Back to Blogging (& growing)

So I’m embarrassed to say that my last blog post was on February 20 – almost 5 months ago! I started 2013 strong (in regards to blogging), but it didn’t last. In real life, 2013 started out with a bang. Between the last week in February and sometime in late April, we had 2 free weekends. It was all great things, but it was hard to catch my breath, let alone blog – though it would have been great material for blogging (like the inspiring Justice Conference in Philly). Alas, I had to let it go & just move forward.

Suddenly, it’s July. More than halfway through the year. When did this happen?

My “one word” to focus on for 2013 is Grow. So how am I doing? Decently, I think. Work is constantly challenging & stretching. I don’t think that will ever change. We’re really focusing on taking things to the next level, so I definitely feel like I’m growing there. In regards to church, I said I wanted to grow into a place of service & deeper involvement. Well, in early spring Cason & I became leaders for our Sunday morning class and we started facilitating a midweek couple’s Bible study. We are growing deeper relationships with others, which I always want more of. Personally, I haven’t really made the time to grow in pursuits outside of work (like learning how to use that camera). Maybe someday soon. This is my attempt to get back to blogging more often than every 6 months! A constant struggling point is trying to figure out the balance with my work life (which I feel is both work & service/ministry) and finding a place of service in the community (outside of the church). Similar to our involvement with refugees in Nashville.

OneWord2013_Grow

All of that to say, the remainder of 2013 has plenty of room for continued growth.

What’s next? Well, in less than a month I turn 30. By the time that happens though, I’ll have traveled to Uganda & back. I’ll be visiting an IJM field office and helping with a project at a local courthouse. I’m extremely excited. This is something straight off of my bucket list. But more about that trip another day…

How is your 2013 progressing?

More Thoughts on Justice

Last week I wrote a blog post reviewing the new book Pursuing Justice: The Call to Live & Die for Bigger Things by Ken Wytsma. Before you go on, please check that post out. It lays the groundwork for what I’m going to continue to talk about (and it includes a chance to win a copy of the book!).

Pursuing Justice really broadened my horizons on the concept of justice. Specifically, biblical justice – what God intended the word to mean & how it’s been twisted and misconstrued. Most people associate the word justice with the criminal justice system, or with “getting justice for someone/something.” Passed that, and for Christians specifically, I think we often fall into 2 camps:

  1. Those who view justice as some fringe concept mentioned from time to time in the Bible, but think that it doesn’t really apply to living our lives.
  2. Those of us who do value the concept of “justice” but who may have a much more narrow definition of justice. Continue reading

Good Reads: Pursuing Justice (& Book Giveaway!)

Pursuing JusticeSocial justice, social good, and biblical justice are popular buzz words these days. But what do these terms really mean? And are they just a fad or do they embody a lifestyle that we ought to pursue?

In Pursuing Justice: The Call to Live & Die for Bigger Things, Ken Wytsma explores these questions and so much more. This is a book for those who claim to be followers of the justice movement, for those who have been jaded by these terms, and for every Christian earnestly seeking to live out God’s call for their life.

Wytsma takes the reader down a path of understanding exactly what biblical justice really means, how the thread of justice is woven throughout Scripture, and into an exploration of what this means for us as Christ-followers today. We see that: “Justice cannot be divorced from God’s heart and purposes – it permeates them…” This is not something we can simply glaze over and cast to the side as a nice-to-have. “Justice is a necessary part of God’s call in the Christian life.” Continue reading

Happy one year DC-iversary to us!

On February 3, 2012 I woke up, headed to the Nashville airport, said goodbye, and boarded a plane for this new life.

I can’t believe it’s now been a year. So much changed last February.

We traded a 1900 sq. foot house with a yard for a 2-bedroom, 6th floor condo. A comfortable job for one that has stretched me in all possible ways. A fantastic church where we had put down roots to the challenge of starting over. A town full of people we knew to one where we were brand new.

It’s kind of crazy to look back and see how far we’ve come in 12 months. To see God’s provision through every step of the way. Continue reading

Freedom Friday: 150 men, women, & children set free!

A woman smiles as she readies to return to her home village after living for months as a slave.

A woman smiles as she readies to return to her home village after living for months as a slave.

This is an amazing story of rescue coming out of IJM from this past month that I just had to share with you.

CHENNAI, INDIA – Today, nearly 150 children, women and men are celebrating freedom, rescued from slavery this week outside Hyderabad, India. More than 100 women and men – plus seven children as young as 3 years old – received official release certificates emancipating them from slavery in a brick factory.

The men and women shared how they had been physically beaten and forced to work 18 to 22 hours a day – sleeping for an hour or two and then resuming their back-breaking work in the brick kiln. A pregnant woman told how she had pleaded for rest when she was pregnant; instead, she was kicked by her manager. One man had raw wounds so deep that the bone showed through. Continue reading

Thinking back to our time in Haiti

One of the houses we built

One of the houses we built

Today marks the 3-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and it’s been 2 and a half years since a group of us spent a week there building 2 houses. A week that changed me forever.

I am grateful for the reminder today to go back & read through the string of posts I wrote about our time there. I am sitting here on the verge of tears for so many different reasons.

It was the most consistent physically demanding week of my life. It was flat out really hard. But the people we encountered and the scenes that we saw are forever etched in my heart. Continue reading

Bucket List

Jumping back in to the January blog-a-day (I told you I wouldn’t hit every day… I might miss the next few days too), today’s topic is “Bucket List”. I’ve never given this much thought before. Turns out most of mine center around travel experiences. No surprise there.

The fun part was, as I was thinking through possibilities, several of the things that came to mind were things I’ve already been incredibly blessed with doing. I guess I’m off to a good start.

Watching the sun rise over the Grand Canal in Venice in 2002.

Already checked off the list:
Watch the sun rise over the Grand Canal in Venice Continue reading

Grow

Last week I wrote my recap post for my “One Word” for 2012: Embrace. Check it out here. Today, I’m revealing my one word to focus on for 2013, in lieu of standard new year’s resolutions (that generally fall through by February anyway).

In 2013, I’m claiming the word “Grow“.

OneWord2013_Grow

2012 was a year of everything new – new state, new job, new industry, new church, new friends. I was thrown in & tried to embrace all of the opportunities & challenges alike. It was a whirlwind. Now, with almost a year of the craziness under my belt, I’m going to focus on growing in 2013. Taking it to the next level. Continue reading

A New Year, A New Look: Living with Eyes Wide Open

Living with eyes wide open

Just in time for the new year, I randomly decided today that the blog needed an update. A new look and name. Something a little fresher. So I started changing it. It will be a work in progress as I figure out all of the features of this particular layout, so please pardon the continued changes as I move things around, but I like it already.

A while back I had toyed with the idea of changing the name (from “Live. Love. Serve.”) but I couldn’t think of anything better & it fit well enough, so I left it.

But times are a-changing. Continue reading

Did I Embrace 2012?

One Word

At the beginning of 2012 I wrote a post called “Embracing 2012“. Embrace was my one word to focus on for the year, instead of all sorts of different new year’s resolutions. 2012 was my year to embrace a new season of life, with all of the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities that would come with it. You can read that original post here.

So how did I do?

It was quite a year, full of all of those things listed above: challenges, obstacles, and opportunities. Moving to a new state, adjusting to a new lifestyle, learning a new job, finishing my MBA, being lonely & trying to slowly make friends, settling into a church, and growing immensely spiritually…

Here’s what I wrote I would try to do at the beginning of the year & some reflections on each:

Continue reading