I have been busy doing things like this recently:
Making nieces laugh to the point of having double chins is a very important talent which I am lucky enough to possess.
Also: I grew up (well, sorta kinda). I graduated from my silly blog that I’ve had since I was very, very young. You know, the blog you start when you’re 13 and then never get rid of even though you secretly hate it? Yeah, that one. So I bit the bullet and got a old person blog. One with my actual name and not my nickname. One that’s not really tacky and only kind of tacky. Not gonna lie, it’s a little bittersweet. But mostly sweet.
And I also wrote a big person blog post. You know, about work and Jesus and learning things. It’s also a big person blog post because it’s long. NOTICE: I didn’t say well-written. Just long.
And… that’s all. I’m really all out of creativity and fun-ness. I used it all on making my niece laugh.
According to my phone, my life isn’t all that interesting but it is filled with wonderful people and pretty places. Wanna see?
His wrinkly nose is one of my favorite things and look at that cheesy smile! SERIOUSLY. How could you not love this kid?
The cemetery. Our cemetery. The one that’s just down the street. It’s one of my favorite places to go.
Isn’t it strange how you can feel so alive surrounded by so much death?
Walks with C and the youngest nephew. The pace is a little slower than usual but it’s totally worth having this little silly around.
Sunshine in my office. It’s a beautiful thing, I tell ya. Beautiful.
You know what else is beautiful? Being baptized. Publicly declaring that Jesus is Lord. The acknowledgement of Him as both Savior and King of the earth.
Also, that’s our big brother in the white shirt who is about to baptize someone for the first time. My brother loves Jesus. That is a beautiful.
And, also, the big brother has one of the best smiles. His smile is beautiful but it’s definitely creepy of me to think my brother’s smile is beautiful. But truth is truth, people. CH’YEAH.
My other favorite cemetery. I really am not creepy, I (sorta-kinda) promise. Whenever I’m at Bayside, I always feel like civil war soldiers should jump out in their blue uniforms from behind the big old maple trees. Which makes me creepy but for reasons other than loving cemeteries.
Do you see this pretty lady? Do you? DO YOU?! Well, she’s beautiful. We might both be extremely exhausted in this photograph (1am does not treat either of us wonderfully) but she’s my friend and I love her and I love this picture of us smiling through our exhaustion. How could you not love someone who is vivacious, full of Jesus’ love, and actually thinks I’m funny and likes being my friend?
In case you were wondering, that question is rhetorical and I do not want to hear your answer if it’s anything other than “I completely agree, O Young One. Completely agree”. Got it? Ok, good.
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That would be the last week of my life in pictures. The undocumented things? Losing weight due to my juice fast, gaining it all back in two days, worshiping Jesus for hours, getting a serious case of the giggles, and contemplating different ideas and theologies and doctrines. Much like I said, my life isn’t that exciting but it is full. Full of beautiful people, beautiful places, and a beautiful Jesus.
I’m stealing an idea. From her. She goes on coffee dates with her blog readers. And today, I’d like to go on one with you.
Since this is our first coffee date, you’ll find out that I love vanilla lattes. If it were our 2nd or 3rd date you would find out that I get stuck in ruts all the time. Because if I were late for our 3rd or even 4th date, you would be able to order for me.
Medium vanilla latte please.
But this is our first date, so let’s not push my buttons too much. K???
After we order coffees (or whatever you’d like to drink plus my latte) I’ll probably end up back in the order line, eying all of the desserts. [I love my snacks -- speaking of snacks, these chocolate animal crackers that I'm munching on are so addicting]
I’ll sit back down and most likely sigh. Then I’ll ask how you’re doing. If your response is long I’ll listen with open ears, never interrupt, but add a few words here and there just to let you know that I really am paying attention.
When you’re done it will be my turn. And beware, I’m not good at this talking about me face-to-face thing. But I’ll try –
Every time I vacuum I get frustrated. Frustrated because after vacuuming only two rooms my right hand is cramping up so bad that holding the vacuum gets tough, you know? Whenever I have my own home I’ll have to [depending on the size] make a schedule of rooms I vacuum everyday just so that I don’t overdue myself. Ugh. Annoying…
I found this dress the other day that I absolutely love! AND it looks long. Easter outfit dreaming much? Yuppers. But props to ShopRuche for finally selling a dress that isn’t barely covering
someones my legs. Major. Score.
Do you ever create so many ridiculous hashtags during the day that it’s almost lame? Or while you’re even doing some household chore a hashtag pops into your head because it fits what you’re doing so well? OH, you don’t? Hahaha — well I do. I thought about the “#thatawkwardmoment ” one this morning while taking a shower, but the “#thatawkwardmoment” hashtag fits for any type of event that is linked to the bathroom. Details.
