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One of the things I love most about my birthday is that it falls so close to the beginning of the year. A new calendar year and new life year start together. 
I also love that I share a birthday with Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. 
You know, the important things. 

I've thought a lot about this year and what it would be like. Not because I've now officially hit my mid-30's (oh my goodness, really??) but what will 2019 and 34 hold?

The last two years have been the hardest I've faced. Everything felt like it was breaking to pieces, and I was never fast enough to gather them all up before they landed, or good enough to keep everything together. These pieces were significant chunks of my identity. Things (and people!) I had placed a lot of value in, that I thought defined me, were gone. Slowly, suddenly, systematically, chaotically. It felt very much like I was being stripped away, and that there wasn't much else there. 
At the same time, the world also seemed to be falling apa…
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To Hell With Boxes

That's how my prayer ended this morning. 

To hell with boxes. 
Which seems strange, because boxes are innocuous, right? Usually they're pretty helpful. They keep us organized. They help us both start and end chapters of our lives as tools when we move. They allow us to store things, so we can become sentimental packrats (anyone else?)
But it's those intangible boxes I'm talking about. The boxes that tell us who we are, or who we should be. The boxes society dictates to us, based on innumerable factors. The ones we put others in so we can try to understand them. The ones we put God in so we can try to understand Him, which is a fruitless task as He's infinitely beyond our understanding. 
This morning I was praying over the depression and anxiety I've been living in lately, struggling with where I am vs where I want to be, who I am vs who I think I should be, all I long for vs what I have. Struggling over what I think others believe about me, over their expectations o…

He Kept Saying...

Lately it feels as though the news is one horrid story after another. But this week two exceptionally repulsive things happened. First, a candidate for governor in my state is driving a “deportation” bus around, campaigning on the promise to round up immigrants because they are “murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molesters, and other criminals.” Second, the President of the United States, in an interview, called immigrants who are in the country illegally “animals.” And though the White House clarified that the comment was  about gang members and not all undocumented immigrants, it’s still wildly inappropriate. All people – gang members or no – are made in God's image, and no one should make these statements about another human beings.**

These are just two statements in a long line of incidents targeting minority groups in our country. Over and over and over again, stories emerge recounting how our neighbors and community members are targeted because of their class or gender or …

Two Years Later

Monday, Facebook Memories showed me this picture. It's from March 19, 2016. It's the day I moved into my apartment; really, it's the day that everything in my life began to change.  It's the day I moved into a neighborhood where I am the decided minority (in more ways than one), where I surrounded myself with people I literally don't understand, because we speak a different language. The day I decided to follow God into something bigger, something more; the day I decided (again) that comfort zones weren't all they were cracked up to be.  It's the day I began to meet a lot of people who have become so dear to me now. People and families who are friends, kids who have adopted me as a surrogate teacher and some form of big sister.  It's the day I began really learning exactly how much I still don't know. When abstract thoughts and theologies and ideologies became decidedly less abstract. Because I jumped into a community with people whose cultures and bac…


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…