Friday, April 29, 2011

The wedding

First of all, I’ve been glued to coverage of the tornadoes that hit my hometown, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and even just an hour or two from where I live now. I feel blessed that my family was protected, but my heart breaks for those who have lost so much. These were all familiar places to me, and it’s hard to see the devastation.

And there’s no good way to transition but the rest of this post is about the royal wedding.

I intended to write this post when I got up at 5:30 this morning, but there is no way I could have written anything coherent. I just barely made it to the couch and turned on the TV.

I haven’t really kept up with too much of the hype. I don’t have cable anymore, so I missed the Lifetime specials and TLC’s offerings. But I knew I wanted to watch the wedding. I lived in London for a semester, and it is exactly six years ago that I came back to the States.

I wanted to see Kate and the pomp and circumstance, but I also wanted to see the sights of London. I worshiped at Westminster Abbey several times, I watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park was one of my favorite places to walk. Until today, I didn’t actually know the name of the Horse Guards Palace, but I distinctly remember getting lost in my first couple of weeks and ending up there with no idea what it was.

The other part of my desire to watch the wedding was that when I was in London I interned at a major American news agency there. And my time there coincided with Charles and Camilla’s wedding. It was by no means anything close to the scale of this one, and the coverage was pretty minimal compared to all the coverage of Prince William's wedding. But I sat in the news bureau watching it and taking dictation from the reporters that were in Windsor for the civil ceremony and blessing. Today I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be there as a spectator or there as a journalist covering the wedding.

But it was also nice to get a front row seat from my living room this morning, and I thought the whole thing was beautiful and classy. Kate looked beautiful, and her dress was perfect.

In addition, the bishop of London's message was in line with a Bible study discussion I had on Thursday about turning from ourselves and actually finding joy in loving and glorifying God through praise and worship of Him and also through the serving others. This portion is from the transcript of the homily on the royal wedding website:

“Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

“… A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.”

The bishop ended with a call for all of the people enamored with the wedding and this couple. We’ve seen royal marriages be destroyed, and I think there is a lot of hope that this one will be successful. But the public eye and scrutiny by the paparazzi is not easy to deal with, so I liked the archbishop’s ending and I hope this is true for them:

“I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen …”

OK, I think I’ve gushed enough. Now I just need to plan a trip back to London, so I don’t just have to see my favorite places on TV.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This is a bit delayed and not really coherent, but it's what I've got.

I love going back to my parents' house and the church I grew up in for Easter, but for a number of reasons, this year it didn't work out for me to go back. After a busy spring though, I was really grateful for the weekend in town.

I also enjoyed getting to be here for the services at my church here. I was able to go to the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. I point this out because there was something really beautiful about these services.

The front of the sanctuary has a huge window that is framed in a cross. I see it every Sunday, and I know it's a cross but I think it's become so familiar I don't even notice it anymore. But it was harder to miss during these services.

For Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, there was a burgundy cloth draped over it. After the darkness of those services, it was beautiful to come in the sanctuary Sunday morning and see the burgundy cloth replaced with a white one. It reinforced the message of new life through Christ's resurrection.

I enjoyed Easter lunch with good friends at my house and was grateful not to be getting in the car or trying to catch a flight back.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Last weekend, I went to a Priscilla Shirer conference. I have done one of her studies and one where she collaborated with Beth Moore and Kay Arthur, both were great, but I feel like hearing her message in person was even better.

One day I'm going to look back at this time in my life and see how all the pieces fit together, but right now I'm just getting a few glimpses here and there, enough to keep me moving ahead. And her message was exactly what I needed to hear even if it doesn't make anything else clearer to me. 

Priscilla taught from Judges about Gideon when God comes and commissions him to go and lead the people against the Midianites. One of the points of her message is that God showed up when Gideon was faithfully doing what he needed to do in the midst of crisis. As the Midianites invaded, Gideon was finding a way to thrash the wheat. It was harder because he had to hide and thrash the wheat in less than ideal circumstances. But it was there as Gideon remained faithful in crisis that God showed up.

I don't always like the place that I'm in or the things I have to do in this time, but I was challenged in believing that this is where God shows up and that what He has for me now is preparing me for what is to come.

God also commissions Gideon to be a leader for the people against the Midianites in this passage. And while Gideon doesn't see himself any differently, God sees a warrior — not the same man that he was before.

Over the last week I've been challenged to be faithful in what God has for me right now, but also to let go of the hindrances that would prevent me from following God's commission for what's next. Priscilla's point was also that the burden is not on us: When we do what we can, God is there to do what we can't.

I attended the Maundy Thursday service at my church here, a really beautiful service. And I was reminded of the assurance that God has given the ultimate sacrifice that I might have life with Him, even though I'm going to fail every day.

As all the other things in life swirl around me, I'm praying that I can truly focus on the Cross this weekend and the gift of grace we have been given in Jesus' sacrifice.

Monday, April 18, 2011


One of the things I love about my life here is getting to walk to work every day. I get to actually notice the change in season. Fall has been my favorite season here, but this spring is starting to overtake fall. I actually pulled out my camera a few days ago and got some pictures. These tulips don't last long, so I'm trying to enjoy them while I can.

A few highlights from my walk to work:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's almost time!

In just over a week, I get to pick up my first share of the season from my co-op. I can't wait!

