Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Love Story | Part 3

Hey, I know you don't want to talk to me, but we don't have to talk. I wrote this worship song and it needs a girl vocal on it. Will you come sing it please? He asked. 

Sure. But no talking. 

I'd just recorded the lead vocals and he walked into our makeshift booth to sing his harmony over it. As he began to sing, my mind froze for a moment in time. I logged away every detail of that moment. 

The black boom stands that held the microphones, bent at just the right angle for his stance. The fuzzy walls we rigged up to keep the outside sounds from hitting the microphones. The picture frame he joking hung one night. This could be a picture of our future baby girl, he said in half jest. 

No. No it was most certainly not going to be. 

I remember him hitting the highest note of the song when I made the decision. Like something straight out of an unconventional fairytale. 

There wasn't an accompanying angelic choir or glitter descending from the heavens, or even a feeling. It was a decision. 

He loves God fiercely. I love God desperately. 
He sings. I sing. 
His heart is for the Church. My heart is for the Church. 
He loves compassion ministry and I love compassion ministry.
He loves me. Adores me even. And I can't shake the feeling that I might love him too. 

Romantic right?

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Missed Part 1 or Part 2? Click to read. Want future posts delivered? Free? With a side of french fries? Just kidding about the french fries part. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our Love Story | Part 2

Two months later, due to the 2008 recession, I lost $10,000 in student loans allocated to my Junior year of college. I had no idea what to do. My parents and I crunched numbers all night to see how much we could scrape up, how many jobs I would need to get and hours I needed to work in each to make this next year happen. 

But there was no way. I know thousands lost abundantly more than their college tuition but I was crushed. And confused. And aimless. 

So I came home. Against everything I felt, all the possibilities my life in Michigan had created for me, against the love I thought would last forever, against the friendships I would likely never be able to keep, I came home. 

What now? 

My dad talked me into taking a year at home and starting the degree program our church was hosting. Ok, I said. I guess until I can get my feet beneath me. 

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Missed Part 1? Click to read. Want to get them delivered to your inbox? That's doable.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Love Story | It Started in the Parking Lot

Monday- Friday you'll get a snapshot of our soap-opera gone fairytale love story. It's pretty fun. And dramatic. If you miss one, you can get them delivered to your inbox
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"I love you", he said.

No he didn't. He did not just say that. Did he?

We were in the middle of the church parking lot and the day was turning to dusk. 

"What did you say?" I hollered as I frantically hand rolled down my car window.

"I love you, I want to marry you, and I'll wait however long you need to figure it out." 

We weren't even dating. We weren't even CLOSE to dating.

He smiled and started backing up.

The blushing was uncontrollable. I quickly rolled up my window for fear he would see my quickly reddening cheeks and nose. Oh my nose, what a dead giveaway. 

How on earth could he love me? That's stupid, he doesn't even know me! And marriage? Who does he think he is?

But as I drove the windy road home, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

He's crazy. A lunatic. Two short Summers and a Christmas break were not enough time to know if you loved someone or not. 

Besides I'm going back to school in three months. In Michigan. And I have a boyfriend.  


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mothered from Afar | Spiritual Mothers and Sisters


Everyone's got a metaphorical bookshelf they pile books on. Sometimes by author and topic and other times because the cover is really pretty. Am I wrong? Remember, I'm not a huge book fan

Some books make it on my bookshelf by accident, while others are purposefully placed there, reachable and dogged eared. Those are the books I am continuously drawn towards again and again because of their density. Their richness. 

Those books contain something way more than the black and white. They're written by authors I've come to know and love and turn to as a type of sage. 

They've become my spiritual mothers and sisters. But before you get all weirded out and think I'm this crazy girl who sits in her darkened house, with no friends, reading by candlelight, let me show you what I mean. 

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The first time I read Bittersweet, I cried reading Shauna's story of loss and struggle. My heart broke for what she was experiencing and I prayed God would redeem what she lost by the thousands. Little did I know, I would need her words for my own story of loss. And the book came more alive the second, and third, and fourth time. (Bittersweet, Shauna Niequist)

Ann opened my eyes to how imperative thankfulness is in the Christian life. Thankfulness bring freedom. I need more freedom. (One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp)

I laughed and snorted my way through Melanie's memoir of pregnancy and motherhood. Even though I was a total newbie at it, she made me feel a little less crazy. (Sparkly Green Earrings, Melanie Shankle)

And Rachel and Sarah are like sisters wrote down everything I've been thinking through on biblical standards of women versus cultural standards. Is there really a "right" way to do it? And how do we know that's exactly what Paul was saying in that passage? Thank Rach and Sarah. I owe you. (A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Rachel Held Evans, Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey)

Emily's book was like a lamp in a dark place of shame for me. Self-rightousness. I felt like we were the same girl growing up. My life wasn't horrible. I was the good girl. I had all the right answers in Sunday School and was the "prayer warrior" in high school. I glazed over my own need for grace for too long. (Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman)

Gail taught me that creativity isn't as natural and whimsical as I thought. It's beautiful, methodical, and takes work. Intentional, but really fun work. (12 Secrets of High Creative Women, Gail McMeekin)

And Lisa, man that mama kicked this doubting girls butt into gear. "We are not some group of straggling, struggling, fatherless refugees who are overcome by sin and wondering if there is a God. We are the collective body of Christ, destined for triumph, victory, and signs and wonders." Yes ma'am! (Lioness Arising, Lisa Bevere)


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I am so grateful for these women who have mothered me from afar. They'll most likely never know my name or ever see my face. But I know they care, because they write. They write for us to read and see how God has moved and shaken and transformed and showed up in their lives. They write to spur us on in love. In motherly, sisterly love.

