Do you ever have moments in your life when you temporarily disconnect yourself, take a step back, and just marvel at all that the Lord has blessed you with?
This weekend has been filled with those moments!
The past few weeks have been difficult, for a number of reasons, and my faith has been pushed and stretched. I can see how the Lord has been growing me through situations in my life and asking me to cast my burden on him. Not long ago he gave me Psalm 55 and called me to recklessly abandon myself and allow him, and nothing else, to sustain me.
Through these trying times, I still see His hand in my life. Ah, how awesome to intimately know the One, the only one, who will never forsake me! My heart erupts within me at the thought!
The past few days in my life have really been a testament to the Lord's faithfulness. In his word, God promises that we will never be tried beyond our ability, but he will provide a way for us to endure it. Some of the strength he's given me came in the form of precious time with friends, new and old, this weekend. Friends who are also earnestly seeking God and his glory. It was a much welcomed respite from recent troubles.
From Thursday night dinner and Passion with Emily and Jeanna, to a Flashforward party with Amy, Byrd, Chris, Taylor, Dustin, Mary Hester, Paul, and more; from Friday's geocaching adventures and a night of intimate worship at The Edge, to a Saturday of Auburn football with the Jumpsuit Guys; from time with my favorite family, Emily, Guy, Meredith, Hutch, and Kathleen Bess, to Sunday morning worship at AUMC and lunch with Brandon, Kevin, Garrett, Luke, and Chrisavi... it is so clear to me that God placed me in each situation by his divine will, so that I might be encouraged by the fellowship of other believers.
And you know, he is not finished with this current work in my life. Like Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, I am sure that the Lord, who has begun a good work in me, will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
He has given me hope. Bring on the trials! I know that God is for me - who can triumph against me, now?
So to all my friends - thank you! Thank you for letting God use each of you minister to me in the simplest of ways.
May your week be filled with the hope of Christ, with rest in the knowledge of our victory in his name, and with abundant blessings! May your heart be open to all that the Lord is teaching you!
Hello, one and all. I haven't really been listening to any new music lately. I've been stuck on Needtobreathe since the concert, and that's okay, because they are a worthy... adhesive? Nevertheless, I don't have weekly picks for you. At least not songs.
How about movies? I love those things, too.
Here are some of my all-time favorites:
1. Apocalypto - directed by Mel Gibson. It's set toward the end of the Mayan civilization. It's epic. It has subtitles throughout, but don't let that deter you.
2. Roman Holiday - Starring Audrey Hepburn and heartthrob Gregory Peck, this black and white favorite is most definitely a hit. It's set in Rome, as you could probably gather from the title. Audrey's a princess sick of being a princess, Gregory is a reporter looking for a story... and you'll have to watch it to know the rest!
3. Fight Club - Edward Norton and Brad Pitt punching each other alot. Makes for a rather excellent movie. A must see for pyschology students!
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Weird memory-erasing theme. I like this movie because it engages you, makes you think. Jim Carrey plays a very atypical role, for him, and Kate Winslet is phenomenal as always.
5. Legends of the Fall - An epic set in Montana in the early 1900's. Stars Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins. This movie affected me for weeks after I watched it. I loved it so much I immediately went out and bought it.
6. The Departed - The 2006 Academy Award winner for Best Picture. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin. It's about the Irish mob in Boston and dirty politics. Impeccably made.
7. Hotel Rwanda - True story of a hotelier and his effort to save hundreds during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. It breaks your heart and opens your eyes.
8. Gladiator - What an incredible motion picture! Russell Crowe delivers a fantastic performance as a soldier taken captive and forced to fight in the Coliseum. If you haven't seen this, you're crazy. Go rent it now.
9. Hot Rod - Andy Samberg. Hilarious. The essence of humor.
10. LOTR - This proves my nerdiness, but the trilogy (extended editions, please) are some of the greatest movies of all time. I should clarify. Lord of the Rings. Adapted from J.R.R. Tolkein's greatest works, these epic films of war and grandeur are worth the time (total: 11 hours, 8 minutes).
