What we’re Diggin’

I love when the blogs I follow write a post about what products, books, and shows they are into this season. So, I thought I would post some things Jon and I are into these days.

  1. Like-to Know– You can follow styles on Instagram and then get sent information regarding each piece of clothing in the post. The prices for the items are never outrageous, and it really helps me figure out what key items I want to add to my wardrobe. (This is definitely a me thing, not Jon.)
  2. We are loving all things curry. Here is one of our favorites.
  3. TinyBeans– This fun app lets us post pictures and videos every day. It has been a helpful way to keep the Grands in the loop!
  4. Jon and I have done some major traveling stateside over the past three months: St. Paul, MN, Edisto Island, SC, Raleigh, NC, Georgia, Brekenridge, CO, Lynchburg, VA, U.S Virigin Isalnds, and San Antonio,TX. Skyscanner and Hopper have been really helpful apps to aid in our search for the cheapest fares. Hopper also predicts future ticket prices and allows you to set alerts for different trips.
  5. Wild China- This has been our go-to Netflix documentary after we put Jack down.
  6. Call the Midwife- This has grown to be one of my favorite shows during the afternoon. I am sure going to miss cuddling up and feeding Jack on rainy afternoons and watching Chummy and the gang. These stories have hit so close to home during this new season of Mamahood.
  7. National Parks Adventure– Since watching this Imax with Alex and Cassie in September, a strong sense of adventure has been kindled. We have also downloaded all the songs from the soundtrack which make for the perfect road trip playlist.
  8. Skillshare– I took a free course on how to take RAW images, and it was so helpful. They have courses on just about everything. I want to have a skillshare party soon!

-k

Wildflowers

A year ago I was preparing to lead a session at the Redemption Hill Church Women’s Conference on body image. It was a fruitful season for me, because I was forced to examine my own heart on the issue and encouraged by the truth I was studying to help me prepare.

12 months, 1 baby, a handful of stretch marks, and 15 extra pregnancy pounds later, I find myself in need of preparing for another session.

I could not fall asleep last night. I just kept thinking about what I looked like, and honestly a bit sad for my husband. Attending a wedding of dear friends this weekend, I laid there thinking of how beautiful I felt on my wedding day. Trying to communicate these burdens to Jon right before bed was extremely difficult. But before falling asleep, he told me he loved me more now than on that day and that I was lovely.

Lovely- adj. exquisitely beautiful

Years ago, I would have been so thankful to be called that by a man I care for so deeply.

However, in my mind, presently, this is how it plays out. Lovely. A lovely, little wildflower growing at the foot of a sexy, exciting, super attractive billboard I might pass on the highway. Yeah. One simple, real, lovely wildflower in the shadow of endless, sexual, real or fake, enticing advertisements.

I have always battled with finding contentment in who I am and what I look like compared to what the world says is better. To be even more transparent, this past week, I have been incredibly convicted of how I see myself. This might be when I am walking down the street, at the gym, among friends, alone in my thoughts or when, sadly, I am pursuing my husband. I imagine myself as the person I want to be. The image on the billboard. The jean advertisement. Maybe even some quick clip of someone I saw in a movie. How can I pursue my husband with genuine love when all I am thinking of is myself? I vowed to my husband in front of God and 170 witnesses to “pursue purity by guarding against temptations that destroy our unity and loyalty to one another.” And I have failed gravely. I am thankful for a gracious husband who continues to love me even when I have such selfish actions to confess to him.

For the believer, we can rest in how He has created us as sons and daughters. A people with purpose. A people made much more attractive by how we love and serve to reflect his image and display his magnificent glory when pursuing holiness than by our physical appearance.  This is something that far endures the short season of a nice figure. As much as it is easier for me to write than believe, this is truth.

I am writing this out to bring to light how I have neglected to examine my own heart when pursuing my husband in intimacy. However, I hope my confessions drive others to think about how what we see, watch, and meditate on affects the way we see ourselves, prioritize our values, and care for others.

-k

Should we Stay or Should we Go?

I had the opportunity two weeks ago to meet many people from Jon’s family I had never met before. Unfortunately, it was because Jon’s Papa passed away after a short battle with cancer. Fortunately, we did not only have to grieve his absence, but rejoice in his reunion with his Lord and Savior. As I shook the hands of aunts, uncles, and cousins and saw others being reunited for the first time in years, I wondered why we were all now just getting together. Wouldn’t have Papa loved for all his family to surround him when he was present?

