73 days between posts? blogger fail.

i logged into my blog this morning to write a quick little update.  i thought it had been a few weeks since i’d filled you in on my super exciting life.  then i realized my last post was july 28th.  wowzas.  sorry ’bout that.

let’s see if i can catch you up on the last few months.  they’ve been filled with road trips and weddings and events that have been good for my spirit and completely exhausting at the same time.  for some reason i thought that when summer ended things would slow down.  now i find myself nine days into october and there isn’t much of a break on the horizon.  thanksgiving might bring a lull.  maybe.  but i’ve learned to make the most of the quiet moments i do have while doing my best to embrace the chaos when it comes.  i’m still perfecting the art of learning to be quiet in the midst of the noise.  even so, i’m happy and content and beyond blessed by the life i live.  no complaints from this girl.  at least not today.

this morning i find myself in my perfect yellow chair i picked up from an antique store.  i’m sipping coffee next to my open window.  the air is cool and the cinnamon candle burning reminds me that fall is in the air.  last night i had dinner with some dear friends and rested while they worshipped.  their songs were transferred to my computer and are serving as church today.  it’s a good day to enjoy the small things that often times get lost in my busy schedule of relationships, responsibilities and the whole changing-the-world-thing i’m working on.

so while i’m enjoying the smaller things in life today you can get caught up on where i’ve been and what i’ve been doing.  if you promise to get yourself up to speed on my life i’ll promise to not go seventy three days without an update.  ever again.  really.  promise.

at the beginning of august i trekked thirteen hours with kelly and jordan up to chicago for the jesus culture awakening conference.  my bff met us up there, so it was great to spend some time with her, too.  we were unaware that the conference would mostly be filled with thousands of high schoolers but enjoyed it nonetheless.

a few of us spent one of the last days of summer at the river.  we hiked and swam and a few brave souls jumped off a cliff.  it was fun day of adventure that will definitely need to be replicated.

my co-worker robby and i had the privilege of spending a week at mississippi college for their mission fair.  we met with all kinds of incredible students, shared with them about the passport and about our own experiences on the world race.  we were tired by the time we got home, but really enjoyed our time with them.

the last few months have also included a world race reunion/conference, watching my friend and co-worker weston tie the knot, nights in the hammock, a staff picnic, and a trip to florida for my world race teammate’s wedding.

well, i think that pretty much gets you up to speed.  hoping your sunday is lovely.

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embedded residue. i’ve been home one year.

well.  it’s official.  i can no longer start a sentence with “last year on the world race…”  i’ve been on american soil for three hundred and sixty five days. [minus the week-long stint in ireland last fall].  whoa.  deep breath.

i landed in lax sometime in the afternoon a year ago.  the lady looked at my passport and said “you’ve been gone for quite some time.  welcome home.” to which i offered a fake smile as i fought back tears.  then i stood in customs for three hours before finally walking out into american civilization.  i spent the evening with my world race bff’s before hopping on a red-eye back to missouri.

i walked off of a plane in springfield and hugged my family.  we drove home.  the first thing i did was try on an old pair of jeans to make sure they still fit.  then i took a nap.  we ate lasagna for dinner.  and normal life just kind of began again.

countless times over the last year when i have thought back to my time on the world race i’ve  felt like it was nothing more than a dream.  a crazy adventure that just kind of happened but it wasn’t real.  except that it was real.  so real, in fact, that the residue is still on me.  not the africa dirt and asia smell.  but the residue of the things i saw.  the prayers i prayed and people i met.  the residue of feelings i felt and dreams i dared to dream.  it’s still on me, the glory of it all.

in fact, it’s just being embedded deeper and deeper into who i am.

i spent three weeks at home.  mostly i tried to catch up with the friends and family i had missed for eleven months.  i ate a lot of food and drank a lot of coffee.  i packed up my life and drove to georgia, where i’ve spent the last eleven months on a brand new adventure and at the same time discovering a new kind of normal.

my first few months in georgia were mostly spent in tears.  i cried because i was lonely.  i cried because i missed being on the field.  i missed holding babies and praying for sick people.  i cried because i had no plan.  i cried because i had absolutely no idea how to do my job.  sometimes i cried because it was the only thing i knew to do in the midst of trying to process and re-enter to so many things.  but, over the months, slowly but surely the tears have become fewer and farther between.  i promise.  ask allison.

i’ve become somewhat settled.  in gainesville, yes.  but mostly in my spirit.  i’ve got a bit of handle on why i’m here.  i’m not so lonely anymore. and i’ve figured some things out about my job.  i feel like i’ve processed the things i’ve seen; even though i still miss the african babies.  i guess i don’t really have a plan.  but i don’t feel like i really need one right now, so that’s refreshing.

