Monthly Archives: November 2011

Lessons From My 20s: Bad Ideas Have Mass Appeal

Well, tomorrow is my last day in my 20s. So many lessons learned so far in life. I have certainly learned that bad ideas can get really popular. Stupid trends have mass appeal. I wrote an entry last spring noting some of these stupid trends I participated in. Enjoy! 

Homecoming Mums. A very stupid trend in the south…

We were riding in the car home from IKEA and I thought about a really stupid trend from jr high…which got me wondering…What are the dumbest trends I’ve taken part in. Here they are. Don’t judge me.

1. Pillsbury Dough Boy Shirts. Who came up with this??? Great for Pillsbury, bad for everyone one else. I honestly don’t know why this had such mass appeal, but I had one. I wore it often with my wide leg pants. It’s such a wonder I didn’t have a boyfriend.

2. Long chains hanging from jean pockets. Okay, I didn’t personally have this, but I dated several guys who sported this look. Which means I was attracted to this trend, and that is far worse. Point? Whats the point? Maybe they were supposed to look tough, but I doubt James Dean would have worn one.

3. Beanie Babies. Why did we believe that these were going to be super valuable and we should all collect them? I didn’t exactly collect them, but I did get some as gifts. I kept them because they were supposed to be worth millions by 2025 or something. Obviously, that didn’t quite pan out.

4. “You Go Girl”. I think that I may have said this phrase a few times in 2001. A decision I deeply regret. Thankfully, this phrase is no longer in use with the exception of a few middle-aged white women.

5. Spiral Perms. In elementary school, my parents had a brief lapse in judgement. This included letting me get a perm. A spiral perm. Permanent spirals are never good…its very similar to vertigo. Which, is what you would get if you saw pictures of me in first grade.

6. The Macarena. Apart from the ‘Bunny Hop’ this is the dumbest dance. I proudly danced the macarena. I think it is because it is one of the only dances I could do. Still, this whole macarena thing should never have happened.

7. Rope Sandals. Yes, it is what you think. Sandals made out of rope. Perhaps you don’t remember this trend. I’m not sure if it was a wide spread thing, but at Midway High School or Highland Baptist Youth Group…it was. I had them & I looked like a hippie…which isn’t my best look. And they smelled.

8. Brick colored lipstick. I don’t know why all lipstick in the late 90s was the color of a faded brick, but it was. Including mine. The cast of ‘Friends’ pulled it off…but no one else. Actually they didn’t either, but their haircuts carried them through.

9. Uggs with all day gym wear. The only person who need this outfit is an aerobic eskimo. I did this a few times in college…hey, I was in a sorority. What do you expect?

10. AOL Chatrooms. Ha! Yes, I did on occasion visit chat rooms. Thankfully Facebook came along and put an end to these. I hope.

Okay, those are my top ten. Feel free to write yours in the comments.

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Lessons From My 20s: There Are Some Things Only Art Can Say

If you are just now visiting this blog, I am turning 30 on Friday. I have spent the past month writing lessons that I have learned in my 20s. Today’s lesson…There Are Some Things Only Art Can Say

Sophie painting in a church service at Mosaic in Seattle.

I wish this was my idea. I wish that this was my title even. But I stole it. Jady preached a sermon several years ago with this title. As I sat in my seat listening I was stunned at the truth in what he was saying. 
There are some things that only art can say. It’s not because artists are reclusive and lack social skills, so they are forced to draw out what they feel like a twisted game of Pictionary. Some realms of communication and expression that cannot be translated into any other median are left to be expressed by art alone. Some aspect of God that is delivered through our senses. Through vibrant color, a snapshot of a photo. A chorus that captures the inmost places of your heart. The poems that draw out your imagination & the smells that are produced as food is cooked with skill. 
Here are some photographs that say a lot. I’ll tell you what they stir in me.

I can’t take my eyes off this photo. Something about humanity. The strength of love’s tender resilience. It speaks to the soul of beauty. It makes me feel secure.

An image of creation. The unexpected colors, and the blur
of the fog…
A firey peace fills my heart when I see it.

The childlike places in my heart smile. I am reminded of the wonder of life. The imagination spins and I begin to dream. What can God do next. What lies beyond the expected?

Movement. The physical expression of an internal pulse.
Oh! To feel something so deeply that my body’s response is
movement. Action.

My husband is a very smart man. One of the smartest I know. He has severe dyslexia & school was always a challenge growing up. He was told that he was stupid. He was openly made fun of by his 5th grade science teacher. The school counselors told him he should just go to a trade school instead of finishing high school. When he told them he wanted to go to a four year college, they smirked. Told him that he couldn’t do it. So much pain, fear, frustration. He had numerous conversations telling people that he was bigger than his dyslexia. One day he was having a particularly hard time with fractions. He went to bed that night feeling the heavy weight of defeat.

