

11951151_10103329799422155_365463124412319475_nSo that’s just a glimpse of the crazy fun of the last couple of months….including multiple county fair visits with some great gals and checking out some new movies, seeing Kelly Clarkson live (eep!) and watching an NFL training camp practice (Titans, meh!). Seriously, life is truly great right now!

What crazy fun are you getting into as fall is upon us?

Why I Love Nashville…

We all know I love this town I call home.

But no, I am referring to the show in this post. So you can exit now if you’re not into awesome television. Go on…those of us who enjoy a good show that has some fantastic songs throughout will wait…

Over the course of it’s two seasons, I have had the privilege, nay exuberant joy, of being a part of a taping or two. That’s the thing about the show. They embrace the town they film in. They give back to the city that loves it. We are a snobbish sort here in Nashville. We cannot help it. We are artists, creators, writers, and musicians…we can be picky and we darn well will let you know that too.

We don’t welcome in the elitist. We like the workers. We love the get in the dirt attitude of a survivor. The ones who aren’t satisfied with complete. We champion those who don’t give up after the first go round of being let down.

Maybe that’s why we love Nashville. Why we as a town have embraced the filming. The shake ups of closed streets or using of our workspaces so they can show off this city that has come to love it right back. I also know we love it because it’s a fighter. It won’t go down quietly and that’s part of who we are in Nashville. We fight for our work. For what we believe in. And we believe in this show.

We also believe in the creatives who use this medium to share their work. Maybe it’s because they are so darn personable. Maybe it’s because we see some of ourselves in them. The every day person who is striving hard to succeed, to get to the next step in this town, and we band together in solidarity just from a look.

I can only speak from my perspective, yet it seems this city loves this show. I know I do. Because it’s stars? Well they don’t act much like the star power they carry. I have cheered on a university’s basketball team alongside Lennon and Maisy Stella, and Charles Esten. I have walked past Kimberly Williams Paisley while she was “on-set” at my work, having lunch with the extras. Sam Palladio hangs out at a local coffee shop and is complimentary of students I work with from their interactions with him. Heck, even Broadway star Will Chase high fived me from the stage during a taping at the Ryman the other night, just because I tweeted a joking post at him.

That’s why I love this show…because they reflect this town.

And why you should fall in love with this show too.

Friday Fun Time

I am not sure about anyone else but this week has been long. With it now being August, work has intensified as we prepared to welcome students back in a matter of days. (Yes, days…not weeks) So with that I just wanted to have a smidge of fun on this Friday. I wanted to share (one of) my favorite television shows with you. Here’s the deal though, this show has been off the air for years, but is making it’s big screen debut in 2014 thanks to myself and other Kickstarter supporters!

That’s right, Veronica is back!

Without further ado, I give the first glimpse at Veronica Mars, the movie!

Birthday Dinner.

Last year I posted on the things I wanted for my birthday. So this year, given the increase of the importance of conversation and writing and experiences of life in general, I have decided that I would like to offer up the dinners I would like to have with groups of people. You know that whole game of 5 People, Dead or Alive, You’d Have Dinner With? Well, here’s my spin.

1. The Foodie People.
This dinner would be the chefs I admire, respect, and cook from quite often. Hosea Rosenberg is still there, cause he’s Hosea and I still want to experience a conversation with this dude. The other four would be Ree Drummond (seriously, this woman is like a heart sister), Brandon Frohne of Nashville’s Masons, Stephanie Izard of Girl and the Goat fame, and Tom Colicchio (because, why not?!). Three of these are Top Chef people and that is one of my favorite shows ever, so you’ll just have to deal with it. Would I cook? Heck no. I think we’d do a potluck of their favorite dish, or maybe we’d hit up Au Cheval in Chicago because I still dream of that place at times.

2. The Famous People
This one would be the people I count to be famous from work in film and television. Melissa McCarthy, basically because she’s awesome and who wouldn’t invite her to dinner?! Kristen Bell would be my next obvious choice because of how much I adore her, and her love for sloths. James Franco would have an invite because I feel like he would be incredibly articulate to have dinner with alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. I like a good balance of humor and wit, and those four seem to have that filled in nicely. My only other addition would be Ian Somerhalder, simply because he’s dreamy to look at. He’s an environmental activist and cares about the animal population, so don’t get me wrong when I say he’s pretty.

3. The Writing Group
I read…alot. I have a ton of authors I am a huge fan of. They range from young adult fiction to religion to education and back to the classics. For the most part though I have a handful that I would invite to dinner, preferably at a big farmhouse table to discuss writing over a homemade pizza and salad combo finished off with a superbly made cheesecake. (I dream of the perfect pairings often) With this group you’d find Beth Moore and Shauna Niequist. These two are recent changes due to reading their books for the first time. Two remarkable women with incredible visions on the life of women. I’d throw in Brene Brown for good measure, as I’d love to have her in this discussion anytime. My next would be Susan Komives. She’s a leadership in education expert and has some amazing stories to share that lead into discussions that I have only truly had in her company. Finally I would have to have Charlotte Bronte. I have always wanted to sit down with her and chat. I think she’d be surprised by the group of women around the table and possibly inspired to write another tale.

4. The Music Group
You knew this one would happen…if you know me at all. The hard part is narrowing it down to just five because I think, at any given point, I could have over 20 musicians. For now, here’s my list of invitees to a hearty five course meal including something off the grill and a berry tart. Bear Rinehart of Needtobreathe is at the top of my list. Alongside Otis Redding, Bonnie Raitt, Adam Levine, and Ellie & Drew Holcomb (they are a couple and therefore count as one!). This reflects a little of my eclectic taste in music.

5. The Friend Group This one I was saving for last…this is a group that makes up the heart people in my life that I don’t see very often, if at all. It’s the people I would want hours of creating a meal for and then hours of enjoying it over a big table, a fireplace, and a cold night. The setting looks more like a cabin than my house, and I love that feeling it gives. I would include Brooke, my closest girlfriend from college, whom I’ve seen twice since we graduated but it’s always like it’s just been yesterday. My best guy friend from college, Jeff, because we do see one another more frequently it’s still not the same. Life has grown and changed us both and I look forward to hearing his stories of new memories. Brett would have to get an invite simply because he’s the logical one of the group, most days, and works his tail off for so many months of the year that we hardly see him. Dan, the guy I had a massive crush on in college, but who became a friend. He’s a dad and husband now, and he’s the happiest I have ever seen him. I’d like to have him at the table with this motley crew. Lastly I’d bring in JP. I cannot believe we’ve stayed in touch for so long, but he’s the guy who makes me cackle laugh and then question his morals. He’s a dear friend whom I never would have thought would befriend the lowly baseball intern, but he did…and made my experience a blast.

 

Who would you invite to dinner? What would you make and where would it be?