gaps. 

There’s a gap when you’re gone that I can’t seem to replace.

Some Christians make me feel guilty for feeling this – any kind of emptiness. I need to just get over all those brothers and sisters in Christ that just don’t want to be considered mine anymore.

But, if we could fill every gap on earth, would it still be earth?

That sounds like the New Jerusalem to me.

So, I might not be able to fill the place you leave when you’re not here. But He’ll rest with me here in the unknowing silence. I’ll wait.

Substitutes repel us; we simply have to wait and wait; we have to suffer unspeakably from the separation, and feel the longing till it almost makes us ill. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1943

It’s okay to feel like you’re missing something or someone. Because you are.

We’re inching towards the Day of all days – but we’re not there yet. God is our portion – but we’re still human. We still enjoy earthly pleasures too much, we’re ‘too easily entertained’. But yet, God still gives.

We ought to find and love God in what he actually gives us; if it pleases him to allow us to enjoy some overwhelming earthly happiness, we mustn’t try to be more pious than God himself and allow our happiness to be corrupted by presumption and arrogance, and by unbridled religious fantasy which is never satisfied with what God gives. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1943

and, finally… what I’m trying to tie a bow around and make pretty for you to read:

It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; he doesn’t fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain. -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christmas Eve 1943.

So, what do I want you to remember, when you click that red box up there in the corner and leave me alone to my thoughts?

  • your gaps won’t be filled by trivial things. they will just be entertained.
  • numbing the world’s pain won’t make it go away.

But this most of all, the phrase that keeps playing in my mind on repeat as I finally “get over it”:

You’re worth more than substitutes and clenched fists.

You can’t cling to people, jobs, or situations longer than they were made for your life…and that thing you use to try to fill their place? It’s just a matter of time until it leaves you emptier than you were before.

Smile because it happened, because there was a reason. A divine reason. Just shake your head at why it didn’t continue (you may never know and that’s okay, even if it takes seven months or seven years to admit to that).

And never forget that you’re worth more than the lies you tell yourself.

Punch a hole in that dang roof, dust those shelves, and water those darling flowers. Just because you’re clean doesn’t mean you won’t miss it. Dust anyway.

Because there are some even-better-for-you friends to love on, a gap still remaining that won’t last forever, and a whole lot of life waiting for you once you decide what’s really gone is not worth your crying-tears time anymore, but rather just a respectful wave from time to time.

I wave and whisper, “Even if it seemed like nothing…thanks for being a comforting and protective dotted line on this short, moon-lit walk home.”

Some people are dotted lines and other people are destinations. Some people get you somewhere and some people are just a place to be, all in themselves. But you cannot force those dotted lines into destinations. It doesn’t really work that way. -Hannah Brencher, If You Find This Letter.

To my destinations – you’re out there, I know it. Thanks for always staying.

don’t waste your attention.

All it takes is one lyric or a deep bump in the road. All it takes is one message that says, “Sent from Kampala, Uganda” to take me there. In an instant my heart and mind are together in Uganda, smelling it’s uniqueness. I’m there at the guesthouse archway breathing in raindrops and twirling my wavy hair. I’m there handing my cup of instant black coffee to a godly man. I’m there, hearing the songs of the children and the unity of the church. I’m still, somehow, there… praying for God to fill the gaping holes in my life, to give me a gentle spirit instead of one that responds in such bitterness, and leading crafts with an interpreter to kids that don’t know my language or how to use a glue stick. But kids that are so dear to me and to God’s heart that I could burst at the seems – either from my splitting headache from being uncomfortable or from my overflowing love.

If you’ve been my friend for any period of time, you know I talk about my travels more than the average person. But here’s the thing: when diversity and unity in the body of Christ come together under one roof, you should never stop talking about it. When the Holy Spirit reveals Himself to you in new ways, with new people, or the same way every single day – your life should speak of those volumes.

That’s why I write.

That’s why I step out of my comfort zone, even when I feel like God might have to physically drag me out there.

It’s about sharing manifestations of Christ in my life. Sometimes it’s in Kansas. Sometimes it’s in memories of kudzu or polar bears or one of my ten – yes, ten – childhood bedrooms. Sometimes it’s in Africa, South America, or landing in Miami, Florida. It’s between the lines.

