Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Resolution Evaluation.

Last year I made {3} Resolutions thinking that would give me more focus. Now that 2011 is upon us and its time for some evaluation, well, lets just say that I know me. So instead of me evaluating, making excuses, fudging the details, doing it myself I had Ty do it. I gave him full permission to be honest and he jumped at the idea...a little too quickly.

So here they are: my husbands grades on my 2010 Resolutions. Don't judge.

1. Become a good cook:: A

Lets put it this way: this year i put on about fifteen pounds! My wife has become such a good cook this year, further proving that marriage is not only rewarding but fattening as well.

2. Become a better student:: F-

The words "EPIC FAIL" come to mind. Julie did about ten whole minutes of homework in 2010.

3. Write More:: A++

If writing was working out Julie would be a body builder. 2010 has left us with hundreds of unfinished (but started) journals, hundreds of blog posts, brainstorming on ebooks, one e-course, and several chapters of her book.

-Ty [her loving husband]

Your Resolutions

//Erica// Less texting and driving.... maybe it should be NO texting and driving. Baby steps.

//Kathy// Continue working towards a life delighted first in HIM, hopefully 20 lbs healthier, and more home cooked meals for my family!!

//Katie// To get closer to God (:

//Tyson// To start a blog. [oh yea]

//Amber// To not make any resolutions.

//Andrew// Instead of viewing priorities as a hierarchy, this year I resolve to commit fully to each of those things for which I am responsible.

//Lexi// to cut off all junk food--for 6 months. lets see if i can make it that long first

//Jess// Stop drinking Starbucks! Lose 10lbs for my wedding. :) Save money..... I feel like those are all tied together somehow!

//Crystal-Lee// I want to be a diligent wife, & work toward becoming an independent makeup artist.

Be looking for these all day! Plus my husband's evaluation of my 2010 Resolutions. Eeek!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Writing Practice & Resolutions

In lieu of my writing practice I am attempting to write a couple shorter E-books on somethings I am crazy passionate about. Here's a sneak peek.

In my journey as a worship leader I have come to be convicted by one thing. The worth of my worship  is dead if I am not acknowledging the grace and greatness of God. Scripture elaborately describes that worship is not just music. It is not just singing. In fact, the act of singing is just one of many aspects of worship. "Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are – mind, emotions, will, body – to what God is and says and does." [Weirsbe] 

It's a response. An active response. And response urges action. Action to make right. Do right. Love what is right in the eyes of God. Micah 6:8 says, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?" What exactly does God require of us? Just this: "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." That's worship. [We have a song about it too! Go here]

[From the Diaries of a Grownup Teenage Girl]
I've always wanted to write a book with my mom. She's the wisest woman I know. Growing up, she learned the fine and skilled art of mothering a teenager while creating an environment of love and respect. I respect both my parents tremendously. I don't know how they did it, but whatever they worked.

Now that's not to say I was never angry, irritated, annoyed, or overly dramatic about how I felt I was being treated, sheltered, and/or denied my rights as an American teenage girl. One skim through my journal will show you otherwise. I was a normal teenage girl with normal teenage drama. We're all [mostly] the same. Yet they maneuvered through those times with such poise, grace, and an overabundance of love. 

This book will be full of funny, inspiring, and hopefully encouraging stories for all moms of teenage girls and all teenage girls of moms. 

Everyone can sing. It's true. Everyone can and everyone does. You know who you are, you showering, hair brushing, radio blasting belters. Ya'll do it because singing is part of who we are. Think about it, people have been singing since the beginning of time. People sing all over the world. Every nation, every tribe, every country utilizes the gift of music. Why is that? 

My E-Course, I {Heart} Singing, will give you the tools you need to understand the method and magic behind singing [I'll give you a hint, it's not as magical as you think ;)]. It will also push you outside of your comfort zone to connect heart, mind, and soul through song.

Everyone loves music. Everyone loves singing. That's a no brainer. 

So there you have it. These are a big part of my NY Resolutions. Keep me accountable :) 

What are your NY Resolutions? Comment them or email me them and I'll post the on my blog all day tomorrow. Finale-ing with my own Resolutions and new blog look by Midnight.

[Ahh, so much pressure, so much excitement!]


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello Friends, Meet Motivation.

