just calm down.

i have been struggling to write a blog for weeks.  in fact, i’ve started about eight different ones with the exact same sentiment.  they are still sitting on my desktop, half started.  i don’t why it’s been so difficult for me, lately.  i’ll blame it on the dreary weather.  it’s been dark and rainy.  but, the sun is trying to shine through today.  amidst the clouds, it’s peeking out.  so, despite the fact that i feel like i have so much to say and  nothing all at the same time – something is getting posted.  for all six of you to read.

we’re in another season of transition down here.  i’m beginning to wonder how long a season can really last – or if at some point, that’s just the way things are.  either way, things have changed and continue to do so.  for me, when there is a positional shift in a place, it naturally makes me wonder how it will affect the relationships i cherish.  i don’t really have answers to that question.  but i’m more confident in this community that i belong to then i ever have been.  i’m confident that we’re all in this together; good and bad, messy and put together.  we’re all here.  in the spirit, we’re knit together in a weird, supernatural way.  i used to be really afraid of these kinds of relationships because i was afraid they might go away someday.  my fear of what may or not happen on the back end of something kept me from blessings at the onset.  i’m not so afraid, anymore.  i wonder, sometimes.  but i think i can wonder without being afraid.

i’m doing a lot of pondering these days.  which can be both healthy and dangerous for me.  it’s easy to get excited about things, begin to dream up new ideas and possibilities.  it’s also really easy for me to look at the enormity that is life and get all super serious, contemplating the deep things of how the world works, why i’m on it, how there can be both good and evil, sorrow and joy.  it’s all very important to ponder.  but i go into debbie downer mode pretty quick, convinced that the world is, in fact, going to hell in a hand basket.  my insides get all dramatic and the voice-over guy in my head comes on.  oh, you don’t have a guy that does voice-overs in your life?  i do.  he probably works part time as a radio-show host.  he gets super dramatic on me with life lessons and how i need ot find significance in the flower petal that just fell to the ground.  it’s like life goes into slow motion until i slap myself.

but then i slap myself out of it.  stand on some furniture to, one more time, remind myself that god is good.  always.  that’s usually the cycle of my pondering.

my sweet friend caroline gave a really great word on monday at church.  yes, i go to church on monday.  there’s a chance we meet in a restaurant.  okay, fine. it’s a bar.  well, it has a bar.  and yes, women preach at my church.  young women.  and do you know what?  it’s the best church i’ve ever been to.  the worship is incredible, the teaching solid, and the people life-giving, honorable, and sincere.  i love my church in a bar.  whew.  now that that’s all out in the open….

so, caroline preached on how we need to rest.  about how when we find a deep place of rest and assurance in who God is the circumstances around us don’t really matter.  we can stop spinning and spinning and spinning and just stand with solidarity.  what i heard the lord saying through her was, “just calm down.”  so, i’m working on that.  calming down, knowing that it’s all under control.  the lord has it in his hand.  all of it.  remembering that can be hard.  especially in the midst of change, in the midst of watching people hurt, in the middle of confusion and chaos.  my thoughts and emotions go all haywire.  i get really riled up.  and right now, in the middle of it, the lord [and probably some of the people around me] are saying, “just calm down.  it’s all going to be okay.”

so, i’ll just be over here.  tea in hand, calming down.

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a sunday stream of consciousness.

it’s been awhile since i’ve just sat down to write.  write about what’s going on – what i’m thinking and feeling.  i sometimes think about it and then i start thinking about how i have to make it sound good.  i’d have to whip out the thesaurus so i sound smart on the interwebs.  i think about how i need to gather my thoughts and formulate adult opinions on things before my words will mean anything.  i think about how i shouldn’t waste my time filling people in on my little life but instead should probably write about thought-provoking global issues that are affecting our society and humanity as a whole.  or something.

but i don’t want to write that way.  it’s just not my forte.  [no, i did not use the thesaurus for that one].

i’d rather just let my thoughts a’flow.

coming off of catalyst last week,  we hit the ground running.  things are changing [again] in marketing world.  we’re facing yet another transition and the tension that comes with it.  in a meeting with one of our fearless leaders the other day he said, “the option is to just keep going.”  it’s comforting to know i’m not doing transition alone and that even though there could be much frustration and anxiety in the midst of the unknown, i’m really so much at peace.  the lord has been good to me in that way lately.  i’m just peaceful and stable.  which is still new territory for me, but it’s becoming more familiar as the days go by.

i leave for guatemala in the morning.  of course i haven’t packed or really thought much about it.  i’ll only be gone for four days [unless i accidentally get stuck for a few extra].  i’m heading down there to help do a mid-point debrief for our passport team.  it’s been fifteen months since i’ve left the country.  wowzas. it’s about time.  it’s a good thing for me, in so many ways.  i need to travel – even for just a few days – but i also need to start exercising my voice in new ways.  i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t at least a little nervous.  the whole field support, participant thing isn’t something i’m usually involved with.  but i need it. i need to be uncomfortable and be forced to do the thing i’m called to.  i need to be forced to prophesy and pour life into these students and leaders.  i need to, once again, be placed in a position where i have to hear God’s voice in order to move.  even if it’s just for a few days.  it feels good to be trusted with something so important.  it feels good to be a part of people’s development.  and it really, really feels good to have my passport out of the box it’s normally kept in.