He is so faithful — God, that is. So understanding. So merciful. So forgiving…For me though? That’s the part that gets me. Every day I’m stumped by that. But that’s good. Because when I get stumped by that I realize how much more I’m in need of Him. He chose to love me and you, and everyone everywhere. And I’ll gladly surrender myself. Because I’d rather be in a giant ocean of His love with waves crashing everywhere than feel one single rain drop of sin on my skin…Do you ever feel like that?
My nephews and nieces were over at my house yesterday and they played dress-up. Here’s a few of them [my niece didn't know what to dress up as so I told her to grab a pot and pretend she's in Tangled... that works, right?]
Ohmygoodness! I love this song! Do you hear it? It’s Ray
Lamontagne “I just butchered his last name!” — I never say his name right, but that’s why we have Google (*insert my singing along, and not just vocal parts; I sing it all…guitar, bass, trumpets, & drums).
Such a good song. So groovy — yes, I just said that.
Ope — look at the time! I’ve gotta run. But thanks for the coffee date. I liked it tons.
Meet again some other time on another beautiful day?
See you, friend.
I tend to be a little bit selfish.
It’s true. I love me. I love my stuff. For example -
- I don’t want you sleeping in my bed if I’m gone for the night. Even if you make it very nicely I will know you slept there. It’s my bed. It’s my job to know. Plus – if you slept in it I’d probably have to prematurely wash the sheets.
- Please don’t move the books on my shelf. They are in order. It might not make sense to you, in fact – it probably wont make sense to you, but it does to me.
- If you want to wear my sweater, or anything else that belongs to me, it would probably (maybe) be okay, but ask me very very nicely first. And whatever you do don’t wash it. I’m allergic to Tide and am very carful about the things I put in the dryer.
- Dont finish off the last of my Arizona Ice Tea with Lemon. It have my name on it for a reason. It’s mine.
- If something of mine is in your way please don’t move it. You might break it. Or make it dirty. Contact me, and I will either instruct you on how to move it/where to put it or just come and do it myself.
- Please don’t interrupt me when I’m working on something. Obviously I’m busy and I’m prone to ignore you. Actually – I will ignore you.
Doing any of the above things (or not doing) is ASKING for me to have a bad attitude. Don’t believe me? Guarantee L & C witness to all things above.
(*raises glass* here’s to honesty)
There is one particular moment I can think of, to be vague- someone was using (incorrectly) something of mine that ]I particularly liked. I didn’t say anything bad or mean to them, that’s not “my style”. Instead I instantly had a bad attitude. Grumpy, grumpy, gills. Which – I convince myself I’m great at hiding, and carry on pretending like nothings wrong, while looking for the opportunity to ‘nicely’ reclaim what’s mine.
This time – someone picked up on my bad attidude. Someone I respect and admire more than basically the entire population (no joke, she makes top 12 at least). She questioned my grumpy face. Probably said something along the lines of, “Little Girl. What’s wrong with your pretty face? Why are you frowning?” (she always calls me Little Girl. don’t tell her, but i don’t mind it.). I probably responded with something along the lines of, “I’m not a little girl. Those are mine and they are wrong.” Because my selfish motives didn’t care about the rest.
Then she gave me the best peice of advice I’ve possibly ever received.
She squeezed my hand. In a way I would recognize even if I didn’t know it was her. A way that say’s ‘I know little girl… I know’. A way that makes me believe her. And trust her. The familiar way she has so many times before. Then she said, “Little girl, you can not love things more than you love Jesus and people. You just can’t do it. It’s not about us. It’s about Him, and that means it’s about them. People. Love the people, not things. The things don’t matter. Okay?”
I nodded, said ‘okay’, you know – all the right things. But truthfully, I didn’t think about it much. Not right then at least. I was still thinking about the misuse of my things, and the battle she just provoked in my head and heart. I think I decided it would be best to just walk away. Which I probably did resentfully. And then refuse to think about any of it.
But everyday I think about what she said. Everyday.
“You can not love things
more than you love
Jesus and people.”
Everyday I remind myself of that.
Everyday I let it take a big whack at my selfishness and pride.
Everyday it’s something I cling to and strive to live by.
Everyday that puts life into perspective in such a way that makes me want to be less selfish.
There’s always room for improvement. and growth. and things to work on.
Everyday little pieces of selfishness peak through. And that’s where Jesus comes into play. Again. And again. And Again. And you know? Again still. Everyday. Breaking my selfishness and softening my heart. Breaking my pride and teaching me humility.
Everyday Christ does a work in my heart. Teaching me. Showing me. To die to self. To live for him. To serve and love others. Oh boy, sometimes it’s so hard.
