Seven Day Snapshots

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The past 7 days included a whirlwind of countries, airports, food products and familiar faces! Leaving London, we visited Belgium and Switzerland on our trek back to the states. At home, we indulged in many many many sources of queso and root beer. We definitely have thrown our bodies back in to America food flavoring routine. Due to our current homelessness, we have been able to see some friends and family on our Texas road trip going through Dallas and Austin so far. Being back in the states is the bee's knees, but we are just about ready to unpack and settle into our home!

United Pursuit. Set a Fire - Monday Morning Motivation

These chaps sure know how to jam and inspire spiritual outbreak of revival. Happy Monday to you!

Kina Grannis. In Your Arms - Monday Morning Motivation

2 years of filming. 228,000 jelly beans. This stop motion music video by one of my favorite singer songwriters, Kina Grannis, is nothing short of pure genius. Click here to watch the "making of"video, which is just as motivationally mindblowing.

Seven Day Snapshots

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This week was one filled with plenty of movies, warm English tea, hours of Tour de France watching and capturing last minute London loves. You guys, a miracle has happened. That sneaky Bopants has turned me into a SPORTS person. Let me explain to you the monumental severity of this personality adaptation. I never did or cared about sports prior to our marriage. As in, I participated in P.E. online to get out of physical activity in school. My idea of sports is championing Gilmore Girls marathons and timing who can eat the bowl of queso the fastest. But that D'Ann is dead and gone. I can tell you all about doping (which, shocker, isn't doing drugs rather it's oxygenating blood. Who knew?), peloton tactics and our heroic Froome. Our London church released a fantastic bout of tunes called Glorious Ruins - check them out here! My boy, Daniel Radcliffe, starred in an rather disturbing role which displayed his vast characterization talents in this play. We relished in the Londoners free outdoor cinema screens playing Disney moves, the British Open and The Tour. Even a little police officer allowed his puppy to enjoy the outdoor fun! Cheers to you all, hope your seven days were are stellar as ours :]

The bloody brilliance that is Jo Rowling

My love affair with the magical world of Harry Potter kicked off back in 2001, when the family
indulged my curiosity and picked up the book-on-tape for us to listen to on a long road trip to
whoknowswhere. As you may remember, the big debate at the time was wether the books were
devilish or would morph the reader into witchcraft worshipping heathens (which is rather ironic now
considering how many gospel themes are interwoven into the novel). So in small town Texas, openly adoring these books became a bit taboo.I had more than a few friends, parents and teachers who discouraged my Potterhead adoration, which probably only fueled the flame even more.

The Tale of the Three Brothers. The most artistic scene from the series and debatably any film on the planet 

Chances are, you know storyline or have already watched the beauty that embodies the movies. Rather than giving summaries/opinions, I wanted to share some of the really great interviews and links for those who want to lose themselves in the wizardry world. Here you will find the best sorting hat quiz out there. The quiz comprises all the Pottermore questions without you having to go to Pottermore and set up an account/read the chapters/etc. This chap hilariously sings the series summary in a shocking 99 seconds. Back in the day when fml and mylifeisaverage websites took the web by storm, averagewizard stole the scene and my heart. 

Jo & Daniel give in depth commentary on characters, plot creation/changes, the casting and filming. My favorite HP interview of the decade. Hearing Daniels casting story at 2:47 was awesome. 

Here is another interview where Jo details the women in Harry Potter and how each one's vital role along with how they developed throughout the novels. A Very Potter Musical is a fan created musical parody of the series, with creative character interpretations of Malfoy and Cho Chang. Welp, I have gone nerd rant on you enough for today. Time to bust out the butterbear and trade in your muggle mind for something a little more magical.

From our house of Ravenclaw to yours. 

Bon Iver . Holocene - Monday Morning Motivation

The culmination of breathtaking cinematography and vibrant setting shots is just too good to be true. Happy Monday! Hope this motivates you to have a swell day indeed.

Summer Reading List

My infatuation with reading flows deep and wide. Summer presents prime time for cozying up by the pool or air conditioning and diving into an addictive novel. Below are ratings and mini summaries of my favorite browses.

1. Love, Rosie: From the author P.S. I Love you, this nugget of joy has a bit of romance dominated by witty characters with terrible timing. Written in multiple correspondent style communications, I found the book to have a refreshing quick reading flow. A little love, charm and soul searching.

