Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekend Links

This is my new sweet friend. Her name is Katie. But she's more like a Poppy. Also, she leads worship like me! Here's her take on leading on her own for the first time. (Max and Poppy)

I made my own variation of this today: a scrapbook of my year with Ty. I limited myself to one photo per month just to make it interesting. (Elsie Cake)

Women of Legend are not born-- they are grown, out of spit and dirt and fire and sweat. (Hello Giggles)

Disciple, reign, believe in your spark. An encouragement from my She Seeks friend, Sarah. She wrote on Catalyst this week. Kind of a big deal. (Catalyst)

Someone tell me what outfit to wear these shoes with! (Pinterest)

Doesn't this picture make you want to be that girl? You know, just walking in the desert with a guitar strapped on ;) (Flower Child Dwelling)

Yum! Yes please! (Hannah Bunker Etsy)

"When my life is stripped of comfort and certainty, that's what wakes my soul to God." -Hannah (Happy Days)

This was an interesting read on the importance of the dinner table. Since it's just Ty and I right now, we rarely eat at a set table. Maybe we should start a little more. (From the Guest Room)

A Hunger Games style wedding shoot. Cuter than you're probably imagining. (Green Wedding Shoes)

#2 is polka dot pants...DIY! Would you? (Pretty Life Anon)

Finding a good iPhone case is a bit of a challenge. The cute cheap(er) ones I get from ebay or amazon are good but don't last long. But these are super cute and probably last a good while. (Little Tranquility)

Totally inspired by this bedroom reveal by Kelly. Modern yet chic. (Kelly Hicks Design)

And who doesn't want to have a little temporary tattoo fun? Thanks Jada for sharing this! (Minestrone Soup for the Teenage Soul)

Hope you have a delightful weekend. Going to Farmers Market tomorrow. I need me some strawberries. 
As a side note, advertising for April begins Sunday! So if you have a shop/blog/story you think JM readers would connect with and want to advertise with me, shoot me an email soon! :) 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why I'm Not Afraid to Fail | Moving Days

Santa Monica Countdown | 3 Months

"How are things going with the move? Getting excited? Nervous?"
This is the question of our year. And our answer these days is, "Slowly and all of the above, but more excited than nervous." 

Though moments of anxiety are creeping in here and there, moving to LA has surprisingly been everything but nerve wracking. It's been exciting, adventurous, refreshing and occasionally questionable. There haven't been any road blocks yet, however there haven't been any jump-starters either. Just a slow and steady pace. 

But this week, a friend asked me what my biggest fear about moving was and I couldn't answer her. I didn't know. Initially I thought Failure, but the more I thought about it the more I realized I was okay with failure. This whole chapter of our life has been so crazily explicit about this move. We believe, God has made it painfully clear that it's our time to go and start something new. And like my dear friend Lisa wrote, if the purpose of our life is to see, know and share Jesus, then even through what we may categorize as failure, we will do just that. Know God more. (Paraphrased) 

Even if we fail, I believe we will see God more. Not because we failed, but despite the failure. 

Now you may be thinking, Geez girl you haven't even moved and you're already preparing for failure?! (That's probably what you're thinking isn't it Ty and Drew?!) To that I say Heck no! 
Do I believe in the vision of the movement we are bringing, absolutely! 
Do I see a place for it in the big City of Angels, oh goodness yes! 
Do I pray everyday it will thrive and people will experience God, you bet I do. 

I'm not afraid of failing; though I don't believe we'll fail. But it would be both naive and ignorant to step out in faith and give the world a hypothesis of 100% success guarantee. In the beginning of anything, nobody believes they're going to fail and that's a good thing. Otherwise people may never do things, ever. But it's nice to know that even if we do, we'll be okay. In fact, we'll be more than okay. 
“The only person who really fails is the one who never attempts anything for God in the first place.” -Lisa Whittle, {W}hole
XO, Julianna

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Top 10 Essential Singing Tips

1. Be confident.
Some would say that this should come first and confidence second, seeing that knowing your stuff would build more confidence. I agree and disagree. I agree that practice will always aid in your confidence. However, there may be times when you're thrown into something last minute and the time just isn't there. So whether you're singing karaoke or a competition (and everywhere else in between), your confidence level will translate over to the audience. If you lack confidence in yourself, they won't hear you. They will only see you. Your insides may be turning and toiling but remind yourself that you can do this! Don't let your fears get in the way of the fun. 