In my dream last night, I was indoors, waiting for the rain to go away, when suddenly, the rain turned to snow. The flakes were huge, the size of quarters at least, and perfectly formed, each one unique. It was quite a sight to behold.
I ran out the front door to the white blanket that had unfolded over all the green, but instead of taking it all in, I was more concerned with finding my camera (I was especially intent on using my digital macro setting) so I could capture the beauty. By the time I found it, the snowflakes had melted.
I think God was trying to tell me something.
I find myself easily caught up in future events, or past events, that I often forget to enjoy the present time that I've been blessed with.
I'm making it my goal to enjoy each day's snowflakes as they come.
It's been awhile since I've posted. I just finished (today) my second round of exams, so my lack of posting can be accredited to the fact that the past two weeks I've had to put my life on hold. Sorry about that.
Lots to report!
The first weekend in October was spent in Birmingham, visiting Sarah and Clay in their very charming new home and going to the NEEDTOBREATHE concert with my roommate, Emily, and other sweet friends! Definitely one of the best concerts I've been to. The Workplay Theater is wonderful and intimate. It was just really nice to spend a few days out of Auburn.
Also, after 6 exams, I still have A's in my classes! That's a miracle! I'm thanking the Lord for that. Let's just hope it stays that way through the end of the semester.
I'm currently working on my spring break plans. It seems crazy to already be thinking about it, but apparently you have to reserve spots pretty far in advance. I'm going to hike part of the Appalachian trail! I'm going with my friends Jeanna, Starlyn, Zach and Alex, thus far. We may recruit one or two more. I'll keep you posted on further AT developments.
And finally, the big news. I finally decorated my wall! I ended up cutting a tree out of felt and just tacking it to the wall along with my Euro photos. All in all, it was a very inexpensive endeavor, costing me a grand total of about $15. And I LOVE it. I still have to cut out the bible verse, but other than that, it's complete! I also hung lanterns over my music area. Here are some photos:
Now, since I've missed two weeks, I feel like I owe you some picks :) This week it's some of the songs on my Recently Played playlist on iTunes. Enjoy.
1. Beautiful - Kari Jobe
2. Sail Away - David Gray
3. Both Hands - Ani Difranco
4. Summerlong - Emm Gryner
5. Two Step - Dave Matthews Band
6. Zebra - John Butler Trio
7. Pretzel Logic - Steely Dan
8. Life in the Fast Lane - The Eagles
9. Learning to Fly - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
10. Never Know - Jack Johnson
No commentary. Just take my word. Also, the website I use for the blog's playlist allows you to listen to songs in their entirety for free. Check it out here! Maybe you can find some of my picks!
Have you read Francis Chan's Crazy Love? I read this book last year in community groups with Encounter, and now my d-group is reading it.
I must not have been paying attention last fall, because I feel like these words are all news to me! I love how God does that. Emphasizes different things to us, in different seasons of our lives.
In d-group, we discussed chapter 2 tonight, entitled 'you might not finish this chapter.' It's all about worry and stress. I want to share with you Francis' definitions of the two.
Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace towards others, or our tight grip of control.
Marinate in that for a moment.
How true is that? My brother quoted me something recently, that 'worrying is temporary atheism.' And the truth is, when we worry, when we get stressed out and anxious, we are denying that there is anyone or anything more important in our lives than that which we're stressing over.
Furthermore, when we stress and worry, we're living in sin. We are to rejoice in the Lord, always. Even in the hard times. Even in the stressful times. We are to have an attitude of joy!
Feeling convicted yet?
I know I am. I think how often I make the world about me. My day-to-day is so Leigh-centered sometimes that I lose, forever, precious opportunities to glorify the Lord, my chief end. And when I waste myself through my sin, in the words of A.W. Tozer, I am wasting "that which on earth is most like God. This is man's greatest tragedy and God's heaviest grief."
So what's the key? We have to get over ourselves. We have to deny ourselves, daily, pick up our cross, and remember that at any moment, the Lord could decide that he would gain more glory through our death than through our continued living, and at that moment, we're gone. Therefore, we must remember, we cannot forget, that we are nothing compared to the King, and nothing matters save his glory.