We’re meant to be totally present. But the Israelites? They sinned and turned their back on God because they forgot how closely He revealed themselves to Him. Over and over and over again. I believe that the reason they turned their back on God was not because they were blasphemous – maybe some of them were – but it was because they forgot how faithful – and good – there God was. Is.

And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. -Judges 2:7

They whored after other gods. They forgot.

So, friends – be present enough today that you are continually listening for new words and urges from the Holy Spirit.

But be mindful enough to know that if you don’t look back at the good or the ugly in your past, you may begin to whore after your own gods.

Don’t waste your attention on lesser loves. Don’t be afraid to let silence in, to be emptied, and to be filled.

Be right where you are, but don’t stop looking there. Where has God met you? Thirty years ago, a decade ago, six months ago, and yesterday. Don’t lose sight of where He’s touched you most intimately like a Groom and convicted you most like a Father. That’s the only way we can keep the joy of our salvation.

So tonight I’m remembering orange muddy flip flops, dark latrines with countless crawling bugs, and deep Ugandan accents. I’m remembering learning to sob silently in Ecuador next to a candle-lit dinner, a library in Tennessee that allowed me to read books that changed my life, an orange folder full of Scriptures given to a stranger, and moving out of a town that is named the definition of loneliness in my life dictionary. I’m remembering sledding on tiny town hills when I still didn’t know how to pronounce my R’s, watching the stars after chapel at summer camp, and what it first felt like to weep over a handsome guy all night long. I’m remembering those days when I felt like I belonged when I went to public school basketball games and drama on That’s So Raven was the plot twist of my day. I’m remembering feeling heavy spiritual warfare in gazes from men that are hungry for something much more fulfilling than what they think they’re looking for in a group of young girls. I’m remembering fearing for my life during turbulence in every flight, not being able to let go of my seat, but then seeing the ocean for the first time or listening to music that soothed my dread. I’m remembering bright operating rooms with masses of interns chatting about romantic comedies, mean surgeons, and cute anesthesiologists.

I’m doing my best to use these stories to apply nuggets of truth to the here and now – the Tuesday afternoon Bible study, the late night messaging, and the tough Sunday morning greetings. I’m scraping away romantic nostalgia with a hundred sharp tools and digging to the roots. The grass isn’t greener over there, Emilee. But what was God sent in that season and what thoughts needed to be forbidden? How can I look back at yesterday’s failure and see present victory? How can I look at yesterday’s goodness and not look sparingly at what I could learn in today’s desert? I’m doing my best to remember the people between every line, complicated layer, and long story. Because I don’t want to ever forget the grace that God has given in those dark, tiny, and abundant places – all these places that rid me of ever saying that I have one hometown – because I consider them all home.

february books. 



 I finished up reading Joshua at the beginning of February. Of course, I hadn’t done much study on him before, so I loved to learn from Joshua’s integrity. My favorite verse in the book, though, is 

Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. -Joshua 21:45 

Joshua’s themes include war, fighting, orders, courage – and rest. Covenant. Not one word is untrue that He speaks. 

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4: Learning To Walk in The Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.

Life changing. I don’t say that about books that I don’t even think about afterwards. But I can’t stop thinking about this book. I took pages and pages of notes. Barbara Brown Taylor isn’t afraid of the dark. She isn’t afraid of thinking thoughts that everyone around her wouldn’t agree with. She seeks to be right in doctrine, but she’s not afraid to test everything she hears. We know the One that separated the light from dark. Our personal experiences with the literal darkness is what makes it scary. We shouldn’t be afraid of not being able to sleep at night – what keeps us up tells us something about ourselves. We should take notice to what makes us thankful. We should not be afraid of silence. If you take Him with you, the Light will never really go out, anyway. 

