Thursday, April 16, 2015

a coffee date...

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I have started something BIG. I can’t really tell you what it is, but just know that it is big and good and life giving, a deep-rooted, God-sized dream that has been in my heart for a long time.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about what we have been reading lately. I have picked up “Let’s All Be Brave” by Annie Downs (#kindreds) and it is SO GOOD. Like, Jimmy Fallon so good. It has brought me to tears from laughing and also from the ugly cry. If you don’t have this, pick it up now! I also snagged Melanie Shankle’s newest book “Nobody’s Cuter Than You” and can’t wait to start it! What are you reading this month?

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about how I finally signed up for Netflix (welcome to the 21st century, Kristi, I know) and how I found my new guilty pleasure: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. It is hilarious and mildly inappropriate and just perfect. Also, I am binge watching “Friday Night Lights” and “Gilmore Girls”. Send help. Or popcorn and Junior Mints.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about singleness because that has been the thing I have been wrestling through lately. Not in a struggling way, but in a way that is good and healthy and full of learning. And because of that, this past week has really been a doozy; I have experienced full-range of emotion and completely confess that I have been “that girl” to a lot of my friends. Gosh, I am so thankful that they like me in the midst of those moments!

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I have switched all my emojis to the African-American version because it is the best thing.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you if you have any big summer plans and vacations. We would also talk about how crazy it is that summer is literally around the corner.

If we were on a coffee date, we would probably be at a Starbucks and if we are already talking about summer… Did you know they are releasing a S’mores Frappucino? I don’t drink the Frappucinos, but this one might get me…

If we were on a coffee date, what would you want to talk about?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

after He has risen...

...Through the obedience of The One, the many will be made righteous... where sin increased, grace abounded all the more..."
-       Romans 5: 19 - 20

Good Friday, a solemn Saturday, and a celebration on Sunday…
Easter weekend.

On Good Friday, I was camping at the beach with my JH students. I asked many of them what was good about Good Friday? Why do we call it that? (Please keep in mind that when I was 13 years old, I knew nothing about Jesus and I didn’t really know the answer to this question until probably my freshman year of college.) Each of them knew, they knew. They knew that we call it Good Friday because it was the day that Jesus Christ’s salvific work on The Cross was completed, it was finished.

Good Friday is purely good, a good that we can accept
but will never fully understand.

This week had me reflecting on the sacrifice, and completely brought me to my knees. Saturday night I read Romans 5, and was completely struck by the beauty of the verses in that chapter. GRACE ABOUNDS ALL THE MORE; where there is sin, there is more grace, there is an abundance that will never run out, never be depleted, never dry.

There is a new song from Hillsong United titled, “Touch the Sky”, and it is beyond beautiful. I have had it on continuous loop for days. There is a point in the song when she states, “I found heaven as Love swept low…” Friends, this Christ, this Love, swept low; He humbled Himself, wearing a crown of thorns, being whipped and beaten and mocked, taking the shame and curse for humanity on The Cross… Do you get that today? Not just for me or my friends or my family or my ethnic group, but for humanity.

Currently, I am studying through The Risen Christ with She Reads Truth. We are looking at the people that Jesus appeared to after His resurrection… Mary, the Disciples, Thomas… and it is brilliant. It is brilliant because it has me thinking about the whole idea of the next step.

He has Risen, so now what?

As Christians, we make Easter a big to-do; we make sure to plan more services with more lights and more dynamic worship, we make sure to put our best pastors on the stage and our best greeters at the doors. We show the church and the visitors Christ and His sacrifice, some people find Jesus for the first time, and then it’s over. You found Jesus on Easter and we are so glad you did… and that’s all we give, that’s all they get. But, I can’t help but think about how we as a church, as Christians, slide back into the daily routine and forget about those people, the ones who just figured out Jesus. We should have as much excitement for our post-Easter Sundays as we do our Easter Sunday. Excitement and reflection should not only be reserved for the calendared Holy Days, but must be found as we realize that every day has the potential to be a holy day.  

