longing to have more of You.

The sun is bright and the breeze is warm even though it’s February. All the windows are open, all the neighborhood kids are outside, all the signs point to spring coming soon.

I’m pulling out of the driveway at work, going to pick up a friend and head to the outdoor mall, and the little girl I keep is yelling “Bye Miss Hailey!” and waving and grinning big as I drive away.

“In Over My Head” by Bethel is playing in my car and I mouth the words, “This longing to have more of You. I can feel it, my heart is convinced; I’m thirsty, my soul can’t be quenched. You already know this but still, come and do whatever you want to.” I’m thinking about grace and love, and I am floored all over again at what a merciful God I serve.

“Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.”

–Frederick Lehman

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At the same time I’m grateful for my blessings, I also feel the burden of the millions of people who are trapped in slavery all over the world. Let’s pray so hard for them all year round and not just on February 23rd.

// this is just a quickie post to preserve a sweet moment in time that I didn’t want to forget. (Also I promise my skin isn’t that orange; it’s just the filter, lol.) How’s everyone doing? What are y’all up to this weekend? Month in review coming next week, stay tuned!

7 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE OBSESSED WITH NEWSIES + how to serve others :)

Today Devotional Diva is letting me share some practical ways to serve others! I’m really excited about this article–click here to read. Then come right back, because we have to talk about Newsies.

I wasn’t planning to write a whole blog post about Newsies, but I just had too many feels to fit into my month-end review. If you’ve never heard of Newsies, here’s the rundown: in 1899, a group of newsboys in New York went on strike when the price of “papes” was raised. In 1992 Disney made a less-than-popular movie based on that strike; in 2012 the musical Newsies opened on Broadway, running for more than two years and receiving a couple of Tony Awards; and last year several of the Broadway cast members + the tour cast reprised their roles to give us a fantastic recording of the musical that’s in theaters three days only! I’d had the soundtrack memorized for years, so I was only too happy to drag my mom, brother, and friend to see the movie event last weekend. So, here goes: my top seven reasons why you should fall in love with Newsies too. (Disclaimer: I haven’t seen the movie, this is just about the musical!)

1. Ben Fankhauser singing that line.

If you’re a “fansie,” you know the one. If you’re not, let me educate you: go and look it up, the poor GUY’S head is spinning! The line from Watch What Happens (Reprise) went kind of viral when Ben, who plays Davey, revealed that he uses that line to warm up pre-show and also to generally annoy everyone in the vicinity. It’s so glorious that someone actually made a six-hour Youtube video with Ben singing that line 8,000 times in a row. Yes, you read that right–eight thousand times. You can find the video here. Play it at my funeral, please.

2. Jeremy Jordan’s emotional investment in Jack Kelly.

I’d been listening to the original Broadway soundtrack of Newsies for a looong time, and it was amazing how much emotion Jeremy conveyed in the lead role just through singing (especially Santa Fe), but seeing his facial expressions and body language and everything last weekend took it to a whole new level. It’s intense; it’s the real deal. Despite the fact that he’s a little old (Jeremy is now thirty-two to his character Jack’s seventeen), and that one of my friends thinks he looks like a llama (um, still not sure where that one came from, but it’s a legit thing that was said. Rude), he’s a stellar Jack Kelly in my humble opinion.

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I got nothin’ if I ain’t got Santa Fe-e-e-e-e-e!

3. That moment in Once and for All when the key changes and the set moves forward and UGH.

ALL THE GOOSEBUMPS. I don’t really have anything else to say, except–it’s AHMAZING (and, incidentally, an integral part of my current WIP’s playlist). Once and for All is a great song in general because it starts out so nice and calm, and then in the middle it majorly amps up and you want to go leap buildings in a single bound, and by the end you’re just sobbing in the fetal position because the whole thing is TOO AWESOME. Or maybe that’s just me? Okay. Listen here.

4. THE DANCING.

Again, I have no words. None. Count them: zero. It’s SO technical and polished and flawless! I did ballet, tap, and jazz for seven years growing up and swing for a couple more years after that, and all of the dance numbers in Newsies–tap dancing! A dozen pirouettes in a row! Acro elements and the newspaper dance and the iconic Newsies leap (which Lin Manuel-Miranda himself once tweeted that he tried, and failed, to master)!–just make my little former-dancer heart SO so happy.

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5. The overarching themes of hope, perseverance, and loyalty.

“Poor little kids versus rich greedy sourpusses,” and guess who wins? Everyone loves a good underdog story, and Newsies is a great one–a group of scrappy kids who are just trying to keep their heads above water, and who end up triumphing over the big bad Pulitzer. No “life lessons in economics” for them!

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Corey!

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6. Letter from the Refuge + Crutchie in general.

This song was written for the tour cast; it wasn’t part of the original Broadway show. I’m so glad they included it in the movie, and I lowkey start singing it every time someone asks me how I am. (I feel like Zachary Sayle used to think about his time left behind at the rest stop to get him in the right mindset for Letter from the Refuge. Ah, good times.) Listen here with Andrew Keenan-Bolger–bring tissues. While we’re at it, let’s just appreciate Crutchie for a minute: “I got a nickel!” “I’ll be sleepin’ on the streets–in a worse neighborhood!” Also, do you ever just sit down and cry very hard because of how much Jack needs Crutchie? Because I do. Okay, moving on.

