So, for the past few years, I've joined in with picking a word as a theme for the coming year. I haven't *strictly* followed the rules: two years ago it was the chorus of a song, last year I actually had 3 words. 
I tend to feel these themes or words stirring sometime in the fall, as if my spirit can sense where God is leading, or God is preparing me for what's coming. I think He just knows I need lots of preparation and process time before He throws me into something, and He's gracious enough to give it. 
This year was *mostly* no exception.
Later in 2017, I felt a stirring in my heart for joy & delight. I needed more of it in my life and I needed to understand God's heart for these things. I also needed a better understanding of how He views us -- me -- through a lens of joy and delight. That's a longer story & maybe I'll tell it one day, but it's not for now. 
These words resonated deeply in my soul, and I was convinced they were where God was le…


In August (!) I wrote a post on full lives and trying to do the next right thing.

Well, here it is. 

I've started a non-profit, eventually to be named LoveWell.*

Just out of college, God started calling me to community ministry, a "ministry" I now know is called neighboring: being intentional with your neighbors in the places God puts you. I spent the next several years learning what it means to be a neighbor, how to really love and serve, and growing in faith. God spent a lot of time teaching me about true hospitality and the ministry of seeing -- especially seeing those the world too often overlooks. 

Three years ago, I started working in a lower socio-economic neighborhood in Marietta, whose residents are mostly immigrants, running a summer day camp for kids through a local church. We called it "Kids' Club" and spent the summer playing games, coloring, and learning about Jesus. I fell in love, and began looking for a place to live in their neighborhood. 


On Fears that Halt, and a Life That's Full

Those of you who know me really well ( all) know that I have been plagued by fear for most of my life. Well, most of my teenage & adult life. I've talked about it here before, this fear that sits and waits for the moments when it can come out and try to squeeze the life out of me. 
And it's been fear of everything it seems like, from the little (am I dressed right? will I say something stupid?) to the big (will they like me? what if I mess up?), and to the gigantic (what if I miss what God has to say? what if God decides He doesn't want me anymore because I screw it all up?) 
Me and God, we've worked through A LOT of these fears. Truth, community (even distant!), counseling, and His infinite grace have worked wonders, y'all. 

But this summer I realized there's an aspect to this fear I haven't completely considered. There have been a lot of times over the last decade or so when God has laid something on my heart that was going to change my life. I mo…

A Break to Listen

If you aren’t aware, there’s a bit of the unknown in my life right now.  
Because of this place I’m in – out of necessity, really – I’ve been asking myself (and God) a lot of questions about purposes, dreams, places, and who I am. That last one seems to be cropping up a lot lately. And it is that question which has brought me here today.
Last week I was talking with a friend about my recent trip to Chicago. Just to be clear, here’s how that trip happened: I’m in a Facebook group with a bunch of women from all over the country. One of them – who I had never met – posted about this conference (the Justice Conference) her organization was taking a group of women to, and there were some open spots. I emailed her, said yes, and booked a plane to Chicago…where I was picked up by another girl driving in from Michigan and then spent the weekend learning and loving and adventuring with 9 other women from different states whom I had also never met before. When I was leaving and my parents ask…

Summer Camp Time Again!

Friends, it's time for our summer kids' club again!

This will be the 3rd year we've been in this neighborhood for the summer, and we're excited about it!

We'll be in the same neighborhood, but we're hoping to have one day a week at the park where we have been, and one day a week in our complex. This will allow us to meet even more of the sweet kids and families who are our immediate neighbors. We're still working details out with the office, but are very hopeful everything will work out :) 

Last year, y'all were AMAZING with support and resources. I cannot even begin to thank you or tell you how much it means to have each of you behind us, praying for us, and supporting us. I've said this before, but without you, we wouldn't have been able to do this last year. All of the snacks and art supplies and books y'all donated helped us -- and continue to help us --in so many ways. Because of your constant support, I wanted to update you on this summer…

Over the Cliff

In the middle of Prince Caspian, there's a moment.
Lucy has seen Aslan, but no one else has, and Aslan's told her she has to follow, whether anyone else does or not. Fortunately, they all agree to go with her. As the set off, she's the only one who can see Him, and she's leading everyone else. 
"He led them to the right of the dancing trees -- whether they were still dancing nobody knew, for Lucy had her eyes on the Lion and the rest had their eyes on Lucy -- and nearer the edge of the gorge...for a long way Aslan went along the top of the precipices. Then they came to a place where some little trees grew right on the edge. He turned and disappeared among them. Lucy held her breath, for it looked as if he had plunged over the cliff..."
Recently, I feel as if I've been following Jesus and He's disappeared, plunged right over the cliff.
********************* Last fall, I began thinking about words for 2017. I love the idea of claiming words for certain…

When you want to scream "STOP!!"

A few weeks ago, I went to get a haircut -- an event I love because it is sooo relaxing. But it never fails that I overthink it & become a ball of  nerves. Every. single. time.

I went in and told the stylist -- who I trust because I've been going to her for a few years now -- that I wanted something a little different, with more definition & movement, and she got started. There always come a point in every hair cut when I feel like the stylist is cutting off too much. I panic and start to wonder where all my hair is going & how could I do this & ohmygosh I'm going to regret this. Didn't the stylist hear me? I didn't want that much cut off! 
This time, when that happened, I just watched as well as I  could, and while I was sitting in the chair, I started thinking about life. Sometimes life is like that haircut, and there seems to be a lot of cutting, changing, and moving that's not always easy to understand. 
Yesterday, I re-watched …