the great gamble.

Recently I was asked to contribute my voice and skill-set to a publication and in doing so I got to join in on some really cool stories happening at and through the church I’ve been serving at for the past few years. One of the experiences was especially touching to me, so I decided to share it here. This is only place it can be read in entirety too, so win-win!

Obviously you can read the article below and figure out what was happening that night. But since you likely don’t go there, it probably won’t mean as much to you. That’s cool. Because what I really want to talk about is the things I learned through the experience of collecting these glimpses into people’s stories, and I feel pretty confident you’ll relate to those much more easily. Somewhere in this creative process I gambled a bit of my soul, poured it all in to digging deep alongside others, but as is (potentially necessary?) apt to happen, the cards were eventually stacked against me and I saw unappealing, hurtful consequences of making yourself completely defenseless and trusting. Time will heal all wounds and all that gooey cliche goodness, but until then, here’s what I’m walking away with.

First I learned that sometimes it’s important to work on a good thing just because it’s a good thing. I “learned” that by reading it in a book my friend KB just got me; it has lots of awesome, inspiring quotes in it and one was “Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed”. Really hard lesson, really good truth. Read it again.

Next I learned that you can only speak where you can speak. If your platform is taken away, build another one. What’s that? It’s lower? No one can hear you because your new platform is actually the one at Grand Central Terminal? No matter, the homeless guy sitting nearby can no doubt hear just fine. That’s two ears, and sheesh, how many do you really need? (That whole thing is a metaphor for me writing/sharing this stuff on my blog…don’t you wish your English professors in college would have spelled things out like that when you were reading Homer?)

Another lesson, that is still totally in progress, is to keep trusting. I believe that’s important. I believe that to be kingdom people, we have to live in the kingdom…not in our heads. But I really want to live in my head right now. And I really want to clinch my fist and smirk because my cynicism knew it all along. I don’t believe I should. And I don’t believe I will, but it’s taking a lot to remember, to relearn, the importance of unrestrained, unmerited trust. I’ll get there. We all will.

(And to help paint a picture of the story below, here are some actual pictures)

Luke

father/daughter

 

Lucas Zegelien began a personal relationship with Jesus just this last summer. Although his faith walk has just begun, his parents are excited about leading the way and setting examples for him. His mom, Traci, says “We’re excited about My First Communion tonight because it’s one more step in making his faith real for him.” The Zegeliens see the importance in teaching their son about this tradition, and as Paul puts it, “Experiencing it is more impacting than just telling him about it; and what better way is there than with our church family?”

The night began with Children’s Minister Nic Allen addressing the families and explaining to them the thought behind this parent-requested event. “This family communion experience is really important. It elevates two of our primary values.

The first of course, is communion itself. It’s a vital expression of our faith story. The second is family. Parents are the primary spiritual developers of their kids, and having moms and dads lead their kids through this experience is incredible!” From there the kids and their parents made a craft representing a spiritual truth that they as believers can claim with confidence, and then they moved into a time of learning the history behind as well as leading up to “The Lord’s Supper”. After the group watched a clip from the movie The Prince of Egypt, Nic discussed the tradition of remembering and celebrating God’s power in what he has done for his people throughout the ages.

Although Nic taught in a way that tied together traditions and elements the kids were familiar with, the truth in his teaching is relevant for us all. When we approach the table, do we remember the beauty and fear associated with the God we serve? Do we remember the protection he’s given his people century after century; do we celebrate his matchless grace? The kids at this First Communion Experience were led to celebrate all these things, and furthermore, they were encouraged to celebrate together. They passed the cup among their family; they broke bread together; they got to not only hear, but see the bond of Christ in action among their families—both physical and spiritual.

As Nic encouraged those in attendance that night, taking communion together isn’t something we have to wait to do until we are lead in a church service. We can and should be remembering Christ together all the time. But for those who are new believers, especially kids, this quarterly gathering to learn and grow together is a great place to start.

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1,000 Words.

Yeah, yeah selfies are the worst. Whatever. (Is it still a selfie if your camera takes the picture by itself)  No matter. Recently one of my best friends moved to Nashville and now we live together and it’s wonderful. She decided to document this year with a picture of us every week so that we can see how we change over the next year, and I think it’s fabulous. In the spirit of this commitment we have a shared photo stream full of pictures of us. It’s outrageous. And it’s a picture of redemption for me.

You see a few years ago I tried to use the “A Picture a Day” app where you take one picture every day and the app chronicled your life for you. Unfortunately I only did it for about a month, and then deleted it because of its utter pointlessness. At the time I was living in forced community with a very unkind and un-accepting group of girls. At first there were some pictures of laughing and silliness, then there were a lot of pictures of inanimate objects, and before long there were weeks of skipped photos. Because I didn’t care. There wasn’t anything I wanted to take a picture of. I didn’t want to remember what every single day of my life felt like. I had nothing.