Lately I've needed a little extra motivation to get myself writing. Some call it writer's block, I call it writer's laziness. I've tried rewards systems but with my spoil me husband, those haven't worked out so well. [Kinda glad...shhh.]

But today when I was supposed to be looking for a new dog bed and spice rack @ Home Goods, I saw this and just had to have it. 

It's an hourglass [the clock is already mine haha]. A real life hour glass. I've never seen these sold anywhere. I'm sure they're probably everywhere but I've never seen them.

So I bought it [$9.99] and am ordaining it my Writing Glass. I have to sit and write until that crisp white sand runs all the way through til every little grain has cleared the landing.

I'm pretty excited. It makes writing a little more fun when you add new things to the mix. Like everything I guess, routine can get monotonous. Now when I write, I smile again.

How do you change up your everyday routines?


MLSW: The Bling.

Bridesmaids are wearing black dresses so that makes the accessorizing a playground of sparkles & shine. Oh yea. We spent way too much money [thank goodness for gift cards] @ the 21 today and bought all the bling. 

Three of the six BM dresses have a bow on the front, so we figured we'd skip a necklace on these and spruce up their gorgeous arms with some bangle fun.

Two of the six dresses are strapless and no bow so we went with a longer necklace to lengthen their "line".

And then of course everyone gets ring bling. Rings are my favorite part of dressing up. I'm so glad costume jewelry came back with a vengeance. There are so many options everywhere you go! Here are some potential winners. 

The rabbit one on the end is what my sister is wearing for her engagement shoot. Very Alice in Wonderlandy eh? 

My jewelry has yet to be discovered, but I finally have my dress! Pics coming soon. It was only $34 @ the 21. Love that place!

Time for bed. I will dream of weddings tonight.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Family Traditions.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas. And for those of you with snow, I envy you. Snow @ Christmastime is so much more magical. This weekend has been a blur of hustle and a good way. But amidst it all I realized how much I love my family traditions, old and new. 

I think traditions are an important stone in the building of my life. 

I love traditions. 
I love the unity they bring in a family.
I love the memories they so sweetly re-illuminate every year. 

I love starting new traditions with my new family. Like me and Ty driving around with our full steaming Starbucks drinks [Ty: Chai Tea Latte + Me: Gingerbread Latte], searching for Christmas lights to marvel at. This year was the best drive. :) 

I love old traditions. Like opening presents on Christmas Eve upstairs in the big room with the big tree and my family. Paper strewn everywhere, little kids squealing with pure joy, older kids laughing at the same seasonal jokes, and grandparents snapping pictures. 

I like the new tradition with Ty's family of Pj Morning Christmases. We all spend the night in one house and wake up to my niece's pleasant surprise that Yes, Santa came to San Diego and yes he is messy when he eats his cookies! [Shh, she doesn't know yet.] 

There's also the tradition of Christmas music in October,
eating ALOT of food,
making scrumptious tamales,
playing the "find the pickle on the tree" game,
reading the Christmas story,
asking deep philosophical questions,
getting into at least one political debate,
and singing {4} services at church

Traditions keep memories alive.

Let's keep making them. 


Friday, December 24, 2010

Feeding Your Art

"Before I pick up the guitar or sit at the keyboard, I’ve been 'writing' by feeding on the stuff I do want to mark my life and my art… hope, grace, forgiveness. ~Brooke Fraser

What do you feed on to inspire your art?

"If you’re an artist or creative person of some kind, your artistic 'digestive system' is your heart, mind and senses, your soul. So if something affects your soul, it affects your art." ~Brooke Fraser

What has affected your soul lately?

I'm feeding on this, and this, and this and this, and this right now.
[click on links :)]


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Writing Spaces.

I wish someone would write a book just on the best places to write. I guess that'd be hard because everyone had their own favorites. I have a few of my own but I feel like I need some new ones. I read this article where this lady like to only write in her office. 

But as I search and search for new places and ideas to write, I am at a loss. I've searched the world wide web on keywords like "writing places", "where to write for inspiration", "writing spots", etc. I have yet to find advice on writing spaces. 

I guess I have built up in my mind that inspiration comes from my surroundings. Which is truth, but my surroundings cannot dictate when I do and do not work. I am realizing that if these books are ever going to get finished, I have to work no matter what. I cannot wait for the perfect weather, the perfect coffee shop, or the perfect hours because they will never come. All at once that is. 

