Poop Mold

This was probably the second grossest moment of my life. You don’t wanna know the first.

Our summer mission has been SO blessed with an amazing hotel to stay in while we’re in VA beach. We have mini-kitchens-but there’s a microwave, stove top, dishwasher and fridge.

We have couches that you’re not afraid to put your bare face on (oddly an upgrade from last years housing).

Lindsey and I share a bedroom-but we share a king sized bed, so there’s PLENTY of room for us.

BUT.

You know there’s always a “but” with me.

A few students have made the comment about mold in their toilets that they can’t get out. In my mind only (I’m not savage), I think, “ew. Clean your toilets better.” Which luckily, we provide cleaning supplies (toilet bowl cleaner and a brush) to our students and do room checks each Sunday to make sure 47 college students are not totally trashing the place.

In preparation for Leslie doing room checks tomorrow, I volunteered (as tribute) to clean our bathroom which included scrubbing our mold free toilet.

I put the toilet bowl cleaner in and allowed it to soak while I scrubbed the rest of the bathroom. About three minutes later, I started to tackle our toilet-which up until that point, I was BLISSFULLY UNAWARE that there too was mold in our toilet. I started to scrub the toilet and decided to scrub under the lip of the toilet and sure enough-mold chunks started falling.

Now. Listen. I am NOT one to be “one upped” by my students, so it became MY MISSION to get rid of all the mold that I could not see but knew was there.

I was scrubbing and scrubbing and then had the thought, “man, how AWFUL would it be if mold flung off this brush and hit me in the face.”

SELF FULFILLING PROPHECY, YALL-BUT WORSE.

Not ONLY did some HOTEL-MULTI-COLON-POOP-MOLD fling at me… IT HIT ME IN (I REPEAT HIT ME IN) THE EYE.

Two seconds after I thought about E.Coli hitting me, I saw it fly through the air straight into my face. Reliving the moment in slow mo in my brain, I saw myself turn as quick as I could, but my scrubbing powers were too forceful. The poo mold was coming at me.

I felt it hit my eye.

I screamed, “NOOOO. NOOOO. NOOOOOOO. LINDSEY. GET IN HERE.”

I looked in the mirror and made her look at my eye, and sure enough on my bottom lashline right on my tear duct of my right eye was a long glob of mold FROM THE TOILET.

I’ve never seen anyone sympathy puke, but lindsey instantly started gagging. So just go ahead and picture the scene: I am in the bathroom screaming “Nooo. Nooooo. Nooooo.” with my hand over my eye, while Lindsey can’t even look at me without gagging and almost puking in the toilet THAT NO ONE BETTER POOP IN EVER AGAIN BECAUSE I SWEAR IM NEVER CLEANING IT AGAIN.

After the freakout, I grabbed a tissue, wiped it out and then desperately grabbed my antibacterial soap and foamed it all over my right eye.

I’m sure there’s SOME spiritual metaphor here, but I literally “can’t even right now” to try to figure it out.

Feel free to hypothesize for me and leave your thoughts in the comments section. For your own enjoyment, here’s a pic lindsey took and posted in our staff group me.

DYING YALL.

I’m dead.

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Celebrating 5 Couples That Weren’t Couples That Should Have Been Couples

We have all been there. Strung along in movie, television drama or real life celebrities, we get caught in the tension of, “Do they love each other? Are they going to end up together?” This drama, man. I love it and hate it.

It fits perfectly with my day-dreaming kind of mind to think of the what-ifs, so in lieu of Valentines Day (one of my favorite holidays because LOVE + CANDY + CHOCOLATE), here is a list of 5 couples + 1 SPOILER couple that never were couples but in my honest opinion would be PERFECT together. Enjoy!

  1. Kimmy Schmidt and Titus Andromedon. 

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I know, there is one major conflict here- SHE LIVED IN A BUNKER. ūüėČ [ just kidding obviously]. But, they are just so fun together. I want them to be on a show together forever. I heart Titus and Kimmy. I would hang out with them on the regular.

