20 January 2017

Dear Amy Schumer

(an open letter, or, Why I Am Not Broken Hearted to have a New Baby in This Crazy, Messed-Up World.)

I saw you this election year. You were on fire. You were using your time in the public spotlight to stand for and promote what you so strongly believe in. You stood alongside your choice for the presidential race, and you campaigned right through voting day. 

I'm with you (kinda). I think that women are strong, capable, powerful, and wise world-shakers. It's astounding to think that just a "few" years ago, women were not even allowed to vote in this country, yet here we are and women are holding political offices and running for president.

Then, like you, I watched in disbelief as Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. 

However, unlike you, I wasn't devastated. I was not hopeless. I did not spend that night or the next few days in mourning. 

And I most certainly am not broken hearted to have given birth to my son the same year that President Trump was elected -not because I voted for Trump (because I didn't) and not because I fully support Trump (because I don't), but because I know that the greatest way for anyone (let alone a woman) to impact the world is to do it right where he or she is. 

This world is full of evil, and it will be until the day I die. A president is not going to change that. I have a hope and joy that does not have to rely on political offices, on health, on religious freedom, on laws, on social network standings, on news headlines, on job security. 
Because I have a certain hope in the promises of God and a relationship with Christ, I can -no, I am COMMANDED to live out that love and grace and truth that I have been given.

My greatest impact in this world will not be my choice on voting day, but rather, will be in the relationships that I have with my husband and son. It will be in the relationships that I develop with the youth in this town, it will be where I choose to invest and donate time and money to people serving people here and across the world, it will be in the time I take with my nieces and nephews, it will be at work with patients and co-workers, it will be as I stumble my way through this messy thing we call life alongside my local church family (and countless other spheres). 

The reality is that if our president would have been Hilary Clinton instead of Donald Trump, I still would have woken up the next morning before I was ready to a hungry boy, kissed my husband goodbye as he left for the uncertainty that LEO work brings, and spent my days and weeks and months doing life.

It made me sad to see you and many others so devastated by the outcome of the election because it made me realize how hopeless life for you must be. And I want you to know, Amy, that it doesn't have to be that way. There's a God, and you are his image-bearer, living in rebellion against him. But, he has made a way to reconcile that relationship with you through his Son, Jesus Christ. All because of his great love. It's mind-blowing, really.
I pray that you can know true forgiveness and true hope one day. Because, while you can make a lot of people laugh while shaking up the cultural (mis)perceptions of women's bodies and female objectification (good on ya), it's not going to matter in the end. 

A life lived for Jesus is the only life worth living. 

I hope to be a little more open and honest about my daily struggle to figure out the practical implications of that in this space. You're welcome to check back in from time to time. :) Until then, I hope that we can ALL be a little kinder to each other. 


16 December 2016

Merry, merry, merry

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Here's the albums that I have been listening to on repeat this year.

First off, this golden album from Sufjan Stevens. Forty two songs. You won't be sorry.
(P.S. Anybody know how to pronounce that first name?)

This next album is technically for kids, but it's fantastic listening for advent!

And my new all-time favorite Christmas album: The Light Came Down.
I mean, Josh outdid himself. I am crying giant tears of sorrow because I can't be at one of his Christmas concerts.

What are you listening to this year (Or every year)?

07 November 2016

October Photo Challenge: days 22-31

22. up and over
while the babes wait for music practice to be over... 

23. get real
real talk right here. #bedroomstruggles

24. days end
smokey skies at sunset

25. first thing
coffee and wake up snuggles.

26. think about it

27. bite size

28. dress up

29. candy
...or something like that... 

30. pretend
if I can't see you, you can't see me.

31. trick or treat
we party hard around here...

04 November 2016

October photo challenge: days 11-21

I did a bit more "cheating" for this week of pictures. I prefer to call it "borrowing" from other days. ;) 

11. create
my sister is really great at creating teachable experiences that are woven into every day moments.

12. night life
technically, this was sunrise. but in my mind, same same.

13. musical
the baby cousins. also, my focusing skills are lacking.

14. happy day
Uncle Jon is the best.

15. cuddle

16. discover

17. the boss
good thing he's cute.

18. oops
don't worry, I helped her up.

19. special
all of my plant babies come from special people in my life and from special times in my life. 

20. silliness
singing songs during missionary conference brings out the silliness in the adults, as these kids soon discovered.

21. favorite photo
this is not a picture of my favorite photo (how would I ever choose?), but it is my favorite photo that I took that day.

02 November 2016

October photo challenge: days 1-10ish

Taking pictures every day helps me learn and grow. So, I took these prompts for the month of October. Sometimes I missed a day. Some days I took pictures for more than one category. It all evens out eventually. I think. 