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Who are your spiritual mothers and sisters?
Who are you writing for? Who are you painting or singing or working for?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Love is Brave | Instagram's #projectlove




Love is brave, it takes chances and risks in the face of fear. But this picture doesn't tell of my bravery. 

It symbolizes the bravery of the leaders around me who gave this crazy, young(ish), head in the clouds girl a chance at something.

Take chances on the youth around you. It shows you love them. 

I've joined a beautiful community of girls on Instagram who are posting on LOVE IS for 10 consecutive days. Join us or follow along with #projectlove | @thesimplybeloved

Original photo by @amandataylorphoto

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Thousand Gifts | Ann Voskamp and a Book for the Rest of Us


Reading is tough for me. I'm not a quick reader and quite frankly, I get bored. I don't read fantasy or science fiction. Or really any fiction. My bookmarks are still on page 8 of Twilight and 23 of Hunger Games. The first one. 

But non-fiction I can do. Stories, ones lived by real people somewhere at some point in time. That stuff moves me. 

The first time I realized I loved the power of story was in Shauna Niequist's Cold Tangerines. I was a freshman in college and Tommee emailed me a free excerpt with a note that read, "This is so you. Read it." 

And I did. Three times that year. That's when I got my first taste of this new(ish) type of raw, unpolished yet refined way of putting one's life onto paper for the world to experience and whisper, "Me too." 

Since then, I've read memoirs, biographies, essays and blogs that hover around this same type of artistry. 

But to call Ann Voskamp an artist of the written word must be the understatement of the year. 

Unlike any author I've read, she has managed to paint and arrange the words of her book, One Thousand Gifts, in a way that makes me cry every. single. time. But this isn't the type of crying that is all sorrowful. These tears, different than every other time, are tears of gratitude, thankfulness, and release. 

Ann has been affectionately called, the C.S. Lewis of today, wearing a skirt. And to that I say "AMEN!" 

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann makes you feel like you are on her front porch, sipping tea and pulling bite sized pieces from her freshly baked bread loaf. She lets you in to the depth of her heart, you know that place? The one every woman has, but rarely opens the gates to. She walks you through her story, piece by piece, not for pity or pride, but because she has seen the weaving hand of God and wants you to see it too. 


She beams, "Eucharisteo." 
"Eucharisteo—it comes right out of the Gospel of Luke: 'And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them…' (Luke 22:19 NIV). In the original language, 'He gave thanks' reads 'eucharisteo.' 
The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning 'grace.' Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning 'joy.' 
Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy. 
Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo; the table of thanksgiving. The holy grail of joy, God set it in the very center of Christianity." 
( - Voskamp, quote via thehighcalling.org

So who is this book for? The person who feels like life is going to fast and furious. The person who can't seem to find one good thing about today. The person who worry is outranking their joy. The person who needs something to change, now. The person who is craving breakthrough.

This book is for everyone. 



One Thousand Gifts is available wherever books are sold. (Including Amazon and B&N)

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This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small portion of the items purchased from this post. I was not paid for this review. All opinions are entirely my own. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love is Big(ger) Than Geography


Love is big. Bigger than anything. More powerful than anything. Yet, the most difficult emotion to express. Be it physical boundaries or emotional, love takes effort. Sacrifice. It takes some schedule rearranging and active prioritizing. Neither of which I am great at.

But for the next couple months, I will attempt to do both in a small group of women. We live in four different cities, with six kids, four husbands, two timezones and our own insecurities between us, but we are committing to do this life together (Thanking God for Skype the whole way!)

Why?

Because we need each other to remind one another that love is, indeed, bigger.

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Cards by Bold Face Type / Book we're going through: Believing God

Friday, April 11, 2014

10 Notable Blogs to Read | Essential Oils, Controversy, and a Homeless Guy


ON CREATIVITY/BLOGGING

Oh Happy Day is my favorite pinner right now. #blackholeofdistraction #sorry (Oh Happy Day)

Do you blog? Or have you thought Hey that looks like fun! Laura, from Hollywood Housewife, is doing a full on blog series on blogging. And it's really pretty good. (Hollywood Housewife)

I go to this blog just for the pictures. (Blog Milk Blog)

ON FAITH/LIFE

I love Amber's "If We Were on a Coffee Date" post today. We grew up(ish) together and this girl has become such an amazing woman. (Mr. Thomas and Me)

Have you heard of The American Blogger film that's coming out? There's a lot of controversy on it lately. Most of it is b/s but I love Natalie's post on the issue. (Natalie Falls)

ON WORSHIP

Carlos, a brilliantly witty and inspiring blogger, was filming a music video and a homeless guy ended up in the shot. Bummer? No way. It'll make you cry. (Ragamuffin Soul)

Pretty excited Kari Jobe and Brian Johnson wrote this gem of a resurrection song. And just in time for Easter! (Kari Jobe)

ON FOOD/HEALTH


I made this this week. (Damn Delicious) 
I want to make these right now. (Smitten Kitchen)
What's your take on Essential Oils? Fad or for reals? (And Kathleen)

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Happy Friday! Eat some cake.
^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

Reader Faves.