No. 1: The marriage of the Lanes. Oh my word. This past weekend I had the pleasure of being able to witness the marriage of a high school friend, Chris, to his lovely bride, Sara. Their wedding was beautiful in every way. The location was stunning, the weather incredible, and the presence of the Lord and his Spirit apparent in every way. I am so thankful to know this wonderful couple and am so happy to have been able to participate in this day with them. Here is a photo I was lucky to catch with the bride and groom during the festivities! After this photo was taken, they told me that they realized I was their only guest present who was a true mutual friend of both of them. I wish them a beautiful marriage rooted deep in the heart of Jesus and His mission.
No. 2: You've Got Mail. I'm sitting here now at 1AM writing this post while watching You've Got Mail. I'm coming off of a week of night shifts and am having trouble falling asleep-- so what better to do than write and watch one of my all-time favorite movies? I just love Kathleen Kelly and feel that in some way we would be great friends if we ever met in real life (and if she was real). She values life and love and books in the same ways I do, and for that I just adore her. There are so many quotable moments from the movie, but here's one of my favorites.
"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?"
I so feel that. I wonder about my small life sometimes, but truth be told, I do find value in my life just as Kathleen Kelly does. My value comes from a real and living God and the purpose he has buried deep within my soul. You know how I told you I was writing a book? Well, it's sort of about this. It's about serving God from where you are, whether it's going on a big adventure for God or serving His people in your job at a coffeeshop or a restaurant. It's about serving Him in the midst of a small but valuable life.
No. 3: Ephesians. Speaking of marriage, I've recently buried myself in literature and Scripture in preparation for my own impending nuptials. Lately, I haven't thought much about marriage but more about moving, job hunting, finances, making friends in Indy, etc. But it's nice when I sit back and think about why I'm moving to this city and what these changes are for-- a new chapter with Scott as my husband. And Ephesians has been a wonderful place to bury my head the past few weeks. I know Ephesians stirs up a lot of controversy regarding marriage in our society. People don't like the idea of women submitting to their husbands; they look at the gender roles and view these verses as sexist implications that are outdated and irrelevant. But oh, how relevant they are. Wives are to submit themselves to their husbands as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). And husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her to make her holy by the washing with water through the word (Ephesians 5:25-26). Our culture has so polluted marriage and what it means to be one with your spouse; we miss what marriage was created for. It is not for our ultimate happiness but for God. For him to make us holy through marriage and to learn what it is for the church to be the bride of Christ. Don't pass over Ephesians and think that it's outdated and irrelevant. It's more relevant than it's ever been, and our world could use the wise teachings in Ephesians to learn the truth about what marriage is meant to be.
No. 4: Running in Vibrams. Ok. Vibram Five Fingers are WEIRD shoes. I'm so going to agree with you there. I never thought I would ever own a pair, but I must say I quite like them. My runs in them are very different from my runs in my other running shoes (I'm a self-proclaimed Asics & Mizuno lover). If you read about my altar run in volume 6 of "Small Joys," this post will be quite different. I did not run with abandon today in my Vibrams; instead, I ran a "focus run." I was careful with each step I took, cognizant of my form and how I placed each foot when I took a new stride. My legs feel so different than they do after other runs, but in a good way. I know I'm working muscles that aren't normally used, and I kind of like that. I also feel kind of like a gazelle when I run in these shoes. I try to run in the grass when I can to protect my joints, and I just feel very gazelle-like as I take each step. But I can't see I'm as free as a gazelle like I am during altar runs. It's the run of a gazelle who is careful about where she steps and who prances with precision. If you haven't tried Vibrams, I'd recommend them. I think they're a fun challenge to run in. I also really like using them for strength-training in the gym.
