Oscar Nominations // 84th Academy Awards

One of my favorite days of the year! The day Oscar Nominations are announced. And like any film nerd I like to make my own predictions. I usually have this tradition that every year, before the Academy Awards, I watch every movie nominated. It’s a crazy feat and I think only one year I made it through every single movie…but this year is much, much different. Because sadly…I haven’t seen one on the list. Not one! I am totally okay with this because I have been so occupied with a lot of other things. So I am making my predictions based off of what I desire to see happen. Even though I’ve been hearing things, etc…there are some performances I think that are worthy of winning. Okay, here goes.

BEST PICTURE:

12 Years a Slave 

Captian Phillips

Gravity

Philomena

The Wolf of Wall Street

Nebraska

American Hustle

Dallas Buyers Club

Her

 

BEST DIRECTOR:

David O Russel – American Hustle

Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity

Alexander Payne – Nebraska

Steve McQueen – 12 Years

Martin Scorsese – Wolf of Wall Street

 

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Christian Bale – American Hustle

Bruce Dern – Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street (I think it’s Leo’s year! I just have this feeling…crossing my fingers)

Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

 

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Amy Adams – American Hustle

Sandra Bullock – Gravity

Judi Dench – Philomena

Meryl Streep – August Osage County

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Bradley Cooper – American Hustle

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips

Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave

Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle (She did win at the globes…and she’ll probably win…I just feel bad for the other nominees)

Lupita Nyong’o- 12 Years a Slave (Although, it would be awesome to see her win as well)

Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine

Julia Roberts – August Osage County

June Squibb – Nebraska

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:

Despicable Me 2

Frozen (Duh!)

The Croods

Ernest & Celestine

The Wind Rises

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight

Billy Ray – Captain Phillips

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena

John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave (I think this movie is gonna take a lot this year)

Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:

Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell – American Hustle

Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine

Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club

Spike Jonze – Her (Spike Jonze is weird and should be commended for it…)

Bob Nelson – Nebraska

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First Day of the Last Semester // Senior Year

In roughly 120 days, I will be graduating from the University of Mary Washington with a B.A. in English Literature. This is a dream come true for me! I am thrilled that I have made it this far. Of course I have to make it through this semester and only time will tell. To be honest I am so scared going into this semester because the last one was so rough. I have no idea what happened last fall except that I felt beaten to the ground with my studies. It was a very trying semester. But it is a new year and a new semester and I am praying and hoping for good things!

I am so thankful for an amazing fellowship of people the Lord has placed in my life. We all gathered yesterday for a time of eating, making art, prayer, and all around fellowship. It was a true delight to my heart and the perfect way to spend my last day of, well, no studies.

Our friend’s little boy decided he wanted to be outside and draw with chalk on the driveway. It has been so cold and rainy this past week that spending some time out in the sun sounded glorious to the whole group. So we all followed the three (soon to be four) year old out to the Foster’s driveway to make chalk art. And make art we did.

This was the result of our ambitious efforts:

IMG_1991

 

We started laying on the driveway and outlining one another with chalk. The most amazing part was we made our bodies do things that we were not humanly capable of. Like one of the Foster girls (shown above) was drawn to be flying. Kelly, (shown above drawing) was drawn doing a gorgeous figure skating pose. Another is shown leaping gracefully and as for me, well…I became a ballerina :)

IMG_1993

 

A little girl’s dream was made come true through the powerful expression of art. And then it hit me…I can dance. I am a dancer and I dance through the many trials and twists of life. And that is what I will do through this semester. I know that God created this expression and it really changes hearts and lives. It brings freedom and joy to the soul.

Each picture is a representation of what we should be doing in our every day lives. To soar, dance, and leap through this life. I know it makes the Father’s heart glad when He sees His children rejoicing and expressing themselves through these acts of resistance: to the drudgery, to hope deferred, to the brokenness within us and the world. Resist and make art. Live life. Dance through your days. Rejoice and sing with joy because HE has WON our hearts :)

Be blessed on your first day of classes! (If so applies) Be blessed through this year.

