stillness

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Hillsong and Ascend the Hill. I had kind of forgotten how much I enjoy worship music (and not just hymns) until I went to chapel at IWU last week and was really refreshed by the worship there.

Something about worship music reaches to my inmost being and makes everything calm. Reminds me of what my relationship with Christ is and who I am. Sometimes the lyrics really reach me, other times (like as of late) the music is just an avenue for me to feel connected with God again, no matter what the words may be.

Recently I listened to Brooke Fraser’s “C.S. Lewis Song” and I love the quote she used of Lewis’: “If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy, I can only conclude that I, I was not made for here.” It’s such a beautiful thought, bringing comfort to my heart. Yes, there are times when I am restless in this world and I sometimes feel unsatisfied…but that’s okay. Because the desires God has placed in my heart – nothing on this earth can truly satisfy them. And being reminded of that causes me only to turn to Him more.

What desires are you seeking fulfillment of? What has been occupying your thoughts? What has been that one overriding topic of conversation recently? What is that thing that prevents you from being content in your life? Where are you seeking that fulfillment? Will those people/places/events/possessions really fulfill you? Are you seeking the right fulfillment for that desire?

I challenge you this week to ask God what He is trying to teach you through your desires. Ask Him if there is something deeper, more important that you should be seeking. Take time this week to be still…and know that He is God.

None But Jesus by Brooke Fraser

In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos, in confusion
I know You’re sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will

So when You call I won’t delay
This my song through all my days

All my delight is in You, Lord
All of my hope, all of my strength
All my delight is in You, Lord, forevermore

the joy of quiet times

The New York Times recently published an article entitled, The Joy of Quiet Times. It talks about about the ways technology and media can suffocate us, how it can actually kill healthy communication and steal away from true freedom.

A few of my favorite quotes:
-“Man was made for the highest activity, which is, in fact, his rest.” Thomas Merton
-We have more and more ways to communicate, as Thoreau noted, but less and less to say. Partly because we’re so busy communicating. And — as he might also have said — we’re rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines.

It’s ironic that in this age where we are always striving for the newest technology, we find ourselves seeking for ways to get away from that same technology. We seek opportunities to “forget” our cell phones at home, to get out in nature, etc. The past few months, I have found myself suddenly realizing, as if my mind is suddenly being cleared from a fog, that I am way too over-stimulated.

Living in central Illinois can get pretty boring. I don’t live near any mountains or near a large body of water, or even rolling hills, so I easily find myself yearning for adventure (but that’s for another post on a later day). Thus, I enjoy this list a fellow blogger came up with to find solitude in this crazy world: 7 Ways to Find Solitude.

Now get off the internet and go read a book or take a hike or better yet, write someone a letter. Who doesn’t love getting real mail?!

whirlwind

Crazy whirlwind of blogposts, so instead of writing, here are a few pictures of recent events:

We finally got snow! Glorious snow! It came right after a horrible night at work and it made everything all better : )

Corrie and I made a quick trip to St. Louis to fly the coop and have a fun shopping spree. I cannot explain why I love STL so much, but I do!

Miette and me ready for Beauty and the Beast 3D in STL. Love this kiddo's spirit

And tonight I pulled out Violet's first tooth! This pretty much sums up our, er, her excitement. Quite the celebration!

Check out the video here: Aunt Caitlyn pulls Violet’s first tooth

Missing: part 2

The second thing that has been missing from my life relates closely to the first: God. While this time last year, it seemed to me that God was the one who was distant, now it is me who is distant. Not by choice, but from lack of initiative. I have not taken time in the Word, nor even to pray more than a quick prayer. The other day I found myself in a conversation and suddenly, I was thinking, “What are you saying?! Who are you? The real Caitlyn would not be having this conversation/be talking this way.” Then my next thought was, “This is what happens when you don’t take time to immerse yourself in the Word and spend time with the Lord…”

So today I took time to read through the Word and I just kept reading and reading and it was so good. I mostly read in Proverbs, and here are some of the verses I read:

-Ch. 13 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. (reminds me of Romans 8:25)
-Ch. 16 – A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure…The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him].
-Ch. 17 – He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding has a cool spirit. Even a fool when he holds his peace is considered wise; when he closes his lips he is esteemed a man of understanding.
-Ch. 18 – The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe, high and strong.

When I take time to be in the Word after a long absence, I notice a difference. I have to intentionally go in with an open heart and mind, asking for God to reveal something to me. And God is always faithful – I always leave finding myself renewed in some way: being more patient, being more intentional, more loving, more calm-minded, etc.

So I challenge you [and of course myself] to make it a habit of spending time in the Word and praying this year, even this week. Of course we’ll fail, but that does not mean we should give up the habit. There is too much good to be gleaned from such habits.