Knock, knock. It was his mom.  Get out of bed Jady. Come to the kitchen table.” She had written the math problems that he had been trying to solve on a large poster board. She gave it to him along with some paint. “Paint over it.”And he did.

The harassing and accusing math problems were covered with swirls of color. Strokes of creativity took their place. Every ridiculing and doubtful conversation represented on the paper was overcome with beauty. He went to bed that night feeling free. He had said something that night. He had said that he was an overcomer.

Art brings beauty. Art brings comfort, hope, joy, reflection. A perspective of wonder. A dynamic tale told through our senses. Art says something of God to our hearts. We are all artists. Music, writing, dance, culinary, crafting, drawing, paint, drama…so many forms.

We are all artists with stories to tell. Get out your pens, paint, guitar, ballet shoes…and say something. Say it loudly from the deepest places within you. Be moved. There are some things that only art can say.


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Lessons From My 20s: Conquer Yourself, Then Conquer The World

I only have 4 more days in my 20s! Today’s lesson: Conquer Yourself, Then Conquer The World.

A little conqueror.

I have been known to be  bit zealous from time to time. Charging ahead with passion in my heart. So many things to conquer! Nations to see, people to tell about Jesus, injustices of all kinds waiting to be righted…So many things to do! 
In fact, I was so preoccupied with the things to do & the places to impact that I didn’t have much time to tend to myself. Who cares if there are dishes in my sink? Or if my checkbook doesn’t balance the way it should? So what if I gossip sometimes? There are bigger fish to fry! 
I have been around long enough to see great people with great passion be outgrown by their dreams. They were a mess inside. When the wine came, there wasn’t an adequate wineskin to hold it. They were so busy chasing their big moment, that when it came – they weren’t ready. 
They were stuck in small thinking. They didn’t know how to control their emotions & were unstable. They hadn’t denied themselves their ‘wants’ and were stuck in debt. People who didn’t take purity  seriously? Their cutting corners eventually landed them in sexual addictions. Big ditches.
For me, I noticed at about age 26 that I had a tendency to be lazy. I was ambitious in heart, but lazy in action. If I didn’t think it was super meaningful then I didn’t do it. If it wasn’t fun, then I didn’t do it. The problem with that? Do you know what happens when you don’t value doing the small things well? Companies go bankrupt. Marriages break up. Machines get glitches & buildings crumble. If you don’t value the small things, then people stop being blessed by your ministry. If I am lazy in the little things, I sabotage the big things. 
Self-discipline matters. I’m not talking about all your ducks being in a row. We will all be messy until we get to heaven. I am talking about pursuing growth. Walking in accountability. Changing when God prompts you. The dreams God has put in our hearts are worth it. The world doesn’t need more people with big dreams. It needs people who prepare themselves to do what it takes to see the mission accomplished. If you can’t handle your urge to buy shoes when you don’t have the money, what makes you think you will have the strength to fight human trafficking? 
I don’t want to fold laundry or do dishes. But the big things in my heart require a foundation of small things. I have to value them. I have to do them well. I can’t cut corners and have sustainable growth. Get your heart under control. Get your messy places cleaned up. Let people in to help keep you accountable. Create a solid internal structure that can support your visionary hopes. Conquer Yourself, Then Conquer The World. 

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Lessons From My 20s: Divorced Men Need Widows & We All Need Baptist Preachers

Setting up for church…we need each other.