I encourage us, myself included, to remember whose we are. And that any life not bringing glory to the Creator of the universe and the Lover of our hearts, is a wasted one.
So this week, my picks salute the fine male musicians in this world :) This is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but I will venture to say that it contains many of our time's finest.
1. Can't Let Go - Landon Pigg
I've loved him for years now. I used to watch this music video and marvel at his amazingness. He's the man of my dreams ;) Anyway, he's actually in an upcoming movie called Whip It. Produced by Drew Barrymore and starring Ellen Page, Landon plays the love interest. If only I were Ellen..
2. Industry - Jon McLaughlin
Even more my perfect man, and Emily would agree, Jon could win any woman's heart with his piano. I love this song.
3. In Love With A Girl - Gavin DeGraw
This song is just great. He knows how to rock out, for sure, and the video is sweet!
4. Where We Gonna Go From Here - Mat Kearney
I love this guy, his lyrics, his style, everything. And he loves the Lord, too. He has such a soothing voice.
5. Jenny Don't Be Hasty - Paolo Nutini
He's Scottish and this song is seductive, but so great!
6. God Put A Smile Upon Your Face - Coldplay
Chris Martin is perhaps one of the greatest songwriters of all time. This is only a glimpse of the talent that is this man and his band of Brits.
7. No You Girls - Franz Ferdinand
I LOVE this band, and this song, in particular. I saw them at MTV Winter in Valencia this February, and it was so cool. Also Scots, the lead singer Alex Kapranos is dreamy.
8. Bunnies (Live) - Howie Day
A virtuoso guitarist, this one-man band is genius with loops and pedals and using his Tak as a djembe of sorts.
9. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room - John Mayer
If anyone can paint pictures with his lyrics, it's John. This song is beautiful on so many different levels. If you haven't heard it, find it now.
Sorry for my lack of posting yesterday. I don't have an excuse, really, except I wasn't home much. However, in light of all the birthdays going on around this apartment (Emily's 21st on Sunday and Rachel's 20th tomorrow) here's a brief list of the soundtracks we've made to our festivities:
1. I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas
So I'm not really up on the latest pop music, but our fourth roommate, Natalie, keeps me in line. This is her theme song right now. I must say, it's catchy :)
2. Circus - Brittany Spears
I definitely never listened to this before Sunday, when Emily insisted it be played at the party! It's ridiculous, but nonetheless a fun song to just let loose to.
3. Party in the U.S.A. - Miley Cyrus
Because this teen queen knows how to do it right... ?
4. Diva - Beyonce
Because she wears insane 'sunglasses' in this music video.
5. Single Ladies - Beyonce
Because she can dance in ways no other human on the planet is capable of.
6. Paranoid - Jonas Brothers
Hanson, round two. And Emily's obsession :)
7. Don't Forget - Demi Lovato
Natalie's favorite tween star, this song is often played in E201. We like Demi because she's got real talent and actually plays her own music.
8. The entire album Unidos Permanecemos - Hillsong United
Yes, this is Hillsong. In Spanish. Because we all love to be culturally educated.
9. The Way I Feel - Matt Wertz
We love each other, and we can't help the way we feel about each other. So we express it through (listening to) music. Also, this song is just wonderful.
My newest obsession, without a doubt. A really cool guy named Dustin introduced me to this music recently. It's just one guy, Adam Young, and he's amazing - such a pure voice. His lyrics are witty and smart and real, and the electronica-meets-pop style is just what everybody needs a bit more of. Favorites on the album: Hello Seattle, On the Wing, The Bird and the Worm, If my Heart was a House, Meteor Shower, Umbrella Beach.
2. Candy in the Sun - Swirl 360
From the soundtrack to Never Been Kissed, this song has one of my favorite choruses. There's something about the melody that I've adored since the first time I heard it.
