THIS WEEK! So so so many joyful things happened. I wish I could tell you all every single thing! And this is when it's a shame that I have limited myself to a "top 5."
1.) One of the biggest things is that we figured out what Christian's internship details are going to be! AH! And they involve going to work with our FAVORITE PEOPLE GROUP! (There will be more on this later as things finalize.)
2.) This last Monday, I was doing a workout in our living room when Christian came in the front door carrying two packages. One was long and the other was relatively small. He dropped the long one down on the floor and said, "Love, this is for you." A secret about me (that's not actually a secret) is that one of my top two love languages is gifts. This is not the way Christian naturally shows affection, so when he goes out of his way to gift me something it means a heck-of-a-whole-lot. The thing is that I had been wanting a clear umbrella for-EVER, but could never bring myself to buy one. Umbrellas are like, NOT cheap. Well, not our kind of cheap. Anyway, I opened the box and what did I find? A beautiful clear umbrella! Schatz, you're the greatest.
3.) It was National Coffee Day, yesterday. I'm an ex-Intelligentsia barista= I have a serious love for java. 'Nough said.
4.) Ya'll, BOGO deal at Sprinkles!!! Sprinkles is home to probably THE best cupcakes. Ever. At 9:30 this morning, I grabbed a buddy and we walked ourselves over to get us some crazy-delicious, individual cakes! Also, the girls that were working were THE cutest. But seriously. THE. And one of them even came out so I could take a pic next to the Sprinkles ATM. Yes, you read that right. Sprinkles has an ATM where you select the cupcake you desire, slide your card and BOOM! Out comes a cupcake. Cheers, ladies! You are beautiful humans!
5.) Lastly, I'm thankful for childhood. Especially my childhood. There is something so beautiful about the minds and hearts of children. Their imaginations are exploding with creativity. Anything becomes a sword, a fort, a spaceship, a bridal gown.... I remember always wanting to try on my moms heels and wear lipstick. But I also raced my bike against the neighborhood boys down the gravel hill. I hunted for the best branches to make roofs for bunkers, or a bow for my "arrows." I climbed trees all day and ran around barefoot every opportunity I got. And above all, my parents were and are the greatest parents I could imagine. Yeah, I think childhood takes the cake this week.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!
This last Sunday, the sermon was about the account of Jesus healing the paralytic that was lowered through the ceiling into the midst of an over-populated house. Our pastor spoke about the faith of the four friends that brought the quadriplegic and the interesting response of Christ: "Son, your sins are forgiven." (Mark 2)
I've grown up in the church. I've read the three gospel accounts of this story innumerable times. But this time, for some reason, my mind wandered to the paralytic, himself. The accounts of this miracle don't say hardly anything about the man who was healed, other than that when Jesus told him to get up and walk, he got up, picked up his mat and went home.
But what happened in his heart when Jesus told him his sins were forgiven? Was he relieved? Or was he confused? It doesn't say that it was on account of his faith that he was forgiven and healed. In fact, the only reason he was healed was because Jesus wanted to show the Pharisees that He had the authority to forgive sins. What if the Pharisees hadn't accused Him of blasphemy? Would the paralytic have been healed physically?
I realize these are all speculative questions, but in my head I can't help thinking that when this disabled man was brought to Jesus, maybe he was hoping for physical restoration and not for his sins to be forgiven.
Regardless of how this man felt when Jesus said that, the point is that God was ultimately glorified by both Jesus' forgiveness of this man's sins as well as the healing of his physical body. And in the greater picture, that Jesus knew what this man truly needed above all else. He didn't need physical restoration. He needed-- desperately-- to be pardoned. For the blood stains of his sins to be removed. He needed Jesus.
I wonder what the paralytic would have said he needed.
That line between needs and wants is awfully thin sometimes. It's easy to look at the paralytic's life and think, "Well, obviously he needed to be pardoned for his sin." But when it comes to our own lives, do we value our need for forgiveness above our desire for better circumstances?
How often do I look at my life and think of my actual needs? How often do I worry about money? How often do I worry about the future?
In my head I think that I need to fix our situation. I think about all of the dollar signs in our future, I think about insurance, I think about our desire for adoption and raising a family. I think about starting our life in Western Europe. I think about our dreams of opening a hostel (something akin to L'Abri) on a small farm.... All of these things have been incessantly hovering over me.