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5: The Ink Dark Moon is love poems written by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu. I read this book in three, short sittings. I had never read poems in this way before – I had read poems on Pinterest or in school textbooks, but never like this. It was challenging, but mostly refreshing. It made me think. Poems leave room for the imagination. I think you need that kind of literature every once in awhile, especially if you like to  write. Some you understand perfectly, and others you ponder and wonder what the author was going through. I didn’t even read the appendix, maybe someday, but I didn’t want to jade my view and interpretations of the mysterious poems. These words were one of my favorites… so simple, so sweet. 

I think, “At least in my dreams
we’ll be able to meet.”
Moving my pillow
this way and that on the bed, 
Completely unable to sleep. 
-Izumi Shikibu



Up next, Judges. My favorite verse in this book (or rather the one that spoke to me most) is in the middle of the journey – right in the middle of the fight. God’s people hadn’t won yet. But they were beginning again. Ready for Him to give their enemies into their hands. 

But the people, the men of Israel, took courage, and again formed the battle line in the same place where they had formed it on the first day. -Judges 20:22 



6. Spoken For by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke. I read this book with my young girl friend Anna K. – we started after the first of the year, and had fun reading along together every Tuesday afternoon. Every chapter was about a different identity that we have in Christ: chosen, loved, pursued, covered. I had so much fun discussing all of the small group designed questions and memorizing Scriptures we found together. I think identity in Christ is something you should never stop being reminded of. Forgetfulness of who we are leads to habitual sin. 



Here’s to embracing who we are, learning to walk in the dark, and not being afraid of twisting and turning in questions. Fight for silence. Fight – first, just show up – like you did the day before. 

dawn of day and companionship.

The birds are chirping, I’ve spent twenty minutes as a sleepy sixteen year old, and I already know that I don’t want this day to end.

Those were the first words I wrote on last Sunday morning, February the 8th. The house was being filled with only soft whispers and sunshine was just beginning to peek through the windows. Later that night I wrote…

It’s so hard writing about huge events such as today because I know that I will miss something. Because there is a depth in days like today that are unmatched….I don’t want to forget what today was. Everything that happened.

Ann Voskamp says that counting gifts stills time. I counted all weekend. Riding the hill of our humble little zoo, brown boots & black sneakers at the back door, a brisk wind chilling our noses and turning them red, exhaustion that leads to deep laughter, bittersweet, thankful, and hopeful tears, true worship in God’s presence, whip cream on my nose, my family taking time out of their day to have dessert and visit, falling asleep with the Spanish birthday song stuck in my head….

After spending time with these two friends of mine over my birthday weekend, I came away saying, “I wanna love Jesus like they do. Love people like they do.”

Meet Richard and Elizabeth Santana.

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On the Guayaquil, Ecuador boardwalk with Las Penas in the background.
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In my front yard.
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With Richard’s parents in their front yard.

If you didn’t know already, my youth group (a total of 22 people) went on a short mission trip last July to Ecuador. Long story short, that’s how I met this beautiful couple. I introduced myself first to Elizabeth as we walked through a row of cocoa trees at Richard’s family’s farm. These two and I had most of our defining conversations while in the line for the bathroom or in Richard’s parents small kitchen while everyone was getting ready for bed after a long day’s activities. Over the past six months, I’ve kept in regular contact with them through letters and social media updates.

It was my wildest dream to spend my sixteenth birthday with the Santana’s. Over Christmas break, I sent Elizabeth a message inviting them and wondering what it would all look like in reality. It took some rearranging and hours of preparation, but they left their home in Minnesota Friday afternoon and arrived here early Saturday afternoon! Seeing them on an opposite continent was so different and worthwhile. Our schedule was simple, yet went by so quickly, and we made the most of every minute.

As we sat at my favorite Mexican restaurant the I’m-horrible-at-see-you-later tears began to start. The crying began to start because next Saturday night these two beautiful people won’t be here to go on a bike ride with me, or Richard won’t be there to give me a hug goodnight, or Elizabeth won’t be there to fix my hair and drink coffee with me before church. I don’t like that I’m not good saying goodbyes, but I praise the Lord because I have so many friends, in outrageous tiny corners in the world (big corners in the Kingdom), that make saying goodbye (for now) so incredibly hard. Thanks for knowing us so much, Lord, that You send us people, friends, familia…. that we need to gain comfort, strength, and conviction from.

