No Place Like Home

Ya’ll,

Last week, I got to take Momma to see Wizard of Oz on stage. Let me tell you. We were crying like babies for the last 20 minutes. We held hands and just cried. All the happy and bittersweet tears. Wizard of Oz is Momma’s favorite. She can quote every line… without even watching the movie.

When Will and I moved away, Momma wrote us both letters. I only read it once, and I don’t think I made it all the way through. Because I was ugly crying at the airport. It wasn’t pretty. I am fairly certain everyone around us was very concerned for my well-being. Anyways, in the letter, she reminded me, for the millionth time in my life, that there’s no place like home. And wherever the people I love are, that is where home is. That the island will be my home for as long as the Lord deems it our home, and once that time is complete, there will always be another home to go to. There’s no place like home. Home is our holy place. Our sanctuary. Away from the crazy and darkness of the world. Home is where the people we love are. No matter where that may be.

Mom has taught me so much. She’s helped me. She’s been my friend when I thought the world around me was crashing and burning. She knows my deepest secrets. My aches and pains and longings. Mom has been a gift from the Lord. For me. For our family. There’s no place like home.

Will is now my home. And has been for a little while now. Where he is, my heart is. My soul is. Our homes change, they evolve, they move around. Because we do.

I know there are so many folks who don’t have a home to call a sanctuary, because it is filled with pain, anger, regret, and darkness; I pray that those homes would evolve and transform and be filled with the Lord’s Light and Truth and Love. Sometimes, though, even in our homes that are good and wonderful and cozy, darkness and anger and regret seep in to our spaces. Our hearts. Our souls. But the Lord is there. He is there in our deserts. He is there in our pain. Our aches. Our regrets. What if, though, we gave Him our homes? Our own sanctuaries? So that we can open the doors of that holy place to those who pray for what we have? I’ve everything I’ve prayed for. A man who loves me as Jesus loves His Church. A family who would move heaven and earth to make sure the other was good and safe and taken care of. Friends who love me and lift me up in prayer to our Father. A life that reflects the power of transformation the Lord joyfully and lovingly gives to His children.

We are to be His hands and feet. But what if we were also each other’s homes? Each other’s place to come and be loved and protected and taken care of?

Till next time!

 

 

Evolving

Ya’ll,

Ok. I’ve got a confession. Since we’ve been home, I’ve prayed that the Lord would send me to a job. A good job. A job where I could finally settle down and build a career. A job filled with good, kind, respectful humans who would develop a healthy family atmosphere. AND HE DID. So. I’m on the Coast for 2 1/2 weeks for training. I’VE NOT PARTICIPATED IN THE PROFESSIONAL PUBLIC IN OVER A YEAR. Let that sink in. I’ve gone from Nike shorts and T-shirts and flip flop tan lines on my feet (actually, I also had tan lines from my  hiking shoes that made polka dots on my feet, so that was awesome) to closed toe shoes, real pants, and blouses. What is this life?!?! I bought new clothes… because hello. I lived on an island for a year. Lost weight, because we walked EVERYWHERE and sweated off every ounce of fat just sitting in the living room because NO AC. Came back to America and gained every single pound back and then some. I mean…. duh I ate all the fried goodness smothered in butter and ranch. Because Southern food is meant to put some meat on your bones.  So new job, new clothes, new opportunities.

I had a conversation with my dad the other day about the city we live in. The mayor had told him something quite relevant and meaningful for most things of life. He said our downtown wasn’t developing, it was evolving. Isn’t that so true for a lot of things? About life? We evolve. Life evolves. We grow. Or we don’t. And we stay the same and watch life pass us by. There has been so much change and new things and evolving in my life the past four years. And I have evolved as a person, as a woman, as a wife, as a friend, as a daughter, and as a sister. New things and change is where we evolve into the people the Lord created us to be, so we can do the holy things we were created to do. I wonder if we evolve until the day God takes us home.

Till next time!

100%

Ya’ll,

I don’t know if I’ve written about this yet, but when Will and I went through pre-marital counseling, our preacher/mentor/friend-to-family previous youth minister gave us the most important advice that anyone has ever given us about being married. Let me paraphrase, if you come into marriage expecting it to be a 50/50 relationship, you’re relationship will be a disaster. Your marriage will fail, and it will not be a marriage intended by God. A marriage is a 100/100% relationship. You’ve got to give your marriage, your spouse, 100% of yourself. Their emotions, their well-being, their dreams deserve 100% of you.