Back in the spring, my mom asked me what our plans were for leaving DC and returning to the Carolinas— the question we no longer dread because if we did, we would grow weary every week. My mom told me that her hope/expectation that we would return if Dad’s cancer came back with a vengeance next time around. Sure, of course, I want Jack to know his Pappy. I should spend time with Dad, especially when I am reminded that he won’t be here forever.

Why is it that when we really remember and mediate on the truth from James 4—that we are “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes”—we desire to be close. We want to forgive. We wished we had spent more time together. I am thankful that we sometimes get those last opportunities to avoid regret.

After this week, I feel pressure, again, to ask myself whether or not I am passing up an opportunity to avoid regret by continuing to live 8 hours away from home. Should I take advantage of the fact that I love being with my family and spend a lifetime in the same state, or do I have a healthy balance of holiday visits, hour-long FaceTime chats, and vacations?

It could be that our years or lifetime in DC are not a selfish life choice. It could be a time to trust that God has me in the right place for the perfect duration, as long as I continually pray for His will to be done and to trust it will work itself out.

If this life isn’t really it. Then living around the corner or across the world shouldn’t matter all that much if we are followers of Jesus. Right?

-k

Too Cool

Earlier this month, I took my mentee, Juvontae, out for lunch and a trip to the International Spy Museum. With bellies full on Shake Shack, we worked our way through the museum and Juvontae quite enjoyed the challenge of trying to crack a 4-digit code by crawling through a maze filled with jumbled letters and numbers to pick out the right ones. Like every good museum, at the end of the exhibits you’re dumped into the gift shop – one last ploy for you to drop a few dollars. Now, I certainly remember how it went when I was a kid: I wanted to browse around and pick out the toy I needed most. Sure, I could use my own spending money if I had to, but I was leaving with something. Mom and dad rarely saw it quite the same way. Regardless of whose money was at stake, my running up to them, toy in hand, was more frequently than not met with “you don’t need that” or “put that back, we’re not buying anything today.” And it was true, I didn’t need that, whatever it was. I probably had something like it at home. Or, it was probably a piece of junk.

Well, Juvontae plowed into that gift shop with the same mentality I had as a kid: I need something from here. I warily indulged the browsing around for a while. And then, he found it. A voice-changing toy megaphone that could make you sound like anything from Donald Duck to the Hulk. I immediately channeled my parents: “what do you need that for? You don’t need that. Come on, we gotta go. My parking meter is running out.” I won that argument, but he wasn’t happy about it. The whole way to the car, I got one-word replies, shifty eyes, and a mopey walk…because he couldn’t buy that megaphone with his own money. I asked him why he wanted it so bad, which led to the response: “because it’s cool.” I replied, “Okay, but are you really worse off now because you don’t have that toy?” He confidently retorted, “yes.” Our conversation actually went pretty deep from there, talking about whether cool things make us cool people – the kind of people that other people like to like. By the time I dropped Juvontae off, I was fairly satisfied, because we had been able to have a really meaningful conversation about how our stuff doesn’t really give us status, or “coolness” – our value is not in things here, but in things above.

Debriefing with Kristy at home about the outing, I said that while I didn’t really get the chance to talk about a few Bible verses with Juvontae over lunch (which I had intended to do), we ended on a really good note and a deep conversation. Kristy probed a bit: “why didn’t you bring up the Bible at lunch?” I replied, “I just couldn’t find the right moment to bring up the topic. Juvontae was talkative about other things the whole time. It was pretty crowded and I kinda felt rushed.”

Hmm…there it is. As it turns out, Juvontae and I had a similar problem that day. Whereas Juvontae was worried about getting that cool toy he wanted (and when he didn’t get it, he felt like he wasn’t cool), I wasn’t willing to be seen as awkward, or boring, or old-fashioned, or uncool in the eyes of a fourth grader for injecting the Bible into our conversation. My excuses were exactly that. Excuses. I was too cool to direct our conversation to the gospel. It wasn’t about lack of opportunity; it was entirely about my pride. The natural brokenness of setting my heart on worthless things as a child translates into the same as an adult…even if the object has changed.

A dose of humility for this prideful heart. It was good for me. The gospel is worth the cost of my coolness.

J.

A Season in Snapshots

August: To celebrate 1 year of marriage, Jon and I packed up “Sir Lancelot” our rental Lancer and hit the open roads of Cali. Here is a picture of our route and a few other favorites.

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September: I almost want to laugh following that up with this video. In late September, we learned about a new adventure we were about to set out on.