2. Where'd You Go Bernadette: Strung together by mainly letters/emails/doctor's notes and first person narration by 15 year old, this book is a hoot. The mother daughter comical relationship, observations of a small suburban community and life on the inside of Microsoft create a page-turning delight. 

3. The Storyteller: Another masterpiece by Jodi, giving us a peak into the minds of multiple characters affected by the holocaust. Really intriguing plot with creative character development. 

From baggage to blogging

My mind sometimes gets ahold of a particular concept or idea that tumbles around, causing a monumental amount of restlessness at often rather inconvenient times. Today this beautiful annoyance popped out of nowhere right around the time my body was ready to hit the hay. Alas, my mental wheels kept churning – so here I am sitting on an uncomfortable bathroom floor of our flat about to address an even more uncomfortable amount of baggage in my life.

Listening to a women’s conference session by one of my favorite authors Shauna Niequist, she addressed the fears many women have about pursuing their closet dreams. She made a comment about how men often come to her with plans, resumes, forecasts and goals while women trembling whisper the deepest desires of their hearts. As I heard this observation, I immediately wrote it off as inapplicable to myself. Goodness knows, I tend to be over headstrong and relentless in chasing after what I want. Example A: me being married at 20… Just kidding (kind of). Yet, a couple hours later I found that message still dwelling inside me questioning “D’Ann, what is your forgotten dream? Is there something you are still too scared to do for the sake of once you say it out loud there is no turning back?”

Now, let’s talk about my baggage. We all have these loads of hidden dark secrets or scars from the past we tend to rarely refer to and often address in a third person manner. For me, this boggart  ( most commonly takes shape in self-loathing. For years, I have battled with personal perfection and consequence often taking the shape of full force physical or mental anorexia. Similar to majority of sins or closet insecurities, this monster is addictive, destructive, isolating and a lifelong disease. Whatever the brew of your particular sin: Pornography. Alcoholism. Binge eating. Pride seeking. Lying. Idolatry. We never truly overcome these alone. In Christ, we are redeemed and no longer slave to the forces of evil around and inside us – but in my experience the roots of each are deep seeded and not leaving us anytime soon. We have a choice in what voices we listen to and what words we allow to have power in us. In my life, personal ignorance or oblivion to these thresholds in my life only fuels the flame and power of the force. Thankfully, I have overcome the mainly physical aspects of anorexia. But each and everyday, the mental battle rages on. Just a mere week before my wedding, I remember trying on that stupid wedding dress and bawling because I despised the reflection. Innocent comments from the ones I loved stung like arrows and sin twisted my moment of the “first look” into “first loathe”. I wish I could say those reservations about the dress disappeared on the wedding day, but that’s a lie. Fortunately, I’m learning to not be ashamed of being open. It’s okay to not be okay . For I know, I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 193:14), loved unconditionally by the most powerful and high King (1 John 4:9).  Ingraining these daily truths into my noggin, my soul slowly becomes less fearful of openness and honesty. Because at the end of the day, that’s pain’s side effect – utter isolation. Once we feel alone or dirty or unable to become clean, we are easily defeated.

*insert cutesie photo to break the tension*

Here’s the point of this blog post; I have drug my feet for YEARS on committing to routine blogging. Writing is purely for me as a way to stay connected to a form of art and document the things I feel where and when I feel them. Life for me is much easier when skimmed by quickly and forgotten about. Today I chose not to live easy but strive for my forgotten dream. Expand this lil guy into a more full extension of self has always been somewhat a dream, portraying life in whichever season I am living. The fear crippling me from a commitment to do…well…just about anything in my life I’ve started…boils down to my insecurity and expectation for perfection. What if I don’t like the Annie from a few years ago or what she looked like or what if I have to walk through some really poopy seasons and later have detailed documentation of those nightmares or what if I fail. (Here’s the real kicker though, you can’t really fail at journaling/blogging anymore than not participating. Which I routinely fall into basically every month, so there’s really no reason to fear failure). So here I am, putting my dream in writing. I am going to allow my mind to be creative with this blog, faithfully experimenting whilst crossing out failure as an option or fear as an excuse!

Procrastination. We meet again.