There are not many marriages that I look up to. I can probably count on one hand how many married couples I admire. I learn from them; I watch them; I adore them. Our marriage has for sure been tested and tried. But ya’ll, we’ve not forgotten that sage advice we received before we were even married. That advice has saved our marriage; it has evolved the way we communicate, the way we treat each other, the way we love on each other. Think about it. If you only gave half of yourself to something, say your job… you’re miserable, and will most likely eventually be fired. Why on earth would you give only half of yourself to the most important relationship in your life… other than your relationship with the Father, obviously… ?

Commitment; true and pure and honest commitment, is so rare these days. It hurts my heart, my soul. The world wants us to think that the grass is greener somewhere else, that it’s ok to have a side relationship from your marriage. That’s just of the devil. Plain and simple. That is NOT the marriage the Lord intended us to be a part of. That is not respectful, nor is it honorable. It is selfish and self-pleasing and disgusting.

This post is vastly different from most of the others, but for some reason, this was placed in my heart to share. There is just no honest love, no honor, no respect, no decency, no 100% commitment in the “relationships,” the “marriages,” that so many folks are a part of. Who would even want to be married to someone who didn’t love you so much more than anyone else, but instead thought that sleeping with someone else, dating someone else, loving someone else, while married to you, was even an option?! I mean… get with it ya’ll. Be men and be women.  Be the example the world needs. Not the example the world wants. Be different. Be uncommon. Be the old married couple who still sneaks kisses in public; that’s 100% my goal. For Will to still want to sneak kisses and booty pats. Be the young married couple who leads other young married couples. Be the married couple who teaches your children what love really is; how men should treat women and how women should treat men. Be the example of the marriage the Lord wants us to be a part of. Stand up and stand out. Make the sacrifices. Be respectful. Be kind. Be genuine. Be vulnerable. To each other. For each other.

Till next time!

 

Granted

Ya’ll,

Living in America still overwhelms me, after living on an island in the middle of somewhere for a year. We’ve been back for a few months, now, and I still find myself just staring at all the stuff in the grocery stores; the milk, ALL THE CHEESE, the drinks, THE CEREAL, the snacks. Will and I made loaded potato soup today, and we used two entire blocks of cheese. He was worried about using it all, and then we both remembered that there are shelves constantly stocked with cheese at any grocery store. The things you take for granted. CHEESE.

We’ve been sick as stink. MS weather in the winter cannot get it together. Seventy degrees one day, 5 degrees the next day. Actually 32 degrees, but seriously… at that point, it’s 5 degrees. I’m from MS. We don’t know how to do freezing degrees. Period. Ever. At. All. The milk, bread, and alcohol are depleted… because what else are we going to do but eat bread and drink? Bless.

Will is amazing, ya’ll. I don’t praise him enough.  I really don’t. He’s the man of my dreams, and I would follow him to the ends of the earth. If ya’ll have seen the show Outlander, which is actually also a book series, and if you’ve not read any of it, you’re seriously missing out and you need to fix your priorities. Seriously. Get with it. Anyways, Will is the man we women dream of when we read books. True story.

Marriage is hard. But not hard. All at the same time. Which is, in fact, possible. The things that come with marriage; joined finances, buying houses, raising dogs, moving to another country, refiguring out life all the time, and communicating throughout it all, those things are hard. Living out life with the person the Lord created to be your helpmate is a serious miracle. A miracle I try not to take for granted. It makes life easier. Brighter. Lighter. Where the other is, is indeed home. We’ve learned a lot these past 3 1/2 years of marriage. A. LOT. Like one gets really grumpy in the mornings if there’s no coffee and everyone is loud and asks a gazillion questions, and one does NOT understand that making the bed before you get in it each night is important and makes you sleep better. I mean… duh.

We’ve been super hunkered down the past few months, deciding what’s next. TALKING about what’s coming, and where we’re going. All while living out this season of pause and reconnection and thankfulness of what we missed while we were gone. The Lord guides us forward and onward. Good things are coming this year. It’s holy, and lovely. Hope and faith and joy in what’s to come is holy. The Lord reminds us to take nothing for granted, for you never know when life will change.

Till next time!

Realization Light Bulb

Ya’ll,

We’ve all heard the phrase a gazillion times, “You are a child of God.” Have we not? If not… the Bible tells us that we are children of God. GOD. The creator of every single thing. Of the universe, the trees that we need for life, the cells that make up our own bodies. We are His children.

I was reading through my various devotions this morning, and for the very first time, this phrase stopped me. It made my heart jump. I am a child of God. Say that to your heart and soul this day. I am a child of God. Let it really sink in. Let your mind wander in the love that knowledge provides.