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Richard and I, with the church in Ecuador and the rest of the team in the background. Love this moment captured. 1,000 words, truly.
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With the Ecuador flag and familia picture at church here in Kansas!
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part of our hearts will forever be there, no matter where God leads us.

I knew that when I met Richard and Elizabeth that we clicked. Not every friendship is immediate. But I believe that, at least for me, this one was. I knew that they both were kind, accepting, hilarious, and loved Jesus. But it was God that only knew at that point that we would find so much common ground. God knew that He was giving us a friendship where we could be passionate together about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, books, writing, messy buns (well, that’s just Elizabeth and I 😉 ), homeschooling, daily grace, missions, and dreamy house plans. But He also made us different enough in early childhood beginnings, ages, and fast accents to make us listen well, hard, and repeatedly to truly understand one another. He knew that when I went behind the curtain in South America. He knew that last July when I walked into the kitchen so nervous and feeling lonely, with only my journal and a Sharpie pen, to ask for new friends’ mailing address that it would lead to iron sharpening iron. He knew.

There are two things I vividly remember my Mom saying after we gave our final wave from the front porch. Hours after they had left and my birthday party was over, I opened up my birthday present. It immediately made me smile. When I showed Mom that they had gotten me a book by Henri J. M. Nouwen (among several others) and a special pen she said three words, reflecting on the gift and the entire weekend,

They know you.

The second thing my Mom said was,

OOoohhhh! Message them and tell them to turn around! We have so much more to talk about. So many more stories to tell. 

So, mi amigos, there is so much more to talk about. Turn around soon. Or we’ll follow your generously carved path and follow you back home. Or maybe, and also hopefully, even Ecuador. God knows. Until then, I’ll leave you with these words Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in 1943.

Even if that should not be the case, we both know that we are bound together in our thoughts day by day.

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Gracias for knowing me.

sweet sixteen renovation.

Hey friends! IT’S BIRTHDAY WEEK! Almost sixteen years ago a little girl was born six weeks early before anyone had a chance to decorate the nursery. In celebration this year, my Mom and Dad gave me a total room makeover. I loved my room before, but it was time to reorganize, make it fresh, and give it a true coordinating theme (for the first time EVER). They gave me a budget to stay within and I began planning immediately! Pinterest was a substantial help, as always. Here are the before pictures.

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Keeping it totally real with my chair full of quilts and clean clothes. That’s life.
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My ‘office’ area that went unused most of the time. It was lovely, but just an easy place to gather clutter.
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Overall view as you walked in.
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Books on books on books.
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Washi tape is my best friend. Love displaying photos and my sketches this way.
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Totally unrelated. But hey, it was in the lineup. I love this dog.
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Speaking of not being related. #butfirstletstakeaselfie
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PAINTING DAY! Pictured is my Momma and Grandma Kenny making proper preparations.
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I promise I did more than take pictures.
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bye, bye tan walls….
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hellooooo, mint chocolate chip dream! (that wasn’t the name of the paint, but it should have been – in reality, cool sea air and dreamy green won out.)
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My accent walls – chalkboard paint and mint green!
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Opposite wall – cool sea air accompanied by chalkboard wall.
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I camped out in the guestroom for around two weeks in between painting day and the actual completion. It was a total mess.

*Consider this your drum roll*

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THE FINAL REVEAL! Pictures do not do it justice.
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My Dad made my pallet bed. I’ve always wanted a white down comforter so bedding was one of my top priorities. A majority of my bedding, accessories, and storage are from Target, with the exceptions of gifts, thrift stores, etc. Audrey Hepburn blanket from the movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s was a Christmas gift from Icing.
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Former desk area converted into relaxing and writing space.
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Storage for art supplies, Greek study tools, letters, and old journals.
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I can’t decide what is the most beautiful… my bookshelves, my bed, or all of the coordinating contrasts.
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Little details. Pretty storage.
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Highlight: Hollywood style lamp to the left. It’s dramatic. I LOVE the look and practicality of it. Found at Wal-Mart. Polka dot wall decals found at Target.
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A combination of Target, The Lighthouse thrift store, and Hobby Lobby. (Plus my personal Coldplay lyric drawing.)
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Giddy over these bookshelves. Pictured is the shelf of books I haven’t yet completed.
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Washi tape, doodles, Zooey Deschanel, and TSWIFT.

