Primitive Pleasures {April}

Primitive Pleasures April

This month certainly blew by! Maybe that’s because I spent a glorious week in Southern California. I should do that more often…

Read

On my flight back to Idaho, I read this lovely article in Spirit Magazine {my absolute favorite in-flight magazine}. It was refreshing to see simplicity so boldly publicized.

Friendship: I loved Relevant Magazine’s 5 Types of Friends Everyone Should Have and this guest post by Lesley Sebek Miller on Modern Mrs. Darcy reads like something Shauna Niequist would have written.

As and INFJ, I have a soft-spot for anything written about introverts. These four lies about introverts are so full of wisdom.

Eat

It’s getting to be quite Springy here in Idaho. The warmer weather makes me want to eat strawberries and angel food cake. Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Shortcake is… I’m actually coming up short on words to describe this incredible cake.

Listen

Andy Stanley from North Point Ministries in Atlanta did an amazing series called Follow. It’s life changing. Listen or watch the sermons and then grab someone to chat through the discussion questions.

Smile

I borrowed this from Katie of Cardigan Way – it was too good not to share. My cousins and I sang this hymn at my Gramma’s memorial service and I walked down the aisle {almost a year ago} to a rendition by Jami Smith. Needless to say, I was alternately crying and grinning like an idiot while watching…

This touches my inner flower child – whimsical and beautiful.

I created this to express the reality of my Zumba experience. I love it though!

Zumba - Expectation and Reality

{photo credit: heraldpost and asterix611 via photopin cc}

Dear Ash {31 Days of Letters}

Dear Ash,

I think we could be poster children for the old adage, “opposites attract.”  If our physical appearances weren’t enough – my six feet with blonde hair and blue eyes verses your five-ish feet with green/brown/hazel eyes and curly, brown hair – our personality types are pretty drastically different.  My reserved self has always been in awe of your ability to engage a crowd.  You could make a tree laugh with one of your stories and I’m better off writing about my escapades.

In defiance of these differences, our friendship works.  Our history spans a quarter-century and we have the pictures, crushes, letters, embarrassing moments (some on tape… eg: falling off swing in southern belle costume), laughter and tears to prove it.  Like many friendships, ours was not devoid of bad boundaries, hurt feelings, and lulls in communication.

I am ever so glad that God redeemed the locust years, per se, and renewed our friendship.  With God as the center, our relationship has a whole new dimension that not only pushes me closer to our Abba, but also gives me a deep appreciation for having a friend who is so different than me.

Though I could make a lengthy list of all the things I love about you and what our friendship means to me, I wanted to point out two differences between us that have taught me so much about being a Godly woman: 1. your fearless vulnerability and 2. your intimacy with God.

As Anne Jackson would say, you have the “gift of seconds.”  Your honesty and openness is refreshing and challenging.  God gives you the boldness to share first so those of us who are silenced by shame, fear, or pride have an easier time going second.  I have mentally and verbally fessed up to struggles and sins that I would not have normally had the courage to think or speak.  But, because you were willing to be transparent, I was able to follow suit.

I’ve always been a bit envious of the way you talk about God.  You hear His voice in the inner most parts of your being and are able to articulate what He is revealing.  You see Him as the lover that He is.  Your intimacy with God has pushed me to reevaluate how I approach my own relationship with Him.  I have to remind myself that God woes and pursues me, but that idea seems to come naturally to you.  You’ve prompted me to open my heart to God as the Lover of My Soul.

So, I thank you for your vulnerability with me and your intimacy with Christ.  They have thrust me deeper into God’s arms.

This was in a post that you must read.

 …she told me why it was beautiful to HER and in that way, SHE became more beautiful to me. Because she let me see her and hear her story with all its unique markings and pain and hope and love.

It made me think of you and how you reveal beauty and how much I love seeing your beauty being revealed.  Being involved in your story, hearing about its unique markings, pain, hope, and love has made you even more important to me.

I love you!

Em

You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

Dear Sarah Rose {31 Days of Letters}

Dearest Sarah,

Your letters always come at the right time.  You words are full of encouragement, commiseration, affirmation, and wisdom.  I have so appreciated your correspondence and regret that I have not been as good a pen pal.