But hold on. When has the Lord ever failed me? It's amazing to me how tempting it can be to find my own solutions to my own anticipated problems. It amazes me how after nothing but faithfulness from my God, I can still think in my head and in my heart that I might have needs that will not be met.
Sometimes things pop up in life that seem like solutions to our needs. Sometimes we come before the Lord to tell Him we "need" something, and walk away with "Child, your greatest need has already been met. You have been forgiven. Now you need to focus on me. " (see Matthew 6: 25-34 (Ironically, Matthew 6:33 is BibleGateway.com's verse of the day, today.) )
To be honest, a lot of times that's not the answer I was looking for. A lot of times that answer disappoints me because I want answers. I want to not have to just trust.
But I don't need answers.
So my question to myself is: when God gives me what I need, will I rejoice regardless of whether or not my wants are met? I would hope so. I think Louisa Stead said it eloquently when she wrote:
Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
I would hope that as time goes on, I will find I can sing the last verse of that song, too.
I'm so glad I learned to trust thee,
Hi, friends! This week has, like most other weeks of late, been psycho. Emotionally, physically, spiritually. This week I have verbally processed a LOT (if you were one of those people that had to listen to me, I'm apologizing now.) But really, I just finished putting down my journal where I wrote a list.... A list similar to this one, although not limited to a "top 5." I just let my mind run with all of the exciting things that have happened this week that have encouraged me, big or small.
So here it goes! My top 5.
1.) The weather got its act together and AUTUMN arrived!!!! Pumpkin Spice is back, sweaters, cute rain coats and boots.... P.S. I finally caved and did the MOST not-Portland thing. I got a rain jacket. I know that any protection from rain in Portland is super un-cool, but folks, I unapologetically love this rain jacket. I'm not even ashamed. P.P.S. I don't even live in Portland anymore anyway, so...
The other thing that I like about this jacket is that it's ethically made and sustainably sourced. Christian and I have been more and more convicted of our duty to steward our finances by researching the brands we buy of just about everything to make sure that it's sustainable and ethical. I could go into great detail about this topic, and I probably will at some point. All that to say, shout out to Patagonia!
2.) I got my first freelance editing job! And I'm VERY excited about the project. Unfortunately, that's all I can say about it right now, but I. Am. Jazzed. It's so very needed, and the person writing it is such a wonderful human. Stay tuned!
3.) This week I got into a playful "fight" with an Italian friend of mine about how American's have coffee addictions, but Italians have it "in their DNA." I still stand by my statement that if you're from the Pacific Northwest, coffee is totally in your DNA (can I get an amen!?). Also, I'm Norwegian, and apparently us Scandinavians kick some pretty serious booty in the specialty coffee world (in your face, Marco). Anyway, all that to say, I am just crazy thankful that someone a long time ago picked a coffee cherry and said to themselves, "Self, how about we try roasting the pit of this here cherry over a fire, throw some hot water on it and see what it tastes like!"
Bless you. Whoever you were.
4.) I'm all kinds of thankful for trees. It makes me glad to walk under them when I'm meandering around the city. I think they help me stay sane in such a busy, hugely concrete environment. If there's one thing that I miss with all my heart about Oregon, it's the green. The trees, the ferns, the vineyards. I like the gentleness of these giants. I like that they make the world explode in vivid color twice a year. I like that they sing when wind is moving through their leaves. I like the way they make the air smell when they're wet with rain. I like that their colorful fall leaves make a culture glued to technology stop and notice Creation for a minute. I also like that they make themselves available to kiddos for climbing. How their long arms become the sails of ships or a secure fortress. Jesus, thank you speaking trees into existence.
5.) This girl. Dana. I met her this last winter at a women's conference and then again a few weeks ago at a mutual friend's birthday dinner. I happened to mention that I needed a hair trim, and she graciously offered to do it for me, free of charge! Her mom is a hair stylist in Wisconsin, so Dana knows a bit about the industry. So this morning, she graced our home with her smile and gentleness. We sat and talked about the struggles we see in the church as well as our need to receive grace as well as generously give it. We talked about the beauty of gathering... a collection of people who are fallen, but who have been redeemed. Restored. Are being made holy.
If you get a chance to meet Dana, you're in for a serious treat. Both because of who she is and because she has the most beautiful dimples when she smiles. Basically you have no chance of not smiling if she is. It's a wonderful thing.
Well, that's what I've got for you all for now. God is good all the time.
Cheers to the closing of another week!
Friends, I must confess something: I am awful at having a thankful heart. Really.