The same power that raises people from the dead, that created the entirety of life, that casts out demons and forgives sin, is the very power that made each of us. The very power we have running through our souls. Perhaps this goes back to the relationship Jesus had with his Twelve. He taught them. He showed them. He gave them His power. They doubted… and they SAW IT ALL. If they doubted, how on earth can we have the faith to move mountains and change lives and heal? Maybe I just found my answer, because we are really and truly God’s kids. He loves us. He calls us all to be His Light on this earth, His hands and feet.

I know there are so many of us who have grown up with dads who didn’t really take the time to be a part of our lives, who were too busy pouring out their souls into their jobs instead of being an involved and loving dad,  but that is ok. We have an eternal Father. He calls us by name. He calls us His children. He calls us. He chose us. He knows us. He made us. By the same power that made the stars, the sun, the ocean, the sand, the seeds that grow into what we need to survive on this earth.

I don’t think I will ever pass over the phrase, ” I am a child of God,” the same way ever again.

Till next time!

Genuine, Beloved, and Cozy

Ya’ll,

I am being ridiculously lazy this morning. And I am not ashamed. The coffee pot is half emptied, and I am the only one who is drinking it. I thank the Lord every single morning for my peaceful, quiet mornings spent with Him. In His presence. His moment in time. I take my coffee mug back to our bedroom, I cozy up with all three puppies, and I write out what my heart aches for the Lord to know and to hear. Even though He already knows what my heart longs for. There’s just something about talking and being quiet with the Creator of the universe, while sipping on the precious gift of coffee He gave us. It’s cozy, in a big way.

The Lord cannot be fit into a human box of understanding. The ability to come to Him whenever, wherever, proves daily and constantly that we are beloved. He loves us to the ends of the universe. He loves us unconditionally. You know how you feel when your husband, your wife, your mom, your dad, your siblings, your family, or your close friends wrap their arms around you and hug you tightly? Do you feel warm and loved and thankful? I surely do. I imagine cozying up every morning with Him and the puppies and warming my hands by holding my coffee mug, to be semi the same as that. We are beloved. Beloved and cozy.

Genuine. There are so few times and moments when we come into contact with a genuine soul. This world is filled with fake and pretend, and it breaks my heart. I know it breaks our Lord’s heart. The Lord has brought His faithful, genuine, people to my life to show me what a life given to the Lord fully really looks like. And that, folks, is genuine. Again, I reference what my Uncle Sean said when we visited recently. We, as believers, only have two rules. Love the Lord, and love your neighbor. We are beloved. We should genuinely love everyone in return.

Those three words; genuine, beloved, and cozy, were on my heart this morning. In the craziness of the holiday season, don’t forget, amongst the chaos, to find moments to be cozy with the Lord. The reason for the holiday we celebrate. Don’t forget that you are beloved by the Creator of… every single thing. Don’t forget that the Lord is genuine in His love for you; let that genuine love pour out of you this Christmas, so those around you will know whose you are. So that they will know that they are beloved.

Till next time!

To be Grateful

Ya’ll,

It’s been a hard month. A hard month of figuring out what it really means to be content in the madness. I just wrote an assignment for seminary about resting in the Lord, and what it means for all of life. I should take it to heart.

This world, ya’ll. We are all crazy busy. We are rushed, hurried, and worried. We forget to look up and realize all there is to be thankful for. We may not have all we desire, but the Lord gives us all we need. I have parents who let us come home after a disaster in the Caribbean Sea. I have a husband who loves me in a way I never could have imagined, the way the Lord commands us to love. I have friends who love me, who protect me, who care for me and check on me. I live in AMERICA, ya’ll. We have freedom to do as we please, unless of course we’re being hateful and harmful. We have so much.

Thanksgiving last year was quite different than it is this year. This time last year, I was preparing to leave the man I love, endlessly, to surprise my family whom I’d not seen in three months. For those of you who know me, I don’t go a day without seeing my family or talking to them. Especially my brother. He’s my partner in crime, forever. This year, we’re here. I’m at the COFFEE SHOP, completing homework assignments drinking apple chaider (apple cider and chai tea put TOGETHER). Ya’ll. It’ll change your life, that drink. It’s fall in a cup. Truly. And that’s coming from a basic pumpkin girl.