A few of the things I'm looking forward to:
  • Bibb lettuce, with the exception of a salad bar at a place downtown, I've avoided salads because I'm just disappointed with the lettuce. And I think I caught myself drooling when this picture came in my email today:
  • Asparagus, I've tried buying some at the store but it is not nearly as good as what I get from the co-op.
  • Zucchini, I am dreaming of sauteed zucchini and squash with some pasta.
  • Spinach, I regret wasting my spinach at the beginning of the season last year, but now I know the best way to eat it is sauteed in butter and garlic.

There are plenty more things, but those are the things I expect to see in my shares soon. Aside from the actual food, I'll be glad to have some motivation for cooking again and maybe even some inspiration for the blog. 

Now here's the list of stuff I won't miss.
  • Deciding what I'm going to eat
  • Wandering the grocery store aimlessly
  • Paying too much for strawberries and other produce that isn't that great
  • Eating casseroles for a week straight
  • Resorting to cereal or oatmeal for dinner
In other random news, the caretaker for my house/apartment has planted a garden in my backyard, as in spinach, broccoli, lettuce, etc. So I'm wondering if there will be an extra bounty for me to enjoy. 

Friday, April 8, 2011


Over the last few weeks, I thought I was getting really close to getting something I really wanted. It seemed to be the perfect thing, and I felt like everything was lining up perfectly. It was so close I could taste it, and I was already planning for it.

But then I didn't get it. And I was crushed, still am a little bit.

Over the last week, I have questioned why I didn't get it and doubted there will ever be anything like it again. I know in my head that God's timing is perfect and that He has great plans for me. The verses I have been memorizing are some of those key promises, but it's still hard not to be disappointed by the things that don't go your way.

I read a post from Stuff Christians Like this week about this very thing (go read the whole thing). 

Jon Acuff writes, "I wrestle with this sometimes but what I am starting to think is that disappointment, sunset moments, only point to how bright my sunrise really is. Throughout the bible, we are told that God knows our true desires, those things we really need above all else. And in his midst alone, do we find our satisfaction. So when I experience something that hurts, an expectation that was unmet, maybe what I should think is, 'If that felt good at first and that’s not the thing that God has planned for me, how amazing is that thing going to be?'"

And it gave me some perspective. This thing I wanted so badly seemed to be perfect for me, but it wasn't or it wasn't the right time for it. But God has something even better for me, even though I can't see it.

A friend sent me this verse, which I'm in the midst of memorizing:

"When all things were hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do." Romans 4:18, The Message

So I'm living in disappointment at this moment, and I think God wants me to be real with him about that. (The rest of Jon's post talks about being open about what hurts.) But I also have great hope in the things that are to come that are even better than what I thought was so perfect.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some observations

I am back and actually unpacking my suitcase for a while. Not really sure how to recap everything but came up with this list of observations from my latest weekend away.

It is possible to have four flights in one weekend go off without a hitch. It just had never happened to me until this weekend.

I like flying out of smaller airports. I don't like walking three miles in the Charlotte airport, might be an exaggeration but you can get a good workout in that place.

I really confuse people when I explain where I've lived over the past nine years. People assume I've gone to the university in the town where I live or am attending there now, which brings up the fact I went to Missouri for school. And when my destination is Tennessee I have to explain that is where I grew up and somehow fit my time in Georgia in the conversation. So yes, I get strange looks, even more so when I say all of these moves have been in pursuit of a career.

I am not a morning person and even less so since I started living by myself. So while at home, I proceeded to ignore my family until I had some breakfast. But then a talkative guy (mid-50s and married, in case you are wondering) sat next to me while waiting to board a 6:15 a.m. flight. I don't generally like to talk to people on planes or airports, but at 5:30 a.m. you are really pushing me. Of course I had the conversation mentioned above, which made it even worse.

Tornadoes do come on mountains despite promises that this was not the case when I was younger. A major storm, and most likely a tornado, hit my hometown a few weeks ago. A tree came through my grandparents' house, and there was damage all over the neighborhood. My mom and I walked a trail nearby and found this:

"I think we might be grown-ups." A high school friend at the wedding I attended made this comment, and while I know it's true, it seems even more real when you are at the wedding of a friend you've known since middle school. Just have to throw in a (slightly blurry) pic with the bride:

 Attending a wedding in the same venue as junior prom and a party sophomore year brings back lots of memories.

The trips home where I don't make plans to see people are always the ones where I do see several. But it's good to be surprised by breakfast with a high school friend and seeing my Bible study leaders and their kids.

The longer I am away, the cooler my hometown gets or maybe my perspective just changes. Though it's been finished for a while, I visited the new art museum for the first time and enjoyed the beauty of the river. I also enjoyed some great restaurants.

It's always a blessing to go home and spend time with family, and this weekend was no exception. But I also realize after all these weekends of travel, I miss my friends in my current city. I'm looking forward to being present here and enjoying some fun things planned over the next few weeks that keep me in town.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Heavy heart

It's been a hard week. There's stuff going on in my life, but it's nothing compared to what happened to a family at my church this week. A family that lost a grandson (son and nephew) a few years ago in an accident lost another one in another horrible accident. 

I've watched this family from afar since moving here, and I got to know them a little better this fall. The grandparents have sent their children out into the mission field abroad and stateside. They have been a mainstay at my church for a long time and have a heart for the young singles of the church. One of the first social events I attended here was at their house.

When I learned their story, I was even more amazed at their faithfulness and trust in the Lord. And my heart is breaking for them as they go through this again.

I really don't have much else to say, I've just had a heavy heart for them this week. I did want to share a post from my friend Jawan about the importance of community in our churches and believing in God's goodness. She's several states away and knows nothing of this situation, but her words hit home for me this week.