3. Just Pretend - The Bens
The supergroup: Ben Kweller, Ben Folds, and Ben Lee. These guys toured together in Australia in 2003, and this is the best song off their collaborative album, in my opinion.
4. And So It Goes - Billy Joel
Takes me back to showchoir 2004-2005. King of the Ivory Keys, Billy Joel will not let you down with this beautiful, heart-breaking ballad.
5. Untouched - The Veronicas
I saw these sassy twins last year in Cashvegas, and knew I loved them from Moment One. This super techno song is GREAT for a poppin' work out mix.
6. I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab for Cutie
A true love song.
7. Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear
Another cool kid, Jake, played this music for me recently. I would highly recommend giving this a listen. While you're at it, check out the whole album, Veckatimest
8. Que 'Onda Guero - Beck
From his album, Guero, this song demonstrates the true essence of Beck as a songwriter.
9. Just Because - Jane's Addiction
Also from 2003, this is one of the greatest songs by the rock band, who actually reunited for second time last year. Lots of electric. Also great to run to!
10. Everytime - Donavon Frankenreiter
Very similar to Jack Johnson, which is fitting, because they are great friends, and Donavon sings on Jack's label. A nice song - he can sing it to me any day he wants ;)
Okay - I'm starting something new, and I am really excited about it!
I love lists, and I love music. It hit me that if I combine the two, I would have lists of music (novel, huh?). Now, it's also one of my favorite things to share music with people and advocate artists who, in my humble opinion, are worthy of said advocacy. Put all of this together, and you have Leigh's Weekly Picks.
From now on, each Monday, I'll post a little list of what I've been listening to recently, and hopefully, someone will take my word and check out something good.
NOTE: I by no means consider myself an expert, just one who appreciates.
Also, I am a huge proponent of iTunes Music Store, and would encourage everyone to get their music through here, or in stores. DO NOT DOWNLOAD ILLEGALLY - PLEASE! You are doing the musicians a disservice, and to be frank, piracy doesn't stand up morally. So, keep that in mind, sweet friends :)
Let's get this started, shall we?
Leigh's Weekly Picks:
1. The entire album The Outsiders - NEEDTOBREATHE
This album was recently released on August 25, 2009. With 14 songs, it is an album that you can easily put on loop and listen to several times through without getting bored or having to deal with a single "dud" track. My personal favorites: 'Something Beautiful', 'Prisoner', 'Girl Named Tennesse', 'The Outsiders', and 'Hurricane'.
2. Be Here Now - Ray Lamontagne
A very soothing, marine-like feel. His voice sneaks in and out of the music, making this wonderful study music.
3. Catch My Disease - Ben Lee
An honest guy with a cool accent. Such a great feel good song that will put a little bounce in your step and a little smile on your face.
4. Feeling Good - Michael Buble's version
If anyone can sing, it's Michael. With a jazzy brass edge to this classic song, MB brings it to the forefront of many of my Happy Playlists.
5. Plan B - Mute Math
This is one of my favorite jam-out-in-the-car songs.
6. Romulus - Sufjan Stevens
With a sweet banjo line, you're in for a real treat with this song. His voice is soft and sweet, and can serve has great background music on a fine evening.
7. Infancy of Us - Eliot Morris
I first heard Eliot Morris, also known as the lead of Parker's Back, in the 9th grade, opening in Auburn for a Sugar Ray concert. Don't judge, it was free. Anyway, I knew immediately that I liked his music, and bought his cd the next morning. This ballad is acoustic and honest and beautiful.
8. In Other Words - Ben Kweller
Old, but still amazing, and definitely one of my favorite piano songs.
9. November was white, December was grey - Say Hi
Has a beautiful syncopated beat. The vocals are warm and sometimes slurred in a cool way.
10. Your Love Never Changes - Paul Wright
His style is reminiscent of Shawn McDonald, but perhaps a bit more upbeat and poppy. This song will have you singing along and dancing in no time.
Hope you enjoy this music! Tune in next time ;) for another round of Leigh's Weekly Picks!
A few days ago, my roomie Natalie shared a youtube video with me. Now I want to share it with you.
