Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday Three

I'm still working toward getting posts completed between Thursdays, but until we go!

1. I love my job, but sometimes working at a church is hard. Admitting this in a public space feels strange, but that's been the kind of week it's been. It's an honor to help prepare everything for Easter, but like every job, it has its stressors. This week has had a few. Tonight I'm thinking about one of my favorite Easter lessons: Friday is brutal, and Saturday is dark, but Sunday always comes. Thank you, Jesus!

2. Vitamin D + a little sweat = Ahhhh... This week may have stressful, but spring is finally showing off! After work the sun was still shining, and the warm breeze cheered us on as we went for a little jog to clear our heads. How is it that I so easily forget how simple things can make the biggest difference? (Hitting up Chick-fil-A after the run was also a great way to celebrate the end of the week. Ha!)

3. My brothers are the best! It's National Sibling Day! I've sung their praises here before, but seriously, they're amazing. This week has reminded me of just how lucky I am to count both Nathan and Andrew among my best friends. While growing up they made sure to inform me of the many, many reasons I was lucky to be the youngest. They just didn't realize that the best part of being the baby is getting to call them my big brothers.

I tend to be laughing in all of our pictures together.
See what I mean?
That's all for this week, everyone! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday Three

My brilliant friend Samantha has been writing her Thursday Three for quite a while as a way to share a little glimpse of her week and celebrate the imminent weekend without getting too bogged down by the Friday Five and the pressure to make every week look amazing. I think she's on to something pretty great here, so I asked if I could tag along. All that to say, here's my first Thursday Three! (Check out Samantha's writing, as well. You won't be disappointed.)

1. Hosting strangers is intriguing, and I love it. Last year Nate and I took this class, and it completely rocked our world. This year we volunteered on the Coordinating Team and hosted half a dozen class instructors over the last few months. Washing the sheets that often and keeping the house clean and tidy is sometimes less than convenient, but the conversations that come from sharing space are a special treasure. Plus, anyone comfortable to start messing with our decor after a few nights with us is pretty awesome in my opinion!

Best Fez is far more inspiration than the original message, don't you agree?
2. High schoolers have stolen my heart. I help lead a small group of junior girls, and as much as they drive me crazy, they also light up my life. Last weekend I had the privilege of being on a panel of women answering questions from high school girls. The vulnerability of both the students and the women on the panel once again stirred my passion for this generation. I can't wait to see what God has in store for these ladies!

3. My niece is the most honest and accurate person I know. Lydia got a good dose of dominant DNA from my side of the family, so the poor girl is destined for years of comparison to my childhood photos.

My cousin Aimee and I are showing off the best of 1990 on the left. Lydia's grin is on the right.
Lydia also inherited a lot of the way my brother and I think, as well. While she's more tactful than most adults I know, she's brutally honest. I talked with her on the phone today, and after we had gone through the many subjects relevant to a 3-year-old, she announced, "Dad, I'm tired from talking with Aunt Anne." Conversation over. But I totally agree, little one, small talk can be exhausting.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year of Inviting

A year ago I joined a group of dreamers...a word that still sounds so foreign to me. But we spent the year getting to know each other, sharing the wins and the setbacks, encouraging each other, and yes, dreaming.

In 2013 my dream focused on inviting others into our home and into our lives. Community is often messy and hard and inconvenient, but it's also refreshing, vital, and life-giving. And so we invite each other in.

2013 was a year of learning what this looked like for us. We did little things like sharing meals and throwing a few parties. A summer intern working at our church lived in our basement. Another friend stayed for a week while his family moved. We had friends stay in our home even though we were out of town. Our backyard filled up with people we love and people we hadn't yet met.

A year ago I didn't know who I would be inviting into our home, but I knew what I wanted our guests, our friends to find when they arrived. A place of comfort, of grace. A place of equal parts deep conversation and light-hearted merriment. A place of peaceful welcome.

A place that reflected our hearts.

My home is far from perfect, and my heart has so much room to grow. This year saw quite a few failures and forgotten goals, but the yeses we said in 2013 are producing growth that extends into 2014. And that's how I'll measure my success.

Happy New Year, dear friends. Looking forward to seeing all God has in store!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

6 years.

6 years ago I walked across campus to meet my guy while the snow fell.

Today I decorated for Christmas with that same guy while the snow fell.

6 years can change a lot of things, but he is still my favorite.