But now I regularly delete photos from my phone because there are so many. I don’t regret that period of my life because there were a lot of character building moments, but I’m in a place now where I want to immortalize moments all the time. I’m surrounded by love and genuineness, and although a picture is worth a thousand words, all of mine these days can be summed up with just a few. Love. Genuineness. Redemption. Grace.

And seriousness aside, here is just a taste of the ridiculousness locked away on my phone.

In which I didn't move in time.

In which I didn’t move in time.

 

 

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In which we were “suh cute” Chris Delia style.

 

 

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In which I competed with a tree branch.

 

 

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In which I channeled my inner 13 year old with a coordinated jump.

 

 

In which I decided to play ballerina.

In which I decided to play ballerina.

 

 

 

And that’s that.

instacopycat

BFF Allison does this fun reoccurring post on her blog called “instalife” and it’s always my favorite to see glimpses into her world so I decided to copy her. Also it’s sort of a rule of thumb for me that if Allison does it, I want to because she’s just like, the most cool, you guys. So here’s some (fairly) recent pics from the life and times.

picstitch-2picstitch.1so briefly, and I’m sure elaboration will follow in days to come, I’ve enjoyed:

Sunshine
Birthday parties for one of my most favorite boys
NOLA and catching up with my dear Andrea
Path Project
Fresh ink
Luminous (& co.)

April was a fun month. And May has begun with a bang!

 

This week, in brief.

Here’s my week in short. at some point, someone disagreed with me, to which my prompt response was:

because, I’m right. always. and then our district decided to shorten the school year 2 days because the snow hated us this winter and all. Consequently, we classified (which is way cooler a term if you think of it in spy world where it’s mysterious instead of in elementary school world where its like being trapped in caste system) employees get to choose whether or not we wanted to work those 2 days they cut while the real teachers do professional development. To this I promptly said:

And then later in the week this happened –Picture 4

and while my outside voice said “bhoujjheee”, my inside voice said

And then it was Friday and I was all

quite literally. which is probably why I’m widely accepted at an elementary school. and single. whatever world.

j out.

 

How Pinteresting

Pinterest changes lives. I’d first like to give you this link to an awesome article directed towards the heart of issues we women face. It’s a good one in my opinion, and in it she says stuff like, “Epic in scope, breathtaking in simplicity and utterly, hopelessly addictive, Pinterest actually represents a handy, online measuring stick where I can gauge my own effectiveness as a woman ” and then she talks about how her “own personal Pintervention involves heavy doses of grace and perspective along with a release from any expectation that I will ever actually attempt any of the projects that I so eagerly pin“. (And everything in between those quotes is really great too)
I’d second like to say that I love Pinterest. And I’m not intimidated by your homemade spinach quiche or hand-crafted book shelf, you domestic goddess, you. Pinterest is inspiring, and I like being inspired, so I’d say we’ve got a good thing going, ol’ Pinterest and I. I would however like some accountability. I’ve found these lovely things and decided I want to create some stuffs, but I need people to say, “ok, I hear you girl, and next week when I ask you how it turned out you had better respond with a picture”.
So in honor of Spring, (and the fact that I currently have a Christmas garland and a Valentine banner hanging in my living room) I need this to happen.
And then I’ve really been into printing lately, so I want to do this…ish, but without the weirdo letters ’cause I don’t love those, and maybe with a different object/placement/whatever.

photobomb love.

i know this sort of post is a little weird and a lot lacking in content, but i think this knowledge is something you need in your quest to truly know me.

this is maybe my favorite picture ever. when i tutored in college (on days when i had students like this), i would look at it before and after each appointment just to keep smiling. i’m not even kidding-every. single. time. i look at this picture it slays me.

also, if we’re friends, i know what you’re thinking. and i’m totes okay with the fact that me and that seal are the same piece of work.

“Ocean of Notions”.

I’ve never read Haroun and the Sea of Stories, but I really loved the quote from it that they used for this “treehouse”. I think the sentiment is one of the most beautiful I’ve heard in a while.

“He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale.” -Salman Rushdie, 1991

New Places, New Faces.

I went to Cheekwood for the first time a few days ago with my friend Carrie (don’t worry R.F. we’ll go again!) And their current exhibit “Treehouses” was so so fun! I think I’ll share some of my favorites with the quotes they attached to them.

Carrie & I & a bamboo forrest.

If you have a chance to go to Cheekwood, you should. And take a picnic. And a friend.

“The Rainbow Fish shared his scales left and right, and the more he gave away, the more delighted he became. When the water around him filled with glimmering scales, he at last felt at home among the other fish.” -Marcus Pfister, The Rainbow Fish, 1992