I think it is high time that we all pause for a bit to rest in the Lord. To rest in His arms that hold us all up daily. That rest will seep into every aspect of our lives, teaching us and reminding us that life is not all that difficult. There are two rules, as my Uncle Sean would say; to love the Lord and love each other. Everything else just falls into place. For that, I will be grateful. I love the Lord, and I try my hardest to love every person.

The holidays always seem to make folks either super grouchy or super excited and full of all of the goodness of life. I am the latter. The holidays brings so many people together, but it also emphasis those who would rather be apart. That’s hard. But the Lord will mend the brokenness. He will provide all that we need to get through this life on earth. The holidays are a time to be thankful, to lift each other up, to laugh and smile and breathe in the cool air. Have I mentioned it was FORTY degrees this morning?!?! Praise the good Lord for not hot weather!

My heart aches for us all, to be content and joyful in this life. To be thankful for every season of life. To be thankful through the hard times, the good times, and the in-between times. To be thankful in the middle of somewhere.

Till next time!

Forward

Ya’ll,

Life is… I have no words to describe what life is. There are too many words that could fit the job as a descriptor. You know how the Lord puts people, places, and opportunities at your feet and you can either acknowledge them and melt into His provisions, or you could stress out and dread making one more choice, one more decision, so you just freeze and do nothing? I have been frozen. For a month. I’m finally coming out of it. Now we move forward. I come back to life. Like trees and flowers in the Spring time. But it’s FALL and THERE ARE PUMPKINS EVERYWHERE. So, an even better time to wake up from a hazy, frozen soul sleep.

Let me tell ya’ll a little story. Will’s momma and I were not initially the kindest of people towards each other. It is really hard learning new roles of life. I have no doubt it was hard to learn that Will was going to be moving forward and leaning on his wife instead of his mom. It was hard for me to learn that it was ok to let down my guard once the Lord began healing our broken relationship. Now, we’re moving forward. We’re moving into a truly divinely sweet relationship; one of grace, forgiveness, laughter, and adventure. I could not be more thankful that we can smile and giggle and give each other looks when someone else is talking… our husbands… and know exactly what the other thinks. It’s SO fun, ya’ll.

My Mother-in-Law has had a rollercoaster life. She’s strong; she’s always up for adventure and new things; she’s silly and just wants to be loved. I’m honored she is letting me come into her life, her heart, her home, and her secrets.

She was a nurse. She cares for her husband. She aches for the moments they get to share and love on each other. They’ve been through a lot, too. The Lord has worked and moved mountains in their marriage, their words, their thoughts, and their times spent together, and apart. I am honored I get to watch them grow in His love and goodness and blessings and promises. Moving forward. It is what we have to do in this life, right? Moving forward… not letting ourselves become frozen humans because our focus is not where it should be?

My Mother-in-Law has started a fun business. A business that allows her true passions and loves to shine, through the way she spends her time. She’s no longer stuck behind a desk, or running around like mad for someone else. She’s prioritizing her time. She gets to spend quality time with those she loves, instead of only being able to give the leftovers of her time and emotions. Her joy radiates. I’m honored I get to be a part of it.

Her business provides time. Time for others to laugh, smile, to breathe, and to relax. Folks get to be creative, and silly, and meet new people. Her business is KimmieB and Me. Visit her on Facebook. She would LOVE to meet with you, visit with you, over paint and coffee. We bond with coffee, too. Coffee is the magic of life. Amen?

Forward. What a key word to life. A frozen heart, mind, and soul are not what God promises. He promises joy in the midst of suffering, direction in times of question, and comfort in times of need. Though God promises a difficult life when we follow His ways, His path for our lives, what other choice do we really have? I love Will so much… I followed him to an island in the middle of nowhere; sold everything, left everyone. To move forward. Forward in our hopes, dreams, and callings. If we love the Lord as much as, even more so than, we love those we call family, friends, our people… shouldn’t we move forward just as easily with Him to forward His hopes, dreams, and callings for our lives?

I’m preaching to myself right now, ya’ll. Trust me. It’s been a difficult month; we’ve made more decisions, had more questions, and more late night giggles this month than we have had in a VERY long time. But the Lord is working. He’s always working things out for the good of those who love Him. Move. Forward. Yes, Jesus, I get it. Thank you.

Till next time!

Pumpkin Spice and Life

Ya’ll,

It’s pumpkin all the things season! I am SO happy! Cooler weather, sweaters, blankets, and PSLs EVERY DAY. Praise Jesus for pumpkin season! It’s an actual season, ya’ll. It is.