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7. Kara Lindsay and Katherine Pulitzer are as close to flawless human beings as one can get.

Kara’s singing voice and her laugh and her overall cute little self–heart. eyes. Also, let’s talk about Katherine Pulitzer–not only is she someone who doesn’t give up until she gets what she wants (in this case, to be taken seriously as a writer, which incidentally is one of my goals as well), but she’s sassy (“Cheeky boy gets nothing for his troubles”) and #relatable. I mean, think about it:

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Plus, the song Watch What Happens (see below) is me literally every day. #writerprobs

Write what you know, so they say, all I know is I don’t know what to write, or the right way to write it… Poor little kids versus rich greedy sourpusses, ha! It’s a cinch! It could practically write itself. And let’s pray it does, cause as I may have mentioned I have no clue what I’m doing!… Give me some time, I’ll be twice as good as that six months from never.

This is one of the first musicals I ever fell in love with, and I could go on, but I’ll cap it here. Shameless self-promo: give my Newsies Pinterest board a follow (all pictures and gif’s in this post are from Pinterest), and we can fangirl about Ben Cook/Race and Tommy Bracco/Spot Conlon and the rest of the cast and characters to our hearts’ content!

Are you a musical theater junkie like me? Do you love Newsies too? If you had never heard of it before this post, are you going to go listen to the soundtrack right after you leave a comment? (Hint: the answer is yes.) 

YOU are NOT alone.

Last summer I learned what the terms “depression” and “anxiety” really mean. I don’t like to go back and read my blog posts from that time period. Although a random stranger might not be able to tell, when I read those posts, I read what I was really saying. I’m sick. I’m scared. I’m so very tired. I just want to be done. I wasn’t actually contemplating suicide or anything, but many days, I wished that I could just skip the rest of my life and go to heaven because it would be so much easier.

If you’re new to the blog, I was very sick last summer; I’ve been sick for almost a year now, but last summer was for sure the worst period of it. I was incredibly sleepy all the time, I had headaches, it was hard to breathe 24/7, my hands and legs would tingle and cramp, etc. It was an endless parade of doctor’s appointments and being so tired and still dealing with normal life stuff (haha, activities other than visiting the Mayo Clinic website every day and trying to keep track of all my doctors and medicines), and I was weary. I was so weary. Between being sick and starting college algebra (math and I have never been on good terms, to put it lightly) and a whole bunch of other stuff–it was too much. Some days I felt like I’d never smile again. I found a note in my phone just now from almost exactly six months ago that reads:

Tonight everything is pushing in on me. I’m stressed about school (yes, already–I will never understand college algebra). I don’t feel worthy. I’m upset with myself that I want people to view me a certain way. I have so much stupid pride. I want new friends, but I don’t want to lose my old ones. Well–most of them. I feel despairing that I will ever make a difference in this world or do anything of value. Most of all, I am so very very physically tired and weak and weary and sick of being sick.

Everyone has bad days and everyone has times where they feel like this, but I had a lot of days like this. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment, and I can’t tell you how. I just know that sometime last September-ish, this depression went away. Not completely, of course; I still feel it coming on occasionally. Just writing about it puts me in a not-great mood because I remember how awful it was. But now, it’s once every few months instead of once every few days. And when I do feel it coming on, I pray. I saturate myself in Scripture. I simply don’t let myself fall prey to those thoughts anymore. I’m still sick–yesterday was my 18th birthday and I spent the morning in bed feeling awful. Yes, I did throw myself a brief pity party, but then I got over it and had a nice day. The last few months, I’ve been so grateful for my life. My word for 2017 is “serve,” and I think that’s something that really helps: focusing on others. I have a Post-it note on my bedroom door that reads: 1) God 2) Others 3) You.

I wasn’t really planning on ever sharing this–I don’t particularly want to hit publish on this post–but tonight a friend and I were having a casual conversation over text that suddenly got much deeper. I mentioned that I was depressed and scared and weary last year. She said that because she had experienced similar periods of depression before, she could tell I wasn’t okay. She said she was praying hard for me, and that made me stop in my tracks and just stare at my phone as tears came into my eyes. Somebody noticed. Somebody knew. Somebody cared.

So here’s my point: if you feel like you’re alone tonight, you’re not. If you think nobody cares, you’re wrong. If you’re hearing lies in your head that you have no value or no worth or that this life isn’t worth living, that’s what they are–LIES. You are not alone. Somebody always cares. You have infinite value and worth because you are a child of the King. Because of Him, this life is worth living. If you need a friend, please hit up my Contact Me page. I feel like someone needed to read this tonight, so even though I don’t want to, I’m going to click “publish.” I hope that someone was you.

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Here, have a sunset. God made it just for you.

if that’s what you wanted

it’s dark.

the air outside is cool.

the steering wheel is smooth under my hands. my thumbs tap idly to the beat of the music.

the sweet taste of syrup lingers in my mouth, courtesy of our spontaneous late-night Huddle House run.

he laughs.

his laugh makes me laugh.

the stars glow down on our little car moving through the countryside,

moving towards home.

we remember. we plan. we dream.

the voice on the stereo croons, if that’s what you wanted

and i think — yes.

this is what i wanted.

him. this night. this life. all of it.

this is exactly what i wanted.

bu
(x)

*just a lil disclaimer — the “he” in this piece is my brother =)