Our relationship, our marriage is still just a baby, but reflecting on our few years shows me that we're changing and growing and writing a great story. And since it's the season for favorite things, here's 6 reasons why I just can't stop loving him.

1. Those honest eyes.
I may tease him for his inability to hide a thing. But it's his transparency is what drew me to him 6 years ago and I still love he shows me everything with a look.

2. He makes me laugh.
He just does. It's the best.

3. He holds me.
The last three years have thrown a lot at us, but he's carried me through the hardest parts.

4. He makes me better.
Nate's a planner. I am not. Nate's organized. I am not. He loves me despite my rough edges, but he also smooths them out.

5. The way he works.
Nate is faithful in the little things. He works hard and remains humble.

6. He loves Jesus.
And he spurs me toward loving Jesus more, too.

*          *          *

Happy six years, sweet man. I love that I get to keep dating you, 
and I can't wait to see what the next six years will bring.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 31: United States of America

We made it to the end of the month! Hopefully this has been a learning journey for you. It definitely has been for me! If you have stuck around throughout this little challenge, do you mind leaving a comment? I'd love to know your thoughts!

When we began the month, the United States government was shut down. And yet the order in our day to day lives stayed relatively the same. There are still too many living in poverty within our borders, and yet just yesterday we saw that an average Haitian earns $790 annually. We face extremely real foreign threats, and yet we don't think about anyone invading our city on a daily basis.

The United States faces many significant issues and challenges that break our hearts. And yet we must remember that we are part of a world in which the majority of our brothers and sister live in very different circumstances.

And perhaps that's where we'll land with this 31 day experiment. My prayer for my home country is to live with an awareness of others. Others living in our neighborhoods, living in our cities, living in the world around us. Lord, let us not be consumed with ourselves. May we be satisfied solely in You.

American Quick Facts:
Population: 317.7 million
Primary Industry: Technology, Industry, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Service
Annual Income per Person: $47,440
Political System: Democracy
Primary Religion: Christianity
All facts found in Operation World.

Papa, let Your name be made great in our country, let it change our heart and the way we live our lives. Take away our complacency and replace it with an authentic care and love for others. In a nation that loves to celebrate celebrity, may You be known as the only one worthy of glory. Amen

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 30: Haiti

Though I've never been there myself, Haiti holds a special place in my heart.

The Haitians have endured so much poverty and corruption and natural devastation, but their spirit seems to penetrate those who visit in a unique way. It's a place that's stolen the hearts of dear friends and revived my mom.

This is a special nation facing many complex, challenging issues. The public has been made aware of many, but the reality of life in Haiti is not one to easily grasp. We do know there is Someone who does know the intricacies of these hardships. Let's turn our attention there.

Haitian Quick Facts
Population: 10.2 million
Primary Industry: Aid Relief
Annual Income per Person: $790
Political System: Unstable
Primary Religion: Christianity (Typically coupled with voodoo and witchcraft)
All facts found in Operation World

Lord Jesus, we pray for Haiti tonight. So many of our prayers this month have echoed one another, and we ask that in the midst of repeated sentiments and incoherent thoughts, You would hear the heart of our the nations from oppression and let them walk in the light and truth. We want to make Your name great, and we love how the Haitian church loves You. Let us learn from our brothers and sisters and give you glory. Dear Jesus, You deserve it. Amen

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 29: Syria


I've been avoiding this one hoping I could fill the month without trying to articulate any coherent thoughts on this broken nation.

But when I read things like this and watch things like this, I just can't fill this space with anything else tonight.

But here's the deal. I have nothing to offer on the topic. No new ideas or thoughtful perspective. No perfectly chosen words or nice arrangement of argument. All I have is hurt and angst, and come, Lord Jesus, we desperately need saving.

These are our brothers and sisters. Let's cry out as though we truly believe it.

Syrian Quick Facts
Population: 22.6 million
Primary Industry: Agriculture, Oil, Tourism
Annual Income per Person: $2,768
Political System: Civil War
Primary Religion: Islam
All facts found in Operation World

Father God, we have no words for the things happening in Syria. It would be so much easier if we could be contentedly ignorant of all that is happening halfway around the world, but we are not. Therefore, we are responsible. We ache for Your people, for the violence, the disease, the displacement, the seemingly unending conflict. We pray that they would know the Prince of Peace. We plead that You would be their comfort. Lord Jesus, we need saving. Show Your strength to Syria. Amen