2. Know your stuff.
Practice makes permanent. Don't practice whimsically. Take good notes, do your homework and repetition is your new best friend. An unprepared singer leaves a bad taste with everyone. On the other hand, prepared singer exudes professionalism. 

3. Connect with what you are singing.
We've all seen this done well and not so well. When a singer connects with what he/she is singing, the audience is captivated. Take time to study your song, read background info if it's available. Study the artist or writer and figure out the intentions behind it. The more you kno, the more you show. 

4. Listen to your song first. 
Don't try to sing along with it immediately. Listen intently, hearing all the little twist and turns and registering them in your brain waves so that your voice knows what to do. Can't sing what you can't hear.

5. Drink water before and after singing (practice and performance).
Water is a non-optional element of singing. Drink at least 16 oz of water during the day of your performance and 16 oz after. During it good but very rarely do you get to take a water break between performances.

6. Take a big breath. Seriously.
Don't forget to breathe. Between nerves, thought process, and performing, one can forget to do what comes most naturally to every human being! Breathing. Take deep, quick breaths. Sometimes it helps to plan out what parts of your song you will breathe at. 

7. Warm up your voice.
Just as a runner doesn't run a marathon without warming up, one shouldn't sing without doing some exercises. Find some that work for you and always, always, always warm up before singing. This prevents damage and boosts performance. 

8. Find a Tough Critic
Sometimes we are our worst critics. We can be both too hard and too easy on ourselves. Find someone that you trust, that has a good ear, and that won't be afraid to tell you the honest truth. Then brace yourself for some pointers. It will sting a little to hear, you're a little flat on the chorus or that one note doesn't sound right or even this song may not be the best for your voice, but in the long run it's worth it.  

9. Sing With Someone Else
This can be in an unlimited amount of settings: a choir, an ensemble, a quartet, a duet, with your mom, your friend, in lessons, etc. Singing with other people helps make your voice pliable. It sharpens your ears to listen to what's going on around you and gives you the chance to learn more advanced techniques like blending, harmonizing, and soloing. 

10. Stop taking yourself too seriously.
Even the big shots have to get to a point where they have fun at what they do. When all the pressure to be "the best" feels like it's bogging your joy down, remember why you started singing in the first place. Don't take yourself too seriously. Your body reacts to stress and people can sense it in your voice. Have fun~

**Want more than nuggets? Check out the full online singing course that will help you put these 10 into practice and see your voice improve!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Weekend Links

I've been a little sporadic this week due to some crazy exciting news! My sister had her baby! He's beautiful and healthy and so squishy. I've been to and from the hospital a good chunk of my week. Picture coming soon ;) 

In any case, here is some good stuff for ya this weekend: 

I got my box this week from Good + Lovely! It came at the perfect time. There's a detailed post coming next week but check out their website for a look into who they are. (Good and Lovely)

How cute is this girl? Her name is Mr. Kate and she gives beauty tutorials. I've been dying to figure out the sock bun and she made it super duper easy. So if you see me tonight, I will be wearing this...if all goes well. (Mr. Kate)

This post by my Mentor-From-Afar, Lisa Whittle, rocked me. "I say I will follow you, serve you, live for you, but then I hand him a penned list of how I expect that to look..." So ridiculously true of me. Keep reading. You will love her! (Lisa Whittle)

Here's a new online magazine I stumbled upon this week. Pretty informative and right up the creative's alley. (Peppermint Mag)

Pinterest and I became more buds this week. Note to self: copy this entire outfit. If I could redo my wedding dress, I'd add more sequins. A lot more!

I stumbled upon this article by Erik McKiddie, and found it both profound and eye opening. 