As per usual, my scheduled "whoops, I haven't blogged or journaled in forever and therefore are bound to forget half the summer" guilt started kicking in around mile 4 of my daily walk to the market. I immediately started collecting my thoughts and made a promise that I wasn't allowed my afternoon tea today until I hammered out my thoughts via interwebs. Ready. Set. Go.

just taking a brisk stroll in Ireland

The past few weeks have been jam packed full of visiting friends and family, learning how to cook with International constraints, walking miles and miles and miles around Ireland and London, and virtually stalking the entire royal family. Having the company of some lifelong friends and my family was a perfect distraction to how hard adjusting to life abroad can be. There are so many memories that just aren't the same when made alone, so I am eternally thankful for everyone's generosity and companionship. I am happy to report that we have found an ABUNDANCE of quality Mexican food joints that we may or may not eat at every other day. Unfortunately, there is no sign of queso so we are forced to down bowl after bowl of guacamole :] Rather comically, one restaurant claimed to have nachos covered in "liquid Texas cheese sauce". No idea what on earth that resembles, so I opted to run the other direction. Aimee (my lovely sissykins) and I started a lil list of all the American delicacies that we missed. This was quite productive in increasing our gratuity of the land of the free and home of the brave. 

I see you smothered cheese and jalapenos and guacamole and SOUR CREAM.

I have noted an interesting redundant theme throughout my life the past few weeks: the frailty of life. Trailing through museum after museum after museum, I am flooded with the consciousness of how none of life matters if we are living merely for ourselves or to be liked or to acquire fame. For example, the top like 5% of the richest and most successful Egyptians were actually honored enough to get a mummified coffin. Yet, today these are just old dead smelly people who get one measly plaque (most of whom are labeled "young man" or "woman between the age or 34-42") and are featured backgrounds of the Asian tourists selfies. This was the cream of the crop of an entire society who's individual legacies amounts to nothing. Another example is how maybe 8 artists are commonly recognized in our generation for their insane masterpieces. So let's only consider those guys. What do we really know about Monet or Van Gough? We can maybe state a few facts such as "he's the one that cut off his ear, right?" but other than that. Nada. Yet how many of us seek that future recognition and strive day after day for momentary happiness or success. John Green dives into this really thought provoking concept in The Fault Between Our Stars where a character mentions; 

"I did some research on this a couple years ago," Augustus continued. "I was wondering if everybody could be remembered. Like, if we got organized, and assigned a certain number of corpses to each living person, would there be enough living people to remember all the dead people?"
"And are there?"
"Sure, anyone can name fourteen dead people. But we're disorganized mourners, so a lot of people end up remembering Shakespeare and no one ends up remembering the person he wrote Sonnet Fifty-five about."

How crazy is that to think about. Even if you are the "one" to be remembered, very few will remember more than your name. In a city of literally millions surrounded by years of history, I realize just how small I am. In an episode of Boy Meets World, Shawn goes into the world to find himself emerging with the statement: 

"I had a moment.. just one that made everything completely clear to me. I was looking at the night sky and I could see everything...stars, planets, galaxies."
"You must have felt so small."
"I did! I totally did. I felt like a speck, who was here for one moment in time and then gone. I decided that while I'm here, I wanna be with my friends and the people I love. Because when I'm with you guys, I don't feel so small."

Anywho, I realize this is swaying on the side of heavy. I've just been put back into perspective (as I am so often) about what truly matters. At the end of the day, I care about relationships and those I love. Furthermore, my entire aspiration is to push the one's I love towards the cross and Christ's perfect love each and everyday. Having my sissy come visit and share our insanely cramped one room studio reminded me of what a treasure our relationship is. Not many share that bond with a sibling or even friend. We are completely opposite and are not afraid to share hard blunt truths with one another. Alas, that's the beauty of a "home team". You get to share the darkest sides of yourself and be completely called out on your baggage. It's often not fun or pretty. Life is so much easier when you are surface friends with everyone, never allowing people deep enough to actually see you. I'm just constantly learning to cultivate the depth rather than the width of my friendships and workout the hard "let's not go there" moments and air out the baggage once and for all. 

Sissykins and I!

This season of just dwelling and soaking up culture as a foreign observer is savory. Not entirely sure if that is a noun, but that's precisely how I feel. Living abroad and serving Bopants and making memories with the fambam has been a delightful treat. One of the coolest endeavors has been participating in the body of Hillsong London church for our 6 weeks here. They embody "Home" and are such pictures of community and reaching the lost where they are at. I am ignited with anticipation for arriving back in Lubbock and at Elife really sink our teeth into living out life and making a home. After living from suitcases for 3 months, we are getting antsy to unpack and call a place ours. Home

Hillsong London's weekly slide and connect point