1. weekend
fall weekends are for fires and tending to the plant babies.

2. chilly
love the fall chill that comes along with the changing leaves

3. symmetrical
I tried.

4. around
not sure what this has to do with "around", but it's open to interpretation.

5. prepare
there's only 3 of us, and we already pack way too much. 

6. travel
road construction and rain. the worst.

7. friends
my family has a problem with talking while getting their picture taken.

8. educate
not sure what is happening in the flower girl squad, but it is bound to be good times.

9. farewell
one last night of adventures in KC.

10. exploring
coffee shops. always coffee shops.


27 October 2016

Write 31 Days: bouquet

[I wrote this post several months ago after the death of my dad. It's cheating, I know. But it is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of "bouquet".]

Like my dad, I am a sucker for fresh flowers.
Like my dad, I have a stubborn streak.
Like my dad, I love to laugh.
Like my dad, I adore my siblings' kids.
Like my dad, I can be ornery.
Like my dad, I know that exaggeration gets the point across.
Like my dad, I work on an ambulance because I care about people.
Like my dad, I have a January 31 birthday.
Like my dad, I like to bundle up and go find adventures in the snow.
Like my dad, I like to cheer for the Nebraska Huskers.
Like my dad, I love to camp and hike and sit around a campfire.
Like my dad, I love me some good harmonies and guitar.
Like my dad, I have tasted and seen that God is good to us.
Like my dad, I am a sucker for fresh flowers.

23 October 2016

Write 31 Days: Blowout

There came a point in my life where I realized that I was no longer able to physically beat my younger brothers, so I turned to my next best weapon: my words.
Now, there's something you need to understand about my family: we thrive a little bit on the argument; the "discussion". Having a constant verbal battle was no strange thing in my house.
However, when I decided to prove my dominance over the younger siblings through my words, I wasn't doing it just for the joy of discussing the finer points of Whatever We Were Discussing, it was to wound. I took satisfaction in those first few seconds of seeing that my words had hit their mark. Hey mom, at least we aren't physically beating each other up, right?
To this day I cringe at the thought of how thoughtless and careless I was with my words.
The proverbial blowout of my anger and pride and selfishness, however well crafted, was never worth the victory of the moment.
I hated it when my dad made us do word studies on our speech, but I am very thankful that I had a dad who loved us enough to make us deal with our problems. 

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" -Colossians 4:6
(And, of course, James 3)

20 October 2016

Write 31 Days: weekend

I heard an interesting comment the other day. It was something to the effect that most Christians see church as a habit of convenience. 
"If nothing else is going on, then I will make it to church."
Church, gathering with other believers, is something that is not generally prioritized by most in the scheduling of the week, month or year, etc.

This is something I am just as guilty of as anyone else. I remember when I first was really on my own, not just out of the house but still in Bible school. I had no-one who was dictating my behavior or habits. I could make my own choices about my time.
This was liberating. Intoxicating? 
And, as most "kids" do, I used my liberty to serve my selfish desires.
I told myself, "You don't lose your salvation over not going to Sunday school (or whatever other service I wanted to skip)."
And I was right. I didn't. You don't. 
But what I failed to see, or just refused to acknowledge, was that I was neglecting one of the most vital and important things that God has created for anyone who has a relationship with him: Church. The Body.

When I let myself prioritize other things over time with other Christians, I neglected accountability, encouragement, comfort, growth, love, forgiveness... the list could go on!

It takes a perspective shift to turn aside from what the culture says around me (put yourself first! Treat yo' self! Do what makes you happy! Seek affirmation from _____ at all costs!), to make meeting with the Body of Christ a priority. Above sports, above concerts, above "I stayed out too late last night", above whatever other excuses and activities going on. 

Because I believe that when I miss meeting with other believers at my local church in my community, I miss one of the most important ministries and places for me to serve and love that there is. 

So, by the grace of God, we are making church more of a priority intentionally, not just habitually, around here...  even if it means missing out on some of my beloved morning snoozes. 

ps, you can find out more about my fantastic local church here.

19 October 2016

Write 31 Days: notice

Squawking and squealing and "talking". 
Laughing and rolling and whining.
Drooling and chewing and thumb-sucking.

Dark blue eyes. Or are they grey?
Soft blonde fuzz. Or is it brown? 
Copy-cat faces. Or was it an accident?

Grabbing and holding.
Careful balance.
Writhing in joy.

Notice me, mamma. 

I see you, baby.

And my heart is bursting with love for you. 

More than you will ever know.