E

happy new year to me // 2014

It is a new year. That means new seasons, new adventures, new lessons, new circumstances, new decisions, resolutions…you get the picture. The beginning of the new year has already proved to be different. I already know that this year will hold things I have never dreamed of or experienced before ever.

Something quite amazing has already happened.

For the first time in my life, I became an aunt! Talk about something you think about and look forward to your whole life. Levi Walker is my new darling, nephew born to my amazing, brave sister Rachel and her wonderful husband, Daniel. I have never even met him but yet my heart swells with love and awe! If I can feel this overwhelmed about my sister’s kid, I wonder how I’ll feel about my own…just a thought.

I brought in the new year at One Thing conference in Kansas City with my boyfriend, John, and his whole family. What a way to bring in the new year! Worshiping with 30,000 people was probably one of the best experiences of my life. We are all shouting the name of Jesus and celebrating His victories in our lives. This conference was everything I needed to start this new year as fresh, vigilant, and ready. The teachings were challenging and convicting and made me evaluate my heart and life decisions. It was good but hard. I dealt with a lot of stuff and realized the things I needed to get serious about. I needed to come back to a place of focus. Jesus knows how to make my heart ready.

When I crossed over into 2014, I instantly felt peace and settledness in my heart. That was all I needed to move forward. This is going to be a great year, I told myself. And I firmly believe it. I could tell you about all the great things coming up in my life, but I will let that unfold as it happens.

I believe that the dry writing season is ending and the blossoming, fruitful time of words shall come again this year. I just have this great urge to blog again. I want to tell you about my life. I want to relate to the world again…

Leave behind the disappointments and let new beginnings take root. Be excited about what the Lord has for you. Life with Him is never boring.

I will write soon,

E

Re-Set

I am becoming deeply intimate with the desire to live a balanced life- free from worry or stress. Because of some of the imbalances of this semester it is causing a raging and plummeting feel to my heart. Do I spend enough time pursuing my relationship with God? Do I focus too my on my grades? Am I not getting enough sleep? What does it look like to spend all my “free” time doing homework and not maintaining healthy friendships?

All I look forward to at this point of my life is to when it will be all over. What I am referring to is the constant looking over my shoulder to see if deadlines are catching up with me or racking my brain for paper thesis ideas or wondering if I’m being spectacularly brilliant while always giving the bare minimum because, frankly, that is all I have the energy for. Energy. It is subsiding. And yes, sleeping in a warm bed for days sounds quite scrumptious and I would probably take this opportunity above anything else at this moment.

Despite these feelings, the world around me offers wonderful encouragement to keep moving forward. I have astounding support from my boyfriend to the do the best that I can, which makes an exceptional difference. Also my professors assure me of my potential and capabilities within my field of study. It all makes a difference, so thank you to those who constantly offer unyielding support and encouragement.

Life has been an emotional roller-coaster this year with very interesting issues coming to the surface. And yet I want to pursue my passion for literature and teaching but also a Godly relationship with a wonderful man and planning my future for the next step after my undergraduate studies. It is overwhelming and in my face every single day and so how do I cope with this storm of life? Exactly, I have the wrong mindset- I am wanting to cope instead of live fully no matter the circumstances.

Sometimes I have to push the re-set and come back to the place of the quiet of my heart and evaluate what is truly important. I have to constantly remind myself of who is on my side and the amazing plans He has for my life. I never have all the answers but He always offers grace and comfort and waves of love when I feel like I am drowning in a sea of simply, life. Yes, my Father is real and true to His children. I cling to that.

I am thankful it is not over yet because I want to find peace within my ‘stuffed-to-the-brim’ day-to-day life. The Lord promised me before I went into this semester that He was going to take care of me and everything was in His hands. I needed an anchor to hold my heart down from getting too discouraged or upset with the array and disarray of this semester.

Could I have done things differently? Reacted better? Made better choices. Probably. But for now, I am grasping on these last few weeks and going to make a change in my mindset. Positivity and thankfulness will fill my heart by the grace of Jesus.