I am sure that you are curious about this title. This was a realization that I came to years ago, but I came up with this title today in church. Let me take you into what I saw this morning…
I was sitting on the front row as I always do. Behind me there were three older women. Two African American women in their 60s and a much older white lady – probably in her late 80s. They sit together every week. This fact alone lights my spirit up. Growing up they wouldn’t have been in the same church much less been able to be friends. What a beautiful thing progress is. 
Fast forward to the offering. At this point the band is playing, but everyone is sitting while the ushers pass the offering baskets. While we are all sitting down, I notice a man who sits against the wall in the corner at the front. He is a middle aged man who is divorced. I guess he didn’t have anyone to sit with so he just sat against the wall where he had been worshiping. I noticed him as I was handing the offering basket to the person next to me. The old lady behind me saw him to. To my shock, she stood up on her wobbly feet. With her beautifully hunched back she carried herself across the front of the church. She had this man in her sights. She had him in her heart. With what appeared to be great pain, she bent down to him. I don’t know what she said, but tears welled in his eyes and a grateful and somewhat embarrassed smile touched his face.
Together they walked back to her row. The band was finishing up and he took a seat on the row with this older lady & her two friends. They welcomed him with big smiles and warm gestures. Squished in a space that normally accommodates 3 people, this new family of 4 settled in. 
I turned around because this mans tears and the ladies kind faces made me start to tear up. As I wiped my face I noticed the shoes of the man next to me. Shiny loafers with khaki socks that matched his Dockers. They belonged to the Baptist missionary who was the guest speaker this morning. His message was powerful & I listened with eager ears the whole time. There was a tender smile on my face as I listened to the four voices behind me “Amen” and ” Uh Huh” the preacher. 
How beautiful. This building full of people who don’t belong together. Races that have historical division, socio-economic gaps, married, singled, denominational differences. All crowded into our rows, but making space for each other. Making space for our differences. For our backgrounds and preferences. How beautiful is the Church. 
We all need each other. That middle aged divorced men needed an elderly widow to take his hand and walk him to a place where he belonged. On a row with her two black friends. I needed a clean cut Baptist to stir me for the Word of God in a fresh way. We need each other. 
The Church needs our differences. We find so many things to argue about.  We all think we are right and fight to prove it. We write articles about whether Jesus would have been a Democrat or a Republican. If it is or isn’t the end times. Can we drink alcohol and follow Jesus? Exactly what is the role of women & husbands or wives…so many reasons we criticize each other.
It’s ridiculous. I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t have been a Democrat or Republican. Perhaps He would have been in support of a theocracy, but my money is on Him just being a king. We come up with reasons why we don’t need each other. We disqualify one another based on our arrogance. 
The beauty of the Church is that we can all belong to it. The power of the cross is that we all need it. The joy of heaven is that it is all of our home. 
I love the Church. I love the diversity of opinion and strengths. To do what God is calling us to do in this generation we need each other. We need the old ladies welcoming the lonely. We need people like me wearing my Urban Outfitters clothing to listen to a Baptist pastor & soak up his wisdom. We need humility and honor in place of judgement and pride. We need Jesus at the center. We need each other.


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Lessons From My 20s: Three Solid Opinions

Tonight I am sharing with you three opinions I have formed in my 20s. Don’t hate me if you disagree. I’m right. I’m sure of it. 

1. Seattle Is God’s Favorite City
Okay, I know God doesn’t have a favorite city. BUT if He did play favorites…I’m pretty sure Seattle would be it. I could write for 10 million years about how much I love Seattle.The water, the mountains that surround the city & a bustling metropolitan center. Hundreds of local restaurants, cozy coffee houses and fashionable boutiques on every corner. If you haven’t been you MUST go. Stop reading my blog, go to expedia & plan a trip. You won’t regret it. Make sure you visit Mosaic Community Church when you are there.
2. Dogs Are Better Than Cats
Here is my dog Baxter. He sits by the window and watches us come & go. I have had two cats in my life and neither of them did this. I only liked one of the cats & that is because it acted more like a dog. I don’t want to hate on cats, but …well…dogs are better. I can list the reasons why, but then I would get hate mail in my comments section. So, I am going to leave it at this. 
3. Make Time For Play
Remember when you were a kid & your friend comes over to the door and asks, ” Can Elizabeth come out and play?”. Well, you probably don’t remember it quite that way since your name is most likely not Elizabeth. But you know what I mean. We made time to play. To be silly. And we asked our friends to come and do it with us. Adults need it. 
My friend Erika invited me to play last week. She invited me to come with her and try on glasses. There we are in the pic above. We laughed really hard that day. I do need to sit in a coffee shop & have a heart to heart with my friends, but I also need to play. To be silly & ridiculous. To laugh at inside jokes and play pranks on my other friends. Grown ups need to go outside and play too. Stop being so serious. 
These are three random opinions, but  I did solidify them in my 20s so they qualify. Happy Saturday night! 

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Lessons From My 20s: My Words Are A Fire Hazard & Can Do CPR

Only one week left before I turn 30! Today’s Lesson From My 20s: My Words Are A Fire Hazard & Can Do CPR. ***One small disclaimer. I have taken NyQuil for a cold so ignore typos please!***

Here I am saying “I do.” Some of the most powerful words I ever said.

