Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Good Old Summertime

A couple weeks ago, I was seated on an outdoor patio in Old Town with a friend, indulging in a rich dessert. 

"Of course I love Jesus and know Him. But there's no other way to put it. Suffering changes you." 

My soul has been tired. So tired.
Hardship has worn my heart to wearisome threads. 

I am emotionally healthier and much more stable than I was just 9 months ago, but still… I am changed. I don't feel like the same 'Leah' anymore, and at times, that scares me. It's in moments like these that I am reminded that even though seasons change and seasons end, and people change, our God is never changing, always the same, never forsaking.

The late spring & summer months have quieted down to a peaceful norm. Nothing altering or life changing. Just living day to day life, working a full time job at Starbucks and having fun here and there. (Of course.)

Earlier this year, I expected that right now, I would be packing up all I own into my tiny Ford Focus and driving across the midwest to Michigan for Bible school this fall. That was the plan - but God brought me to a place of rest instead. Here is where He wants to be right now. I think 9 months ago, I was trying to 'run away' from my pain and my life, so going to Bible School seemed like the right, godly, spiritual thing to do. Not that it wouldn't have been good for me, but the Lord has been showing me that I don't need to prove myself to Him. I don't need to have a Missions degree from a Bible College to prove to Him, myself or others that I love Him and that I know that I don't need anyone else to satisfy me in this life. Of course He knows my heart - I am His. He loves me.

So, that is that.
I don't know what He has in store me. I have no plans. I have no remote clue. But I do know that I want to know Him more deeply. I want to truly KNOW Him, to be in relationship with Him, to truly enjoy Him for all He is.

Since about April, I have been attending a church in Denver. I don't know if this will become my new home church (as the hour long drive is so hard every Sunday), but if my soul is being fed Truth, then it is worth it!

One of my favorite sermons preached to date was a message preached by one of the elders out of Psalms 45. (Actual sermon starts at about 10:30 into the audio.) He shared the following quote:

"God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of Him is our proper and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is the ocean."
—Jonathan Edwards

A friend of mine way back from photography school (in 2008) recently moved to the area, so he joined me at church one Sunday! After service, we went to Starbucks and talked about theology for a couple hours. Definitely gave me a lot to chew on and ponder.

This summer I got to attend my first Broadway musical! After having several friends from photography school and others recommend it over the years, I finally had the chance to see it. It was so good! I will never look at the story of The Wizard of Oz in the way again. My favorite songs from the musical were "I'm Not That Girl" and "Defying Gravity." (Oh, and don't judge the musical by it's title. ;-) I know it might sound scandalous, but I promise - it's not!) ;-)

This summer I explored a local venue, the Grant Humphreys Mansion located on Capitol Hill in Denver. Beautiful! Couldn't you just picture it in a Jane Austen film, or even in a story from the 1920s?

I went up to Rocky Mountain National Park a couple times…

And photographed the night sky at 11:30pm… at 12,000 feet elevation!

I made food occasionally. (When I wasn't working. Which is a rare occurrence these days.)

Pictured here is warm pita bread, spread with hummus, stuffed with falafel, lettuce, chopped tomato and slathered with tzatziki cucumber sauce. 
One morning for breakfast, I made myself a Sunny-side Up Egg & Avocado on Toast. It turned out rather pretty, if I do say so myself. ;-)

More recently, I made some (Paleo) Roasted Summer Squash Noodles. *Served with Toast Coconut Tea.

I visited our County Fair, which was an absolute blast. I ate funnel cake and Dole pineapple ice-cream, rode the ferris wheel and hanging chairs (what are they really called? Haha!) and laughed too hard with a good friend. I hadn't been to a fair since my childhood days in southern California!

(Yes. We went back another night.)

I bought some shoes on clearance from Madewell. (After I had been eying them for so long.) What girl's day wouldn't be made by getting shoes in the mail?

To close out the summer, I went to Red Rocks Amphitheater for "Worship Night in America."

Louie Giglio and Max Lucado were the speakers that evening, and these were a few of their quotes I jotted down for safe keeping.

"We sing, not because we haven't gone through the valley of the shadow, but because we have been raised from the dead spiritually." (Louie Giglio)

"Would you let God love you?" (Max Lucado)

"Let Him change You with His love - a love that casts out every fear." (Max Lucado)

Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There's no one like You
None like You
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other