RSS Feed

Tag Archives: community

what’s good about life

Untitled

walking hand in hand with your dad & realizing that, even at 22, you’re still his girl. tight hugs from little kids. running a half marathon behind a guy with a t shirt that says “don’t let the 53 year old open heart surgery survivor beat you.” kid’s bible stories that calm your soul right before bed. impossibly blue skies after all that grey rain. there are some moments where you stop & think… “this, this is what is good about life.” & yesterday, I had one of them.

sitting at northside starbucks with three of my best friends from college. even though we don’t have that much time for coffee-getting & table-sitting anymore, it still just kind of happens. I was borrowing a dress from emily & eating chips on her couch when helen asks if emily wants to go to starbucks. she does & she brings me with her & before long leslie is there too.

emily is a nurse that works nights & I’m a teacher who works days. leslie is in law school & helen is getting in med school. emily & helen grew up presbyterian, leslie & I were raised southern baptist. but none of this really makes anything any different. first & foremost we are daughters & sisters. we love one another deeply & our differences usually just make for good conversation. as someone who didn’t really have girlfriends in high school, their love has been healing & lifegiving to me.

we sit around that table in starbucks & ooooh & ahhhh over the ring (leslie & brett 4eva). we talk summer jobs & helen’s future as a trophy wife & premarital counseling & kitchen aid mixers & babysitting & a whole host of other things that are really just between us. we only have about half an hour between when leslie gets there & when I have to leave for tutoring. but it’s enough. & I walk back out to my car in the glow of being known, being loved. community is a huge part of what is good about life… & even 30 minute dose is beautiful enough to put a light inside you that lasts all day.

little drops of water

Untitled

a couple of weeks ago I went to Kroger after a rough day at school. this was a mistake. the Kroger on i55 is stressful enough on a normal day (no parking! totally backwards from college Kroger!) but after a long day at school it feels almost insurmountable. & it had been a long day, one of those bone-tired, chewed up & spit out days. I walked in with a dazed look on my face, fumbling for my poorly made list. an employee actually asked if I was ok. that’s how bad it was, guys. I was most decidedly not ok. I had an awful attitude, I was stressed & tired & I did not want to be searching for capers (they’re by the olives, fyi). still, I went through my list methodically, fighting the urge to just sit down & cry.

I ended up in the produce, making the usual selections–spinach, avocado, carrot sticks, gala apples. wait. WHERE WERE THE GALA APPLES? certainly not on the end of the apple display where they always are, where they’re supposed to be. I continued around the display, picking through red delicious, fuji, granny smith, pink lady…. nope, no gala. not even any honeycrisp (my 2nd choice). I had had enough & I kind of felt like pitching a fit right there by the lemons. frustrated, I turned around to leave, just in time to see the sweetest old lady catch my eye & say, “dear, you don’t happen to be looking for gala apples, do you? they’re over by the bananas today. I couldn’t find them either.” I inhaled deep, smiled, & breathed out thanks.

sometimes I like to think of grace as little drops of water in a desert. because once in awhile grace comes as a waterfall, big & grand, sweeping you off your feet. but mostly it trickles down in tiny drops. just when you think you can’t walk anymore. just when you are so parched you’re about to give up.

thursday morning was not so great either. so many questions & fears & insecurities. big awful conversations with people I love. it had been a hard night & the morning after I couldn’t get out of bed. I was lying there, almost literally crippled by fear & doubt. I tried the usual things… reading my bible, listening to music. finally I just cried & cried, asking God why we have to be sin-sick, why we have to hurt, asking why can’t things just be perfect? sometimes I ask those questions & I feel like I don’t get any answers.

but then a friend came over. & crawled in the bed with me. prayed for me. held my hand. got me up. took me to lunch. it was like I could almost feel healing falling down on me. little drops of water. they might not answer our biggest questions. but they remind us that the questions are heard. that we are loved. & right now, that’s enough.

p.s. thanks to david for the photo. he has a blog now, check it out.

acción de gracias

Untitled

I taught my kiddos how to say “thanksgiving” in spanish last week. acción de gracias. loosely, directly translated it means “action of thanks.” I like that. & here just ten of the dozens of things I’m super thankful for.

one :: a good place to work & lots of challenging tasks. even when I’m stressed out & overextended, I’m so, so thankful to work at a job that’s never ever boring. my students brighten every single one of my days. & I’m thankful for the support & wisdom that comes from colleagues & TFA.

two :: a big, loud, beautiful family, made up of wonderful siblings & wise parents.

three :: fellowship. close college friends who all happen to have stayed in town. new teacher friends who understand my life. a good, good roommate.

four :: a boyfriend who plays music & makes ramen & drinks black coffee & consistently lives in a gentle & understanding way with me.

five :: jenna’s & my cozy house w/ a working heater & random furniture, full of pictures & recipes & parties & joy.

six :: a body that can run & jump & swim (even if it’s pretty bad at ballet).

seven :: words & books & writing. animals don’t read & write. we do. words have power & meaning & beauty. I’m thankful for the privilege of wielding & weathering them.

eight :: this great big beautiful world in which we live, full of sunsets & secret trails.

nine :: church… familiar faces, folding chairs, the lord’s prayer, & an invitation to take, to eat, drink & remember.

ten :: & of course, always, more than anything, I’m thankful for grace. I’m thankful for grace at work, grace in my family, grace between my friends, grace from david, & ultimately… grace from the holy yahweh god who is constantly proclaims over me “YOU ARE LOVED“… even when I least deserve it.