My writing hero [Julia Cameron] has really good insight into the lives of writers. What they should and should not look like. I am thankful for her experience and expertise in this field. Her take on writing is that, just like everything else, good writers practice writing. It's not %100 inspirational. Some of it is bogus, wordy, informal, scattered everyday stuff. That's why she does Morning Pages. It is a no pressure sure way to write. 

So I'm finding the setting doesn't matter as much as the discipline. A writer practices just like a singer warms-up and a soccer player runs laps.

However, due to the lack of Writing Settings, here are some of my ideas :) 



Coffee Shop

Library or Old Bookstore

Mom & Pop Restaurant 

Now, go & write. 


**To make sure you don't miss a post, go here**

Healing From Sexual Abuse

In years past, waking up to raindrops on the roof of our house was quickly followed by feelings of freshness and purity. It was almost like the rain had washed everything away and was now giving the world permission to start over. A new day with new life being watered and cared for. Sometimes I would lie in bed for hours after waking and remember all the things in my life that the Lord had freed me from. All the things He had washed away from my life and had allowed me to start over with. Clean. Fresh. Forgiven.

When I would finally get enough motivation to get out of bed, I would glance outside the window to see nature, not cowering or shriveling from the weight of the falling water, but rather blooming greener and brighter than ever. How does that work, I would wonder. When it rains, most creatures and humans run for cover in order to get away from the cold wet surroundings. However the grass, the trees, and flowers do not. Instead they open up all the more as if they are soaking up every bit of every drop that so graces them with its existence. It is as if they welcome the storms, despite the possible dangers it presents to them. There is no fear in their being, but rather full release to bloom even brighter amidst the pouring rain. 

There is an age-old debate among the psychological world as to whether a human being becomes who he or she is based strictly on their genetic makeup and DNA or whether it is the environment he or she is raised in and/or exposed to. It is called the Nature vs. Nurture Debate. Though I am not a well studied scientist by any means, the more people I get to know and the more I analyze their character based on what I know about their childhood, their family, their home-life, their friends, and so on, the more I am coming to believe that we are who we are based, not strictly but predominantly, on the latter option of the argument.

Example number one: Me. At the age of four, some may say that the innocent path of my life was redirected by the misguidance and selfishness of another. Yet 18 years later, I have defeated the norms of this redirection. But it would be folly to claim this victory as a result of self-confidence, self-determination, and self-ambition to be a survivor. Though determination and confidence are vital ingredients, the healing is coming solely through the work and power of Jesus Christ. My redeemer. My Saviour. My healer. My God.

From the blood of one sinner, came another sinner. Me. And from my womb will come another sinner. [Hopefully a few of them]. My children. And the cycle of brokenness and disparity will inevitably continue because of justice. But when I hand the control of my life over to Jesus Christ, He strips me of all guilty verdicts and floods my life with healing and hope. And should anyone else so desire to do the same, the same grace will be bestowed upon you. This is the message I wish to develop with you on this journey.

This is a message of hope for healing and revival.

Though my story deals with the issue of sexual abuse, I believe the principles within these pages, taken from the truths of God’s Word, are applicable to wounds of all kinds [ie. physical abuse, emotional abuse, loss, grief, guilt and shame, etc]. You are not sure what the next step is. You know what you feel and you know that the pain is becoming too much to bear. You know you have fears, anxieties, and regrets. You are confused. I was too.

But if you are reading this because you are in a state of search for something or someone to give you a “How-To” plan or a solution to your pain and hurting, the following pages will not suffice. You may be gravely disappointed because they are not intended to. They are intended to guide you to a place of brokenness, humility, and desperation for something so far outside of yourself. We cannot heal our own brokenness. There must something more. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

O Holy Night.

[I love this carol. It's words are so profoundly telling.]

 O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,  It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth;  Long lay the world in sin and error pining,  Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.  A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,  For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn; Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!  O night divine, O night when Christ was born!  O night, O holy night, O night divine. Led by the light of faith serenely beaming With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming Here come the wise men from Orient land The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger In all our trials born to be our friend He knows our need, He guardeth us from danger Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend! Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend! Truly He taught us to love one another His law is love and His gospel is peace Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, And in His name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord, O praise His name forever! His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim! His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Obsessions: Pearls+Lattes+E-Courses

Pearl Necklaces
I always thought pearls were a bit old school. My mom use to make me wear them on picture days and to church on Easter and Christmas. I wore one single pearl necklace on my wedding day that belonged to my mom. I just recently started loving the full strands. Forever21 has some good costume ones. Just FYI. 

