Saturday, August 21, 2010

365.101: EPM Retreat

So we're clear, just know that whenever I say "EPM," I am referring to Elevate PM from here on out. And if you're at an utter loss by that first sentence, read this.

Anywho, today was the second day of the Elevate retreat, and it has been amazing. I can sum up the focus of the weekend so far (for me personally) in two categories:
  1. building community
  2. practically learning how to hear the voice of God
The community part is pretty straight-forward. We've played a lot of fun get-to-know-you games (that have actually been FUN, by the way) and spent time every day broken down into our Discipleship Groups. This is my group:

From L to R: Me, Jessica, Maegan, and Davin

Davin is part of the EPM staff and is our fearless leader. I am just so honored to be placed under her in this group, as she is such an amazing woman of God who hears His voice clearly and then readily follows and obeys.

Which leads me to the second big thing this weekend: hearing the voice of God. When I was growing up and facing decisions, my parents would always first ask if I had prayed about the decision. I said, "Yes," every time (possibly with a hint of defiant pride in my tone), but I never really knew what that meant exactly or how one goes about asking the almighty God of the universe if I should date this boy or go to Panama City Beach for Spring Break.

Over the years, and especially in the last five or so, I have begun to hear God's leading more clearly. Now, I know this is sometimes a theological debate. Does God really still talk to people, like when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments? Or maybe am I waiting to see a burning bush? Or maybe God doesn't actually talk to us, but just give us "signs" instead.
John 10:27 ~ "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."
Amos 3:7 ~ "Surely the Lord does nothing without revealing His plans to His prophets."
John 10:4 ~ "After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice."
Jesus repeatedly says that his children will know and recognize his voice. What is the best way to get to know someone really really well? To spend time with them! I intend to practice that over the next year, and have already experienced such greater intimacy and closeness with Jesus just in the last couple weeks of spending more devoted time with him! I love it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

365.100: That's Right - ONE HUNDRED!

I cannot believe that I have been working on this Project 365 for one hundred days now!

Alright, fess up: who among you bet that I would give up by day 27? (Because I know I did!)

These hundred days have been such an amazing journey. Since the first post, we've moved from my parents' house to a hotel to our new house in Waco. I've had sad days and happy days. I've experienced firsts and watched God meet our needs in crazy ways.

In honor of day 100, here are a hundred ways you can pray for us.

Just kidding. Neither you nor I have that kind of time right now! But f'real, here are some ways you can pray:
  • We are about to head out the door for our orientation retreat. Pray that the boys would LOVE being there and all the activities they have planned with the childcare. Pray for safety while driving and during the retreat. Pray that God would meet us in new ways and reveal more of Himself to us.
  • For Turner and Holden to do well with our babysitters (Emily and Meghan). This first week was full of disobedience and quite a struggle at bedtime.
  • That we would be faithful and ambitious in fulfilling the expectations at Elevate.
  • For us to continue to make new friends and grow into deep relationship.
Thanks so much!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

365.99: Fall Fashion

I know that it is the middle of summer still, but every year around this time, I get excited for all things fall to descend upon us. College football, crisp, cool air, apples in season, smells of pumpkin and spice, and perhaps most of all fall fashion! I think fall may be my favorite season for dressing--pulling out the boots, layering lightweight scarves and vests, the navy blues and grays.

I just bought the September issue of Lucky magazine, and totally got inspired. Here are some looks I love for the this fall:

Ruffles (so glad this look is continuing to stick around!)

Layered Lace

Clunky Ankle Boots


DKNY Pure (I know, this is not clothing, but with notes of jasmine, rose, and freesia spiked with vanilla bean, who could resist?)