A man named Jon Schmidt, an American pianist, composed an arrangement of Taylor Swift's Love Story and Coldplay's Viva la Vida. I've never been a huge fan of Taylor Swift, but I do like this song, and the way he plays is wonderful. He goes right into Coldplay, and it fits so well. He also has cello accompaniment. It's really beautiful music.
In the video, he might look a bit silly at times, but I love the way he feels the music. Being a pianist myself, I really appreciate his work. It inspires me! I want a grand piano, and I want to just play it all day long - and create! Maybe one day...
I think today merits a weather blog. I mean - WOW! I woke up this morning and spent some quality time with my Man, a cup of cereal, and some soy milk in the chair by our front window, but it wasn't until I stepped outside that I realized just how glorious a day the Lord had made!!! Well, everyday that we are blessed with is a glorious one simply because it means another day with our Creator, but today was especially amazing :)
And honestly, I've been giddy since 7:30 this morning because of the premature Fall weather. I know, trust me I know, it probably won't stay this perfect through the season. It's bound to heat up again. But I relished it with all my heart.
Emily and I walk to our 8:00 class together MWF's, and it is such a sweet time. Today, I couldn't stop smiling/giggling/carrying on about the weather, and Emily was just incredible for putting up with me.
Another highlight of my day was lunch with my boyfrands. I have an hour break MWF's at 11, and Jacob and Lee do too, so the three of us went to Momma G's and hung out. It was nice getting to see them since I don't ever get to enough.
This afternoon, I spent time with one of my very favorite families - the McClains. I kept the kids while Em ran errands, and got to visit with her some too. It is always a blessing to spend time with my dear friend, and I always leave there so encouraged!
Finally, the icing on the cake that was this brilliant day - being measured for my BRIDESMAID'S DRESS! That's right. Sarah Bolton is getting married January 9, 2010, and I am so excited for her! Sadly, she was working when I went over to her house, so I didn't get to see her, but we have some hangage pending, and I am really looking forward to it!
Well, my friends, it's my prayer that every one of you found joy today in the weather, and even on yucky days, you have the joy of Jesus Christ!
A new semester. I can't believe it. My junior year in college has commenced. It sounds old, but I don't feel old.
ROOMIES! Rachel, Emily, Natalie and me
Well, things have gotten off on the right foot. Recruitment this year was great. I think every sorority had such a great year, and I'm definitely satisfied with ADPi's new pledge class. We had four Auburn girls find their home with us - Katelyn Boston, Anna Marie Harris, Landrum Isaacson, and Shelby Selman - and I couldn't be more excited! The rest of the class is just as wonderful.
Katelyn's first diamond picture
Ice Water Teas!
All the ADPi's that live in the Castle
Recruitment was also so great because I got to know a lot of girls in my sorority who I'd never really known before. AND I finally saw my roommate from last year, Lauren Keith, who I hadn't seen since January!
Lauren and me :)
Some Auburn girls!
Rachel, La, me and JLee
With my big, Camilla, on her last bid day!
As for classes, I'm taking 17 hours. SEVENTEEN! I've only ever taken 15, so this will be a new adventure, no doubt. I've got Microbiology, Biochemistry I, Statistics for Biological and Health Sciences, Spanish Syntax, and Music Appreciation. With two labs, of course.
I've got a good feeling about this semester. It feels different, that's for sure. Not living on campus is playing a huge role in this feeling. I do love walking to class. I sometimes sweat a lot, but that's okay.
There are also several new things on my plate for this fall. Most of which come from AUMC College Ministry - with Dive and small groups. I'm looking forward to all of it. Lana and I are still leading our sweet d-group girls, who are juniors in high school now. Way crazy.
Well, that's the update! Hope to post again soon :)
In my ongoing attempt to settle into my new home, I've reached a roadblock. There is a huge stretch of wall space next to my bed, and I need to fill it. I have lots of pictures, mostly ones I took during my semester abroad, that I've touched up and tweaked to my satisfaction. But now, I have no idea how I should arrange them. If you look at the first picture from my previous post, you can see the empty wall space I'm referring to. Here are the pictures I've chosen to hang:
and of course...
