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.


Blog Accountability

I am writing this post with my future self in mind. Over the next 18 years (and beyond) there will be many days when I worry about my son. I will want Jack to stay close so that I can protect him. I will want to control certain situations so that I can lessen the chance of him getting hurt or even making mistakes. At least, my intention will be for those results.

This week I have been reminded that God is ultimately in control. One of the passages I read in Job walks through God’s knowledge and work in aspects of life even when we haven’t thought of them or been in contact with them.

These are some of the examples God gives. He protects the animals of the wild. He knows the cycle of when mountain goats give birth–as my husband praised during prayer this week following our reading. He watches the young deer grow up in the open field and leave their families. He sees the ostrich lay their eggs on the ground and they are safe. He has commanded the wild hawk to station up on a tall tree in wait for his meal to move, so that he can provide for him and his young.

Right now, God knows the number of hairs on Jackson’s head. Even if I cannot feel Jack move sometimes, God knows every kick. At this point, I haven’t been able to teach Jack a single lesson and yet, he is living, breathing, eating, and moving. The Lord has him even if he is inside me. I am reminded how intimately God already knows Jackson even though we haven’t met him. God is his ultimate father and protector, and during this season of pregnancy I have learned this truth. I will need to be reminded of this many times once I meet my son.


Jon and I will have a salad for lunch today. CANCER. Walk to school, its colder than I thought today. CANCER. Good Morning, yeah I plan on going to Literacy night, see you at lunch. CANCER. Lesson planning time, Ill turn on some music. Man, I love this new Lumineers song. CANCER. CANCER. CANCER.

This my thought process the past few weeks. On Thursday February 18, my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma of his Appendix. I have never had to really deal with sickness this close to me before.

Nor have I experienced true grieving. It is a real thing. For us as a family, it has been so good for us to talk it out and cry it out. Cassie (my sister) and I have realized a closeness that a family can have. Even in how we grieve similarly. We have the same thought processes, and I know she understands my hurt. She is the only other person who is a daughter of our Dad. She remembers the certain things Dad does and memories of him when we were little. I cannot dig too deep into that yet.

I am thankful for one thing. This new journey is not in vain. I see how it has brought our family closer and made my Dad’s trust in the Lord stronger. I have prayed for that last request for many years. I did not picture that a battle with Cancer would be the means of doing that, but if so, to God be the glory.



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.


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.



And now you’re all caught up!




A Time to Celebrate

I am very thankful to have married Jon one year ago today. It was the best day of my life for many reasons. To name a few–All the people I loved were together in one place, Jon and I made a covenant, and we were able to proclaim who Jesus is and the purpose of marriage in front of 150 of our closest friends and family.

Over the past 12 months, we have tried to be a bit vulnerable over our blog talking about what we are learning, and I want to take today to continue the routine. I will be honest when I say that I don’t mean this to advertise “my perfect life” or glorify the idea of marriage. There is a time to be real and a time to celebrate, so I want to take some time to be real but joyful about what awesome things I have seen over the past 12 months.

Over the past 12 months:

  • I have seen jealousy lose the battle over my mind. I have learned to trust Jon. This is partly due to the fact that Jon does such a great job of reminding me of how much Jesus loves me and he does too.
  • I have seen Jon fight sin full on and openly confess specific struggles with me.
  • I have had a closer partner, to lay bare my shame and guilt, who has diligently reminded me that because Jesus has died on the cross I do not have shame and guilt.
  • We have realized our inward focus and moved in the direction of pursuing people more.
  • We have learned the importance of talking about our expectations so that we know how to serve one another better while also allowing  those pesky unrealistic/unhelpful expectations to come to the surface.
  • I have seen Jon step up and speak truth to people even when it could have jeopardized his relationships.

And though I am celebrating all these, I have also come to a new realization. One that I am not proud of but one that I hope to be celebrating change next year at this time. More than any other proclamation, I want to tell everyone how well Jon loves me. I want to tell them about the specific things he does and says that honestly make me feel like a beautiful, pure princess. How he has learned to serve me so well without me sometimes even needing to talk about it. But those words cannot save people. At most they will make Jon sound high and mighty, and at least will cause jealousy or envy. Neither is helpful. What they need to hear from me is how God forgives someone that struggles to forgive others. Someone who judges, manipulates, and can be greedy. Someone who cares more about herself than even her loving husband. They need to hear that God fully knows them and fully loves them more than any person can. That is what I should be desiring to tell everyone. That is who I should be boasting about. For its because of those things that Jon and I can even have true love for one another. I am thankful for this recent awareness of unbelief.

So here is to one year J! I look forward to living life with you in the coming year and look forward to having new lessons and truths to share with others.


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.



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.