Need more fashion inspiration? I have just discovered, a sight where you can create your own fashion collages and get inspiration from a fashion community! Love.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

365.98: Singer/Songwriter

Holden is my little musician. Here is a song he made up called Rodeo that he had in his heart, and stuck in his head, all day today!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

365.97: First Day of School

So I forgot to take a picture before Ryan and I left the house for our first class (read: we were running really late and flying out the door in a frenzy). So I did what anyone would do these days and pulled out my phone in the parking lot right before we walked in. The mistake picture:

The real picture:

Class was so great. Here's the recap I sent to my mom his morning about what all we will be doing in the next year and how class was last night:

We got home around 10:30, then went straight to bed since we were starting the new routine of waking up at the crack of dawn for our TWJ! They call it Time With Jesus. We have to spend one hour a day with Jesus, seven days a week. (The biggest obstacle to this is the boys early wake-up time!) Then at a separate time, read through the Bible. We have two weeks to read Genesis. And we are starting a book called Victory Over Darkness. We also will memorize three verses each week and are asked to sow seeds of the Gospel with three people a week. Every Monday night we check in with our D-Group leader and check off on a chart which of these requirements we've completed and write out our three verses. Then at the end of the year we have to write out every single verse! I'm nervous about that because I'm good at memorizing, but not at retaining info for a long time! But I guess you're not really storing the Word in your heart if you just forget it in a month. So it is going to be a LOT, but i totally knew that coming into it.

Last night was great--the first half was expectations, requirements, overview, etc. Each of the staff members (which is probably 10 people) spoke about a different part. Also, we learned that our mentor will be the staff person who is our Discipleship group leader. D-groups meet during Thursday classes (at the beginning) and are for accountability and discipleship. Our group is led by a staff member named Davin, and has myself and two other girls. And get this--one of the other girls is actually a makeup artist and esthetician! We were both so surprised to find out we had the same profession! She works at a skin spa here in Waco.

Anyways, even with all the "rules," they were great to address legalism (that it is the last thing they want) and also give us the heart and reason behind everything. We are going to be doing a LOT of fasting, which will be totally new for me! The last and only time I've fasted was the 40-hour famine in middle school! Every time someone speaks, I feel more at ease and at peace about being in Elevate and the people behind it.

Then the last hour or so was a time of worship and "ministry time," which is when people pray over you and give you a word from the Lord, if God gives them anything to give. Two girls prayed over me, and the second said that she felt like the Lord was calling me to use the creativity God's given me to impact the nations. Everything she prayed was spot on, speaking to me where i am right now. So that was just encouraging to know that the Lord loves us as individuals with details, and uses his children to encourage each other. Ryan had FOUR people pray over him (he said he was trying to look extra despondent so he'd get more prayer-ha!) and this one girl said that god just kept giving her an image of--get this--a tree! Which is what was prophesied over him at World Mandate--and where the tree tattoo came from. So cool! She talked about his roots going deep, etc.

So we left the night feeling encouraged and refreshed and loved by god.

I am so expectant and excited to see the journey we're on unfold over the next year!

Monday, August 16, 2010

365.96: Delivery

Y'all are never gonna believe this.

Every year since kindergarten, my mom has made chocolate chip cookies for me (and my siblings) on the first day of school. And I do mean every year. Even when I went to UGA, Mom sent a tin of cookies in the mail to my dorm or apartment. (I have a picture to prove it from freshman year!) Even on my first day of Esthetics school.

And today, on my first day of training school at Antioch, look what was delivered to my doorstep:

What?! She is just too much. What a thoughtful Mom. I mean, if you need to go repent of being jealous that I have the best mom ever, I understand.

The boys are just dying to dive in, but I told them that they had to wait for Emily (the babysitter) to come over tonight and she could give them some after dinner.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

365.95: Anticipation

I am like a kid on the night before the first day of school! I am just so excited to start training in Elevate tomorrow!

If you want to be praying for us, school starts at 6pm, which is 7pm on the East Coast.

Here are some of my school supplies: a notebook I found that matches my planner and the adorable composition notebook that Cristie made me!

I will leave you with a quote from the wise sage, Billy Madison:
"I've got my lunch box packed and my boots tied tight. I hope I don't get in a fight. Oooohhhhhh, back to school, back to school,
Well, here goes nothin!"