  2. Benson and Stabler. 

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You cannot tell me these two aren’t the CUTEST. After 20 years of working together on the force, they are just the best ever. I’m so sad she never married him.

3. Joel Osteen and Oprah Winfrey

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Leaving room for the Holy Spirit, I see. I mean, their theology about lines up, so match made in heretic heaven?

4. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet

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I honestly don’t know who’s the bigger catch here. They’re both pretty amazing. But I agree with Keke Palmer on MOST things, so watch my sentiments…

5. Penelope and Derek from Criminal Minds?

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Okay, actually, this a quasi count. I would be super annoyed if someone called me “Baby Girl” and was super affectionate and affirming with NO commitment. Talk about blurred lines. Part of me votes, “JUST BE TOGETHER” and then there’s part of me that is so annoyed by this relationship. Crap or get off the pot…?

6. WARNING MASSIVE SPOILER

***SPOILER***

***SPOILER***

***SPOILER***

***SPOILER***

SERIOUSLY, THIS LAST ONE IS A SPOILER.

Are you sure you’re in?

REALLY sure?

just in case….

***SPOILER******SPOILER******SPOILER******SPOILER******SPOILER***

BUT HOW COULD THEY DO THIS TO ME?! LaLa Land, I hated you.

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Obviously, Ryan Gosling belongs with everyone. When he is in, he is 1000% in. And it is just so stinkin’ beautiful.

 

Sometimes Missions Is Hard

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FB can be so deceiving.  Good thing my Twitter is pretty unfiltered.

My sweet new friend Georgia took some awesome glamour shots for my Christmas card the other day. I posted one as my profile picture and got over 200 likes (that’s a lot for me, so if that is your normal average… just stop reading. I’m not worthy.). Everything in that picture seems perfect (GA is an amazing photographer, btw). But, for those of you who know me, I’m a dang hot mess about 20/7… the four other hours, Jesus-by His mercy and grace-is sustaining me.

Y’all. ¬†This week… I don’t know WHAT happened, and it’s only the 2nd day. It got cold. It snowed more than I’ve ever wanted. I got depressed. I cried by myself in Panera for an hour… Which, I cry every 6 days on average (counting crying at movies and crying from laughing so hard at YouTube videos), so it shouldn’t have caught me off guard, but it TOTALLY did.

What the heck happened?

Being a missionary is hard; that’s what happened.

When I submitted my life to Jesus in 2007 and told him I would follow Him anywhere, I imagined that place to be Africa. And praise the Lord, He allowed that dream to come true for two years. And then when I told Him I’d continue to full-time partake in the Great Commission, I imagined myself in the mountains of North Carolina for a few years and then the hot, HOT desert… of the Middle East. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself in Detroit, Michigan where our low for Monday night will be -2 degrees Fahrenheit. Time to count the cost.

When I submitted my life to Jesus and told Him I would follow Him, I assumed that meant marriage at some point in time. Welp. I’m almost 30. All my friends are working on baby #2 and I still don’t know how to flirt. Cool, Jesus. I saw this hidden hurt come up when my roommate Hannah moved to Indy, oddly. I remember crying at church (again, every 6 days, totally normal) and asking God, “Don’t you have anything good for me? Will you ever give me someone to just do life with for longer than a one-year season?” Time to count the cost again.¬†

When I submitted my life to Jesus and told Him I would follow Him, I assumed that meant manna from Heaven type provisions where I’m never under my support goal and I have 0% anxiety about His provision. Well. Ha. We won’t unpack this one too much, but every missionary you’ve ever met has doubted God’s provision at one point in time. I’m no exception. Time to count the cost again.

So, is it worth it?

Is living where I never expected, in a climate that seriously, y’all. I just have no words. The cold I can handle. WHERE THE HECK DOES THE SUN GO?… Is it a sacrifice I’m willing to make so that the gospel can change lives and be spread among the earth so that God can get the most glory? Yes.