May we remember that grace abounds for us EVERY WEEK, not just on Easter Sunday; may we reflect on His sacrifice for humanity every time we come to Him with our Bibles and journals and through the doors of our church; may we, like Thomas, experience the gravity of Jesus weeks after His resurrection.

Friends, He has Risen, so now what?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

all the things: march...

Recently, I had a great conversation with a fellow writer and kindred about blogging and consistency. In an attempt to be more consistent with my writing, I will be adding some regular postings into my blog, one of which will be monthly wrap-ups!

Here are all the things (the important ones, at least) of March!
(Scroll over for linkage!)

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: If you are a writer (or aspiring writer), you need to read this book now! A bunch of my writer friends (Annie Downs and Jen Hatmaker) (also, I have decided we are friends after the IF: Gathering and because we are kindreds) recommended this book throughout their blogs and podcasts and I quickly ran to pick it up. It is brilliant!

Scary Close by Donald Miller: This book is brilliant; Miller speaks freely and openly about his issues with trust, intimacy, and being known. It’s insane, because I feel like I know so many people who struggle with these things, and I learned so much about them through his writing. Well done, sir.

The Happy Hour by Jamie Ivey: I heard Jamie Ivey speak at the IF: Gathering this past February. Jamie has a way of just talking about real life with real people that is so inspiring! I listen to her and her guest (people like Annie Downs, Jen Hatmaker, Jessica Honneger, and all my other kindreds) in the mornings while I am making coffee and putting my make-up on. The podcast is free on her blog here.

She Reads Truth Lent Study: Ladies (and men too), if you have not heard of She Reads Truth, THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE! I have told everyone I know about this site (and they have a handy app for the iPhone and Android complete with their studies, phone wallpapers, and a bunch more goodies!) because the studies are so accessible and so good. Typically, Lent is not something I do or understand, but this year and the SRT Lent study has given me a completely new perspective! Even outside of Lent, this study is so rich and full. Have you found a good site for devotionals and Bible studies? Share in the comments!

Old Navy Chambray: I have literally been living in my chambray. It has stains and marks on it, and I don’t even care because for the love, it is so comfy. Old Navy is having wild Spring sales right now, so if you are in need of a casually cute, comfy chambray, RUN DON’T WALK.

New Recipes: This month I tried a bunch of Pinterest recipes and they all worked out beautifully! Everything from snacks to full meals… I love having the time to cook and bake!

My Roadtrip: I already posted about this here, but people, it was such a needed time with a dear friend!

Fresh Flowers: Welcome Springtime! I picked up a bouquet of some beautiful flowers this month at the local Farmer’s Market and they are still bright and blooming! I already have my eye on some new ones at Trader Joe’s once these ones lose their life. Is it just me, or do flowers make everything THAT much better?

Kara Tippetts: This post by Ann Voskamp… MERCY. I was crying like Kara was my best friend. Praise God for an amazing life lived!


Twitter: This past month, both Ann Voskamp and Maragaret Feinberg favorited my tweets on Twitter… And I about fell over in my chair. That is all.

What are some things that you enjoyed this past month?

Friday, March 27, 2015

a coffee date...

If we were on a coffee date, my drink of choice would be iced coffee with a ton of cream, because lately I like coffee that barely tastes like coffee and still packs a punch of caffeine.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about how social media makes being an adolescent HARD. I thought that grade school was mean without Instagram and Burn Books (yes, this is a thing and its horrible) and Facebook… Holy Moses, social media is going to be the end of this generation.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about how Southern CA has announced that summer is here and you know what? I am actually embracing it. This is weird for me and I am kind of having an identity crisis.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you if you think Tim Tebow and I would make a cute couple, and you would say yes, because we would. We would have the cutest babies in America.  Earlier this week, I was on Tim Tebow's website, trying to figure out what he is doing with his life, and accidentally read "for engagement requests, please email here" when it actually says "for SPEAKING engagement requests, please email here"... But, what about those engagement requests? #realtalk

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you about what you are reading and what I should be reading. You should be reading “Scary Close” by Donald Miller because it is SO GOOD. Miller discusses his fear of being known, his trust issues, and how important it is to build intimacy with the people in our lives.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about THIS Ted Talk and how 20’s are NOT the new 30’s and about the whole musical chairs thing.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you about what happens to you when you are in danger… Are you a flight or fight person? Can you think clearly? Do you have flashbacks to similar events from childhood? Sometimes, the world is not a safe place, and I wonder how you manage that.