 

rest

thankful for rest. happy sunday!

this weekend has been so good. reading on the porch, dinner with my beautiful sister, surprise visits from patrick + parker, playing at the reservoir with teacher friends, bike ride with emily, date with david & share-a-meal at high street park with my journey family.

& now I’m sitting at barnes & noble… lesson planning, scheduling, budgeting & just generally gearing up for the next week. but as I sort & plot & plan, I’m thankful… thankful to the God who made our bodies so that we need rest, the God who is gracious enough to give his beloved sleep. weekends are a concrete reminder of the fact that we’re frail & human. we’re not robots & we can’t just run around accomplishing things. we need relief & renewal. thankful to experience that with friends this weekend… & thankful for the small ways God gives me much needed rest & grace every single day. even in the midst of 300 chatty kiddos.

welcome to the neighborhood

two new friends.

these are two of my new friends. you see, I really like where I live. it’s quirky & close to everything & there’s a farmer’s market that just opened around the corner & a park where people hang out. but my very favorite part of this move so far has been my neighbors. I love neighbors. neighbors are a big part of why I wanted to move here. & I was not disappointed–I met seven of them in the first two days.

to be perfectly fair, I’m probably a bit more excited about the neighbors than they are about me. as my family helped me move, whenever they would see someone venture out, they’d say “hey ruth ann… a neighbor’s outside” and I would (at times literally) chase after whatever poor soul had poked his or her head outside. “hi my name is ruth ann and I’m new here and I live in the tan house down there and it’s so nice to meet you what’s your name oh that’s lovely I’m a teacher how long have you lived here that’s so nice.” andddd breathe. but friendliness pays off & I’m now acquainted with most of my street.

ms. margaret was one of the ones I chased down. she introduced herself by saying “hi, my name is margaret & I serve the lord jesus.” I excitedly explained that I did as well. she then wanted to know where I went to church & if we “baptized in jesus name.” I thought about that for a couple of seconds & replied that yes, I was pretty sure we did. she then sent me home with three tracts.

kevin saw me working in my backyard & yelled “welcome to the neighborhood!” I was ecstatic. someone was welcoming me to the neighborhood instead of me running after them. I could hardly believe it. kevin then continued to say, “I live in that house down there with my partner, christopher. he’s black. do you have a dog?” a lot to take in at once. I said, “no, I don’t” & then followed up with what seemed like the logical reply “…do you?” he very decidedly replied, “yes, I do. and he’s viscous. if you see me walking him, run the other way. because he’s viscous.” welcome to the neighborhood indeed.

& there are so many others. a magazine writer, a widow w/ a beautiful flower garden, a med student, a photographer, an artist, a girl who worked for Mississippi Teacher Corps… the list goes on & on. my favorite new acquaintance this week has been james. he has six puppies that he’s selling but no one is picking them up til this weekend so every afternoon he knocks on my door with a different puppy in tow. the puppy drinks milk in my kitchen while james & I drink orange juice at the table. it’s a good way to spend a july afternoon.

I’m thankful to live in a community that’s so open. & I’m excited to see what God will teach me through this wonderful, eclectic group of people. I’m already kind of in love with them… but I’m still planning on steering clear of the “viscous dog.”

wild & wonderful

I could eat these all summer long.

I decided this week that my top three foods are avocado, cherries, & chocolate. cherries are finally in season again & they are so, so good.

:: the two cds I’ve been listening to nonstop since delta life began are ‘love & war & the sea in between‘ & ‘precious remedies against satan’s devices.’ they have both made my long bus rides much more beautiful & you should listen to them if you haven’t already.

:: I miss my church so much. I think church is about community & people & fellowship, not a service. so usually if I’m somewhere new for a short amount of time, I just don’t go. but it’s been a real long time since I’ve visited other kinds of Christian churches, so I’ve decided this summer is for experimenting. last week I was Methodist & this past Sunday I was Episcopalian. it’s real, real good to take communion & sing praise with God’s people, even if it’s in different ways than those to which I’m accustomed.

:: this short film makes my heart glad. watch it. kids are awesome.

:: Jim Eliot said, “live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” & I feel like that describes a lot of life at institute. God has been so faithful to give me not only strength & endurance, but a lot of joy & excitement that I was not expecting. even through getting up at 4am & filling out miles of paperwork & sitting for hours in a desk, I feel like I’ve been blessed with a renewed appreciation for the fact that this world is wild & wonderful.

:: and speaking of wonderful… tuesday is historically my favorite day. good things happen on tuesdays, guys. get excited.

happy monday

Untitled

got to spend some quality time with this little lady this weekend while her parents celebrated their anniversary. on the way to church Sunday morning, she looked at her dress shoes and said, “auntie ruth ann, once I colored inside these shoes. that was not a very good choice.” hilarious. p.s. she insisted on wearing the dress in the photo to church. I totally let her.

:: this article is such a good perspective on Pentecost & the role of the Spirit in modern evangelical life.

:: I don’t normally write about this here because it makes me feel weird, but I’m really thankful for a boyfriend who takes breaks from playing with husky puppies & eating reindeer meat to be encouraging to me & intentional with me all the way from the frozen north.

:: got to celebrate marriage with two different sets of sweet friends this weekend. congrats to matt&kristy & megan&chad. both occasions were such a cool picture of the church encouraging & lending a hand. my church celebrates really, really well.

:: this article starts off a little tounge in cheek but ends up on a really convicting, humbling note.

:: I find out today what my subject area/grade placement is… super pumped!

:: so many different things this summer have reminded me that I am so blessed in the parents department. like, really. it’s so rare for parents to strike the perfect balance between caring&helping & letting go, but I’m pretty sure mine have found it.

:: I think this is the very best idea in ever.