And for some weekend dinner ideas, I got to share my super easy CrockPot Tacos over at MK's blog.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coffee Shops in LA | Moving Days

Santa Monica Countdown | 3 Months

Not sure what the near future holds for work yet, but I'm gearing up to be self-employed and in search of some work spaces. 
I have a quaint home office (aka. my kitchen counter + a bar stool) so most of my work is done at our local coffee shops. And if there's one thing I know about LA, it's that people drink coffee. Lots of it. I've done some research and found some cute/work environment shops in the area that I can't wait to visit! 

But this is the part where you recommend your favorite coffee places in the LA area that are tried and true. Ready. Go!

-Leave the name of your favorite coffee shop or a link for it in the comments.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Fabric of Our Lives // Writing Prompt

*Every week in an effort to think outside my own box, get/think up a new writing prompt. I post them here just in case you want to write with me. You can find more writing prompts here at the bottom of the page. 

What kind of fabric are we creating for our lives? This may be cheesy, but bear with me. Are we too carefully weaving, anxious that we will rip or tear or lose a button? Or are we too loosely woven, unable to provide any real purpose or benefit to anyone? Is there too much risk? Where is the middle and how do we get there? Or are we always playing this balancing act of trial and error? 

Monday, March 19, 2012

How I Tried to Have an Eating Disorder

I've never been fully satisfied with the size, shape, and mass of my body. More days than not, I stand naked in front of the mirror, readying for the day with mean thoughts of inadequacy shouting at my reflection. Not out loud of course. Someone might hear me. But they're there. All the time, they're there.

It was the Winter of my Freshman year in college, and I found myself ugly crying in my dorm room. Everyone was at lunch and all I could hear was the sound of my own sobs and  my little space heater clicking on and off. I felt so inadequate. For what? I wasn't sure. Maybe for life? For people? For positions? For love? I was so tired from college life and books and studying that I was pretty sure sleep had become a precious commodity around campus. 

That night was one of the weakest and most pathetic I've ever felt. As a girl whose faith in God and love for Jesus has rarely wavered, His presence seemed non-existent to me that night. I got up, checked the hallway, walked to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. I said all the right things: You are beautiful. You are worth it. You are loved and valued and precious and wanted and... I was over it. I was over wasting my breath to try and convince myself of what I wasn't going to hear. 

I walked straight into the third stall and frantically tried to make myself vomit. Somehow, I had tied Love and Value and Purpose to Skinny. Even writing this now, I see absolutely no immediate correlation. The connection seems ludicrous. But it's what I believed that snowy dark day in 2007. 

Nothing happened. I tried for what felt like hours. I used all the tricks. But all I walked out of that bathroom with was a wrenching stomach ache and a bucket of shame. How could I do this? I was the girl telling others girls that being skinny isn't everything. I was the girl telling girls they don't have to conform and they are loved just as they are. Maybe that wasn't true...

I walked back to my room, feeling as though FAILURE was written in bold across my back. I failed to love myself and I failed to hate myself. I sunk into my retro green couch and cried some more. But this time I forced myself to talk to God. And not just God as God, the Creator of the Universe. I forced myself to talk to Him as my Father. I needed my Father to wrap His arms around me and tell me that it was going to be okay. I begged Him that night to hold me. To comfort me. To love me. 

And He did. So sweetly, He reminded me by way of stories and Scripture that He loved me so very much. The He has called me by name and I am His (Isaiah 43:1). Only His.

I realized that earlier that night, I wasn't reaching high enough. I reached into my own efforts to define my self worth instead of to what God said about who I was
I had desperately sought my own version of successful and not what God says about how He made me good enough through His Son Jesus
I looked only as deep as my appearance and not into the heart of who God has called me to be
And though I was known for being a dreamer, I dreamed nothing in that moment. 

Sweet friends, if you are in that place of doubt and fear and insecurity, reacher higher. Seek farther. Look deeper. And dream bigger. You are valuable, you are beautiful, and you are loved. I promise. 
And if you are struggling with an eating disorder, email me. I would love to talk to you.