Is this calling worth it when… you’re the weirdest staff member ever and you walk into staff meetings with a sun lamp so you can trick your brain out of seasonal depression (and you spend your “fun” money budget on a Pink Himalayan Salt Rock that’s supposed to lift your mood by changing Ions in the air…) so that the gospel can change lives and be spread among the earth so that God can get the most glory? Yes.

Is it worth it when you’re still single and you¬†love love, and you daydream all the time about who you’ll fall in love with, and then your students who are 10 years younger than you get engaged and you’re a bridesmaid for the 9th time… Is it worth it to sacrifice that knowing God has greater plans,¬†so that the gospel can change lives and be spread among the earth so that God can get the most glory? Yes.

Is it worth it to live sacrificially, and trust God that He is who He says He is and the He will provide everything I need to continue walking with Him, serving Him and glorifying Him? This is probably the most important one, will I trust Him to meet all my needs emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually so that the gospel can change lives and be spread among the earth so that God can get the most glory? I will try everyday. 

I have to spend seasons counting the high-cost of following Jesus. If¬†I’m not counting the cost, I’d question how closely I was walking with Jesus and how submitted to His will I am. And when trials come (which the Bible promises they will), I would be tempted to give it all up. All the cost, the weather, the new culture, the singleness, the living by faith, all of it is worth it because Christ is worth it.

Without Jesus, I would not know hope. Even though it feels like it comes in waves, along with peace, I do know that I serve and am LOVED by a God who fulfills His promises to me. And they are good promises. I know anything I give up this side of Heaven for the expansion of the Kingdom of God is worth it. He is worth it. Even when my heart is too dang icy to feel it, He is worth it.

It’s Fall, Y’all… Sort of.

“Reality is your friend.”-my boss, every day of my life.

“No.”- me.

Y’all. Fall is here, and it is GLORIOUS. I know there are people who are a little mad that it isn’t full on sweater weather, but before we must face that future reality of frigid death, can we just take some time to PRAISE HIM for the¬†current reality?¬†14572224_10154596400852743_467557781099215723_n

  1. Apple Orchards are in full swing! I had never been to an apple orchard before last year, and let me tell you something… they are fun! I’d been blackberry picking, peach picking, and… that’s about it. Never had been to a Cider Mill/Apple Orchard (are they different??). My team and I took a half an afternoon to go to Blakes to pick apples, drink cider, and eat apple cider donuts! My fave part was climbing the trees to get the best apples up top!
  2. It was 80 degrees in Michigan yesterday. In October. RAISE ‘EM AND PRAISE HIM. In Jesus’ name. // Reality: this won’t last. In one month, it could snow. But today, I give thanks in the name of Jesus.

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3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Dude. The strug-gle of being in the presence of Big Ten-ers when you’re an SEC/ACC fan. Jokes about Hoosiers/Boilermakers just aren’t as funny… Literally, I’m smiling and nodding and have NO idea what you’re saying. #goTigers #goclemson

 

4. There’s sun. Michigan has this dreaded disease that every November-May, the sun goes away and it’s gray EVERYDAY. Okay, reality is my friend, so that’s an exaggeration, and the gray clouds do bring snow… But, man… let’s just enjoy all the Vitamin D we can.

5. Colorful trees and beautiful leaves // Let me just me honest, there’s nothing like an East Tennessee fall. Being in nature with mountainous walls of color popping out in front of your face… it’s glorious. Michigan is kind of flat. But! When I was in Senegal, I missed the fall leaves and walking through them and hearing the crunch. Senegal: no fall. Michigan: flat landscape. I’ll take Michigan’s fall over Senegal, so it’s a win!

6. STUDENTS ARE BACK ON CAMPUS! ūüôā¬†¬†Momentum keeps building at OU. WSU has been tricky, but I finally feel like I’m at a good spot with my new, sweet freshmen girls and my returning students. I’ve gotten to see girls move from death to life, and have seen more and more young women’s desire to grow in their walks with JC and have their hearts begin to burn for Him. I¬†really, really, REALLY like the girls at OU and WSU, and just feel super encouraged by what God is doing in their lives after every meeting. It’s just been super awesome.