Now, my dilemma remains in the hanging of said pictures. I've looked up some arrangement ideas, and the results I like most are as follows:
Does anyone have input? I like the ledges idea, but is it too crowded? I have quite a few pictures, and so I'm afraid if I put them all in uniform frames, it will be too much. What do y'all think?
How time has slipped away from me! Many apologies for my lack of blogging these past few weeks. Much has happened in my life, and I would love to share!
On July 1, I earned some age points as I moved into my new place! I now reside at 420 E Magnolia Ave - The Castle Apartments! And boy, do I feel like a princess here. After 2 years of sharing a room (which was never a real chore, due to my rad roomies Alli, Lauren, and Lindsey) I finally have the luxury of my own room, own bathroom, and own closet! That's of lot of "own's" - consider me spoiled. In fact, my roommates here in the Castle (Natalie, Emily, and Rachel, who have all yet to move in) each have their own room, bathroom, and closet as well. And we have a nice kitchen, and big living room, and a huge laundry room. I just love it. There is still so much to be done as far as décor goes, but here are some photos to give you an idea of my pad:
On the 4th and 5th, I began working back in the nursery at the hospital! It's really educational, and I am obsessed with holding all those sweet babies. I saw two C-sections, which for me, was very neat.
Also, on the 4th, after work, I went to Duck Samford to watch the fireworks with some amazing friends: Charlie and Rebecca (who are getting married one week from TOMORROW!!!), JMo, Brother Charles, Allison Kajs, Big Daddy, and Sims. Here's a pic of the girls:
The night before, Brooke and Pitts had come over to see my place, and we ended up making an American flag cake! It was great time spending time with my precious girlfriends.
On the 12th, we had a wonderful family lunch for Big Lyd's 6th birthday! We went to Laredo's, and the attendees were Lydia, myself, Lexi, Mom and Dad, John, Nonet and the boys, Mailon and Griffin, and Aunt Sharon and Haven. We told our waiter it was Lyd's birthay, and they brought out a cute kid's sombrero and some fried ice cream - she was beside herself!
All of last week, I helped with Sweat Week, AUMC's in-town mission trip. I also had the privilege of singing with the band at platform hour every night. And Thursday, we headed up to Tennessee to raft down the Ocoee river on Friday! It was great fun!
In my down town, I've been studying, trying to catch up with precious friends, enjoying some recent ideal weather, and getting excited about classes ending in a couple of weeks!
From now on, I will try to be more consistent with my postings!
This is a few days late, but this past Friday night, June 19th, on the eve of my dear friend Sarah's 20th birthday, we had a wonderful girls' night!!
The festivities began with a delicious meal at Amsterdam. We all dressed up fancy and sat on the patio for a couple of hours, enjoying the sweet smell of summer nights and the lazy laughter of long-time friends.
Those in attendance: Brooke Rush, the blond bombshell, Jordan Lee Spencer, the Broadway babe, Sarah Bolton, the birthday broad, and of course, myself. Our meals were incredible. We each got something so delicious and divine, almost dreamlike. Not to mention the birthday dessert we were treated to at the end!
After our appetites were appeased, we ventured to WalMart to pick up breakfast food for the morning time. In our quest, we ran into a dear ole Auburn High friend - Cierra Cobb. We caught up with her, and learned of her recent marriage to who seems like a fantastic husband AND a new baby on the way!
After we procured our provisions, we headed out to the Bolton residence.
We shimmied into our pajamas, and then the fun began. After a frivolous photoshoot,
we settled into our seats and put on our feature presentation: Fried Green Tomatoes. Sarah had been raving all day about the movie, and much to her disappointment, none of us succeeded in fighting the heaviness of our eyelids before we were 5 minutes in!
After a restful nights' sleep, we woke up and had biscuits and honey. JLee had to leave before enjoying the edibles, but other than that, the morning was magnificent and a wonderful way to begin the golden birthday of our dear Sarah B.