What about you?
How are you taking your coffee this week?
What are things you are dying to share with me?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

a tungsten medal...

Competing in things is not my spiritual gift.

If you know me, you know that I am not very competitive. There is no desire in me to see who can run the fastest, jump the highest, yell the loudest. I played soccer in high school, which I totally loved, and even then, losing and winning were pretty much level. We were just having fun, making friends, and all the other cliché non-sports mantras. The only time I have been truly competitive was this past summer at Summer Camp, in which I legitimately scared my girls (I wanted the t-shirt that said champion on the front, in hindsight I am slightly embarrassed, but it was all for the kids… right?).

But this week, I had a moment.

It’s funny how even the woman with no competitive bone in her body can perk right up for the fight when she feels threatened, when she suddenly realizes that there is a race, a competition, and she might not be in first place like she thought.

This week, I realized that someone was still in the race. I thought that I was the only one, that I had no one to compete against. And then it all changed…


Jealousy can turn even the sweetest woman into a warrior. I realized that I was no longer the owner of a gold medal, I might have a silver medal, or a bronze medal, or even one made of freaking tungsten. And I sat there in this moment, fuming and frustrated, seconds from completely bawling my eyes out; I wanted to fight back, to sit there and tell God why it isn’t fair, why I am more deserving, why this would be a perfect thing for me… I wanted to sit there and justify why I should be first, why I am the greatest choice. And I wondered, WHAT COLOR IS MY MEDAL? Then the Lord pretty much gave me one of those Holy Spirit slaps and brought me back to reality...

"Jealousy can turn even the sweetest woman into a warrior..."

I was immediately reminded of the disciples and how they argued over who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. The story is told in multiple Gospels, and the disciples just did not get it! Amongst the intensity of the previous weeks and the events that were ahead, they were most concerned about who would be labeled awesome, about who would be number one (can we just imagine Peter or John holding a big foam finger with “#1” on it? HILARIOUS). They didn’t get it, and I can’t blame them, because I am right there with them.

Friends, when it comes to sports, take the medal, take the trophy, take the t-shirt; but in life, I WANT THE MEDAL, I WANT THE TROPHY, I WANT THE T-SHIRT. I want to finally win, to get the job, to get the man, to be victorious. People, this is a constant battle and I need to preach truth to myself DAILY, because if I don't, I give other people the proverbial elbow to the side, which is not very Proverbs 31-esque. 

We are not competing for jobs and relationships if we realize that we are all running an individual race that matters; each race is different. The Lord has a beginning, middle, and end for each of us, full and bursting with details and blessings and tragedies. When I look to the right or to the left, at the other runners, my mind deceives me into thinking I am in a race, that I need to beat these other people, that life is about impressing others, getting their attentions, and winning. Our sin interprets the race of life as a competition, not a corporate sanctification. Life is not about looking to the right or the left; it is about looking forward, at Christ, because in Him the race is already won.

"Our sin interprets the race of life as a competition, not a corporate sanctification..."

We must cheer each other on, not compete against each other. This is not a new, wild, revolutionary idea, but it is a hard one to grasp. If this person gets what I want, well, the most appropriate response is to praise God, because they are lovely and sweet and godly and an example; crazy how we forget that these women, or men, are in fact awesome people. Jealousy does that; it twists an amazing example of a person into someone who is out to ruin God’s plan for you.

People, there is no competition in the Kingdom. Let’s stop comparing and competing and looking to the right and left. Let’s look forward to the beginnings, middles, ends and all the details in between of our own races. He doesn’t have just simply a plan for your race, but a beautiful one; trust Him with the color of your medal.