My best intentions before we moved were to tell you how much your friendship means to me – via note, of course, because I am much better at expressing those things via written words (to a fault).  I’ve been avoiding the task  for the past month for fear of not being able to properly say all that I want to say.  But, it’s high time I at least made an attempt!

When I first met you at the Urane’s, I had no idea you would become such an important person in my life.  I sat across the living room from a girl with a contagious laugh, great teeth (yeah, I notice weird things), and pretty, dark curls.  We watched The Bachelor among mutual friends and parted ways with little thought of meeting again.  Mere months later, we were sleeping in the same bed, overseeing a bunch of crazy 9th grade girls during Disciple Now.  God works in mysterious ways…

After I started volunteering with youth group, we got to know each other in a much more sane environment – no Party In The USA karaoke on two hours of sleep…  I wish I could say that our friendship was born with a pure heart and clean motives, but I wasted a lot of those early months being jealous.  I was so threatened by your obvious (and God given) talents/abilities/passions.  You are a natural leader, gifted in working with youth, and a lovely person on the outside (inside too!! I just wasn’t focused on that at the time…).

I wasn’t mature enough to look beyond my envy and see the jewell of a friend that God was providing.  Lucky for me, God eventually got through to me and, for the most part, I stopped being such a turd.

I regret the time wasted in petty dislike but am blessed by what our friendship has become.  I’m not sure I have ever encountered someone who was so similar to me and, yet, so different.  Those differences have challenged my perspective on community, women in ministry, relationships and stretched my understanding of the God we both serve.

Sarah, I’ve always admired your faith in God’s provision during uncertain circumstances.  In situations where I would have freaked out and concocted my own solutions, you trusted God with the future – the future of your finances, your education, your housing, and your job.

You are a generous friend, a loyal friend, a thoughtful and encouraging friend.  You are a gorgeous woman, a strong woman, a smart and talented woman.  You are an Ideal.

This past season deserves another letter entirely, but let me say this: I have seen more beauty in you through this whole mess than during any other part of our friendship.  I may be dating myself (is 25 too young to be doing that?), but I was reminded of a Crystal Lewis song…  Since I can’t grace you with my tunefulness at this time, here are the lyrics:

I once was lost but God has found me.  Though I was bound I’ve been set free.  I’ve been made righteous in His sight, a display of His splendor all can see.
He gives beauty for ashes, strength for fear.  Gladness for mourning, peace for despair.

Know that there is plenty more I could say about how wonderful you are.  I miss having coffee with you.  I miss talking about books and laughing over our shared perfectionist tendencies.  I miss doing life with you on a day to day basis.

Thank you for your friendship during old seasons and new.  I love you sister-friend!

So much love,

Em

You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

The New Community

I’m beginning to realize that Christian community is quite the chameleon.  Community is a constantly evolving concept, changing just as much as its members.  On the most fundamental level, the Christian community encompasses all believers, however, the power of community lies less in numbers and more in intimately doing life with other Christ-followers.   In community, we walk these primitive roads together – carrying each other’s burdens, encouraging each other to press forward, simply, loving each other.

Leaving California meant leaving my community – a group of twenty-somethings trying to figure this life out together.  We succeeded.  We failed.  Together.  These women were my friends, my confidants, my bridesmaids, my cheering squad, my sounding board.  They still are those things, but, with 1300 miles between us, our community looks different.

Different is difficult for me.  I have become oh so aware that, as with many things in life, community has seasons.  One of my anxieties about moving to Idaho was the unknown community factor.  Who will our friends be? How will we plug-in outside of the youth group?  Will people like us?  How long will it take to develop the kind of community I had before?  Will it be the same?

I don’t have the answers (though, as far as I know, people like us…) and I’m beginning to realize that I don’t need the answers.  God is showing me how to appreciate this new season of community, to let it develop with no expectations.  He has already blown me away with what our community looks like.

No expectations looks like:

Here’s a basket full of notes and gift cards to welcome us to Coeur d’Alene and CBC.

A warm welcome extended by CBC members.

Oh, you’ve just arrived in town?  Come over for burgers!

We missed you at the church picnic.  Do you want to get coffee?

You like to hike? I’ll take you up Canfield Mountain on Saturday!

You need a couch? We have one that needs a home!

 And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together (as believers), as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.  {Hebrews 10:24-25, Amp}

Not only have Tim and I been adopted into a welcoming community during this new season, we now have an excellent example of how to extend community to others.