Re-set button pushed. Activated. Thank you, Jesus.

We have Freedom as Believers

This semester has had a rough start so I’ve been crying out and searching for a way to get through this small season. I know my only answer comes from Jesus and yes, He has spoken. Sunday at church the Lord reminded me how powerful it is to speak scripture over your life. I need to deal with some anxiety and stress and the revelation came that there is scripture that talks about the Peace of the Lord guarding our minds and hearts. That’s what the peace of the Lord does, it protects and guards us from the craziness of this world. Hallelujah! Anyways, Monday evening I am talking and having dinner with the family I live with and I share that moment with them. Sarah, the eldest daughter exclaims, “I can’t believe you just said that!” She goes on to say that this past weekend Kip (the dad) came to her and said, “It has been laid on my heart that I think it would be good if you ladies of the house met together and started praying scripture over one another, I think that’s key for this semester.” Right there, the Lord had united our hearts and we decided that we would do exactly that. We have been meeting every morning since, praying scripture over one another and it has been powerful and moving! I am astounded at the effect. I probably shouldn’t be so surprised…but I am!

This morning Sarah read Psalm 27 and a part of that scripture talks about the Lord telling David, “Seek my face.” And then David replies quite boldly, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” He says it that way because he has been given the right to approach the Lord by the Father Himself! We have authority to approach the Lord and proclaim these things to Him in authority because of the authority that has been given to us. Whatever Jesus asks, commands, tells us who we are, what we’re supposed to do, we can proclaim boldly and with authority because of what He has spoken. I just marveled at this because it really puts Freedom in my heart. I say a lot, “We can approach the throne of God because we are His sons and daughters!” Which is so true but it goes much deeper than that. Because the Lord commands us to seek Him, to come to Him, we are able to approach Him with boldness. Wow. Freedom. Thank you, Jesus for Freedom to walk in what You have called us to be. So the reality of this is that we are walking in the desires of Jesus’ heart. I can’t express how much the Lord desires and wants His people seeking after Him, approaching Him, and delving into deep intimacy.

To bring this point home a little bit more, The Fosters’ grandparents have this practice, ritual, way of living…not really sure what you want to call it…and basically if you are a neighbor and you see the garage door of their home open you can just walk in, unannounced, and visit. If the garage door is closed then the neighbors know that they are unavailable for company. So once their grandparents had expressed to their neighbors that they can come in anytime the neighbors took their word and started practicing this. For some people, having your neighbor walk into your house boldly and unannounced is a bit of a faux pas…in some circles, it’s just not generally okay. But for the Fosters’ grandparents and for Jesus, it is totally okay :) Because of their word and what is in their hearts. And thankfully, Jesus’ garage door is never closed. Ha!

I really believe that when we know our identity in Christ, when we know we are rooted and grounded in love, and we walk in the full authority that has been given to us, we can walk through life victoriously!

The Lord is faithful. He is present. He is real. I am thankful for His unending love for His children and His grace that covers all our sins. Have a beautiful day and I hope this post brings you Freedom to approach the throne of God and to seek His face!

E

Simple Life Applications I’m Still Trying to Learn.

For those who worry constantly about the future there is a little saying for people like us, “take it one day at a time.”

I have been telling myself this for years now. Elisa, just take one day at a time. Seems simple. Seems applicable to my life. But I have, only a few times, walked this out. Because guess what? It takes so much effort to truly and wholly be focused on the present day. The way my mind works, it is already ahead into next Thursday and every other day in between. I think about things, over think things, process, plan, worry…it is stressing me out even more.

