Monday, January 17, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
I have officially lived in my apartment for 5 months. I have paid rent 5 times. It is official, I am nearly 1/2 way through my one year lease! I have no idea what my life will look like next August, but for now I am calling this little place home and doing my best to make it feel that way. I am finding myself to be an relentless nester, and I am pretty darn proud of these six little rooms and two porches.
It is one of my greatest desires to be able to invite people in and even show it off a little. For some reason, having company fulfills something deep inside of me- and so I share with you one of the highlights of this past week (this is going to make a certain one of you chuckle- you'll know who you are!).
This week was one of the very few times my spare bedroom has been slept in (a.k.a.... the third). I was so excited to have company! And as silly as this sounds, because it happens so rarely, I was even a little nervous. So many thoughts were running through my head: "Is my apartment clean enough?" "Is my apartment even cool? Or has it just been my pride talking all this time?" "Is it too cold in here?" And on and on. But alas, the night was pretty ordinary, but having that 'talk until you must go to sleep in order to function the next day' feeling that I haven't had since college when I had roommates was fun!
However, the best part came a few days later- I was stowing a dirty dish in my sink (because I was too lazy to wash it right away) when I saw a green bowl that I knew I hadn't used. Because I live alone and don't have guests too frequently (yet), I pretty much rotate the same 5 cups and 5 bowls- and the one that I saw in the sink wasn't one of those 5. Later I found an empty grape juice container (that I had not finished) in the trash can. I had offered the little that I had and my sweet house guest had taken me up on it and made herself at home!! I was genuinely thrilled! Perspective is a funny thing... in college, if someone had eaten my food, or worse yet, finished it off, I would have gotten irritated. Now, I see it as a huge blessing- to have friends that take me up on the few things I have to offer, like a place to sleep, a shower to use, and breakfast in the morning. I don't have much, but I know that I have been incredibly blessed and it blesses me even more to be able to share what I do have. God calls me to it and I feel that in my bones.
"Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
"Do not forget to entertain strangers,
for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."
"All the believers were one in heart and mind.
No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own,
but they shared everything they had."
I experienced this absolute gift from so many sweet families here in Waynesboro throughout my college years and now it is my turn to practice that same hospitality. So, take me up on it! Please! Come and stay- for a night... or a month! What is mine is yours.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
After a brief interruption in the introductions... meet Stephanie, a.k.a Nie Nie.
Stephanie Nielson is, in a single word, incredible. Stephanie is a young wife and mom to four from Utah. In August 2008 Stephanie's life was forever changed by a plain crash involving Stephanie, her husband, Christian, and their flight instructor (who died in the crash). The crash burned 80% of her body and her outward appearance was forever altered along with her life (she will continue to have surgeries for the rest of her life).
(Stephanie before the accident; Stephanie and Mr. Nielson after the accident)
What is so, so sweet about blogs, though, is that you only see a person's heart. Yes, there are pictures (and Stephanie is beautifully bold in including photographs of herself for the world to see), but when I read about Stephanie's day-to-day life and her heart, I am blown away by what God can do in the midst of tragedy.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,
such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.
Instead, it should be that of your inner self,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
1 Peter 3:3-4
Stephanie is a Mormon, (like Lauren- Busy Bee Lauren), but I have to believe that she has a very real relationship with God- because only that relationship could possibly allow her to be the woman, the wife, the sister, the mom, the friend that she is today (2 1/2 years after her accident).
"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
"Blessed is the [wo]man who perseveres under trial,
because when [s]he has stood the test,
[s]he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."
Stephanie has an awesome sense of perspective and humor (about her situation incredibly) and she has precious and unique kids: Claire, Jane, Oliver (Ollie), and Nicholas (Gigs).
I am also a big fan of Nie's style- in her home and wardrobe. She has perfected the eclectic style I strive for and if you start reading her blog, you will quickly notice that we share a love for headbands (especially those with large, colorful flowers). If one day my living room looked like this on Christmas Eve while sugarplums danced in my little ones' heads, my life would be complete (ok, that was a bit of an exaggeration... but you get my drift).
Mind blowing, right?? I mean look at that tree!! And balloons?! Wouldn't you want to be Claire, Jane, Ollie, or Gigs on Christmas morning?? Yeah, I know, me too! (:
I am learning big things from Stephanie Nielson- in a lot of ways, she exemplifies the woman, the wife, and the mom that I hope to be one day. So, I invite you to join me in following Nie's beautifully ordinary, and yet uniquely extraordinary life!