Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trying to Put it Into Words: The Village

I have thought about writing this post many times since getting ready to leave Living Proof. But how do you put two years of life changing experiences into one blog post that would not have y’all here reading for weeks. Well having been gone for a bit now and processing the past two years I firmly believe that it is straight up impossible so I am not going to try. I am just going to let the Lord lead me in writing and trust what He would share.

So when I was thinking about it, I had to go back to one member of this village who first impacted me when I was 18 years old. I honestly am not totally sure when I first met Amanda, I kinda just remember her always being there when I arrived to college. We pledged the same Christian sorority in college and were placed in the same freshman bible study. I had no idea that this person the Lord had placed in my life would have such a huge impact. My senior year of college I was blessed to obtain a prestigious internship in Washington, DC. Being the only in my family to go to college I was humbled by what the Lord had done and excited to see what He would unfold. But as the days became closer to my departure I was becoming increasingly scared and knew I was going to be out of my element. During finals week I was sitting in one of the main eating areas on campus and saw Amanda. She was getting married that summer and I was bummed to miss the wedding so I went over to tell her I was sorry and we ended up having a conversation that forever changed how I viewed my friend. Through the conversation I told her I was scared and didn’t know what to expect, Amanda calmly spoke truth to me, encouraged me and prayed with me for that summer. After that conversation Amanda became one of the main people I always reached out to in seeking advice when changing jobs. (And when you are in politics that is pretty often)

So of course the Lord would use her to be the link that helped bring me to Living Proof Ministries and the wild ride these past two years has been. Walking into the building I had no idea what to expect, I had just finished 6 and a half years in Washington, D.C. where even our informal moments were formal. And not to mention that my last job had been in the Pentagon, which in case you did not know is a much different world than Women’s Ministry. I knew I would really enjoy working with these ladies but I had no idea of how impressed I would be with the work they did. If you ever wonder about the work that is done at Living Proof Ministries I can guarantee you that those ladies and Curtis put everything into the work they do there. Not just their physical efforts but their spiritual efforts as well. They are the real deal. There is no better way to put it. They love the Lord with everything within them, and they love others just the same.

I have been blessed to work in many team environments where you are all striving after the same goal. It’s invigorating and allows you to build bonds and relationships that are rare. But I can honestly say I have never been in an environment quite like LPM. The Lord brought me into a whole new family that has forever changed my life. I was blessed to obtain some new sisters in the Lord, a brother and a handful of sweet mothers. Watching these women do life together challenged me in so many areas of my life. The Lord used each and every one of them to speak into my life, and bring me to a greater understanding of Him and how we are to pursue Him. My quiet times will never be the same and neither will my prayer life. I truly do not know how to express my gratitude to Him for these lives, neither do I know how to properly explain to anyone what the Lord did in my life through them. The best thing I could tell you is that He used them to bring me closer to Him and fall more in love with who He is and who He can be in our life if we allow Him.

Even if I never see a single one of their faces again (and that is not the plan so don’t get any ideas ladies!) I doubt I will ever get over them. They have affected me in a deep way that is only from the Lord. So before I cry here in Starbucks I pulled some fun pics from my two years to give a small view of my time there.

Amanda, Her Roomies (Maggie, Mel and Bonny) and I at dinner
(I think this is our Sophomore year at A&M)

This was the 15th Anniversary of LPM (and my first full staff picture)

No one celebrates you or your birthday like LPM! This was my first LPM Birthday!

No LPM highlights would not be complete without Starbucks. I grew to love coffee more here and a lot of fun times happened over coffee

And no one goes to lunch like LPM! Everyone together just about everyday trying to fit in one car. If nothing else happens in your day lunch was always an adventure and so memorable.

A highlight was a road trip to and from Austin in a 15 passenger van and lots of rain, I was blessed to drive for Di's daughters wedding. It was a blast!

This was the Village (minus Curtis and Amanda) in Israel, a trip I will never forget

This picture was one of the most stressful times in my LPM days... sitting in front of the group and Beth teased me that I was going to need to find Obidiah... oh the pressure. I still flinch when that book is mentioned.

Even everyday tasks are a blast at LPM! This was when the ladies spent all morning putting together some furniture and then moved it up in the tiny tiny slug! (I also had to get a pic of the slug in there! No tribute would be complete without it)

No one celebrates like LPM celebrates, I have so many memories from all sorts of celebrations with them. This was our Christmas party this past year.

The Road! Traveling was one of the duties I loved best for so many reasons. One small one was we usually had a lot of laughs on the way back! This was the day of Beth's heroic actions that saved many people in the Atlanta airport from slipping and falling.

I wish I had a picture of all the event coordinators at Lifeway! A unique group of women who I will miss just as much! Life on the road with them was always a blast! This is Paige (IGoM) and I in Seattle, she rallied to take a late night ride to the 1st Starbucks and the Fish Market for me!

Ron was equally as much of a blessing to me. A lot of laughs and a lot of business!

This is typical Rich... That's all I am saying!

This was Beth and I at the last LPL I traveled with her to.
The Lord sent me out on a strong Word from Him!

Travis and the Praise Team. Again no words for how much of a blessing these folks are. They have ruined me for worship with anyone else. They are gifted and bring you into the Lord's Throne Room like no one I know.

I had to bring this to a close with one of Amanda and I. This was a fun moment at the Christmas party for so many reasons!