Have you ever heard that saying, "If you woke up tomorrow with only things you thanked God for today, what would you have?"
I think that's a great thought to bear in mind, and something that I've been challenged very much by since I heard it a few months ago. This is why I have decided to add a weekly Friday post, highlighting my top 5 favorite things from the week! I want to invite you in to see what things in my week have given my gladness, and hopefully it will give you some ideas of things you might be thankful for, too.
Here it goes:
1) Sarah V., who surprised me with a gorgeous and giant bouquet of bright, cheerful flowers on Sunday evening. I was in the middle of making dinner for some friends when Christian's phone rang. "Babe, someone is here for you. Can you go down and see them really fast?" I went down and there she was. Standing outside my door with flowers and the kindest card. Talk about the best way to start a week!
2) Raul and Heidy, our cousins. We just got to go and witness their marriage at a drop-dead-gorgeous venue in Kentucky back in July. Heidy is Christian's cousin from Paraguay, and her and her Mexican man, Raul met while working with Operation Mobilisation on its ship, Logos Hope. We had a great time getting to know them better and showing them around our city, Sunday through Tuesday. We're so glad they're family.
3) PRAY Chicago. It's an event that happens every so often that is city-wide with churches of all denominations and from all the neighborhoods coming together at one venue to worship and to pray over the chaos and brokenness in our city. It was such a beautiful thing to join hands and pray over the problems of severe racism, the extraordinary amount of shootings and deaths, the poverty and gentrification, and for the Church's role in repentance and loving our neighbors. I am so thankful that I got to participate in this event on Wednesday night along with 1,400 others. Also, just for the record, I was a basket-case of emotion.
4) Our bed. Guys, I really just love our bed. Actually, our room. It's so fresh, so comfy and is the peanut butter to our jelly. That's really all I have to say about this.
5) That I get the life experience of living in Chicago. It still amazes me at times that we ended up here. We have grown here, built such great community and made this place home.
There you have it for this first Friday Thanks post!
Have a beautiful weekend, friends!
So many nerves. It was the middle of August, last summer.
I took a deep breath. Ok. I can do this. The worst they can say is 'no.' Followed by a prayer. Lord, if this is for me, give me peace and clarity of mind. If not, please still give me peace.
I marched up to the glass doors and walked into the entry. I noticed a phone with an extension number listed next to it, so I lifted it and dialed the number.
"Hi, my name is Linda Joy and I applied for a position in editorial here about two weeks ago. I don't know who I need to talk to, but I would like to talk to whoever is in charge of that department to tell them why I am their best candidate for the position."
Her voice, sounding friendly, "Oh, well that would be Randall P.... But he's out of town and I don't quite know when he'll be back."
Honestly, I had NO IDEA what the second part of that guy's name was. But I thanked her and said I'd try again later. Really I had kind of taken it as a sign that it wasn't right. So I forgot about the job and moved on.
The thing is, after a few years of prayer, the seeking of advice and much meditation, I had landed on three things that I am good at. Not the things that are meant to be hobbies, but the things that, when we discover what they are, we are meant to cultivate and nurture in ourselves. For me, I know that I want to pursue writing, and what better way to learn what goes into writing than to learn the inner-workings of the publishing industry?
This is why I had applied for the job of an acquisitions editor. They're basically the people that find new authors and handle the book topics, sample writings, etc. But when I had knocked on that door and the guy I needed wasn't there, I dropped it. Maybe because of fear, maybe because of laziness... not really sure which.
Anyway, fast forward to January this last winter. My husband and I were sitting at a big round table surrounded by strangers. The thing that we all had in common and the reason why we were all there was because of our interest/experience in working with a worldwide non-profit. At the beginning of the meal, the host asked us each to introduce ourselves. One-by-one we each stood up, said our names and a little bit about our involvement.
After you listen to about twenty people stand up and say their names, you start to kind of tune out. Let's just be real. But all of a sudden my ears caught something.
"... and you work in publishing, right Randall?"
Oh. My. Stars. THAT WAS THE GUY. I just knew it. After that I became like this creeper watching and waiting for the right opportunity to catch this Randall-guy and tell him why he needed to hire me. Seriously, though. Spy agencies would have been proud of how closely I was watching for the right moment. What can I say? I'm incredibly determined. I ain't sorry. Plus, ya'll know you'd do it too.
The lunch ended and sure enough, Randall left immediately. I watched him walk out the doors, my dreams dragging behind him. Feeling discouraged, I leaned into Christian's chest.