Missing: part 1

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad.”
~Proverbs 12 v. 25

There have been a few things missing in my life lately and I have had intentions of writing about them for a few weeks now, but I simply have not made the time to do so. This is part one of two.

Friends.

For four years, I was surrounded by friends and my peers. Always someone to go to class with, grab coffee, or watch a movie with. But now I am back where I came from, living in a small town in central Illinois, but with limited peers. No longer can I just call a friend up and hang out. Now “hanging out” means phone conversations, skype calls, possible meetings, all which require checking schedules and rearranging plans. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is all worth it! I love meeting up with friends, even if it is through a simple ten minute phone conversation.

But somedays, it’s just not enough, ya know? Sometimes you need that friend that will tackle you in a greeting and tell you it is so good to see you. Sometimes you need someone to see your face because you don’t have the words to express your feelings and you just know that if they were to see your face, you’d both understand. Sometimes you need that physical presence of a friend while you read a book or write a letter because, well, it just makes the experience that much better.

So this is a little late, but one of my goals of 2012 is reaching out. Reconnecting with old friends, maintaining current ones (be it 2 hours away or 20), and creating new friendships. Because friends are necessary in my life. I treasure my friendships. Friends revitalize me and remind me that I am loved (something I am reminded of by my family, but it means something different). I am shown so much of Christ and his love through my interactions with friends, Christian or not. Through looks, conversations, events, tears.

An encouraging word does make a man’s heart glad.

jillian michaels: ripped in 30

Last week I bought 2 Jillian Michaels workout DVDs. Today was Day 1 of week 1.

Now. Do I think Jillian is a little too intense? A little annoying? Says some ridiculous “motivational” one-liners? Yes, yes, and yes. But do I feel good after having gotten up off of my butt and worked out? YES.

Here’s a good one-liner from one of her workouts: “Transformation is not a future event, it is a present activity.” Cheesy, yes…but true, right? Now to see if I can keep up this present activity 5-6 times a week…

miscellany

Here are a few random things that I have really enjoyed lately:

-My trip to Ohio to see the Stephen and the rest of the Leimgrubers
-Flowers : )
-Catching up with my bestie, Emily, and 3 other really good friends all in one day (PTL for skype – what up Australia?!)
-A long, warm bath while watching New Girl
Pulling a prank at the dentist
-Randomly stopping by to see a few of my nieces and reading Caroline’s “weting storee” (aka “wedding story”)
Driving home into the sunset listening to “Be Thou My Vision” and this verse:
                High King of heaven, my victory won,
                May I reach heaven’s joys, O Bright Heaven’s sun!
                Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
                Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
-Watching this surprisingly good cover of Rolling in the Deep
-Watching this fantastic version of Jane Eyre
-Finding out Harry Connick, Jr. is going to be on Law & Order now…whaaaat?! Hahahaa
-Using my incredible quilt made by my sister-in-law, Corrie (amazing. seriously.)
Listening to this cover of Regina Spektor’s “The Call” by Kina Grannis
-Aaaand to top it all off: staying up 32 hours because I was too excited to NOT be working or sleeping after 4 days of work. How could I waste the day away?!
-Oh, and this video of 650 people singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” in Macy’s still gives me chills and brings me to tears!

Aaaand now I’m crashing. Life has been great lately, to say the least.
Here’s my adorable Eliza, chillin on the couch:

billy bob goes to the dentist

I’d been planning this for years. Literally. I walked in to the dentist, had my real teeth cleaned by the hygienist, then she left. Meanwhile I popped these puppies into my mouth and when the dentist came in, I leaned back and opened wide. He cracked up laughing and had to compose himself before he could do anything else. Tooootally worth the wait! Hahaha

P.S. Here’s a kindred spirit in the television world who understands my love for these teeth…and many other things, in fact: http://www.hulu.com/watch/285409/new-girl-suppress-the-jess#s-p5-sr-i1
Check out New Girl – it’s a pretty great show – super witty, super funny, and will be sure to make you laugh : )

heppy new year – it’s 2012?!

Well, happy new year, ya’ll! I think this year is going to be grand. Although…it feels like 2011 was just yesterday… (heh heh heh)

I rang in the new year with the gals at work, sparkling grape juice (not pictured here in the medicine “shot glass” that we actually used), C.S. Lewis, a grande Americano, and Kristen Wiig:

I then slept for a few hours then woke up to a home full of wonderful family! We had our Easley Christmas today and it was grand. Chaotic, but grand! : ) Here’s a snippet of the craziness, although it doesn’t do it justice because this is only 1/3 of the living room/people:

And here’s a picture of me with just the sweetest little man you’ll ever meet. His name is Judah, he likes giving kisses, clapping, smiling, peas, and long walks on the beach. He will steal your heart at first sight. A classy chap.
I’m excited to see what this new year will bring…