Gingerbread Latte's [with 1/2 the sweetener]
Mmmm. If you follow me on Twitter or FB, you know I love taking pictures with these babies. Sooo yummy. Then one day when I decided to cut back on sugar, I asked my barista if she thought it would taste good with 1/2 the sweetener and she said oh yea. [Exact words] And she was soooo right. 

I found this pretty lady in a round about way through the giant world of bloggin'. Been following her for about 6 months and she does these blog e-courses for her followers. Well when she came out with one for Bloggers I signed up in a heart beat! Alot of the information is good for new bloggers, but I've learned quite a bit about aspects of blogging I've never even put thought into. This has also inspired me to do a Blog Course of my own

Send your obsessions my way :)


Monday, December 13, 2010

Change: It's Good.

Today I am hopeful. 

There have been alot of changes in the last couple months and many many more to come in the next. There will be some painful changes and there will be some overwhelmingly joyous changes. They're all changes nonetheless. Winston Churchill said:
There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.

And I agree. But dear Mr. Churchill, how do you really know if you are going in the right direction or not? I mean, there is obvious knowledge of right and wrong. I think we can all attest to knowing that much. But direction is way different than right and wrong...right? 

This week I had to come to a weirdly hard decision. I have been teaching vocal classes @ a music school here in town for about a year and a half. I never thought I'd be teaching music on a professional level but a friend of a friend got my number and asked me to step in when their prior teacher was moving out of state. Of course! I said and started right away. 

Now, I am the teacher who is leaving. Not literally. I wish it was that simple. But mentally I can no longer juggle 4 jobs, a husband, a church-plant and a household. So I'm having to let some go while being creative with new income opportunities.

It's change. It's weird. Mostly scary.

But it's good. I know it is. I can't see entirely where it is all going but I have this feeling that God is clearing things out of my life so that the new seeds that have been planted can bloom. The seeds of justice and worship. The seeds of creativity and design. The seeds of music and magic. [Not sure what that means but it sounded good.] The seeds of marriage and love. All these new seeds that are blooming faster than I can care for. 

I have never been good about letting go, but it seems that lately I have been forced to at more frequent rate. But today I am hopeful. My mind is freaking out, but my heart is at peace. Not because of stability, nor answers, nor assurance. I'm at peace because God promises me that no matter what happens, He has a plan. And not in a cheesy memory verse way. Like, He really does have a plan. A plan that is happening right now, not one that will happen. It is happening. 

So Mr. Churchill, I think you are right. I am trusting in the Lord with all my heart and leaning not on my own ideas, thoughts, or understandings, but am acknowledging Him in everything I do, knowing that He will direct my ways. 

He will direct my ways. That's the right direction.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Obsessions: Cupcakes + Clean House + Boots.


If you read this post, you know that I've been way into cupcakes right now. I've made about 7 batches in the last 3 weeks. I didn't eat them all of course. I love cupcakes because they remind me of comfort, love, cuteness, and yumminess [yes, that is a word]. 

Cleaning House:

This isn't something I'm obsessed about because I like it, I'm obsessed about it because I do not like it. Well, some of it. I like vacuuming, dusting, and mopping but I absolutely despise the dishes and laundry. Those two are ever growing and never ending. Luckily I have a man who likes doing dishes [I know, its weird...or maybe he just tells me that. Eh.] And laundry and me are coming to a routine agreement. I would like some tips on house-keeping though. Got any tried and true tricks???


I love them all. Except for maybe these. I did the Old Navy $15 boot before Thanksgiving and got some calf-high uggs [fake of course] and some of the sock-esque ones. Ty liked them haha. I love that everyone is wearing boots right now. My cowboy boots are still my fave.

Happy Saturday!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sitting in Silence.

Writing Prompt:
Today I wanna sit and think. Maybe have a journal with me but feel no pressure to write. Just silence all around. 

I assigned this prompt for my Middle School and High School class to do so I thought I'd re-do it with them. I've done it before and it was ridiculously hard for me to sit for a whole hour. Crazy how we've been conditioned with the need to be entertained.  

So after work today I'm going home to sit. Outside. Just paper & me. 

Try it. 


^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

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