The best part about this little saying is that it is scriptural. Jesus encourages His followers to not worry about yesterday or tomorrow but to live presently. So if I don’t practice this, I am actually not fulfilling what I am called to do! Matthew 6:25-34

What I am getting at and what hit me the other day is that this sort of practice is actually going to take a lot of work. You know when you live your life by a certain pattern and you just wake up one day and realize that it’s not working for you? That happened to me. The other day I thought, this worrying about the future, etc is not really working anymore. I need to try something else and what do I have to lose? I mean seriously, what do I have to lose! I want to change this pattern and actually, truly practice living one day at a time. Only by the grace and strength of Jesus will I be able to change my mindset but I am going to be actively pursuing this vital life application.

Now I come to another word. Active. Something I am challenging myself with this semester is to be an active learner and student. In order to achieve this type of ability I have to first execute the first thing I mentioned above. And then I want to be present and active as a student. This means give everything I have in that moment to the piece of homework I’m doing or the discussion we’re having in class. This is huge and an amazing realization for me.

I just started my senior year at Mary Washington. I have been in Fredericksburg for a year now. The growth in my life has been exponential. So I look forward to seeing the change and growth that will happen these next nine months. (Til Graduation!!)

Have an awesome day. Live for today and only today :) (so cheesy, but let’s be real)

elisa

Some Poetry; because it’s good for the heart ;)

Sometimes I look around the world and want to break down because of all the suffering and pain. I know that Jesus has saved me and He is my hope, but what about the rest? My heart is so burdened for lost souls. This is sort of a lament for that feeling. It’s not a refined poem, but it should get the message across.

As I search the core of my being

And wade through this miry

I come to the conclusion

That without beauty or love

I am a victim to the sufferings of the world.

My heart wants to cave in, at any moment

Burdened by the darkness of my soul.

I want to bring to light the tragedy

That the human heart is broken.

Yes, I am broken.

I admit it with lesser strength

The calamities have taken over

I am beaten by these changes.

Carry me to a resting place

Hidden in the cleft of the Rock.

The rural ground is shelter

A temple, forcing me to leave behind

All the questions and rendered answers of mine own.

So I run, and don’t stop.

I face the drudgery with a firm face

I am not forsaken.

Even though…they tell me so.

How can one heart take so much?

Surrounding, abounding, multiplying lies

Catching the lows and forgetting the highs

The verses catch the wind of my heart

And I grasp forth while withering away

This is not the end of me

There is a reason for seasons

Why the winter bring death

And we know the rest.

We all wish and hope…

For that fateful day.

I press onward, holding fast.

Because my heart is broken.

Yes, so broken. And unsatisfied.

Touch my life, bring the rain.

Deliver me, Lord, from all this pain.

Please, Hear My Heart

What has been plaguing my mind (in a good way) is the subject of finding my identity. I feel like that discovery of finding one’s identity is a process and journey that never goes away. In every stage of life we have to constantly remind ourselves what we are rooted and grounded in so that we can carry on. Presently, the Lord is revealing more and more of what that looks like for me. Through these revelations the Lord has placed within me not just the search for my own identity but also that of women in general. There is a deep cry within women in our society to know their place and to know who they are. How do I know this? Thankfully I have the opportunity to pursue an English Literature degree which has allowed me to study these sort of issues through the medium of the written word. This topic has surfaced itself as a constant throughout the ages. Literature is such a pure device to obtain the voice of the people in different eras. Even though these authors mask their ideas, opinions, observations, and deep cries through their characters they leave enough room for the reader to glean evidence of their own personal struggles and beliefs. I am finding that female identity is at a loss. That is one reason for the formation of the feminist ideas. There is such negative connotation to this viewpoint but if you look at the very heart of the matter, it is simply women who are trying to find their voice. I want to find my voice as well. I have my own questions and observations that I want to put out there. I believe that God has given me a heart for this matter and so I am thankful for the doors He has opened. Today I met with one of my professor’s to discuss an independent study for this fall semester. She was so receiving of my basic questions and encouraged me that I am starting at the right place. It felt great to be validated by someone so academically accomplished for this heavy burden the Lord has placed on my heart. Hopefully through this study new thought, or a new voice will be birthed. I am not expecting something “great” to come through this but I see it as an open door to lay the burden out there for anyone and everyone. I believe this is only the beginning :)