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My chalkboard wall will change constantly, but here is one of my first creations!

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Exciting countdowns!
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Creation currently above my bed. Props go to Hannah Brencher and Sam Smith for the gorgeous inspiration.
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My girl Audrey Hepburn.
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I’ve been watching this Fruit of the Spirit sign at The Clay Gourmet here in town for (embarrassingly enough…) years. It was one of the first purchases I made for my room and we chose the paint colors after referring to it.
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Side table for papasan chair. Table from Hobby Lobby. Vase from AcMe Gifts. It’s a simple, sweet corner filled with sentimental value as well. (Picture is one of the homes we lived in while in Mississippi. Miss that place dearly.)
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Pictured on the right is me enjoying a surprise birthday party held for me on my golden birthday on February 8th, 2007.

Thus concludes your tour! Thankful for my birthday gift. I’ll rearrange it and enjoy it for a long time to come.

If anyone is interested in an interior decorator, I just might be available. 😉

love does and other books of january.

For all of last year, I Instagram-ed every book that I read. I would include it’s number in the lineup of how many I had finished since January 1 with a comment or two. I ended up reading thirty books in 2014. Instead of doing that regularly again this year, I’m hoping to write more about each book that I read here at 1999. So, I’ll be sharing what books I’ve read and a short review every few weeks or months, depending on my progress. So, here goes, from the keyboard of the real-live, church librarian…

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling.

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(finished on a I-can’t-put-this-thing-down evening before bed. notice line of books in background. SO much yet to read.)

I picked up this book during a short browse through the bestsellers at Target. I hadn’t heard much about Mindy Kaling before, but the title alone grabbed my attention. I was hoping that it was some deep, yet sarcastic, guide on how to love being an overall loner, but in that sense, I was greatly and sadly disappointed. But, it was HILARIOUS. She is a writer for the sitcom The Office and this book made me want to watch the series. I was totally mesmerized by her chapter titles alone. I was disgusted by her religious comments, so I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone because you have to take it with a grain of salt. But, if you’re willing to sort the good and the bad (cuss words and the like) – it was wonderful for a good laugh and to know I’m not alone in many of my quirks. The chapters were short (a huge bonus) and the blend of her honesty and jokes had me laughing in the isles of Target before I’d even purchased it.

Genesis.

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I’ve begun reading through the books of the Bible that I haven’t yet read from beginning to end in order to fill in many gaps, especially in the Old Testament where I’m not as educated as I want to be. I had read Genesis before, but I decided to kickstart there. Out of three books of the Bible I read this month, I believe I took the most notes on Genesis. Every few paragraphs I was jotting down something in my journal about how God was speaking to me through the people’s lives. I was reminded about how imperfect they were and how generous God is. Joseph’s integrity has stood out to me even weeks after I have finished being in this particular book daily.

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst.

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(finished as the sun was setting in route to grocery shopping with the family)

This was a well-timed gift. This quarter the high school students at CCCOV are joining in on adult classes, and I chose the class going over this book. Even in the first week that I began reading, my thought process began to change on how God wants me to use my time. Of course, the book was written for married mothers so at times I was discouraged because I couldn’t relate to many of her personal stories – but it was to be expected considering the main majority of people that will read this book. All in all, it was a WONDERFUL read that I would recommend to anyone that feels chained in by responsibility and people-pleasing. It doesn’t give you freedom to always say no, but it does give you the freedom to investigate and understand when it is ‘best’ to say yes.

Numbers.

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Numbers is often an overlooked book of the Bible, so I was curious to study it. I found that this time around the story of Balaam’s Donkey And The Angel and the Oracles following made me think the most out of all 36 chapters. It’s so easy to see the people’s failures coming up as you read and to be mad at how they resent the companionship of God. Then you realize, that if the story of your life was written like theirs, it would be strikingly similar. I was humbled by reading these stories and words of conviction.

Deuteronomy.