Appreciate the freeze frame for a second. 🙂

 

October: And this was the response.

We also had our first ultrasound and heard the heartbeat. I also had the opportunity to speak at Redemption Hill’s Women’s Conference.

November: One of Jon’s best friends from college and his sweet wife came to visit. We took advantage of free museums for Bank of America customers on the first weekend of the month and explored the Newseum. This month was also filled with nightmare, anxiety, and twitter updates on terrorism. The dangers in the world didn’t seem as far away as they often do. My false sense of security was challenged.

December: After some pretty difficult moments at school, I had an awesome conversation with 5 of my 8th grade boys. Following a TedTalk about Education. Most of my boys don’t have fathers in their lives that truly love them. It was an opportunity to share with them that there is perfect Father that loves them and His love his steadfast. I have more to say on this topic, but this sweet moment was very encouraging.

January: On the 4th, we found out that we would be welcoming Jackson Paul McCay into this world in just a few months. It was such an exciting moment. I thought for sure Grace Elizabeth would come first, but my motherly instinct is still getting acclimated.

Jackson2

February: Jon went on an awesome work trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. I went on a less adventurous but just as enjoyable trip to Columbia to be with my family. I couldn’t venture to the Caribbean out fear of the Zika virus. I had some good ole sister bonding time and southern food.

USVI

 

And now you’re all caught up!

-k

 

 

An Exercise in Creativity

Jon and I could probably come up with a few more excuses for not writing in some time, but instead I will share a couple of cool projects we have put our brains together to complete.

The Island

First, I must apologize if one of my fellow Capitol Hillians finds this first piece to look familiar. It was parked on the side of the road, so I figured it was free-game… Jon and I found this beaut a few blocks from the house. We rolled it home, something we both unashamedly admitted was something our mamas would have totally done, and put our problem-solving brains together.

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We painted it mint and bought 2 black baskets to use as drawers.  We probably spent less than $30 on the entire island setup. We had to be patient, but now we have an island with a story!

The Bench

So this next project gave me a run for my money. And it actually almost did! Our new apartment has an awesome breakfast nook. A bench was left by the last tenants but no cushion. The space is actually quite large, so the only way we could cover it would be to get a customized cushion. Unfortunately, that would have needed a whole space of its own on the ‘ole budget. Instead I found this link No Sew Bench Cushion and shopped on the trusty Amazon. I believe everything was under $100…which is considerably less than what we were seeing at other places! Mom and I were able to put it together in about 30 minutes.

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The Tray

Nothing intense just a little Carolina pride. We found a tray at Ikea for a few dollars. Splashed some ‘Carolina Blue paint we had at the house(he is making a Tar Heel out of me) and cut out two beautiful states.

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-k

Risky Business

I am not much of a risk-taker. I think all who know me would say I play it safe. I follow rules, use a fair share of hand-sanitzer, and I am known to stop at pretty much every yellow light I come into contact with. And while most 9 year olds were tickling their taste buds with the delicious nectar of the summer sweet Honeysuckle plant, I spent a majority of my childhood far away, convinced by my mom, that one taste from this lethal shrub could paralyze me.

So it was not such a surprise when I found myself convicted yet encouraged when I recently read Risk is Right, by John Piper. In his last chapter, Piper spends a little time talking about Romans 8:37, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” I never really thought about it. What does that even mean, to be more than a conquer? He goes on to explain how if we conquer something we defeat it, but to be more than that is to make the enemy our slave. I would have still been confused if I had not watched Unbroken last night. In the beam scene, the main character Louie continues to push through even though “The Bird” tries to break him. For what seems like hours he withstands the pain and perseveres. How does his enemy react? He falls to his knees. He realizes that he does not have power over him, even in such a weak state, and Louie seems to have even more strength than before. He is almost encouraged by this test, along with the host of American soldiers watching. The very thing “The Bird” tried to use to crush him was turned into the encouragement they all needed to keep going.

I cannot help but think in light of the recent events in Charleston, that Satan must fall to his knees when he hears the gracious statements from the victim’s families. Using his very work as an opportunity to show grace in front of an entire nation. He must be terribly disappointed when Jon and I, by His Spirit, push through fear of rejection to pursue people, and then have honest conversations about the very fears that could have kept us inward. And finally, I am sure he gets extremely overwhelmed when people unplug their families from the comfy life to share the good news in dangerous places.

Chasing careless endeavors is not the call, but faithfully following Christ in what may seem like risky business is right.

-k