The ladies who were there my last day sent me out like this, standing shoulder to shoulder. I am crying even now sitting in Starbucks remembering this. I have been blessed to serve along side them these past two years. And I know if ever I need these ladies for anything, I need to just call. I love them so and will take them with me where ever the Lord brings me from here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Well I am bad at this blogging thing is all I can say! But I always intend to do it! There is a lot to catch you up on but I would hate to jump over my week in Nashville during my last road trip. (Which side note to say my car hit 50,000 miles this week in 2 years! So if you did not know by now you can tell I love to be on the road!)

So after a couple of days in Atlanta and lots of fun with friends I jumped back on the road for one of the most beautiful drives to Nashville. If you ever get the chance to drive that route I highly recommend it! It was breathe taking and peaceful. I kept trying to take a picture of the mountains next to the valleys or the water but there was just never a safe way to get one so alas you will just have to imagine it.

I pulled into Nashville late on Thursday saw a few friends for a bit and then hit the hay! Friday was filled with some fun meetings and catching up with friends for the most part. I was blessed to attend a silent Good Friday Service at The Village Chapel that really made you stop and take in the day and think. Which we all should do on that fateful day, without the cross we could never get to Easter Sunday.

Saturday I spent most of the day studying and laying low at a local Starbucks. The draw to this Starbucks, a former college student who I had the pleasure to pour into is a barista there. I had not seen in a year and a half so it was a true blessing getting to hug her neck and take her to lunch.

Here is my favorite Starbucks Barista, Faith

Sunday we went to the very early service at The Village Chapel and I was extremely blessed to watch the children of the church fill the holes in the cross (from nails that were nailed in it on Good Friday) with daisies. I had never seen this done and it was one of those moments that make you just stop and see the change of the pain of the cross on Friday to the joy of the cross and the empty tomb on Sunday. We had a fabulous Easter lunch that was just the home cooked meal this gal needed!

This is the cross at the Village Chapel as the children place the daisies on it

April, Me and Kelly all dressed up for Easter Sunday. Easter requires dresses and skirts

I stayed in Nashville till the morning of Thursday and the week was filled with lots of old friends and meeting some new. I was blessed to break up the 12 hour drive back to Houston with a stop for lunch in Jackson, TN with Travis Cottrell and his team there at Englewood Baptist Church. We had some great sushi and a lot of great laughs… although I did miss seeing his lovely bride Angela.

All in all Nashville was a true blessing and it is a town that truly has taken my heart! If you ever have the opportunity to go I recommend snatching it up as soon as you can!

Travis and I after lunch, was a great pit stop on the drive!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


So I am still working through trying to be good about this again… I have a hard time thinking that anyone really wants to hear more than 140 characters about my life. I’m sitting on a plane right now heading back to Houston and so have a little golden time to focus and just relax. So it has been a full last two weeks! I’ll catch everyone up as quickly and as succinctly as I can.

I made it to Atlanta the next day after 13 hours in the car! I actually enjoy a little alone time in the car and road trips so it was a small blessing until the road became very dark and I realized I had not brought a flashlight with me in case I broke down. So the Lord blessed me with a handful of friends calling to check in on me, which made it seem not so scary! I had the distinct privilege while I was in Atlanta to tour and learn more about Walton Communities. If you are ever called to the Atlanta area I pray you will consider their apartment complexes. They run a legit ministry through their apartments making luxury apartments affordable to single moms and families. They not only do that but then they have an entire bottom floor of one of their buildings at many complexes turned into a after school program for kids that is run by the Atlanta Youth Project. This is not a room with some tables and computers this but an incredible learning area designed just for the kids. They get of the bus a teacher meets them leads them into their grand room and they have a devotional and then start on homework and snacks and much more. I could write an entire post on how amazing this business is they have begun. I was truly inspired by every person I met as they were not concerned with the bottom line of the business but the lives of the people they served.

Also while in Atlanta I was able to stay with one of my best friends from Washington Allison. She has been with me through so much and I laugh a lot because many of my funny or embarrassing stories of DC include her as one of the main characters. She is one of those close friends that you know so well that when you arrive at her house at 1 am in the morning from driving all day she just opens the door and walks back to bed… In a good one but I did give her a little hard time about that! I am so bummed I did not take a pic with her to share here. But most of our time was just spent doing everyday life nothing too crazy…. Except maybe bowling. Her husband had organized a work team outing for them to go bowling so Allison asked if I wanted to come along since she would be the only girl there… So I did and brought my friend Jenn as long as well. (Two things you should know before I go any further is you don’t already…. 1) I am a bit of a germaphob and 2) I have developed an incredible addiction to buffalo sauce! I put it on everything I can without looking too weird.)

So Jenn and I met up with them after having dinner at an unique restaurant called 52 Seasons. Because who likes bowling alley food. But when we get there Allie has all manner of buffalo wings on the table but the kicker is there is no sauce on them its on the side for your dipping pleasure. I tried to remain strong but to no avail, I began eating a wing and realized it was so of the best sauce I had had. Now comes the tough part we began bowling… Germaphob with her hands all over a bowling ball and some of the best buffalo sauce right in front of me… To make matters worse I had no hand sanitizer! I could’ve fallen on the floor and rocked I was in such a quandary. But I pushed through and ate some tater-tots dipped in the sauce and just prayed the Lord would protect me from the bowling alley germs! I could lose my stomach just remembering it but it was worth it!

So I wrapped up Atlanta with an impromptu lunch with someone I met at a conference there in the fall. It was one of those lunches that you look back on and half to laugh with the Lord about. Once Tara and I got to talking we realized how many folks we had as common friends and how much our life was so similar. What was to be a quick hi turned into an almost two hour hang out!

So I wrapped Atlanta up with running some more errands with Allison and then got on the road to Nashville! And I will end today there… no need to keep y’all any longer!