anyways.  a lot has happened in the last year.  a lot of good things and a lot of hard things.  some broken places have been exposed and some other broken places have been healed.  i’m more whole than i was a year ago.  i’m more confident and hopeful than i was a year ago.  i’m definitely more free than i was year ago. and i am so much more thankful thank i was a year ago.

i’m thankful for the journey of the world race.  i’m thankful for the journey the last eleven months in georgia have been.  as thankful as i am for the past, i want to be the kind of person who looks ahead to the future with hope and great expectation.  there’s really no telling what’s in store for the next three hundred and sixty five days.  but my prayer is that the residue of my past journeys would become more deeply embedded as i set my eyes and heart towards the journey ahead.

with that.  enjoy the video i made of our world race journey.

happy home-one-year-aversary k-squad.

dear college me.

we put this little video together for real life campaign we’re running.  i promise it’s well worth your two minutes.  take a gander and then read what i’d say to my college self.

 

dear college me,

i know it hasn’t really been that long since you were wandering the sidewalks of good ‘ol evangel, but a lot of things have changed. things are pretty different over here. and you. well, you’re real different over here.

don’t worry so much about the future. it’ll work itself out. taking that first mission trip to jamaica will affect you forever. what you experience there will catapult you into a destiny you couldn’t dream of on your own. friendship takes work. especially when you’re on different continents. learn to fight for relationships now. you had a lot of opportunities in four years. and you took most of them. way to go, champ. forgive more. have more grace. especially with yourself. because you’ll spend a lot of time after college learning how to receive grace. real grace. the messy, scary kind that you’ve never really known before. it will be new territory for you. but you’ll learn that those people really do love you. and that jesus, he really loves you, too.

take more risks. it’s okay that you didn’t graduate with a 4.0. i promise no one will ever care. don’t try so hard to be perfect. learn how to fail and embrace your imperfections. chopping your hair off was a brilliant idea. and dying it brown on a whim after that, ehem, one situation, was a good move. way to be bold.

dear college me, you’ll travel the world. really. you will circumnavigate the whole thing over the course of eleven months. i know everyone is telling you it’s absurd to live out of a backpack for a year and that you’re not exactly the world-traveler-roughin’-it-missionary type. don’t listen to them. you’ll do just fine as a world racer, i promise.

in fact, despite all of the hard stuff you’ll walk through in those eleven months there will be something beautiful about the whole thing. something that will deeply attract you to a tribe of people in gainesville, georgia. so when you return to the states you’ll pack up your life and move south. you’ll raise your own salary to be in charge of marketing mission trips to high school and college students. you’ll spend a few months freaking out about the whole ‘being back in america’ thing. and it might take you a minute to find your place but you’ll discover that you love it down in georgia. the whole “marketing-for-jesus-behind-a-desk-among-a-group-of people-you-love” bit fits you nicely. you’re more thankful than you could have ever imagined.

dear college me, i want you to know that things are good over here. you’re good over here. there’s still work to do, but your more whole, more alive, and more happy than you could have dreamed. your life is abundant and your heart is full.

so, what would you say to your college self?

grateful. no, really.

nothing is ever good enough for me.  ever.

that is a statement that i have absolutely let define me over the years.  it’s something that was spoken over me over and over and over growing up.  ungrateful.  nothing is ever good enough.  it has shaped and molded the way i see myself, the world and most importantly, the Lord.

it wasn’t until recently that i even realized what a stronghold that lie has been.  it’s only been in the few weeks that the Lord has been revealing to me the gravity of it and the way that it has affected so many areas of my life.

tonight i was sitting in an all-too familiar training center at the aim headquarters.  listening to my dear friend give a talk i’ve heard at least a dozen times.  almost thirty leaders showed up this afternoon for a few days of training before over 200 college kids will get sent out to the nations next week. for two months they will serve the world.

as i was sitting there listening to kelly tell stories about past participants she told stories about how their lives were changed.  stories about how a man in africa woke up out of a coma because a real life team prayed for him.  she told the story of a participant who overcame an eating disorder and a drug addiction; whose life was transformed by the power and grace of God.  she told stories about how it rained in kenya when our participants prayed and massai warriors were saved as a result.  she spoke about how she believes wholeheartedly that these participants will change the course of history this summer; that lives will never be the same because they were sent out into the darkest of places with a commission to bring light.

as kelly shared more of the vision for real life i found myself about to lose it.

tears streamed down my face as we prayed for the nations, once again, from that place that has become so comfortable and familiar and yet always transitioning and changing.

because for the first time in a really long time i felt absolutely, unreservedly, filled-to-the-brim grateful.