A few years ago I preached a sermon from James 3. I taught about the tongue and it’s ability to spark a fire. Honestly, it was a pretty good message I delivered. Too bad I didn’t take better notes for myself. I have learned the hard way that life & death is in my tongue.
We all know how awful it is when we say something intentionally derogatory. When we criticize and judge others with our words. Perhaps even worse is when we do it on accident. So many times I have spoken without thinking and created a whole mess. Shared something that was private information & exposed someone. Once I replied to an ‘annoymous’ comment on my blog whose words were less than supportive. I should have just kept silent and carried on instead of responding. My response wasn’t harsh but it would have been better not to defend myself. Turns out it was an old friend of mine from growing up. My hasty reply hurt our friendship. I burned a bridge. 
I do love it when my words build up. I wish I was better at this. Giving honor and encouragement both in front of people and behind their backs. What a blessing to find that my words helped someone and gave them some wind in their sails. It is something so simple and yet so difficult.
The effects of words on the listener seem obvious. Clearly they will make someone feel small & insecure or edified and confident. But I have learned a good deal about how my own words effect me. When I build myself up by my own bragging I get deeply insecure. I am afraid of someone realizing that I am no all I say I am. 
If I minimize the gifting of another with a well placed criticism or doubt-casting question I steal someone’s honor. I’m not sure if you have ever stolen something, but it just sits in your gut. I feel horrible about what I have done. I not only demeaned another person directly, but I muddied up their reputation. 
I carry around the weight of my own words.
The same is true when I say things that are life giving. I feel the presence of God. When I honor another person and build them up in public then I am also giving honor to God. That feels so good. It feels freeing, light and hopeful. 
I have learned that my words not cause both fire & life in others, but they cause fire & life in me as well. I carry the weight of my own words. What I carry is either accusation, doubt and shame or honor, hope and joy. It is up to me. It is up to wether I am willing to control this tongue of mine. 
Keep an eye on sarcasm & witty distain. Let encouragement and words that offer help flow. It may not seem like it, but your words are a fire hazard & they can do CPR.

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Lessons From My 20s: So Many Thanks

I am thankful for so many things today. Most of all, I am thankful my God is “I AM”.

Happy Thanksgiving! Like many of you I spent the morning counting all my blessings. It seems a bit cliche, but it is amazing what it does for my soul. I am thankful for my husband, my kids, sweet friends who love me near & far, my family of origin who love me no matter what. I am thankful for my house, that I am healthy, and have access to plenty of food & clean water. I am thankful for things big and small. 
But what I really focused on this morning was how thankful I am for God. Most simply, I am thankful that He loves me. He has every reason not to. Yet He chooses to look at me and see destiny inside my frail bones. I am grateful that no matter what is going on around me, my God is there. 
I read this verse over & over again today. Reminded again of the power of His love for me. It is the biggest blessing of my life.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, 
nor angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 8:38-39

I pray that you each had a blessed Thanksgiving today. I pray that you were surrounded by people who love you. Most importantly, I pray that you know the love of a God who is near. Who never gives up on you & will never let you go. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Lessons From My 20s: Marry The Right Person

Okay, this is perhaps one of my favorite lessons!

How cute is my husband?
I was 21 when I got married. Looking back that seems so young, but I was in love. It was the best decision I ever made. 
Love has been the topic of conversation for centuries. Literature, paintings, traditions are full of the pursuit of love. I’m sure it has always seemed like a muddled idea, but in our generation ‘love’ is incredibly confusing. 
We see shows where people fall in ‘love’ within a matter of weeks while elaborate dates are set up for them. Movies are portraying the incredibly romantic journey of some fictitious couple. Social media sites allow us to update our status regarding our relationships. It’s all so easy. Falling in love seems to be almost pre-scripted.
We are all so good at falling in love. I’m pretty sure there is even a Pandora station for it. Our problem these days seems to be staying in love. Life is hard. Relationships are hard. It takes a lot of work to make something work. Twitter has taught us how to have conversations in 140 characters or less. Intimacy doesn’t happen in 140 characters. 
I love being married to Jady. Here are a few reasons why he is the perfect man for me:
  • He loves Jesus more than anything else.
  • He loves me regardless of all my shortcomings & he doesn’t expect me to be perfect.
  • The man loves fashion & wants to go shopping with me. 
  • I am dumbfounded by his creativity sometimes. I don’t know anyone else who is as creative as he is.
  • The man could lead an army. Really. He can rally people like no body’s business. 
  • He wants me to have my own dreams & helps me make them happen.
  • I like to dream big & run hard. He dreams bigger & runs harder. I love it.
Honestly, this post could go on for pages. In my 20s I have learned that love isn’t for cowards. Marriage doesn’t solve all my problems. Life has ups & downs. I want Jady next to me for all of them. I married the right man.

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Lessons From My 20s: Flip Flops Aren’t Shoes & Other Fashion Advice

My series continues. Ten more days until I turn 30! Today’s lesson from my 20s : Flip Flops Aren’t Shoes & Other Fashion Facts.