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Your God is a jealous God. Do not pervert justice. The fulfillment of promises. Blessings and more blessings. Purge the evil from your midst. Do not fear because God fights for you. The Lord turns curses into blesses on your behalf. If you make a vow and do not be careful to follow it, you might as well have never made it at all. The Lord God redeems. The word is near you. Choose life. The Lord wounds and heals.

This was the Deuteronomy that I fell in love with everyday. As the paraphrased list shows, it was an eclectic group of stories, messages, and commandments but each once spoke life to me – and always, always there is conviction if we are not stubborn enough to ignore it.

Love Does by Bob Goff.

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(another late evening because there’s-only-sixty-pages-left…)

This book is majorly popular on Instagram these days. That’s partly why I didn’t want to read this book. Not because I wasn’t intrigued by the beautiful cover, title, and tagline, but it seems like a much lighter nonfiction read than I usually want to get my hands on. Bob is a wonderful man and, once I got into it, I didn’t want to put it down. I wanted to gain more inspiration on what living differently looks like for him personally as he glorifies God in all of his relationships. It was a light read as I expected, but I’m glad I read it – it’s highlighted from cover to cover. It inspired me to do things not just because that’s how I’ve been told to do them, but to dream big. To think about how to reach out and make true friends all across the world. He stepped on my Greek-loving, stalking-Jesus toes many times, but I needed it. There should be less learning about Jesus and more living for Jesus. (They are BOTH important.) Love truly does more than it reads and I need to remember that. But I’m still going to write everything down. 😉

Oh, and how do I find time to read all these books that you hear so much about? The mystery remains, because I have no idea… but I do know that I am not myself if I don’t read a little each day. These next few months, I’ll begin digging a little deeper in classics and biographies, but I’m going to make sure to take time for novels. I find it’s very important, at least for me personally, to read a little bit of different literacy cultures at all times.

I’m forever in love with words and they way they change my life, my mood, and my world every single day.

That’s it for January, friends. What have you been reading? Or, rather, what are a few of the books on your reading list for the next eleven months? I hope that we can exchange a few finds with one another along the way.

you’re not little.

You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.  -Deuteronomy 1:17, emphasis added

I have a friend that I have the privilege of seeing and maybe catching a conversation or two with once a year. She’s not the kind of friend that I talk to on a regular basis or even share the polite update about my mission trips with. But she is the kind of friend that I treasure every rare moment with.

She is the kind of friend that makes me want to read more. In the first five minutes I met her several years ago, I began wishing that I was an extrovert. Sharing Jesus is something she does with every stranger she comes in contact with. Not in the ‘you’re going to hell’ if you don’t listen to me way, but in the ‘eternal life begins NOW because of His grace and this is how He’s changed my life so far’ way. For years, I have admired how she picks up conversations with people – whether she knows them or not – exactly where she would have left off with her best friend.

This girl is a coffee lover, a preacher, and someone radically in love with God. I don’t agree with everything she says, or sometimes what she teaches, but I love her. I love her because she is honest. I love her because she is not afraid of disagreeing with people or being disliked. I love that if she’s talking to you, you are the one and only person on her mind. If you have her presence, you not only have her time – but you have her eyes. She looks you in the eye. (Officially going to add working on eye contact on my list for 2015, because I am the worst at it.)

Her name is Judy Howard Peterson, nationwide speaker and campus pastor at Northpark University in Chicago.

There’s one thing that she said to me that I will never forget, in all of the life advice that she’s given me and our church’s ladies over the years. It was the first night we met. My Mom, my Auntie, and I had went to pick her up at our local airport. As we dropped her off at the hotel here in town almost an hour later, she began to flip through the packets she was going to give the women at the all-day retreat she was here for the following day. She allowed us to skim them over and asked what we thought the women of this community needed the most from this retreat. I don’t remember if my Mom or Auntie replied right away, but then she said, “If you think of anything that the Holy Spirit lays on your heart in the meantime, let me know.” The two women nodded. We began tip-toeing out of her room, giving her the opportunity to call her husband and get some rest before the long day ahead of us. Before we exited she glanced over at me (I was twelve at the time), “If the Holy Spirit lays something on your heart, Emilee, I want to know, too. There is not a 45-year-old Holy Spirit or a 12-year-old Holy Spirit. You and I have the same Spirit within us. He can speak the same way to both of us.” (Or something very close to that effect.)