**This post is part of a community inspiration & link up with Love Feast. The prompt came from their beautiful conversation box. Check out more prompts and inspiration here! Special thanks to Laura for inviting me! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Bit Behind the Scenes // Sundays are for Worship

On most weekends I lead worship at my home church, Rancho Community. This place has a very special place in my heart, as it is the church I was raised in. It is the church that gave me a learning platform for my love for music and worship. And now it is the church that is sending us out to start a new movement in  Santa Monica. I love this place and it's people. I will miss them dearly. 
Where do you go to church?XO, Julianna 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday's Links

I Wonder What Oprah's Bathtub is Like. The title alone intrigued me. I really do wonder what Oprah's bathtub is like... (Jeremy and Kathleen)

I resonated more than I'd like to admit with this piece. It was a reminder to me that control is not beneficial to any part of one's body. Oh sweetest surrender(Sarah Wilson)

Prodigal Magazine is a clean and story telling magazine I found, completely by accident. However, I am now a frequent reader. (Prodigal Magazine)

I was all over the writing space this week: Beautifully Rooted, talking about my rope vs snake epiphany and at She Seeks, talking about boldly stopping gossip.

This picture makes me swoon. Or dance. Definitely one of the two. (Turning Pages)

I've received quite a few emails this week in regards to the Dear Church series I did last week. My heart has broken with each and every email, as these people tell me their stories of hurt and healing within the Church. It made me realize, even more, we need to be talking about this stuff. Do you have a Church story? Email me.

And last but not least, the most viewed and controversial video that has been viral for the last 2 weeks. Kony 2012. What do you think?

Happy Friday! Reading anything interesting these days?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Things I Can't Wait to Do in LA

Santa Monica Countdown | 3 Months
I'm getting anxious. Not the bad kind of anxious where you begin to doubt your life choices and back track on decisions. This is the good kind of anxious, where you begin to pack way too far in advance and start figuring out how you can sell everything you own to make those extra pennies. 

Yes, I am that kind of anxious. I guess excited or antsy would be better word choices. There are so many things I cannot wait to do in the big city. So many places I want to discover and tell no one about. (Who are we kidding? We both know I'm totally going to blog about them!) So many fascinating people to meet and befriend. 

I may be overly romanticizing this move but would you please just let me bask in this? 
Life will hit hard, soon I'm sure. So for now, I will dream of what could be. In pictures. 
I can't wait to ride bikes through the city. I know it's going to be considerably less glamorous than this gorgeous picture but I'm still excited. Now on to Craigslist to find a bike. ^^^
I've already been scouting out the local bakeries and coffee shops to frequent. Thank goodness LA peeps are so health freaky, there's a TON of sugar free pastries out there. ^^^
Walking and texting doesn't change from Suburbia to City life. It just gets a little more risky. haha. I can totally see myself making that face. ^^^
Not sure if they use taxis in the city, but I'm thinking about getting these just in case. Plus, they're yellow! ^^^

I can't wait to stare at this at least 50% of my evenings. ^^^

Soon and very soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

High School Music Flashback // Writing Prompt

The other day while driving home from Palm Springs, Ty and I made up a new music game. We call it "Flashback." The basic play is each person takes a turn to play a song that anchored them through high school. You can stay on the same artist for multiple turns or switch it up. 

With our five year age difference, it was ridiculously comical. While I was playing Avril Lavigne's These Things I'll Never Say and ZoeGirl's I Believe (yes, I did), he was rocking out to Jars of Clay and Third Eye Blind. Yup. Third Eye Blind

So for this week's writing prompt, I though it'd be fun to hear what you all listened to in high school.  

What songs were your anthems in high school? 

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Weekend in #Instagrams

Hello friends. My brain is a little empty today after 6 days of heavy content for the Dear Church series. My weekly blog planning got put on hold by a beach trip today so I am referring you to some amazing and provoking posts I read last week. You will not be disappointed. 

It's kind of like a Friday's Links on Tuesday! So let's all pretend today is Friday! :) 
This photo project made me weep. That will be me one day, looking in the mirror and not recognize the person staring back. (Reflections)

The Good Women Project is a site that promotes and creates discussions around the topic of women. All things women. This entry particularly caught my attention. It's a letter from a man to girls about how to dress "modestly" or in a way that will "keep creepy men from staring at you." I found it interesting. What do you think? 

INFLUENCE: Everyone wants it and there's a ton of ways to get it. But Goins' article on The Secret to Influence made me remember there's only one way that matters. Sounds a little like Jesus ;) 

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

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