No. 5: Writing. Though I don't have much to show for it on the blog lately, I've been writing more recently than I have in the past several months. When Scott and I got engaged, my focus became planning the wedding, planning for my move, and preparing for marriage. However, this week I felt that sense of urgency to do those things dissipate a bit, and I felt ready to pick up my pen again. Ok, it's not really my pen I picked up. I opened my laptop and started letting the words flow again. I picked up on writing my book, more of editing some of the chapters, really, and then I did something really unexpected: I wrote my vows. On Sunday, I had one of my days where I just didn't want to have a wedding anymore. I've had these frequently during our engagement-- I can't quite explain them, but I'll try. I can be doing mostly anything-- working, driving, reading, sleeping-- and out of nowhere, I get this overwhelming feeling washing over me of anxiety and fear, and I feel tears well up in my eyes as I consider the possibility of marrying Scott without a big blowout wedding.
The big wedding is expensive and stressful and overwhelming, and some days I think, "what if I just save all of the money I've been saving for my wedding to use for something else? What if Scott and I get married and take a fun trip (a honeymoon?)? What if I invest it? What if I use it for later in life when we want a house?" But then I shake it off, and I'm back in the trenches of planning a wedding. All of that is to say that after the week I had been through, I needed a reminder of why I was doing all of this. So I pulled out my Bible, scribbled some notes in the margins with verses I really liked about marriage, and I set out in writing my vows. They're going to be my work in progress for this year; they are by no means complete, but as of right now, they say everything I feel about entering into the covenant of marriage with Scott and walking as one with him in marriage. I cried while writing my vows this week, and I'm fairly certain I will do so next April, but I just cannot wait to speak those words to him and share my heart with him.
No. 6: Kickboxing. I was telling Scott recently how I've been really disappointed in myself with my workouts lately (or lack of workouts, really) and how I feel so lethargic and unhealthy. I don't really know what I wanted him to say about it all, but I just wanted to wallow in self-pity over it for a good bit. He didn't let me do that. Instead, he told me to pick a workout that I have always really loved and to just start with that again. So I dug out my pink kickboxing gloves the following day and took up my old passion of kickboxing again. Right there in my bedroom. With no instructor or video to guide me, I started with the simple punches-- hook, jab, cross, uppercut-- and then fell into the old familiar combinations of them that I remembered from classes at the gym. I added my kicks in and felt so strong and happy. Something about kickboxing does that to you-- you feel empowered, strong, and like you could step out on the streets and face the world fearlessly. Scott and I have talked about putting up a punching bag in our house when we get married and I am SO serious about making this happen. If you haven't tried kickboxing before, I'd recommend it to you.
No. 7: My Indiana nursing license. After weeks of waiting in anticipation for all of my documents to be processed, I finally have my license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the state of Indiana!! I am so so excited about this, even though it makes me sad to leave my job here in North Carolina. Sometimes I have to push the things I'm sad about out of my mind so that I can make room for the excitement I feel over getting married and setting out on my adventure with Scott. With that said, obtaining my Indiana nursing license is a HUGE blessing and was the final step in preparing for my job hunt. A few weeks ago I sat down and knocked out my resumé-editing and cover letter writing, and I kept saying "once I get my nursing license I will start applying." And here we are, license in hand (well, not entirely true. They don't issue paper copies in Indiana unless you pay for it... so for now my license is an online one :)). I guess the search for a job is on now... how completely terrifying!
No. 8: Dates with old friends. Or old roommates, to be exact. This week Rachael, one of my former roommates from the Penthouse, texted me to say she would be in town if I wanted to meet up at all one day this week. I was working night shift and thought it probably wouldn't work out, but I decided to sacrifice some sleep to meet her for dinner. Our other roommate Chancey met up with us and it was such a lovely hour and a half. I rarely laugh as hard as I did with those girls during my senior year, and it made me nostalgic for our Penthouse days. I recently caught up with all four of the Penthouse ladies, some over the phone and some in person, and I must say that my mama-heart is happy. I also had the pleasure of eating with my lifelong friend Alex for dinner tonight at my favorite sushi place. We sat outside with the sun lightly dancing around us as it set, and we laughed and talked about all of the things about grown up life that we never used to talk about as little 7 year olds in Girl Scouts together.
I think I'll stop with 8 this week. I'm in a good place right now and am anticipating so many lovely things ahead. Wedding season is upon us and I'm filling my coming weekends with bachelorette parties, bridal showers, weddings, and my own bridal portraits!
Grace & peace to you all, and lots of love this week.