I cannot tell you the many times I think about that statement and gain courage from it. I’m sure the people in my life had portrayed to me the importance I was to the church body over the years, but it wasn’t until that moment that it had began to truly click in my mind. Or it was just the first time that I had seen a grown woman look me in the eye to confirm it.

No matter how old you are – you are not little. No matter what stage of life you’re in, you can feel put down or condemned by God’s children. The people that don’t know how much they’re making a mark on your life. Don’t let them. Respect your authority, but don’t let anyone look down on you. 1 Timothy 4:12 has been a huge verse in every season of my life, helping me and coaching me in confidence in my relationship with Christ.

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  -1 Timothy 4:12, ESV

Believing this – that I’ve truly never been little in the demeaning sense of the word – hasn’t been easy. It’s not something that is easy to grasp for some people. Hurtful words have been spoken to me and the scar of their disapproval still remains on my heart. I have never intended to hurt anyone in standing up for what I believe in, however blunt I may seem. But I don’t ever intend to let anyone look down on me just because I’m young. There is one Holy Spirit. If you’ve accepted Christ, He resides within you and me the same way.

I won’t always give the right advice and sometimes might speak in more judgment than love. But don’t we all? It’s for Him that I long to be a friend that could help iron sharpen iron. It’s not comfortable, because it’s about relationships. Relationships between humans with mostly-the-same sins needing the same, constant Savior.

I’m grateful that speaking the truth in love isn’t something that only happens when you graduate college or get married or have more personal tragedies than the next guy. Jesus began speaking with and questioning his teachers at the age of twelve. Speaking the truth in love starts now – at 11, at 17, or 87.

This message is for you.

Keep looking up towards Him, and encourage your brothers and sisters to never look down.

 

 

P.S. To hear from Judy Howard Peterson herself, head on over to the covenant church on January 31st at 9:30AM. The women’s retreat will be held until 2:30PM. We will be discussing Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Click here to learn more or register: http://claycentercovenant.com/2015/01/be-still-and-know/.

my wellness mantra

Do your squats, eat your vegetables, wear red lipstick, and don't let boys be mean to you. Xo, LisaPriceInc.

 

I love food.

I love food and hate running so much that I’ve gained a major percentage of all the weight I worked hard on shedding last year.

I didn’t gain because my diet wasn’t working. I gained because I didn’t continue working through my diet.

I’ve heard a lot of scorn over New Years Resolutions this year and I am sadly shocked. I’m all over being a hipster and going against the grain – but, come on, peopleThere isn’t at least one thing you can admit to yourself that you need to do a better job of keeping yourself accountable for this year? In this particular instance, all these ‘new year, new me’ quotes are there for a reason, even if they’re repetitive. One person can make the decision to change at any point in the year – but there’s something about marking the entire year by those  decisions.

Newsflash: you will fail your resolutions. But that doesn’t make them bad things or make you a bad person. We will either (1) need to readjust our expectations for ourselves or (2) jump back up on the saddle and try again.

Number four out of eleven on my ‘general resolve’ list for 2015 is to begin the journey of losing weight again. Not because I hate how I look or want to wear a bikini this summer (someone slap me upside the head if I ever even try one of those things on, let alone use my hard-earned money on them). But because in my first day of hypothetical dieting yesterday, and today, my official day of logging-everything-that-enters-my mouth – I feel good. (I feel good and within a few months when I go to visit one of my many doctors I’ve collected over the past twelve months, I won’t be embarrassed to step on their scale.) Believing I look better is just one thing in the list of reasons I need to go back to 1200 calories a day. (Along with being able to once again breath in my skinny jeans & the motivation of buying smaller running shorts & v-necks this summer.) Okay. So maybe it’s a huge reason that I stay motivated. But in the meantime I am just as much enjoying how easier it will be to run up all three staircases in my household without panting once I reach the top.