i ate cinnamon rolls two days in a row this weekend.  i also stayed in my pajamas for long periods of time, enjoyed four hours around the dinner table with friends, went to a movie, journeyed to the library and purchased travel-sized shampoos.  i love simple weekends.  simple weekends make me feel blessed.

then i come home and read stuff like this.  or watch videos like this.  and i have to wrestle with the blessings again.  i have to reevaluate why i have it so good and other people are suffering so much.  gah.  i hate that internal fight.  i still can’t always reconcile the things i’ve seen and the life i live.  i have to remind myself that in my own way, i am actively choosing to be a part of a solution that is bringing hope to a world.  but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough.

and with that weighty question i guess it’s a good place to end this blog?  sometimes i have trouble ending things.  so i just keep talking and repeating myself and coming up with new things to say.  conclusions have never been my strong point.  maybe it’s because i struggle to find resolve.  maybe i should take bob newharts advice and just stop it.

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.

i want you to like me.

a few months ago i attended a support raising seminar for work.  they stuff a sixty or so of us missionaries into a conference room, fed us chick-fil-a and stressed the importance of support raising [for jesus].

this weekend, as i was addressing envelopes for my summer newsletter i remembered one of the big suggestions they made.  to make a facebook fan page.  that way you don’t have to friend someone.  they just have to “like” you.  the goal is that it’s an easier, more organized way to keep people centered around one thing.  in this case, my personal support raising.

awesome, right?  i get to ask people to “like” me so that then i can try to convince them to give me money.  for jesus.  not exactly my idea of a good time,  putting myself out there like that.

so, i’ve been putting it off.  because, well, what if i invite 500 people to “like” me and only my grandma responds?  except she’s usually a few weeks behind on facebook anyways…so really NO ONE responds.  an irrational fear?  yes.  maybe.  but a fear nonetheless.

but.  something came over me this morning and i started my official “i’m-a-missionary-please-like-me-and-pray-about-sending-money” fan page.  then i started clicking names, asking people if they would “like” me.  i’m anxious to see how this whole thing goes.

you can “like” me here.  or if you want to bypass that and just send money.  [for jesus.]  you can do that, too.

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.

twenty-four[th] year. update.

remember a few months ago when i made a list of twenty four things i want to do in my twenty fourth year of life?  you’d think by now i’d have a few of those things accomplished.  buuuuuuuuut.  well.  follow-through has never really been my strong suit.
however, i did knock out one last night.
. buy and wear nice pajamas.
twenty four years it took me to get out of my basketball shorts and gross t-shirts. i cannot believe i waited so long.  here’s to new pajamas. and growing up.

summer [about to] happen-ings.

so, we’re about to walk into busy-town over here at aim.  all kinds of goodness is happening and tons of people are being mobilized to the mission field this summer.  it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

i feel like we’ve been talking about it for weeks, so you’d think i’d be prepared.  but, leave it to me.  procrastinate. procrastinate. procrastinate.  i was feeling okay about everything that i need to do but, all of a sudden i just became really overwhelmed by everything happening in the upcoming weeks.  and the amount of things that need to get done.

so, let’s see.  tomorrow is memorial day.  lucky for me the office is closed so i can work on tackling my inbox while simultaneously cleaning my bathroom and preparing my house for the guests that will be in and out all summer.  tuesday our real life leaders come for training camp.  [wahoo!].  friday 200 [holy moly] participants come to join them and we’ll all head to the hills of tennessee.  sunday i’ll leave camp for a wedding back in georgia and then leave right after the ‘nuptials to start a 13-hour trek to missouri to represent AIM at a conference.  we’ll be there until thursday when we’ll make our back to georgia for another two-day conference in hot-lanta.

a week of ambassador [high school] training and sending out and then i’ll head out for a marketing retreat.  right after that i go back to hot-lanta for another conference.  there is also a wedding happening that same weekend – probably need to figure those logistics out.

the last week of june is our second training camp for ambassadors and then we’ll head back out to tennessee for world race/real life immersion camp for six or seven days.

and then.  it will be the middle of july and i will take a nap.  🙂

that pretty much gets you up to speed on my schedule.  i am thrilled about all of the things happening down here and feel so blessed to be a part of it all.  if you could just keep me and the rest of the staff in your prayers that would be great.  some of them have crazier schedules than i do [throw in some international trips and eek!].

i’ll do my best to keep you posted with all the lord is doing as we mobilize over 500 young people to the mission field this summer!