Happy Anniversary: 7 Years

Today marks 7 wonderful years of  marriage together! 

Grant, It has been so much fun being married to you! You inspire me to be better, dream bigger, and go farther. I love what we have, the interests we share, the memories we’ve made, and the unwritten future before us. You are my best friend and favorite person and I can’t wait to see what God has for us next! 

Our story is my favorite love story. 

Back in 2006, we met in October, started dating in November, graduated in December, confessed our love on New Year’s Eve. Grant got his first job in Atlanta in April, I moved to Jackson Hole in May. I moved to Tuscaloosa and started grad school in August. We got engaged two days after Christmas and were married five months later, on May 31, 2008. We fell in love with the city of Atlanta for three years, then moved abroad for a year in London – and spent a summer in Shanghai. And now, we’ve been back in Atlanta for two years! 

It has been an amazing adventure and I couldn’t ask for more. Happy Anniversary, love! 

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Longing

“… Blessed are those who earnestly wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him, for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship.” (Isaiah 30: 18)

Do you ever have those moments that take to you back to a better time, when times were sweeter and days were longer, the pace was slower and life was easy?

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Every summer for a couple of weeks me and my brother and cousins would get to ride horses at camp. We’d catch them in the morning and groom them, saddle them up and bridle them, learn how to post or jump or canter poles; then brush them down and turn them out into pasture each day at twilight. The horses disappearing over the hill into that dusty purple end-of-day light was truly magical. So sometimes when it’s the hazy gray after sunset, or I’m reminded of their soft velvety noses, or when Georgia leans on me like they used to, I have a nostalgia that is nearly tangible.

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The recesses of our memory carry the weightiest things.

Maybe it’s not horses and summer camps, long summer days and family that you crave. Maybe it’s hearing the click of the stadium lights coming on, the buzz of them warming up on a Friday night.

Corn Mase - Fall 2014

Maybe it’s the smell of ballet shoes and marley floors, the hurried zip of capezio bags as the dancers change shoes between class.

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Maybe it’s slipping on an old high school sweatshirt, leaving at daybreak, and watching the sunrise while fishing.

Wooden Bridge, Roswell 2010

 

Maybe it’s chasing a dream down a long dirt road, and you know just around another bend or two you can feel that you’re almost home.

Whatever it is that takes you back to a moment in time – one you wish you could get back to – those moments of remembering how you felt, and longing to feel that again, that is how we are homesick for heaven. Look back to that verse in Isaiah.

Guntersville Lake - Nov 2014

 

We wait. We expect in earnest. We look. We long. We want victory, so sweet – most satisfying. We want someone’s perfect favor, forever love, an easy peace that freely gives and forgives. We want unwavering joy, not touched by circumstance.

 

Mostly, we want eternal, matchless, deep, unbroken companionship. Someone to walk all the days our life with – the good and the not so good – and choose to love us anyway. What if someone could love you like that? God does.

He DOES!

Dogwoods in Spring - 2014

 

“’Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid: there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is His name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth…. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then My faithful Love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” (Isaiah 54:4-5,10).

Unbroken. What a strange concept, since “this broken world gives broken stories.” (TerKeurst)

What if we had something that could never be broken?

Memphis - Easter 2014

 

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” (John 3:16-17)

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (John 1:14)

A Day in the Life

Today was a day just like any other – and I don’t want to forget it. Some days are pretty freaking great (even in, or especially in, their simplicity).

7:22: Wake up, turn on the shower, fall back asleep until the water heats up (it takes a while)
7:45: Shower
8:15: Check the weather, get ready
8:45: Skip out the door: purse, tube pass, keys, vaseline lip balm, hair tie, iPhone, headphones.
8:48: Walk through the door of my favorite local coffee shop. The 4’10” man behind the counter knows me by name and begins making my regular order. I am not lying when I say it is hands-down the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. I will most certainly miss it. No one has ever worn a smile larger than Jum’s – he is the smiliest Cambodian you’ll ever meet and he makes me smile, too, as we make small talk waiting on the coffee. I ask about his wife who sometimes works with him in the shop; he asks about Grant and school. I grab my order (which I get half price because I’m a local) and head out the door cherishing that first sip of the world’s greatest coffee.
8:50: Start an Andy Stanley podcast – awesome start to the day.
8:55: Scan my student pass Oyster Card through the gate at the Underground and wait on a train

9:00: Catch a southbound train and hop on the tube – I get a seat if I’m lucky… That’s a very big if.

{Before the Jubilee empties}

{After the jubliee empties}

9:22: Emerge two stops later, cross the street toward the church building that is now a night club; walk the block to my building
9:30: Begin my work placement, which I absolutely love. Seriously. Very few people love what they do as much as I love working in a publishing house.
5:30: Bounce out the door of Hodder and Stoughton, iPhone bumping again
5:59: Get off the tube, stop by local grocery store to pick up a few things (either Waitrose or Sainsbury’s). Call ahead and order a calzone from our favorite little Italian place, Oregano’s.
6:17: Stop in as they pull my calzone out of the brick oven on a wooden plank. They also know me and Grant by name.

6:29: Fish for my keys – the pink Master’s key chain that Rick and Janice gave me before we left “so you’ll have a little piece of home over there;” I use it every single day and cherish that feeling of home. Time my entrance with the motion-activated-and-timed light on the stoop. Push the door open so that it automatically hits the overhead-light switch just inside the outer door. Yell hello to our neighbor, Genti. Let myself into our flat, throw everything down and de-layer at the door – hat, scarf, coat, purse, bags, shoes. Deep breath. I’m home.

These are the little conveniences – knowing just how long it’ll talk in between things, weaving my day together perfectly because I now feel like a local, taking advantage of getting discounts and being a regular {insert: “Where everybody knows your name” here}. Seriously, though, it makes a difference. And on simple, uncomplicated days when this little routine works like a charm, life seems almost easy. And I don’t want to forget what days like these are really like.

A Day in the Life by The Beatles
Paul McCartney once said that this was the song he was most proud of, the quintessential Beatles song.

9/11 Ten Years Later: We Remember

It is strange to be over here in London and look both back and across (to America) as we remember.

A decade ago, my cousin was killed in the Pentagon, leaving his pregnant wife behind. We mourned the national tragedy and personal loss deeply. She has since happily remarried and has had other children, but she’ll tell you that moving on and raising a kid as a single mom was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. She wouldn’t wish that inner turmoil on anyone– that mixture of grieving over love lost and hoping for new life; a blessing to come and heartache to bear. (I think she’d also tell you that God has redeemed what the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25a) and God has brought abundant joy and family out of a situation meant to destroy her sense of family.)

I’ll never forget where I was: Mrs. Gonzales’s pre-cal class when someone from the front office told us about it. Mrs. G didn’t believe the aide and continued teaching. Only after both Towers were hit did we make our way to the library with so many others and watch… And wait. That day is forever suspended in time, burned into memory.

In the shocking aftermath we watched our country come together. Neighbor helping neighbor, friend helping friend, American helping American.

I have so much pride in our great nation; it is difficult to be away on days like today, when the rest of the world could not understand. But the distance doesn’t change or waver our hearts. We’re still as present as we can be and we still remember. We are still

One nation under God,
Indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all.
Amen.