Here are the tips and activities that I plan on keeping myself fueled this year, and especially these crucial months of winter when all I want is cheeseburgers and pasta plastered with creamy sauces. (Have I mentioned that I love food?)

Zumba:

I love dancing. Am I good? Not really, but it has been my main source of getting healthier. We have a Zumba class several times a week at our local wellness center and this week I will finally pick up my attendance. However, I started today by doing Zumba at home. Below are the few, straight-forward guidelines I set up for myself when doing Zumba at home:

It doesn’t have to be long. Ten minutes of moving is better than none.

Do squats through every rapping or duet part of any song you are dancing to.

No one is watching, hallelujah! Take advantage of that and shake it off a little harder than usual.

You can do this. Repeat that to yourself repeatedly. Working out alone is the worst. You’ll need your mind on your side.

More fun workouts:

grey's anatomy workout.

Keeping it new and fresh helps while you’re picking yourself up. I plan on doing workouts precisely like the one above to keep this exciting as it can be. I will continually be looking for new ways to exercise on those days I’m just not feeling it. Shout-out to all of my Pinterest followers – this means I will be annoyingly and consistently pinning fitness things once again. Sorry not sorry. 😉

Reality exercising:

Also known as, the exercise that you don’t enjoy. For me, that will be running. I detest running, but ironically enough, it’s the one exercise I feel most accomplished during and afterwards. Because it is such a challenge for me, finishing a simple mile gives me bucket loads of motivation. I plan on surviving through this exercise with excessive amounts of Maroon Five.

Last, but not least:

When spring comes, I will pull out #mymintyride and begin riding the streets on my bike as much as humanly possible.

I pray that the Lord would give you strength as you enter into this new year! I don’t know what you have committed to, or what you are avoiding committing to, but if it’s in His will for this season of your life He will give you His strength to carry you through.

Do your squats, eat your vegetables, wear red lipstick, and don’t let boys be mean to you. I’m pretty excited about kicking off my renewed fitness journey with those words, for more reasons that one…

P.S. Disclaimer for everyone that might possibly run into me at the grocery store checking out pizza rolls or macaroni and cheese: do not lost heart. I haven’t let myself go so soon. My doctor told me to indulge responsibly one day a week, every week. I’m just following her orders. 😉 I won’t be perfect at my plan. I will have cheat days. I will have days I reluctantly literally and figuratively shake it off. But, what matters is how I pick myself up afterwards. Remember that.

welcome to 1999.

welcome, mi amigos!

I was born in Ottumwa, Iowa on February 8, 1999.

I was reborn in Christ in Pulaski, Iowa on November 3, 2006.

I’ve been blogging for over three and a half years, but lately there’s been a desire itching under my skin. I’m going to let my girl Taylor Swift describe to you this new era of my writing career from her foreword to her album 1989.

In the world we live in, much is said about when we are born and when we die. Our birthday is celebrated every year to commemorate the very instant we came into the world, and a funeral is held to mark the day we leave it. But lately I’ve been wondering…what can be said of all the moments in between our birth and our death? The moments when we are reborn…..I know people can change because it happens to me little by little every day. Everyday I wake up as someone slightly new. Isn’t it wild and intriguing and beautiful to think that every day we are new? For the last few years, I’ve woken up every day not wanting, but needing to write a new style of music. I needed to change the way I told my stories and the way they sounded…… This is a story about coming into your own, and as a result…coming alive.

Consider this my controversial genre change. I’m willing to sacrifice something that was good for something better. I’m willing to let go of something precious, for something even more sacred – because it is real.

I pray that this is a place you come to take a deep breath. This is for you – the person longing for life to be in black and white when it’s not. Most of life is lived in grey – the unknown, the anticipation, the grieving. But we find all of our life when we have the humility to bend our knees. Jesus is coming again to make everything sad and ugly come untrue.

Together we will live through many messy buns, hard days, and countless cups of coffee. Together we will see the grace of God as we ponder being born again and growing up in this world of grey. This is a place where we will live together discussing everything between mostly daily musings or gifts and few philosophical insights. All the while, our hearts will sing in unison, “Hosanna!” until He comes to take all of us living under the law of His unchanging grace home.