"You know that Randall guy? He's the guy I needed to talk to about working in publishing, but he left!"
"So? Go get him!"
"Go get him! You'll regret it if you don't."
Praises be that I have such a genius husband. I speed-walked out of the room just in time to see Randall across the way. Ok, so this maybe isn't totally recommended, but it actually happened this way, so.... I yelled at him. Startled, he stopped and turned around, looking at me like, "Do I know you?"
I introduced myself and we ended up having a two and a half minute interview. He gave me his card and asked me to email him so he could have my contact in case any opportunities came up. SCORE!
Sure enough, about one week later, I received an email from Randall asking me if I would be available to come in and help on a large project for a while as a freelancer. Obviously I agreed, and after a month I found myself being shown my new office, and two months after that was assigned my first book to work on called On the Block along with author, Doug Logan. It releases in October.
You guys, many of you have asked me how I got a job where I get paid to read books and fix them. I wish that I could say that it was me, and while the above story might seem an awful lot like it was because of me or some kind of initiative, let me tell you: my initiative was about 5% of this deal.
Now, after having worked in this industry for the better part of a year, I could tell you some great ways to help get you into this profession, but personally, nothing on my resume had to do with this. My only qualifying thing is that I am an avid reader, and always have been. Because of this, I know that I did not achieve this job based off of merit. This job was given to me by the One who makes all things possible. This is actually a testimony of His goodness, not my gumption. In fact, telling it renders my heart prostrate in humility, because, as I said, this is not something that I earned.
God does it all only requiring our willingness to take the first step onto the water.
Nothing is impossible for Him. The worst they can say to you is "no." Fear is false evidence appearing real.
I love the conversations that I have with my friends. Particularly because they just about never consist of the ever-dreaded small talk, which I myself am awful at completing with much ease.
Recently I was in one such conversation with a friend who works in my building. We had been exchanging thoughts on this documentary that hit both of us deeply in a variety of ways called Chef's Table. It's a beautiful documentary featuring various chefs from around the world with beautiful stories and visions of life, seeing food and all of its elements as an art form, meant to be slowly cultivated and appreciated.
Our conversation took a new turn when she said, "Oh! Have you seen the one about the restaurant in Chicago, Alinea? It's amazing. And actually, the word alinea is a really fitting word for you-- because of what you do and your life story so far. It means 'a new paragraph or sentence' or something like that."
Naturally I went home and watched that episode that night. And it was definitely beautiful, but gosh, that word was just sticking in my brain!
Over the next weeks I thought more and more about that word and its application to my life. Or really, all our lives in some way. An alinea is a common editorial mark, more commonly known as a "pilcrow." It symbolizes the need for a new paragraph in the middle of a story. Okay, so there are two significant reasons why this word is an incredible fit to my life: it's an editorial marking (and I'm an editor), and (this is the part that applies to all of us) it refers to a shift in the story-- not a shift to a completely new topic, like a chapter that's closing-- just a shift baring in mind, and directly referring to, what came prior.
Probably my most recent and substantial alinea was when I got my job as a book editor this last January. I honestly never would have seen that coming. Had you asked me on December 31st what I thought I would be doing the next month, I probably would have shrugged and said, "I dunno" like one of those kids in school who avoids eye contact with the teacher but inevitably gets called on.
But ya'll, barely more than two weeks later I was sitting in a publishing house, editing a big project for the first time ever. Having been one of those people who's usually glued to book pages (but seriously, the smell alone makes me want to write a love song), and who has always been a writer and wanted to write "for real," here I am. My life suddenly taking a huge twist, landing me in the middle of a world that had everything to do with my past and present. A world that seemed out of reach due to the irrelevant subject on my bachelor's degree.
All of us have experienced unforseen alineas in our lives. Whether they came in the form of a job change, a break-up, a move, the passing of someone close to us.... And what I love about that is that it doesn't neglect the previous paragraphs, but only carries the story further. Deeper.
Alinea can associate itself with another word that we all hate: fear. We all carry with us this fear of change. A fear of the unseen.
But there is so much hope. When an alinea inserts itself into the current paragraph of our lives, it can be painful, scary, uncertain... but what it's really doing is progressing forward. Moving us on when it's necessary. Propelling us forward with the growth that has already come before it.
Alinea, to me, means a transition into adventure, a push for growth, a thing to be welcomed upon its occurrence... and something to look back on with great gladness for all that has resulted because of it.