7. PTL for PSLs- Praise the Lord for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I don’t think this needs much of an explanation.

How are you enjoying the fall?

 

 

How to Turn 29 When You’re 27

HowToTurn29Earlier this summer, the last day of May to be exact, I had a birthday. It was a special one. This was my very first birthday in Michigan, and due to my summer schedules with Cru this may be the only birthday I have in Michigan for a while… Nevertheless, first or last Michigan birthday it was so special for a variety of reasons. First being, I FOUND OUT THAT I WASN’T 28 and I relapsed a whole year of my life.

Y’all. Bless my friggin’ heart. I literally thought the whole entire year of May 2015-2016 that I was 28. I’m not. Well, I am now, but I wasn’t. I skipped 27!

I have several theories for what the heck I was thinking, maybe the shuffle of moving back to America, working a secular job, support raising in three cities, moving across America… There could be a¬†myriad of reasons why I lost a literal year off my life. I could blame it on transition and the fact that after 16, 18, 21, and 25 there’s really not a birthday worth looking forward to until you’re a senior citizen and can get the Senior Pancake Deal at iHop….

I could blame it on that, minus the fact that I have longed to be thirty for as long as I can remember, so maybe it was a subconscious decision to speed up the process to reaching the golden age of “stability.” Which is 30 (if you’re over thirty, lie to me. Tell me life is perfect at 30.).

So here are a few of my tips on turning 29 when you’re only 27….

  1. Have an weird obsession with being 30. Strive for 30 and don’t let a 4 year age gap stand in your way!
  2. Do a lot of major transitions in one year- get a new job, move to another state, find a new church, make new friends, travel internationally. This one will surely joggle your brain and make you forget (among many things) how old you actually are.
  3. Work with college students where they constantly ask you your major and you just say, “I graduated a few years ago…” and always shy away from the details of what year you actually graduated so you don’t feel like a grandma… Talking about age in a relative manner will make you relatively 30. Which is your goal.BdayDinner
  4. Celebrate with new friends who will make you feel so loved even if you totally forgot how old you are. They just met you a year ago, that’s not weird at all. And they never would have caught it…
  5. Freak out that you’re doing 28 all over again, and then remind yourself, “Right. That was 27…”
  6. Comment on the exciting transitions of a student speaker at Cru on Twitter and include your incorrect age so you can seamlessly slide into a more mature age at your upcoming birthday party. Cause nothing screams “ADULT” like a month to month lease.¬†Twitter.png
  7. Take an artsy fartsy picture next to your garden that screams, “SO MATURE.”
  8. Get a grandma moo moo from a friend and have that be your favorite birthday present. (Y’all know I love my moo moos).MooMoo

That’s all my tips that I have for you. Of course, per usual, if you would like any more advice on achieving the impossible, comment below and let me know what you’d like to know. I’ll do my best to make your dreams come true.

 

Bowerbirds, Creation, + Me

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“In the beginning, God created…” Genesis 1:1

“But why…”-me. Profound.

I know the theological answers to this truth that in the beginning, God created everything out of nothing. He created everything seen (an unseen) for His glory. All things are here to reflect God’s nature, majesty, etc. But today, I sat here thinking, “but whyyyy….“.

Creation, everything that word encompasses, is for God’s glory. All of it reflects who He is-but then again I thought, “But reflects His glory just to him?” No. The grandeur of the mountains, the vastness of the universe, and the depth of the deep all serve as reminders to His last creation of just who He is. It reminds me of his power. It reminds me of His intentionality and His pursuit of me.