grateful that i get to be a part of the whole thing.  grateful that i had a hand, small as it may have been, in getting over 200 college kids to the mission field.  grateful that of all of the qualified, competent people out there God chose me to partner with Him and with this ministry.  grateful that in the midst of my brokenness and my process and my junk i am surrounded by people who believe in me and who fight for me, especially when i can’t fight for myself.  grateful for the reminder of who i am and whose i am.  grateful that i don’t live under the lies that were spoken over me.  that i am not defined by what i was told or not told. but that i am defined only by what God says about me.  grateful that even though it seems minuscule i maybe might be starting to learn some things.  grateful that even if wake up tomorrow with my sassy pants on, there is grace to cover it.

i don’t know.  maybe it seems silly.  but i’m just really, truly thankful tonight.  for who God is.  for who I’m becoming and for this life i get to live.

bacon is different.

so.  i’ve been on overload for the last few weeks.  i mean, filled-to-the-brim-everything-is-so-crazy-all-i-want-to-do-is-sleep o.ver.load.  ever since going to new york life has been pretty much going non-stop.  family stuff.  relationship stuff.  work stuff.  jesus stuff.  it’s just been a lot.  and i’ve been over-capacity, in desperate need of alone time.  quiet time.  time to be still.

so today, i’m home. and it feels oh, so good.  i’m working on some things, doing some laundry and unpacking from said trip to new york.  i’m working on emails and and addressing my latest newsletter.  just wrapping up the week, really.

i traipsed upstairs in my yoga pants to have coffee with allison this afternoon.  she’s always real refreshing for me.  she asks me the questions i don’t always want to answer but that make me think on things and draw out new, deeper parts of me.  she seeks to understand and loves me in the midst of my stuff.  i hope i’m a little bit like her when i grow up.  except for the part where she hates bacon.  i love bacon and would like to eat it forever. thankyouverymuch.

speaking of eating, i need to do that.  i haven’t had anything but coffee yet today.  oops.  but maybe i should have some more coffee?  it’s a good, dreary day for lots of coffee.

because i just love coffee.  we all know this.  but i also love the idea of coffee.  because in some weird, twisted way, it’s a cool, trendy thing to drink coffee.  like it offers some kind of status in some universe that’s not real but is real.  right?

but then i have moments where i don’t want to talk about how much i love coffee because everyone talks about how much they love coffee.  i don’t want to be another coffee-drinking, toms-wearing, jesus-loving gal who is so desperately trying to be different that she actually ends up fitting into some kind of mold.  there’s something in me that needs to be different.  but everyone wants to be different so we end up all being the same kind of different.  you know?

hm.  that all kind of came from nowhere.  maybe it’s also a good day for contemplation.

on that note, i guess i’ll go have some coffee.  and maybe some bacon.

clipboards. and being excited.

when i traipsed myself down to georgia in august i came with the intention of staying for six months.  i had no idea where to go or what to do when i came home from the field and the Lord led me here to be in community and serve aim and the world race for a season. soon after getting acquainted with gainesville i felt the lord asking me to plant roots here. to find some contentment with being here.  and it was a struggle.  i battled and fought for that contentment.  i chose it on days when it was really the last thing i wanted to do.  and there are days when i still actively have to choose contentment about being in america.

but the more i do it the easier it gets.  and the more i choose thankfulness the more it really does rise up in me.  today, i’m beyond grateful for where i’m at, and what i’m doing.

so, when i agreed to come for a 6-month apprenticeship i  was asked to come on as a part of the marketing team.  which was funny to me because with the exception of my college degree i have zero experience in marketing anything.

but for the last six months i’ve been learning a lot.  and developing some skills.  and learning a lot.  and well, learning a lot.  the more i learn the more i realize how little i actually know.  which is humbling.  but more than that it’s exciting.  it’s a privilege and a blessing to be surrounded by people who are willing to invest in me in so many ways, including professionally.

i’ve spent the last few months working closely with our college-age department.  real life.  it’s been an absolute joy to be awakened to some of my talents and skills and also to rekindle some of the creative passions i’d stifled for so long.  but, that’s another blog for another time.

anyways…all of that really long story to say.  i’m staying in gainesville.  i’m staying with aim.  i’m staying with real life. and i’m continuing to do marketing.oh,

but, i am actually beside myself excited about it.

and also i’ll still be living off of support.  so you can help a sista’ out here.

i’m excited about all of the new changes.  i’m excited about learning more.  i’m excited about being developed.  i’m excited about being challenged.  i’m excited that i get to do something i am passionate about.  i’m excited that it will probably be hard.  but that i’ll grow because of it.  i’m excited about being in one place for awhile.  about learning how to be committed to something.

[it maybe freaks me out a little bit that i just wrote that.  and that i mean it.  because i don’t really know who this new, contented, happy person is.  but i like her.]

and, well.  i’m also excited that i get a new desk.  and a new space.

i know it seems small.  but i am such a person who needs her own space.   i need my space to feel like home.  and i need it to feel like me.

so i made some new things for my new space tonight.  and i love them.  i cannot wait to get them up on my wall above my desk tomorrow.

don’t you just think they are perfect?