We’ve been going through some heavy stuff this past month. My heart has broken a little, and my soul has been entirely too weary. The Lord took us to the Caribbean for a reason. What that reason was, we may never know. But we’re stronger. Our marriage is AWESOME. Now, the Lord has brought us back to good ole Mississippi. We may never know why He did that, either. However, I’m thankful we were not in the path of any hurricane. I pray for those who were. The Caribbean cannot handle those wretched moments of Mother Nature’s mood swings like America can.

Do you ever sit back and wonder what on earth the Lord is doing? Or why He’s doing it the way He’s doing it? Do you ever get so frustrated at life, that you wonder if God has even been listening to anything you’ve ever said? My emotions have been all over the place, and yet nowhere at all, for an entire month. I realized the other day that so much of my 20’s has been one ridiculous early mid life crisis. But yet again, I’ve learned a LOT. Go figure. Whatever Jesus. What. Ever.

Here’s something I’ve learned. We have NOOOOO idea what is going to happen no matter how hard we try or pray or move forward. The floor could fall right out from underneath you. What do you do then? Do you run? Do you grab on to whatever or whomever is closest? Do you run and hide under the bed hoping the monsters won’t find you in their own hiding spot? I’d really like to say I do none of these, but hiding under the blankets when life gets just to be just too much is really my cup of coffee. Do you remain faithful and trust that what the Lord does and says and is, is good and true? I floundered a little bit in this one; I will admit it. Sometimes it’s hard to continue pushing forward when ya don’t know where that forward is. Sometimes it’s hard to continue praying and straining to hear God speak when your heart is heavy and your soul is too weary to even comprehend the world.

I am a control freak, ya’ll. It’s the teacher in me, I suppose. Everything must be planned. Always. There’s a lesson plan for every moment of life, right? Wrong. Life is hard. The only guarantee, the only consistently solid ground we can stand on is the Truth of the Lord’s promises. Seriously. Why is the Lord always teaching me this lesson!? Why don’t I ever remember that one? Control. Freak. I like to be in control. I like to have all my ducks in a row. Who doesn’t? Those brave souls who live life flying by the seat of their pants. I envy them; I do. Yes…. I’m aware envy’s a sin. I’m in seminary, after all.

How do ya’ll do that? Just fly? All the time? And never wonder where you’ll land? I like to know where I’m going to land. And yet, no matter what has happened, or what will happen, the Lord always provides solidity in some way. A smile from my husband, a hug from my God-sent sister, a visit with my best friend since 4th grade (we’re now 29, do the math).  There are so many ways the Lord shows us who He is, what He aches over, how much He loves us. Do we see it? Are our hearts opened enough to Him that we can recognize those sweet moments from Him? Or are we too concerned with what the next step has to be that we miss His whispers and fleeting moments?

 

Till next time!

Rainy Test Day

Ya’ll,

Today was test day for Will. I have a love-hate relationship with test day, because it means one part is over, but then there’s the waiting to find out the grade. Always waiting to find out the grade. Med school is so hard. You can try with all of your might to get through it, but at some point, you get knocked to your knees wondering what just hit you. Seriously. Will learns so much information every single day, that I wonder where he’s going to put the information from tomorrow’s lectures. He’s my superhero. Test days mean one thing is down, but can’t be forgotten. There are two more tests, including the final, and we’ll arrive to three weeks of peace, beach time, conversations, dinner with friends, and quality time together… without reviewing or studying or talking about medicine.  Praise. The. Good. Lord.

I admire Will, ya’ll. He works so hard. He’s smart. Insanely smart. He says things that are so over my head I just nod and smile. But he can teach it to me in a way that makes my English brain understand. It’s really true what they say, you’re either a math/science person or an English/History person. I can talk about Jesus and Edgar Allen Poe and all the wars of history all day long… but helping Will all day review HURTS MY HEAD. He’s going to be a wonderful doctor. I’ll be a wonderful helper. The Lord knew what He was doing when He made us for each other, to be sure.

Tests keep coming, though. No matter how much we think we’ve conquered one block of information… another block of information comes like a dodge ball to your face. Reminds me of life, don’t ya think? No matter how far we come… there’s always a test. No matter how good life is, how stable it is, how peaceful and fun it is, there’s always another hurdle. Another test. Another ridiculous thing to conquer. I thank the good Lord He brought me Will. He makes tests and hurdles so much more okay.

Sometimes we forget the lessons. Sometimes we remember them always. But if we really learned the lesson, wouldn’t we remember it always? Perhaps those we only kinda payed attention to are the ones we forget so easily? I know sometimes I need a dodge ball to the face ( insert eye roll here ).

 

Till next time!