But - (just because I haven’t used the word ‘everyday’ enough) Everyday the reminder of that truth, in such a simple way, is the best piece of advice I have ever received.
Wanna know a secret?
My heart is wounded. My heart is hurt and broken.
Some days, it bleeds. Some days, cuts become larger, deeper. Some days, I can’t fight the tears or keep a straight face; my wounded heart consumes me.
But some days, it starts healing. Some days, words filled with spite and anger don’t bother me too much. Some days, I see that metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel.
On those days, I listen to songs like these that remind me that this isn’t the place I was really made for. One day, I’ll be with my Creator. One day, it really will be OK and my broken, wounded heart will be made whole.
This is what I live for: the promise of eternity with the One I love.
I know, I know. I’ve been horrible at keeping you all updated with my life. Actually – horrible is an understatement. I haven’t kept you updated at all. And no, I’m not going to write a blog right now about what my weeks look like, and what I do when I work in the office, or fun photos of my room that none of you have seen yet. You’ve all been waiting for them, but this isn’t that post – sorry Charlie. (not really. you’ll read this and then probably be over it.)
I will post about one cool thing I’ve done since moving to New Haven – Read and discussed this book with a group of friends. (if you haven’t read it, you should)
To “bring some closer” to it, we’re supposed to: ”write 1 full page describing one thing. point. nugget. idea. scripture. in The Normal Christian Life that has impacted you/made you think differently - also explain how this will/has applied to your life.” And I thought, “Hmmm. I should Just blog it.”
So – I will.
I’ve realized something recently -
I try so hard to squeeze myself into the will of God. It sounds funny, but it’s true.
Here’s what happens: I look at my life, and all the things I do, and say, “what will this next season look like?” Then I make my best attempt to plot/plan/map it out the way I think it will/should happen. You may have gotten know me pretty well (or have seen us in the past post photos of the my messy side of the cavern. #jisalwayspacking) and never once thought I would be the type of girl to have a ten-year plan.
Well, I fooled you. Not only do I have a ten year plan, but – I also have multiple fall back plans just in case something goes wrong. (just ask L&C…)
I’m not sure what part of my little human brain thinks that I have any right to plan my life out, because in fact – I don’t. When I claimed Jesus as my Savior, I laid that right down, and willingingly too. It’s not my life to plan. It’s not my job to know what I have to do when, or where I need to go next, or how on earth I’ll pull any of it off. My only job is to wait on Him. Watchman Nee says it this way,
I don’t have to strive to find God’s love and I don’t have to worry about/try to figure out everything I need to do with my life.
James 4:14 says, “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
God has not promised us tomorrow. All I have is today, and what good is that if I spend all today planning all the tomorrows?
Just like Mary broke the alabaster box and poured it all over Jesus’ head, I need to break my plots, plans, and maps, and pour them out on Jesus. I need to give them to Him to mess up. Jeremiah 1:5, “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
His will is far better than mine, He knew me before I was even formed, and His plan to get me there [to His will] is far better than mine. He’ll lead me. And direct me. And teach me. And even sometimes (or most of the time) leave me plan-less.
In exchange? I get to stop trying, and stop struggling – and start trusting, and start resting. He promises to work all things for our good because we love Him (Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”). And all I have to do is trust and rest in Him.
Though it’s sometimes harder than it sounds – It certainly sounds like a good deal to me!
I’ve been thinking about God’s goodness. I hear that God is good all the time but I don’t think I’ve ever taken time to think about it. I’ve never sat and made a list of what His goodness in my life really looks like. Is it miracle after miracle? Is it story after story? In some ways, yes, it is tiny miracles and solidly good stories. But mostly He has surrounded me by things that remind me of Him. He has surrounded me with people who consistently reflect His character, reminders of His promises through nature and images of the gospel and Jesus’ love for me.
That’s why He’s been good to me. He hasn’t let me forget who He is and what He’s done for me. And I’m so thankful for it.
There are beautiful things in my life. Jesus has blessed me with them. Here are some of them:
She is precious. I love this baby a lot. This baby blesses my heart so much. (we talked about her here)
The promise after the rain. He is faithful.
No turning back, I’ve made up my mind,
I’m giving all of my life this time.
Your love makes it worth it,
Your love makes it worth it all,
Your love makes it worth it all.
There are times in my life when I just remember. I remember my brokenness, my need, my heartache, and my Savior, my redemption. I remember.
I remember when I gave my life and it’s still as real and breathtakingly wonderful today. So I spend time remembering. Because, really, there’s nothing I’d rather spend all day thinking about and marveling at.
I have found a peace that ploughs on through the storm.
I have found a joy that jumps over sadness.
I have found a love that lights up every room.
I have found, I’ve found You!