So, why do I read about the day by day process God took to glorify himself? What’s so important about that and His pursuit of me?¬†[I ask a lot of questions to God if you can’t tell. That’s why I never make it through the Bible In A Year programs.] Something cool about the day to day process that stood out to me today was that it was a preparation for LIFE. Every day had purpose and was a step closer to making man. Think, if day 1 hadn’t happened, man (and everything else) couldn’t have survived. We cannot live with the absence of sunlight. We cannot live in darkness. Day 2: separation of waters. The only thing living here if he had not separated the waters: fish. Day 3: land separated from sea. [PTL Ariel has legs!] ¬†Day 4: ¬†Seasons for harvest, day and night reminders to REST. Day 5: Creatures in the water. Day 6: land creatures and us.

Without one of those days, we more than likely wouldn’t have survived. We need each and every part of His intentional design. So today I read this passage as a love story. As a bridegroom preparing a home for His bride. The beginning of the love story. Just like the bowerbird.

Have you ever heard of the Bowerbird? I watched something on Animal Planet a few years ago about this goofy looking bird who in order to attract his “bird wife” he would create these amazing nests. Before mating season, he would collect all these different colored materials to construct a home that would attract a female bird. They are intricate, and oddly so stinking pretty. Now, we’re not birds. And a lot of these female birds visit multiple male birds nests… so. That’s not what I’m talking about. Haha. But just this idea of creating things to woo just stood out to me today while reading this passage.

Every step of God’s creation plan was intentional, purposeful, important to mankind. We needed a place to live: earth. We needed heat/light: the sun. We needed land to live on: earth. We needed food to eat: creatures and plants. All these things God created so that we could know him, love him, abide with him and one day

In Genesis we see God went before us and prepared a place for us. And He promised to do it again with Jesus in John 14:2.

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?-John 14:2

 

Inshallah

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There’s an Arabic word that I love so much that I WISH had a proper cultural equivalent in American English. The word is inshallah or insha’Allah. It basically means, “God willing.” While I guess that’s a pretty good translation, the context for using Inshallah is clutch. It can range from a prayer, an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty or an excuse out of things! If this is your first time hearing about the word Insha’Allah, here’s a few ways you can use this word that I learned about from my time overseas.

God actually being sovereign.

When I was in Senegal, I heard this word tossed around in probably every conversation I had with someone. “I’ll talk to you later!”- Me “Inshallah!”-friend. In this context, the person I was talking to literally meant, if God orchestrates it. “If I’m still here when you get back, then yes we’ll talk later, and that was God’s will.” It doesn’t really leave much to fate (which I don’t believe in), but really gives God all the credit for being the sovereign King that he is.

Agreement to a prayer.

I remember several times talking with girls and they would say something along the lines of, “And why don’t you have a boyfriend or husband?” I wanted to say because I chose to move overseas to share Jesus with people, but you know… that’s a little too direct. And if I’ve learned anything from dating… (Just kidding, I’m the least direct¬†person with nonrelatives). Instead I’d say something like, “I’m waiting on God to bring a man who loves Jesus, having fun, and adventure.” They would respond with, “God will give you a good choff (Wolof for best fish in the sea).” And my response to that was, “Ameen. Inshallah.” Amen. And if that’s God’s will, cool. If not, cool.

My personal favorite was to “one up” the inshallah’s. So, girls would say, “And God will give you a husband.” I reply, “Inshallah. And may God give you a husband and twins.” They would respond with, “Ameen! Inshallah, and may God give you triplets!” To which I replied, “Insha… NO. NOPE. Noooo. I do not receive that in Jesus’ name!” ūüėČ

An Indirect No or Maybe or Yes, Maybe?

The last, and my personal favorite, is Inshallah being used as an indirect no, maybe or yes. That sounds so confusing, but declining an invite to something wasn’t always culturally appropriate depending on how well you knew the person (remind you of southern culture much?). If you invited someone to a “cocktail” and they really had no intention of coming, they could reply, “Inshallah.” That could mean maybe, yes or no, you just have no idea.

Sounds frustrating if you’re planning something, but when you’re on the opposite end it works SO well. It’s a way of saying, “if I feel like it,” but holier. Which is guilt free. And we all like guilt free.

So there’s my current favorite Arabic word. As I continue to learn more Arabic, I’ll keep you updated on more fun things I discover about the Arab language.