With some friends on a trip to the Middle East. These clothes do not fit us.

I started off my twenties wearing flip flops, jeans & t-shirts. Throw in the occasional sweatpants tucked into a pair of Uggs. Yikes.My friend Kendall & I once made a list of clothes we would never wear again. The top of the list?  Goucho pants. 
Whose idea were those? They flattered no one. Since that first photo was taken I have learned a few things about clothes. The main difference being that clothes & pajamas are different. Unless you have the flu and need to run to Walgreens for NyQuil then you have no reason to leave the house in your pajamas.
It doesn’t take much time to get into a pair of jeans and a cute shirt. In fact, it takes the same amount of time that it takes you to put on your yoga pants & hoodie. Speaking of jeans. It is so worth it to invest in a pair that fit you well. I am a skinny jean kind of girl, but maybe you love your bootcuts or your boyfriend fit. I don’t care what style you like, just please please please take the time to find a pair that look great on you.
If the pockets are in the wrong place your behind looks fat. If they are too short then you will look wider.  If they sit too low then you create a muffin-top. Just because they button doesn’t mean you should wear them. 
Go to a store and have someone help you. Not just anyone. Someone who has good style. If you don’t like the way the sales person is dressed find another one who looks how you want to look. I started slowly filling my closet with pieces that were flattering and easy to mix & match. I wake up and put on a top & bottom without much thought. 
I also used to think that flip flops went with every outfit. They don’t. Unlike a high ponytail they don’t go from day-to-night. They aren’t shoes. I encourage you. Try to wear actual shoes from time to time. The kind with a heal and a toe. It feels good plus you look way more put together. 
Guys take note. These are great shoes.
Far too many people dress like they are a 16 year old on a camping trip. What happened to looking like adults? Comfortable doesn’t mean casual. Look nice. It’s not that hard. I have two kids and about 3 minutes to get myself dressed on an average morning. Grab the blouse instead of the old college sweatshirt. Unless you are actually going camping.
Okay. That was a bit of a ramble. Buy clothes that fit well. Set your Rainbow sandals aside & help me bring back the laces.


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Lessons From My 20s: Passion Can Push You Past Your Excuses

In my twenties I have found that I am full of excuses. Some of them are silly and others of them are legitimate reasons why I shouldn’t be able to do something. I’m sure you have your own, but I will let you in on a few of my classic ‘go-to’ excuses.
  • I can’t afford it
  • Someone else would be better for it. 
  • I don’t have the time.  
  • I have kids. 
  • No one asked me to do it.
  • It may not work.
I really could go on and on. I shouldn’t lead because people won’t follow me. Or I dont’ know exactly where God is leading me next & I don’t want to self-lead. So I won’t move.
I sit. I wait. Waiting for more money, more time, more resources, no family responsibilities, a fool-proof plan, and some kind of guarantee. My excuses aren’t ridiculous. Take adoption for example. We are currently adopting 2 kids from Uganda. 
We are living lean on what we currently make without adding in the two new kids. I know that I am not a perfect parent. I don’t have tons of time. I currently have 2 kids, so I don’t NEED to adopt. Uganda didn’t call and ask me to nor did God write with fire on a wall during my quiet time. It may be really hard. It may not work the way I imagine.
BUT. I trust that God will provide more as our family grows bigger. God will shape me & I will grow in motherhood. I can make time. I can quit Pinterest, and re-organize my life. I will put good things down to make room for more important ones. I trust that I heard God even though it was a still & small voice. When it gets hard, God will give me the strength I need.
We all have tons of reasons why we shouldn’t do what God asks us to. Or what we dream about. Passion pushes us past our excuses. I am passionate that kids don’t grow up hungry, lonely and abandoned. So passionate that I will look at every reason ‘not to’ and walk past it. 
Passion does that. We don’t need to work on ridding our world of excuses, because there will always be a new one. We need to work on growing and increasing our passion. If you really burn for something, you will make a way for it. God makes up for our lack. In our weakness He is strong. 
Re-charge your passion. Read about the issues God has put in your heart. Pray about them. Learn more. Fix your eyes on who Jesus is. Talk to Him. Remember what puts fire in your bones. Remember the moments & conversations that have shaped you. Do something. Act. 
We have to quit waiting for all our ducks to be in a row. They won’t be in a row. Just move forward. Live the Gospel. Be passionate about Christ & His plans for this earth. His plans for the people alive on the planet today & the issues facing them. 
Cut out the mediocre things. Live the meaningful ones. Cultivate a passion that pushes you past your excuses. You never know. You just might change the world.


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